Beef is divided into large sections called primal cuts, which you can see in the beef cuts chart below. These “primals,” are then broken down further into subprimals, or “foodservice cuts,” and then into individual steaks and other retail cuts. The most tender cuts of beef, like the rib and tenderloin, are the ones furthest from the horn and the hoof. By contrast, the shoulder and leg muscles are worked the most, which makes them tougher. Either way you go, here are some great meal ideas for each cut of meat.
Popular Cuts: Chuck Roast, Ground Beef Chuck, Chuck Steak
Use For: The thick, shoulder cuts of beef are most flavorful and tender when braised or roasted. This is your classic pot roast, the one you let simmer all day in the crock pot with potatoes, onions, and carrots. The steak needs some tenderizing, so it’s best when slow-cooked in stew, but this time of year, tenderize with a marinade and use the thick chunks on kebabs.
Popular Cuts: Back Ribs, Short Ribs, Ribeye, Prime Rib
Use For: Ribs are naturally the most classic of summer barbeque dishes—and you’ll get bigger, meatier ribs than with pork. If you want to go a little fancier, host your next backyard get together in the evening and serve a juicy prime rib with horseradish. Or, impress with your grilling skills by throwing on some ribeyes—it’s one of the easiest cuts to grill and requires nothing more than salt and pepper to season.
Popular Cut: Flat Cut Brisket
Use For: Smoked, barbequed, and served up with beans, potato salad, and a roll—this is one of the most popular menus Las Cruces area caterers serve up for weddings, graduations, and other special events. Hire one or order take out for your 4th of July or Labor Day weekend party; this is one of the most notoriously difficult cuts to get just right.
SHORT PLATE & FLANK
Popular Cuts: Flank Steak, Skirt Steak
Use For: Both the flank and skirt steaks are best when marinated and sliced thin, making them ideal for New Mexican favorite, the fajita. In tougher cuts like these, how you slice it makes a big difference when it comes to tenderness. Always slice against the grain.
Popular Cuts: Rump Roast, Top Round Steak, Eye of Round, Ground Round
Use For: These are some of the most economical and lean cuts of meats. You’re giving up some of the tenderness for the cost, so they’re best sliced thin and marinated. If you want to make some healthy, homemade treats to take on road trips or out to the ballpark, this is a great option for jerky.
Popular Cuts: T-bone, Filet Mignon, Strip Steak, Porterhouse, Sirloin Steak
Use For: From the versatile sirloin to the tenderest of all, the filet mignon, this could easily be considered the “goody bag” portion. Instead of the traditional baked potato, serve local-style with warm tortillas and strips of green chile—with a side of rice and beans, naturally.