Plate & Flank Cuts
The plate primal, sometimes called the belly, is the underside of the animal, just below the rib primal. It consists of several flavorful but tough muscles separated by layers of fat and connective tissue. Butchers number the 13 ribs from front to back. In general, the plate consists of ribs 6-12, although some butchers may include the fifth rib. The average weight is about 30 pounds (14 kg). The inside and outside skirt steaks are attached.
The flank is also find on the underside of the steer, just behind the plate. It weighs about 20 pounds (9 kg), buy only a small portion can be used as steaks. The rest can be used for ground meat.
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Flank Steak Filet, Jiffy Steak, London Broil
The flank is ideal for grilling. Boneless, flat, and thin, it cooks quickly and accepts marinades well. A flavorful lean cut, it has less fat than skinless chicken thigh meat. The muscle is course and striated, which can make it difficult to chew if not cut properly. It is best served thinly sliced, across the grain, preferably at a bias for a beautiful presentation. Although many cuts are marketed as London Broil, the original was made with marinated flank.
Beef Plate Skirt Steak, Diaphragm, Fajita Meat, Fajita Steak, Inside Skirt Steak, Outside Skirt Steak, Philadelphia Steak
There are actually two skirt steaks—each a separate muscle from the other. The outside skirt is derived from the diaphragm. It is located in the plate primal, and weighs about 1.5 pounds. The inside skirt is an abdominal muscle attached inside the rib cage in the flank primal and weighs about 3 pounds. Of the two, the outside skirt is thinner, has better marbling, and is more tender and flavorful. However, it has a thick orange membrane, called the peritoneum, that must be removed before cooking. You may have a difficult time finding outside skirts at the supermarket, as most are exported out of the U.S. These are the original fajita steaks. Their long, loose muscle strands soak up marinades well. They have excellent flavor and are perfect for grilling. Do not cook beyond medium, or the meat will become tough. Slice across the grain before serving.
Barbecue Ribs, Beef Ribs, Beef Plate Short Ribs, Braising Ribs, Flanken Short Ribs, Kosher Ribs, Plate Short Ribs
The forward half of the animal includes ribs 1-12. Short Ribs can be cut from chuck or plate sub-primal cuts, but the most common are the beef plate short ribs. They include ribs 5-12, with ribs 6-8 considered the absolute best. Short Ribs are extremely flavorful, but the muscles are tough, grainy and separated by layers of fat and connective tissues.
There are multiple ways to cut short ribs. The traditional method is an English or long bone cut, whereby the ribs are sliced parallel to the bones. Flanken-style ribs are cut across the bones so that each rib has the cross-section of several bones. Korean style ribs are cut across the bones, similar to flanked-style but in thin strips.