Beef The most popular meat in the world is beef. Beef is the meat of bovine animals, esp. cows, heifers, bulls or steers. It is used in the cuisines of almost all nations, because it is not only delicious meat (beef is deeply flavored and more satisfying than veal or pork), but it contains a lot of healthy components, like protein, zinc, iron, vitamin B1 and orotic acid. The best beef is obtained from early maturing, special beef breeds.

The condition of the meat could be distinguished by its color. High-quality beef is bright red in color and well-marbled, it has firm, velvety, fine-grained lean. The fat is creamy white, smooth, and well distributed. Beef meat in vacuum packaging is a burgundy or purplish color. After exposure to the air for about 15 minutes or so, the beef turns cherry red. After meat has been refrigerated more than 5 days, it may become brown due to chemical changes. Such beef may be spoiled, be tacky to the touch, and have an off-odor.

Each country has its own cuts, which are based on the culinary and cultural peculiarities of country or region. Traditionally, a cattle is divided into 9 main parts.

Beef cuts

Neck – one of the tougher cuts, is the bases for Stewing Steak or made into ground (mince) meat.  Neck cut is only suitable for very slow, long, moist cooking.

Chuck – is a rectangular cut, with parts of the shoulder bones. This cut is known as a “7-bone steak”. The roast or bone-in chuck steak is one of the cheapest cuts of beef.  This part of the cattle is also ground for hamburger.

Ribs – primal cut includes 6 through 12 ribs. It contains prime rib, short ribs, rib eye steaks, and standing rib roasts. These cuts are tender and suitable for roasting, broiling and grilling.

Brisket – is taken from lover chest or breast. The most popular methods of cooking are: marinating the meat, smoking and cooking slowly, not directly over the fire. Brisket is used for cooking corned beef. Often sold boned, rolled and salted. The tenderness of these usually tough cuts of meat comes from the fat cap left attached to the brisket.

Shank – has more connective tissue and flavor than any other part. Beef Shanks are good for beef soups and stews, but are not served any other ways, because of being the toughest cut of meat. They include a good deal of connective tissue and plenty of the most flavorful meat on the animal for a rich stock. The bones are cut in slices exposing the marrow, and you don’t spend your money for fat.

Plate (also called “skirt steak”) – is a long, flat cut. This meat is flavorful, but rather tough. Plate is the cut of choice for pot roasting and cooking fajitas.

Loin – is subdivided into three categories: short loin, sirloin and tenderloin. Short loin is a cut that includes the small of the back and13th rib. This cut is one of the tenderest and the most expensive. It is also very lean and doesn’t have the same flavor as the tougher cuts. Short loin is soft enough for grilling, but it should be cooked quite rare or it’ll become tougher.Sirloin is closer to major movement muscles and is less tender cut than Short Loin. Never the less, Sirloin cuts are more flavorful. They could be divided into Bottom Sirloin and Top Sirloin. Tenderloin is the softest cut of beef. Tenderloin yields a type of steak known as “filet mignon” or tenderloin steak.

Round – includes most of the rear leg and the rump. Round is tough and lean. This cut is great for braising or simmering.

Flank – is a very thin and flat piece of meat, tough but popular in Mexican and Chinese recipes.

Unfortunately, many people no longer know which part of the cattle they are buying, so choosing cuts of beef for a certain dish requires a lot of attention and the chance of incorrect cooking could be lessen.

Beef recipes and articles:

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