Beef Basics

What’s the best beef for the grill, slow cooker, roasting pan, or wok?

Read on for tips and top recipes. It’s all about beef!

Cuts of Beef
Certain cuts of beef are suitable for different cooking methods. Shoulder, chuck, and blade cuts require long, slow cooking to become tender, as do beef round and rump roasts. Flank steak, ribs, loin, and sirloin are the best choices for grilling or fast, high-heat cooking methods.

Brisket: From the chest region. Use to make corned beef or braises, or smoked for barbeque.

Slow Cooked Corned Beef for Sandwiches

Photo by *Sherri*

Chuck: These cuts are from the beef shoulder or front end; used as roasts and pot roasts.

Barbecued Beef

Photo by Dianne

Flank: Cuts of beef usually found as steaks; this is the cut often referred to as London Broil.

Taqueria Style Tacos - Carne Asada

Photo by kaykalu

Loin and Tenderloin: These prime cuts are from the lower back. Cuts are very tender; strip steak, t-bones, and porterhouses come from this region.

Thyme-Rubbed Steaks with Sauteed Mushrooms

Photo by Dainne

Round: Cuts of beef from the hindquarters; usually found as cooking roasts and commonly referred to as rump roasts.

Asian Beef with Snow Peas

OkinawanPrincess

Sirloin: These cuts are taken from the small back region, above the rump; sirloin cuts are very versatile and can be found as steaks and roasts.

Sirloin Steak with Garlic Butter

Photo by bellepepper

Skirt: The diaphragm muscle on the underside of the ribcage. Popular grilled, used in fajitas and carne asada.

Arrachera (Skirt Steak Taco Filling)

Photo by Soup Loving Nicole

Cooking beef

Stir-frying
is a great method for cooking beef. It cooks quickly at high temperatures and preserves flavor. Stir-frying also requires very little added fat.

Grilling and broiling are methods that don’t require added cooking fat. For healthier grilling:

  • Be sure to trim all visible fat from the beef prior to grilling or broiling.
  • Consider precooking large pieces of meat in the oven to reduce time on the grill.
  • Don’t let the flame flare up too much.
  • Baste with citrus juices or broth instead of fat.
  • Remove any blackened portions before serving.

Roasting is a slow method of cooking that allows the fat to drip away from the beef. Roast large cuts of beef with herbs and spices, and serve the beef with chutneys, salsas, or the juice that collects in the bottom of the pan.

Safety Tips
To prevent food-borne illnesses:

  • Maintain your refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees F (4 degrees C)
  • Store meat in the coldest part of the refrigerator, away from the door
  • Make sure you seal the package of beef securely to prevent drips
  • Store frozen beef at 0 degrees F (-18 degrees C)
  • Defrost beef overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave on the defrost cycle, not at room temperature
  • Do not eat raw meat
  • Cook ground beef within one to two days of purchase; steaks, chops, and roasts within three or four days
  • Always use a clean cutting board and clean utensils when handling beef. Preferably, have one cutting board designated for meat and one for fruits and vegetables.

Beef’s Bio
Beef is an excellent source of protein, iron, and B vitamins. It is especially rich in B6, which strengthens the immune system, and in vitamin B12, which helps maintain good blood supply. To cut down on the saturated fat level in your diet, the USDA recommends eating beef no more than twice a week and reminds us that a serving size is 3 to 4 ounces per serving (the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand).

How do you like your steak?

“Blue”: raw red center. 115 to 120 degrees F
Rare: cool red center. 125 to 130 degrees F
Medium-Rare: cool red-pink center. 130 to 140 degrees F
Medium: warm pink center. 140 to 145 degrees F
Medium-Well: tan center. 150 degrees F
Well: fully-cooked gray center. 160 degrees F and above