How to Identify Cuts of Beef!

Maybe you’ve been wondering, what’s the difference between a ribeye and filet mignon? What constitutes a New York steak? Well, you’ve come to the right article. In this post, I will be detailing the wonderful animal we know as the cow, and take you step by step on identifying what cut of meat is what.


Photo courtesy of

As we can discern here, there are different types of cuts from the cow. We have the chuck, which is the neck and cod; the ribs, the short loin, the brisket (the one on the lower left corner), fore-shank (right next to brisket), short plate, flank, and the round. There is also the tenderloin (not pictured, but it’s in the middle of the sirloin). But why are these categorized differently from each other? What makes the chuck the chuck and not the round? Well, it concerns the toughness of the meat and the placement of it on the cow.

We will start with the brisket and fore-shank, first. These are your toughest parts of the cow, mainly because it is breast part. When the cow engages in running, walking, or any activity, it works out the muscles, therefore the meat tougher. All sorts of briskets are made with these areas, as well as pot roasts or even corned beef (which is really delicious!).

The chuck is located right under the neck and upper part of the shoulder. Sometimes the chuck can also include the upper part of the arm. This cut of meat is also very tough, mainly because of the same reason as why briskets are tough. The chuck also contains a lot of connective tissue and fat, which makes it ideal for stews or pot roasts. Also because of its fat content, the chuck is also very good as hamburger meat, or ground beef. Yum!

Next are the ribs. They’re located between the chuck and the loin, and the primal ribs are used for prime rib. This particular cut of meat is tender. Because this meat is delicate and tender, one of the cooking techniques that is well suited for this type of cut is dry-heat. 

Moo! Photo courtesy of

Moo! Photo courtesy of


As well as the chuck being used to make ground beef, the short plate also contributes. The short plate consists of the short ribs and skirt steak. A popular Mexican dish, called carne asada, is made with the skirt steak. Also, because of the amount of cartilage the short plate has, it is good with braising.

The flank is a sub-section of the short loin and sirloin, and it used for flank steaks. It covers the cow’s stomach. The flank is also recommended to be used for ground beef or braising.

Ah, the short loin, sirloin, and tenderloin. This is where we get into the steaks, such as bone-in strip steaks, T-bone steaks, and porterhouse (short loin), center cut and sirloin (sirloin), and filet mignon (tenderloin). These cuts of meat are all pretty tender and full of flavor. They’re grilled, pan fried, roasted, barbecued, you name it.

Last but not least, the round is located on the rear of the cow and consists of the butt, hammies, and thighs. This type of cut is good as pot roasts, but also favored as london broil, sirloin tip roast, sirloin tip center steak, or round roasts. The round is known to be pretty flavorful and lean, but because it’s concerning the legs of the cow, it is also tough. The cow walks around a lot, so this meat gets pretty tough.

So, did this article help you? I hope so! Now go out there and share your wisdom with the rest of the world!!!


One thought on “How to Identify Cuts of Beef!

  1. Pingback: How to Identify Cuts of Pork | thenakachanlife

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