Guide to Meat: Understanding the Different Cuts of Beef


Most steaks are cut from the hindquarter of the steer. In the first step of cutting steaks, we use a 12-inch butcher knife to cut off the flank, which is used for flank steaks. Next, the short loin is separated from the sirloin. The versatile short loin can be cut into a variety of steaks, including the porterhouse, T-bone, club, Delmonico, shell and fillet. Then we cut a very important section between the hip and rump. All sirloin cuts come from this portion. Finally, we separate the round from the rump and hind shank. Use the rump for long-cooking roasts, and use the hind shank for stews. The round is cut into boneless roast beef, and London broil steaks it is also used for ground beef.

Americans have a passion for grilling and they love to grill steaks, because they´re easy to cook. You can also broil steaks, or sauté them in a skillet. Start with Prime, aged beef from Lobel´s of New York, and you can´t go wrong.

Cuts of Beef

1. Chuck

2. Flanken Ribs

3. Rib

4. Back Ribs

5. Short Loin

6. Tenderloin

7. Porterhouse

8. Sirloin

9. Round

10. Rump Roast

11. Round Steak

12. Hind Steak

13. Flank

14. Flank Steak Rolls

15. Short Plate

16. Brisket

17. Fore Shank

Filet Mignon

Translated, filet mignon means dainty filet, also known as tenderloin steak. Some customers like to have the filet section removed from their porterhouse steaks, creating the possibility of two steaks from a single cut. Also, we sometimes have requests for a whole tenderloin.

Note: The French spelling has one "l," as in filet mignon. The English and American spelling uses a double "l". Both are correct.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil, sauté. 

Whole Tenderloin

The whole tenderloin is removed from the short loin before any other steaks are cut. Sometimes we cut these into individual filets, in whatever thickness the customer wishes. The tenderloin is the most tender of all steaks. But no matter how delicious and tender, some find the texture too soft.

Best cooking method: Broil or pan-broil, as in Tournedos of Beef with Béarnaise Sauce. A complete whole tenderloin can be broiled and then cut into individual portions, or the whole strip can be covered with pastry and baked, as in Beef Wellington.

Chateaubriand
Roast

This sumptuous roast is carefully cut from the whole tenderloin.

Best cooking method: Removing the head and the tail portions from the whole loin leaves only the mouth-watering center portion with no fat.

T-Bone Steak

This steak is easily identified by its T-shaped bone. The T-bone steak comes from the center section of the short loin, between the porterhouse and rib. It is similar to the porterhouse but has a smaller section of tenderloin and a smaller tail, with a fine-grained shell. It should be cut from one to three inches thick.

Best cooking method: Broil or grill are best, however, pan broiling is recommended for cuts under one and one-quarter inches thick.

Porterhouse

The porterhouse is one of the most popular steak cuts, perhaps because it includes a generous section of the tenderloin. The porterhouse was first served in the drinking houses where porter, ale and stout were featured — thus the name. This is a big, flavorful cut from the short loin, nearest the sirloin. It is fine-grained with a characteristic portion of fat. The porterhouse is usually cut from one and one-quarter to three inches thick. Some customers have the tenderloin removed so that they can serve it separately as filet mignon.

Best cooking method: Grill or broil the porterhouse. A thinner cut can be pan broiled.

Strip Steak

When the tenderloin has been removed from the short loin, the remaining meat is then cut into individual steaks. Shell steak is the correct name for such steaks. However, restaurants call them by other names, including New York strip, Kansas City strip or just plain strip steak. Steaks can be cut into any thickness, usually from one to two inches or thicker. Frequently, we remove the bone for customers, resulting in a boneless strip steak, that can be sliced diagonally after broiling.

Best cooking method: Grill or broil.

Club Steak

Also called Delmonico, after the famed 19th century New York dining club that served this steak exclusively. The club steak is rectangular in shape. It is smaller than the T-bone but has the same large "eye" section with no tenderloin. The club is cut from the short loin, next to the rib end. This is a delicious and tender steak when properly cut. When you buy a club steak, take a good look at the steak's "eye." The meat should be fine in texture with delicate marbling. If the meat seems coarse and contains fat chunks, you will know this is not the quality you want.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil, pan grill.

Sirloin Steak

The sirloin is a large steak, making it suitable for families and parties. A typical sirloin is usually cut two and one half to three and one half inches thick, with a small amount of wedge bone. Sirloins vary in shape and bone size and include the pin bone or hipbone, the flat bone and the round bone. The flat bone is the Tiffany of sirloins. Look for a long, thin bone four to six inches long and about one inch wide. All sirloins are tasty eating, but the flat bone is fullest in body flavor throughout. These can be cut from one to three inches thick.

Best cooking method: Grill or broil. Pan broil thinner cuts.

Sirloin Tip Steak (Boneless Sirloin)

This cut comes from the bottom tip of the sirloin section. It is less tender than sirloins with bones, but has delicious flavor. We usually cut it about two inches thick.

Best cooking method: Braise for half an hour.

Rib Steak

The rib steak, which comes from the rib section, is similar in appearance to the club steaks. It is sometimes sold as such, even though it is less tender, has more fat, and should be less expensive. Rib steaks have excellent flavor. Since it is from the front portion of the forequarter, this cut is often sold in kosher meat shops.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil, pan grill.

