You have just come across an interesting recipe that requires the perfect beef cut, or you wish to make a nice meal for your family. How do you choose the ideal beef cut for that mouth-watering meal?
Well, one thing you should know is that not all beef cuts are the same. Also, different beef cuts are ideal for different meals. For this reason, you must know what your meal needs for you to select just the right beef cut.
Also, you must understand the different characteristics of the various beef cuts to ensure that what you choose fits your meal perfectly. So, what are these vital tips that you should know?
1. Know the Type of Beef Cut you Want
There are multiple beef cuts you can choose from, all of which have different characteristics. They include:
Loin – This part is generally tender, and flavorful. Most of the loin beef cuts tend to be expensive, and they include tenderloin and T-bone steaks.
Brisket – This is the breast of a cow, which means that the part is typically tough. Therefore, if you choose this beef cut, be sure to let it cook slowly and for a longer time to help make it tender.
Chuck – Chuck is the beef cut from the cow’s shoulder. Generally, it is tougher when compared to loin, but it also has an incredible flavor. This part is versatile, making it ideal for multiple types of dishes.
Shanks – These are the forearms of a cow. Since they contain collagen, they are mostly used to prepare hearty meals or meals that require sauce or gravy.
Round – This is the part that you mostly find butchers selling as ground beef. But, it also consists of some tender cuts that generally cost a bit high in restaurants.
Short Plates – These are found beneath the ribs. They are not lean beef cuts but are ideal for preparing short ribs or fajitas.
Flank – If adequately prepared, this beef cut is among the tastiest cuts. And, although tough, it can feed a lot of people.
Ribs – Although not the favorite part for many people, ribs can be delicious if cooked properly.
Typically, the best beef cuts come from the rib, tenderloin, or short loin cuts. When you know the characteristics of these various parts, choosing the right beef cut can be quite straightforward.
2. Cooking Method
For you to get that tasty meal, selecting a beef is not enough. This is because the method of preparing these beef cuts will vary, and will produce different results. Therefore, you should understand which type of beef cut goes well with which kind of preparation method.
For example, some beef cuts are tastiest when prepared using moist heat, while others will be incredibly delicious when dry heat is applied.
Apart from these two tips, other crucial things to consider include:
This refers to the white fat, usually intermingled inside the lean muscles of a beef cut. In some instances, particularly in “grass-finished beef,” this fat appears to be yellow as a result of the diet of the cattle before harvesting.
It’s good to note that, although the lean beef cuts offer an excellent option for people who need a low-fat diet, marbling greatly determines the flavor of the beef cut. Therefore, when selecting your beef cut, be sure to evaluate the level of marbling, as it’s a vital determinant when it comes to the quality grade of the beef.
4. Aged Beef
Contrary to what many may think, beef aging is not in respect to how old the cow is. Instead, it pertains to how long the beef has been refrigerated after the cow was slaughtered. The process entails the storage of meat under refrigerated or regulated temperatures to improve tenderness and flavor.
Although not always, almost all the beef you buy has been aged in one way or the other. Therefore, it is prudent to inquire from your butcher to be sure.
Beef aging can be done in two different ways. These include:
1. Wet Aging
This method involves the storage of the beef in airtight bags, for a maximum of 21 days. The storage is done under refrigeration of between 32°F to 34°F. Wet aging is the most popular method for beef aging, and results in a conventional beef flavor.
2. Dry Aging
Here, unlike in the wet aging method, the meat is not stored in sealed bags. Instead, it is kept bare under refrigerated conditions of 32°F to 34°F, and controlled air and humidity, for a maximum of four weeks.
The method is not as standard as the wet aging one, and results in a unique “brown-roasted beefy flavor.”
In terms of color, meat ought to be bright red. However, beef does turn brown when exposed to air. Therefore, when you notice that the meat is brown, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is spoiled.
For example, if you refrigerate your meat in a plastic bag that has a small hole, you will quickly notice that the meat will turn brown. This means that the meat has been exposed to air. However, if you are in any doubt of the extent of the brown color, don’t use the meat.
Meat stored in an air-tight bag, on the other hand, may seem darker than usual. This might not necessarily mean that the meat is spoiled, but rather the absence of oxygen in the bag. This packaging is what enables the meet to stay fresh for long in your fridge.
Therefore, choosing the right beef cut will require you to have all these tips in mind.
Article Submitted By Community Writer