Cuts of Beef
Want to know where the different cuts of beef come from?
In this section we will look specifically at beef cuts of meat. Follow the below links to jump straight to specific cuts of beef:
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes
Table of contents
A firm favourite among many, the fillet is silky soft and juicy, with versatile uses. Whole fillet comes from the lower middle part of the back and is taken from the smallest end of the tenderloin. It comprises of the least hard working muscle and therefore has very little fat.
Fillet is one of the leanest cuts of beef and normally cut thicker than other steaks. This cut also has less flavour, but is often matured to introduce more taste. Remember to cut your meat against the grain to enjoy a mouth-watering steak.
Due to its positioning, rump is packed full of flavour. It is located at the hind part of the animal and this is where the pelvis and spine come together. It comprises of loosely connected muscles that don’t work very hard, as a result the meat is a lean, yet tender piece. The full rump includes the rump steak and rump tail. It also contains a part of the melt-in-your-mouth fillet.
Rump is a lean cut that can become tough when overcooked. To get the flavour of rump even more and to retain the juiciness of rump, to be served as medium or medium rare, fry it for a few minutes on either side and allow some time for it to rest after cooking.
This cut of meat (literally) has a silver lining; a silvery tissue that covers the muscle. Silverside is a lean muscular meat that comes from the muscles that the animal uses to move around, as well as carry most of the animal’s weight. It is located at the hindquarter and due to it being worked so hard, silverside is a coarse and tough piece of meat.
You would easily find smaller cut pieces of tenderized silverside or even biltong using this type of meat. Some extra spices should be incorporated, because it adds more flavour. Slow and steady is the way to go for cooking this cut of meat.
Similar to silverside, this is a lean cut, as it is located in a part that gets exercised often. Topside is situated at the inner muscle of the thigh and thus has plenty of connective tissue. How do you distinguish this cut? There is a half-moon shaped layer of fat visible on the outside. Due to the lack of fat though, it has a very coarse texture.
The rich flavour of topside can be increased through aging. With its subtle flavour, it is frequently used to make biltong and mince. Need a mince recipe? Topside also makes for a scrumptious roast, that will make you love it to the moon and back.
This cut contains a lot of muscle and consists of 3 specific ones: the tip side, center and bottom. It is cut from the hindquarter where the hip and leg are located. Depending on your pick, the cut can either be somewhat tough or very tender, with the center piece being the most tender.
Much like a sweety pie, the inner muscles are soft, while the outer muscles are tough due to the presence of a great deal of connective tissue. Knuckles have a lovely mild flavour, which can be intensified through slow cooking.
Often referred to as sirloin, this cut of meat is soft and succulent. Whole striploin is located at the middle of the animal and can be cut to form the T-bone steak. The muscles in this cut do minimal work and therefore are surrounded by a gracious amount of fat.
Striploin can sometimes be quite bland in taste, consequently the solution to this is that the meat gets hung for an increased amount of time to bring out the flavour. This cut is known for its fine, soft texture and delicious tenderness. Add some butter when cooking and the flavour will prickle your meat senses.
As one of the most appetizing cuts of beef, flank is lean, but tough. This cut is located in the abdominal area, with a generous amount of connective tissue. Due to the texture of the stringy grain, flank can become quite chewy if overcooked.
Flank is known for its strong punch of flavour, however, when cooked right, it makes lovely meal. For a delicious steak, you should certainly cut it thinly against the grain and grill swiftly, or braise it to enjoy a flavoursome meal.
You guessed it, short ribs contain 3 to 4 ribs cut in varying thicknesses. Not as meaty as other cuts, but brings exceptional flavour and tenderness to the party. In this cut you’ll find tendons, fat and muscles scattered between the meat, which will accordingly vary according to age.
Being a flexible cut, shirt rib can therefore be prepared in numerous ways. A firm favourite among beef lovers, is to marinade and braise the meat for a liberal amount of time over low heat, resulting in a delicious meal.
A budget choice meat with some fat and a tough texture. Nonetheless, this delectable cut overwhelms with flavour when prepared correctly. Chuck is located at the top forequarter area and therefore includes sufficient amounts of bones. Since it is the neck and shoulder area, it also contains several layers of muscle.
What makes chuck a melt-in-your-mouth experience, are the collagen connective tissues that literally melt during cooking. Options for preparing chuck could be braised, stewed or fried to achieve a delicious meal.
First of all, this tasty cut originates from the chest, containing breast bone and some ribs. Furthermore, brisket comprises of the muscle tissue that supports an astounding 60% of the animal’s weight. Often divided into 3 cuts, namely the navel, mid- and point brisket.
Brisket has a tough and coarse texture, therefore often used to make pastrami or corned beef. Finally, for magnified flavour, add plenty of moisture when cooking this cut, and the connective tissue will soften.
That’s it! All the information you need to know about different cuts of beef. Need an idea of what to make with some of these beef cuts of meat, read our article “Need some inspiration for meals?” for some great findings.
What are the different cuts of beef?
Fillet, rump, silverside, topside, knuckles, striploin, flank, short rib, chuck, brisket
What is the best grade of beef?
Grade A, then AB, B and C
What meat is oxtail?
Oxtail originated from oxen. It is the tail of the animal. Today it is also known as the tail of cattle, both cow and bull.
What meat is veal?
Veal is meat from younger cattle, known as calves. This meat is usually more expensive.