Eid El Adha is right around the corner; a celebration that commemorates sacrifice, giving back to the less privileged, spending quality time with our loved ones, and cooking a delicious fattah dish for the whole family. Whether you’re team beef or team lamb, we’re bringing you a 101 guide to help you learn about meat, the variety of cuts and textures you can get, and the best cooking and seasoning methods for every cut.
Beef and lamb cuts are common to a great extent. Beef meat is richer in protein while lamb meat is higher in fats. Here’s a breakdown of tender vs tough meat cuts:
Tender Meat Cuts
Known for its tenderness and tasty flavor, ribs are one of the most famous cuts at butcher shops and restaurants. This part is the source of short ribs, rib-eye roasts, and most steaks. Ribs are perfect for BBQs and outdoor house parties. Ribs and steaks can be cooked or grilled between 6 to 45 minutes – depending on how well done you’d like your meat to be.
Culinary tip: Season your ribs and steaks with butter, rosemary, and brown sugar or with BBQ sauce. Get ready for a tasty, sizzling, melt-in-your-mouth sensation with every bite.
The loin starts immediately from the 13th rib. This is where you get some of the tenderest meat steaks. Ask for this cut when you’re looking for meat that doesn’t take much time to cook and is easy to chew. Loin cuts take an average of 45-70 minutes to cook – according to the size of the piece and how well-done you prefer your roast to be.
Culinary tip: Season your tenderloins with thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper, and add mustard for an extra kick. A blend of rosemary, basil, and garlic can also work wonders to the overall taste.
Tough Meat Cuts
This is the cut that comes from the animal’s shoulders. Considered one of the toughest meat cuts, chuck is one of the most hardworking muscles with lots of connective tissues. When cooked for enough time, it becomes fork-tender and can be quite flavorful.
Culinary tip: Season your chuck cut before cooking with paprika, onion, and garlic powder, salt and pepper, then braise and slow cook it between 6-8 hours for a tender and juicier texture.
Cut from the chest, this is the part that carries the animal’s weight, resulting in very tough muscles with many connective tissues and fat. A beef brisket takes a long time to tenderize. Rule of thumb is to cook low and slow. The average time to cook a tender brisket is 5-12 hours – depending on thickness, size, and method.
Culinary tip: Briskets can be cooked on a stovetop, in the oven, in a slow-cooker, or grilled. For seasoning, opt for classic spices like salt and pepper, garlic powder, and paprika, and sour marinades like lemon or vinegar.
This is the abdominal muscle of the animal, where the cuts are lean and tough. Flanks have a coarse texture that tenderizes when soaked in marinades. Flank meat can be cooked on high heat, slow-cooked it, stir-fried, or broiled and they take between 5-10 minutes to cook.
Culinary tip: Flank steaks pair well with red pepper, paprika, brown sugar, dry mustard, and soy sauce. The best way to cook a flank steak is medium rare.
Located at the cow’s belly, plate gives us different meat cuts that are suitable for various dishes. A fatty and flavorful meat cut, plate is used to make fajitas or smoked to make delicate pastrami pieces.
Culinary tip: Plates can be roasted, smoked, grilled, or pan-seared. They pair well with beef stock and strong ground seasoning like black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
This is the last part of the animal; its back. Round cuts are just above the back legs and are known to be tough. The round is divided into many subprimal cuts and are sold as big roasts. Round’s tough meat is ideal for moist cooking, where the heat and liquid help the meat become tender without becoming dry. Round can be cooked for 60-90 minutes.
Culinary tip: Round cut steaks should be marinated for at least 4 hours before cooking. Soak your round steaks in a mixture of spices, vinegar, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and ketchup. You’ll indulge in a fine piece of meat cooked with the perfect touch of heat.
This is the toughest cut of meat in both lambs and cows. Shanks come from the hard-working front and back legs. Braising for at least an hour helps transform the collagen in the tough connective tissues into gelatin, resulting in a tender and moist piece of meat.
Culinary tip: Shanks can be braised or slow-cooked and can take between 1-9 hours. They pair well with salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme.
Bonus culinary tips by Breadfast:
The age of the animal and the way it was raised and fed affect the quality of meat that reaches you. That’s why it’s important to have a trust-worthy meat provider that offers premium meat quality.
Choosing the right cut can make or break your entire dish. A meat that smells fresh, has a cherry or dark red color, visible muscle fibers, and streaks of fat is what you should be looking out for when buying your cuts of meat.
Now that you know all the techniques to cook your meat, you’re ready to show off your culinary skills. Happy Eid from our family to yours.