know your meat cuts! (beef & lamb edition)

Summer is over and you might have put away your grill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious cuts of meat made from the comfort of your home kitchen. These detailed butcher charts from The Cook and the Butcher break down the best cuts of beef and lamb for whatever recipe you’re keen to make!

Summer is over and you might have put away your grill, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious cuts of meat made from the comfort of your home kitchen. These detailed butcher charts from The Cook and the Butcher break down the best cuts of beef and lamb for whatever recipe you’re keen to make!

The following terms are based on more universal primal cuts, large sections of beef that are then cut by the butcher into individual steaks and roasts. Understanding the nature of the primal cuts will help you decide what cut to buy for the dish you are planning. Do you know the difference between a rib-eye steak and a chuck eye steak? Well, now you will!

Beef


Chuck The muscular shoulder section, source of chuck steak, chuck roasts and stewing beef, all tougher cuts are best cooked by moist methods such as braising or stewing. Chuck roast makes the best pot roast. Ground chuck, a common type of ground beef, has a high proportion of fat, a robust flavor and makes juicy hamburgers.

Foreshank Sold cubed or cut into bone-in slices, best suited for stewing, braising or making stocks.

Rib The meat nestled between the rib bones is flavorful, juicy and tender. Rib cuts include flavrful rib-eye steaks for broiling or panfrying, short ribs for braising, and tender rib roasts and rib-eye roasts for oven roasting. A standing rib roast is a truly grand cut of beef, reserved for special occasions.

Brisket Cut into flat or pointed half briskets, which are often cured and simmered as corned beef. Briskets may also be braised.

Plate Source of short ribs and stew beef for braising and stewing, as well as ground beef. The inner muscle is sometimes sold as skirt steak, the traditional cut for fajitas. Good for braising, broiling and grilling.

Short Loin Source of the finest steaks, T-bone, porterhouse, club, top loin, tenderloin (also known as filet mignon), fillet and strip. Tenderloin cuts, from the bottom of the section, are considered the finest cuts of beef. Tenderloin roast are wonderful for roasting or broiling.

Flank Source of lean flank steak, for braising, grilling, and stir-frying, and ground beef.

Sirloin Source of sirloin steaks for broiling or roasting, as well as ground bef. Ground sirloin falls between ground chuck and ground round in terms of fat content and has a rich beef flavor.

Round Source of round (or rump) roasts for braising, broiling, or grilling, as well as ground beef. Ground round is extremely lean but a little tough. Top round is the most tender part of this beef section.

 

Lamb


Neck Meat from the neck section, rich in flavor but tough is most commonly sold as ground lamb for lamb burgers or casseroles.

Shoulder This large cut contains firm, flavorful meat streaked with a moderate amount of fat. It yields shoulder chops for grilling or broiling; cubes of stewing meat for braising and kabob meat for grilling; ground lamb; and convenient rolled boned roasts for roasting or braising.

Rib With its tender, rich meat, the rib section is one of the better sections of the lamb. It yields rib chops for sauteing, broiling or grilling, as well as the whole roast composed of the chops left intact, known as rack of lamb or, when formed into a circle, a crown roast. For the best flavor, use high heat to roast, broil, or grill racks of lamb just until they are done medium-rare or medium.

Loin and Flank Little-used muscles in the loin make for some of the most tender cuts of lamb. The loin is the source of compact tenderloin and loin chops, best broiled, grilled or sauteed, as well as whole loin roasts, often boned and tied. Tough but flavorful flank meat is most often sold ground

Saddle The lamb’s saddle portion contains the tender, well-marbled sirloin, which may be roasted whole or cut into sirloin chops and steaks for grilling, broiling or sauteing. For grilled kabobs, chunks of boneless sirloin are ideal.

Leg The firm, flavorful leg meat may be roasted whole or cut into cubes for kabobs or stew. If buying a bone-in leg, look for a French-style of three-quarter leg of lamb, with its upper pelvic bones removed, allowing for easier carving. Boned, butterflied and marinated, a small leg is succulent when grilled or broiled.

Shanks This is the lower section of the leg. Hearty, economical and full flavored, the tough shank meat requires long, gentle braiding. A few hours of gentle simmering will result in rich, moist, spoon-tender meat. The small, lean foreshank is usually braised as an individual-serving cut. The hind shank may be cut into think, crosswise slices, or it may be boned and cut into stew meat for slow braising.

Breast This thin cut runs along the belly. The fatty, flavorful meat, with its many tiny rib bones, may be boned and cooked whole by braising, which results in tender meat, or it may be cut up and braised or grilled as lamb riblets. The breast is also sold ground for making grilled lamb burgers.

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