Test Kitchen Tips
The Best Cuts of Beef Every Home Cook Should Know
Here's a look at the most popular cuts of beef and when to use them—plus some thoughts to keep in mind when you're ready to cook.
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Anything labeled “chuck” comes from the cow’s shoulder area. All chuck is known for having a rich, beefy flavor, and most (but not all) cuts of chuck are lean and so grow more tender with longer cooking. In other words—perfect for the Crock Pot! This includes any chuck labeled as “roast,” which would be perfect for this Ultimate Pot Roast Recipe.
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Bone-In Short Ribs
Short ribs are not to be confused with regular beef ribs, which come from the back of the cow. Like a chuck roast, short ribs require slow cooking or braising to bring out their tenderness. (Try cooking short ribs using this Contest-Winning Braised Short Ribs recipe.)
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Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak is an extremely tender, grill-ready cut. It’s more marbled with fat than a chuck roast or short ribs, and doesn’t require slow cooking. In fact, a flat iron steak is best when grilled quickly over high heat.
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Back ribs, also called beef ribs, are the signature ribs for barbecue. It’s a flavorful cut that’s great with a smoky dry rub or tangy sauce. You’ll want to cook low-and-slow for the most tender and flavorful meat—like in this recipe for Barbecued Beef Ribs.
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The butcher can carve up a ribeye roast that’s bone-in or boneless. Either way—it’s perfect roasted for a special dinner. This Seasoned Ribeye Roast would be the centerpiece at any table.
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This bone-in steak is beautifully marbleized, making it extremely rich and juicy. It’s a hearty fill-the-plate cut that’s great with a baked potato or corn on the cob. For a special dinner on the grill, you’ll want to grab some ribeyes and try these Garlic Grilled Steaks.
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You might know the Tenderloin Steak as a “Filet Mignon.” It is considered the most tender steak, which helps explain why it’s so popular. You can cook this tasty cut in a cast iron skillet, on the grill or under the broiler. Tenderloin Roast is similarly tender and carves up beautifully for dinner.
Psst…a Porterhouse Steak is a combination of Tenderloin and Strip steaks. It’s a two-for-one!
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Flank steak is lean and boneless with lots of beef flavor. It’s best when marinated and grilled such as in this Grilled Flank Steak recipe, or sliced thin and stir-fired. (Just keep in mind that slicing beef against the grain is important.)
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You might see it labeled as “top sirloin steak” or “top sirloin filet.” It’s extra-juicy, which makes it great for cubing, skewering with vegetables and grilling. (The recipe for Summer Steak Kabobs will have you lighting the grill!)
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Most round cuts will be quite lean and roast beautifully while tending to be budget-friendly. That makes it perfect for a weeknight pot roast or classic roast beef.
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Brisket can be tough, so it’s an ideal cut for cooking low and slow on the grill, smoking or cooking in a Crock Pot. It’s worth the wait—your finished dish will be tasty and full-flavored. (See how brisket works its magic.)
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Skirt steak is a wonderful, flavorful cut that works well when marinated and seared over high heat. It has a robust flavor that’s perfect for fajitas or in a stir-fry. (Try it in one of our Top 10 Fajita recipes.)