Fat in Beef

Several studies have concluded that eating lean red meat such as beef, is just as effective in reducing “bad” cholesterol and raising “good” cholesterol as lean white meat.

Nearly half of the fat in lean beef is monounsaturated. This form of fat is believed to help lower blood cholesterol and reduce risk of heart disease.

Cuts of Beef

  • The eight main cuts of beef are: Shank, flank, brisket, chuck, round, rib, plate and loin.
  • The secondary name is the retail cut, such as sirloin, porterhouse, top round, etc. and explains the way the cow was cut up.
  • The tenderness of beef depends on how it was cut up.
  • The toughest cuts of beef are pot roasts and are cut from the cow’s neck. These are also the least expensive.

Chuck Cuts:

The chuck section comes from the shoulder and neck of the beef, and it yields some of the most flavorful and economical cuts of meat. The downside is that these cuts tend to be tough and fatty, and they have more than their fair share of bone and gristle.

These usually need to be cooked for long periods of time in a liquid for tenderizing. It’s usually best to cook them slowly in a liquid.

Rib Cuts:

Meat from the rib section tends to be tender and well marbled with the fat that makes steaks and roasts juicy and flavorful. Rib steaks and roasts are sometimes called “prime rib” even when the meat isn’t good enough to be graded “prime” by the USDA.

Rib cuts include rib steaks, rib roasts or back ribs and should be cooked slowly in an oven or grilled for approximately 20 to 30 minutes per pound. It’s best not to marinate rib cuts.

Loin Cuts:

These come from behind the ribs and are the most tender cuts, such as tenderloin roasts and the better steaks, such as porterhouse.

The loin may yield the most tender and expensive cuts of beef, but it’s not the most flavorful. The choicest portion is the tenderloin, which is exquisitely tender and lean. The top loin and sirloin aren’t as tender, but they’re a bit more flavorful. Cuts from the loin require very little work to taste great. Indeed, steak lovers consider it almost a sacrilege to marinate them, or to cook them beyond medium rare.

Round Cuts:

These are top round, eye of the round, bottom round, etc. and should be braised and roasted similar to pot roasts.

Flank and Plate Cuts:

These include flank steaks and skirt steaks. They are long and thin cuts and are best for stir-frying.

This is a lean, flat cut that’s fairly tender and extremely flavorful. Properly marinated, it’s a wonderful steak to grill or broil, but don’t overcook it or it will become very tough. Before serving, cut the steak into thin slices at a slant against the grain. Substitutes: hanger steak OR top round (for London broil) OR tri-tip roast.

Brisket Cuts:

Located in the area behind the cow’s front leg or from the leg itself and are usually tough and need extensive cooking in a liquid for a considerable time.

Corned beef brisket is made by pickling or curing fresh brisket meat. The name originated from the coarse grains of salt (corns) traditionally used to preserve beef.

Herbs Best Suited for Certain Meats

  • Beef:  Basil, thyme, sweet marjoram, summer savory, rosemary.
  • Veal:  Summer savory, rosemary, thyme, basil, tarragon.
  • Lamb:  Mint, summer savory, sweet marjoram, dill, rosemary
  • Pork:  Sweet marjoram, thyme, sage, chives, basil.
  • Poultry:  Thyme, sage, tarragon, sweet marjoram, chevil, summer savory.
  • Fish:  Chervil, fennel, sage, parsley, dill, sweet marjoram, basil, chives.

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