Specialty Cuts

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Specialty Cuts

Some of the cuts or preparations of beef that you will find in the meat case don't originate from any one primal area but instead, come from multiple area of the animal. Stew meat, for example, is likely to come from the chuck, but it can just as easily be made from the round or even the sirloin. Scraps of lean and fat leftover from trimming roasts and steaks for resale, are often combines with other cuts for ground hamburger or sausage.  And there is at least one popular steak that doesn't belong to any of the nine primal cuts. This section gives you a list of the most commonly found specialty cuts.

 

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Cube Steak

cubed steak
Cube Steak

cubed steak

Cooking Methods:

 Pan Fry

Other Names: 

Cube steak, minute steak

Description:

Like ground beef, cubed steaks cut can come from more than one region–commonly the tougher muscles of the shoulder, sirloin or round are used. The butcher tenderizes the meat by pounding and perforating it with special tools, but not to the point that it separates for falls apart. Pan fry these cuts as you might a hamburger, or cut into smaller pieces and use in chili. When purchasing, make certain there is no connective tissue present.

Ground Beef

ground beef
Ground Beef

ground beef

Cooking Methods:

Broil/Grill/Pan Fry/Roast

Other Names: 

Ground Chuck, Ground Sirloin, Ground Round, Hamburger Meat

Description:

Small lean scraps and trimmings of fat and meat are combined and ground, either coarse or fine, to make ground beef. Percentage of fat will vary depending on which primal source was used and should be clearly stated on the label. Lean ground beef of 90% or higher, typically come from sirloin, but most hamburger aficionados will tell the best choice comes from the chuck with 15-20% fat. Before preparing, allow meat to rest at room temperature 20-30 minutes. This will ensure more even cooking.

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak

Hanger Steak small

Cooking Methods:

 Broil/Grill

Other Names: 

Butcher’s Steak, Butcher’s Tenderloin, Hanging Tender Steak, Onglet Steak

Description:

Butcher’s typically have kept this cut for themselves. It’s more commonly found in restaurants than supermarkets. Your best option is probably a local butcher shop. It comes from the hanging tender, an internal muscle that supports the diaphragm and literally hangs from the kidneys and attaches to the last rib. As such there is only one hanging tender per animal, from which 2 hanger steaks are cut. It has little internal fat, is juicy and has intense flavor. The steaks are best cooked with dry heat and sliced across the grain before serving.

Kabob

Kabob

Kabobs Retail Cut Small

Cooking Methods:

 Broil/Grill

Other Names: 

Beef Cubes for Kabobs, Kebob, Shish Kebob

Description:

Beef trimmings that are too small for steaks are commonly used for kabobs. Typically, lean, tender meat is used for kabobs, while tougher trimmings are cubed for stews. While they may look similar, the two are not interchangeable. Most kabobs come from the round region. Kabobs are excellent for marinating.

Stewing Meat

Stewing Meat

Beef for Stewing Retail Cut Small

Cooking Methods: 

Braise

Other Names: 

Diced Beef, Stew Beef, Stew Meat

Description:

Stewing meats generally come from tougher cuts that need to be braised, but really meat prepared for stews can come from just about any where except for the shank. Meat is usually cubed into ¾- to 1½-inch pieces (2-4 cm) and should be free of bones, cartilage, and heavy connective tissue. A small amount of surface fat is okay. Be aware that there are no industry standards for how these items are packaged. So inspect thoroughly. If the label doesn’t include the primal cut name, ask the butcher. Cook low and slow to allow all connective tissue to melt and the individual strands of meat to come apart.