Cooking Beef

Beef & Veal

Beef and ground beef are staples in many kitchens and lend themselves to many cooking methods. When purchasing beef and ground beef, you'll want to select beef with a bright, cherry-red color and without any gray or brown patches. Select veal that has a fine-grained texture and is creamy pink in color.

Make sure the package is cold and free of holes or tears. Also make sure the package does not have excessive liquid, as this might indicate that the meat was subjected to improper temperatures.

Purchase before the ”sell by” date on the packaging for best quality.

Determine the amount of beef or veal you need to buy based on the cut and amount of bone:

  • 1 pound of bone-in roasts yields 2-1/2 servings.
  • 1 pound of bone-in steaks yields 2 servings.
  • 1 pound of boneless cuts that will be trimmed of fat yields 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 servings.
  • 1 pound of lean boneless cuts without waste-such as eye of round, flank and tenderloin-yields 3 to 4 servings.

Marinate less tender cuts of beef to tenderize and add flavor. A tenderizing marinade contains an acidic ingredient such as lemon juice, vinegar, yogurt or wine. Marinades without an acid can be used to flavor tender cuts. Marinate meat in the refrigerator, turning or stirring several times to evenly coat. Always marinate meat in the refrigerator unless you are marinating it for 30 minutes or less.

Allow 6 to 24 hours to tenderize less tender cuts of large steaks or roasts. Marinating longer than 24 hours will result in a mushy surface texture. Smaller cuts, such as cubes for kabobs or thin steaks, can be marinated in a few hours.

Set aside a portion of marinade before adding the beef if the marinade is to be used later for basting or as a serving sauce. Allow 1/4 cup of marinade for each pound of beef. Apply a "rub" or blend of seasonings, such as fresh or dried herbs and spices, to the surface of uncooked cuts, such as roasts or steaks. Rubs add a burst of flavor to the meat but do not tenderize.

Choose an appropriate cooking method for the cut you select. Tender cuts can be cooked quickly using dry-heat methods (broiling, grilling, pan-broiling, pan-frying, roasting and stir-frying); less tender cuts need to be cooked slowly using moist-heat methods (braising and cooking in liquid).

Defrosting Guidelines

The thicker the package, the longer it will take to defrost. Here are some guidelines for defrosting beef or veal in the refrigerator:

  • For 1/2- to 3/4-in.-thick ground beef or veal patties, allow at least 12 hours.
  • For 1- to 1-1/2-in.-thick meat pieces or packages of ground beef or veal, allow at least 24 hours.
  • For steaks, allow 12 to 24 hours.
  • For a large roast or a thick pot roast, allow about 6 hours per pound.

Cooking Methods for Beef

Braising: Chuck Roasts, Bottom Round Roast, Bottom Round Steak, Short Ribs

Broiling: Sirloin, T-Bones, Porterhouse Steaks, Rib and Rib Eye Steaks, Top Loin Steak, Skirt Steak, Flank Steak, Top Round, Ground Beef Patties

Cooking in Liquid: Beef Stew Meat, Brisket, Beef Shanks

Grilling: Sirloin, T-Bones, Porterhouse Steaks, Rib and Rib Eye Steaks, Top Loin Steak, Skirt Steak, Flank Steak, Top Round Steak, Ground Beef Patties

Pan-Broiling: Steaks, Tenderloin, Ground Beef Patties

Pan-Frying: Steaks, Liver, Cube Steaks

Roasting: Rib Roasts, Rib Eye Roasts, Sirloin Tip Roast, Tri-Tip Roast, Whole Tenderloin, Back Ribs