Picture this, a sale too good to be true. No, I’m not talking about a pair of shoes, I’m talking about the meat case. But what is that cut of beef? And how do I cook it? My mom raised me to be a bargain shopper. So, I cannot let a good sale pass me by! If you are like me, here is a cheat sheet to help you know where your beef comes from and how to cook it.
For starters, your beef cuts come from 4 main sections, Chuck, Rib, Loin, and Round.
Most items that have ‘steak’ in the name can be cooked in a skillet, grilled, or broiled. Roast items are best when cooked at a low temperature for a long period of time. Think crock pot or roasted in the oven.
Products from the Chuck, or shoulder region, cover a wide range of cooking methods. Old fashioned cuts like the 7-bone roast can look intimidating, but when roasted in the oven, it is a great family meal.
Boneless short ribs and chuck steaks should be braised to create a yummy sensation. What is braised you ask? First you sear the outside of the meat on high heat, then decrease the heat, add some liquid and continue to cook until product is done.
If you are lucky enough to find top blade steaks in the bargain bin, buy! These steaks are also known as Flat Irons. They are one of the most tender muscles, grill and enjoy! They even plump up while they cook. Yum!
Rib and Loin products have much less variation. Classics like ribeyes, New Yorks and filets come from these regions. All of these items can be cooked using the ‘steak’ method mentioned previously. If you happen to come across back ribs, toss on some of your favorite barbecue sauce and grill them up too.
Beef cuts from the Round can come in roasts or steaks. Don’t be intimidated by these cuts, even when in steak form. While these muscles are not quite as tender as a filet, they can be marinated and grilled, braised or broiled. So get creative and whip up a marinade for these Round prod-ucts.
What if you find a brisket? This is very popular in the BBQ food world. Think pulled pork sandwiches. Cook brisket with low heat for a longer period of time. Let the crock pot be your friend. Or use a smoker if you are lucky enough to have one.
Next time you are shopping at the meat counter, try something new. You never know when you’ll stumble upon a new family favorite! And remember to use a meat thermometer to check that your product is thoroughly cooked.K