Entrecôtes

Entrecôte is the French term for rib steaks with no fat, just the eye of the rib. Some people prefer to use a boneless strip steak with no fat.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil or pan grill.

Tournedos

Very thick slice from the tenderloin.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil or pan grill.

Chuck Steak

Sometimes called blade chuck, chuck steak comes from the shoulder (or chuck) section of beef. It is very economical and has a well-developed flavor, but it varies in tenderness. We consider the first three bones of the chuck section the tenderest. They are adjacent to the rib roast and contain a sizable extension of the rib eye. These cuts are satisfactory for a family barbecue.

Best cooking method: Grill cuts from the first three bones of the chuck section. Braise or stew the less tender cuts from farther down.

Round Steak

The round steak is cut from the rump (or round) sections of the hindquarter. It is oval in shape. Round steak has practically no fat, and because it is so lean, it is excellent for steak tartare. It also makes a fine London broil. Because it lacks marbling, round steak is not as flavorful and juicy as other cuts, but it has little waste and is an economical choice.

Best cooking method: Broil if from the first three cuts, or roast.

Flank Steak

The flank steak is a lean, flat muscle with no bone at all. The meat fibers run lengthwise. There is only one flank steak to a side of beef. For best results, the flank steak should be broiled quickly. Flank steak has lovely flavor and a tender texture when sliced into thin, slanted strips after cooking. This cut, which comes from the lower section of the short loin, is mainly used for London broil.

Best cooking method: Grill or broil.

Ground Beef

Don´t buy beef that has already been ground and is on display in a refrigerated cabinet. Such meat can come from any part of the steer, including the trimmings.

We recommend four types of beef for grinding:

  • Round: Round has practically no fat and makes a fine low-fat burger.
  • Chuck: Chuck´s high fat content makes tasty, juicy burgers.
  • Sirloin: Because it is well marbled, sirloin makes tender, flavorful, deluxe hamburgers.
  • Tail of porterhouse: A specialty of our New York store, and not widely available. Tail of porterhouse makes delightfully juicy and sweet tasting burgers and meatloaf.

Best cooking method: Grill, broil or pan-broil for burgers. Bake for meatloaf.

Prime Ribs of Beef

Rib roasts are the most desirable and tender of all beef roasts. The ribs are from the rib section of the forequarter. The meat is very juicy and well marbled with a layer of fat on the outside. The size of the roast is flexible, and can be cut to serve a small family or a large dinner party.

There are four ways we prepare prime ribs:

  • Standing Rib Roast: The roast is slightly trimmed and the short ribs are cracked. 
  • Half Standing Rib Roast No. 1: Trimmed lightly with the short ribs completely removed.
  • Half Standing Rib Roast No 2: Trimmed lightly with short ribs removed. All bones are removed from meat and then tied back in place. After roasting, the strings are cut, bones are removed and the roast is sliced with ease.
  • Rolled Rib Roast: The roast is well trimmed and the short ribs are cut off. Then the roast is completely boned and rolled and tied over the outside layer of fat. 

Best cooking method: Oven roast or grill with indirect heat. 

Shell Roast When the tenderloin has been removed from the short loin, the remaining meat can be cut into individual shell steaks, or it can be cut into larger pieces to become roasts.

Lobel´s shell roasts are very popular in our New York shop. The shell roast is excellent for parties, and can be cut to serve any number of guests. This is a most desirable boneless roast and very easy to slice.

Best cooking method: Oven roast or grill with indirect heat.

Sirloin Roast

Like the sirloin steak, a roast from this section of the steer is tender and delicious. Properly prepared by your butcher, the sirloin is an excellent and less expensive alternative to a prime rib roast.

Best cooking method: Oven roast or grill.

Shoulder Roast

The shoulder roast is located at the bottom of the shoulder (chuck) and is normally sold in two sections. The meat is usually lean and dry. The front section has a round bone and is sometimes called arm roast. The back section is boneless.

Best cooking method: Both cuts are suitable for pot roasting, although the front cut may be used as an economical roast beef.

Rump roast

The rump roast is cut from the top end of the hindquarter. It is triangular when the bone is left in and usually rolled when the bone is removed. This roast has a moderate amount of fat and is tender.

Best cooking method: Pot roasting. May be oven roasted.

Chuck Roast

Chuck roast is available with the bone left in, or boneless. It has some fat, is juicy and well flavored, and comes from the forequarter of beef.

Best cooking method: Pot roasting.

Brisket

The brisket is in front of the foreshank and under the shoulder (chuck). There are two cuts of brisket. The first cut is a bit dry, but lean. The second cut is much fatter and therefore juicier.

Best cooking method: Excellent for pot roast. May be cured for corned beef.

Plate

Even though the plate is comprised of layers of fat and is lean, this cut is quite stringy. It is sold flat or rolled.

Best cooking method: Simmer very slowly in water until tender.

Short Ribs

We call this cut by its German name, flanken. The flankens are cut from the ends of the rib roast and the plate. They contain layers of lean and fat with the flat rib bone.

Best cooking method: Short ribs make an exquisite boiled beef, enhance the flavor of soups and are excellent for pot roast.

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