If we’re being honest, there’s a lot about meat we don’t know. Except of course the part where we want it to be tender and taste good when we bite into it. If we go a little further, we also know that when choosing how we want our steak done, it’s either well-done, medium-well or if you’re feeling adventurous, rare sometimes known as ‘pink’.
The goodness of meat is that it can be cooked in many ways. It can be grilled, stir fried, stewed, roasted or braised. In this article, we’re going to equip you with all the knowledge you need on the different cuts of meat and what parts are best for what meals.
Since this area of the animal is heavily exercised with movement, the neck is considered a firm cut of meat, which is muscular and full of taste. It is usually diced and used in your curry and a slow cooked casserole. Can you already envision this or what?
Chuck & Blade
This cut is from the neck and shoulder area of an animal. This cut can be quite tough, and it mostly cooked at low heated for a long period of time as a roast. After a long slow roast, chuck & blade is also sometimes shredded/pulled and made as a key ingredient in sandwiches. And you know what else is considered a sandwich – sort of? That’s right, burgers!
Much like the chuck, this cut is as well popularly cut into thin slices for sandwiches. It can as well be amazing when overcooked and dried out with more attention when it comes to cooking though. Some added spices like pili pili and black pepper will have your mouth watering over this cut.
The shin is generally regarded as the toughest part of the cut and is typically sold as meat for stew. For the meat to soften and break down, a slower process of cooking is needed. Ideal for Ossobuco.
This cut is usually sold on bone, sometimes rolled and due to its high fat content through the flesh, its perfect for a Sunday roast!
Brisket & Shank
Brisket comes from the breast area of the animal. It is commonly used to make corned beef as well as cured to make pastrami. It is also used for tacos and quesadillas. Shank is a fantastic choice for soup and excellent when braised.
This cut is the most tender and the most expensive part of an animal. Unless most cuts, it can be prepared with minimal cooking times. The meat from this cut can be sautéed, pan fried or grilled. A couple of favorites from this cut include:
- Tenderloin – From its name, this cut is sure to be tender and works well with sauces meaning, the meat does not overpower the flavor of the sauce. It can either be cut as a whole strip of meat or just individual filet steak (filet mignon).
- Porterhouse steak – This consists of both tenderloin and strip steak. This meat is cut from the rear end of the short loin.
- T-bone steak – Cut from the middle section of the short loin, the famous T shaped steak is similar to the porterhouse steak although having a smaller tenderloin. This cut is preferred pan-fried or grilled so remember that next time you order for it!
Cut from the rear back of the animal, the tight texture of the sirloin translates into less of the tenderness with a bit of chew as compared to the loin however more flavorful. Sirloin is best enjoyed as a medium-well done steak and has a touch of fat running through one edge of the cut. With the right marinating, this cut can be extremely flavorful.
This is the most tender part of the meat and it sits slightly below the sirloin. The lack of fat through this part of the cut makes it an ideal choice for rare steak as well as your meat stew and biriani. Fillet cooks well on a medium-low heat for the extra tenderness of the meat.
Much like the sirloin and fillet, flank is quite flavorful when well marinated and is mostly grilled and eaten as thinly cut meat. Some even say that the flank is popular for melting in your mouth. I mean who wouldn’t want that? If not done right however, it can turn very tough, very fast so give this cut some added attention.
Unlike the sirloin, rump is less expensive because it isn’t quite as tender. However, many consider it more flavorful when cut into steaks. Rump is a fantastic substitute for the sirloin when marinated with spices such as garlic. A good grilling will have you wanting more.
Topside & Silverside
Particularly a lean cut of meat, the topside and silverside are perfect for stir-fries. This is because they are enjoyed best when not dried out.
A truly delicious cut of marrow, this favorite is the slowest cook of all. When done right, it can become the tastiest meal around the table. Remember to always ensure it is kept moist when cooking.
This cut is known as the most overlooked part of an animal. Referred to as variety meats, offal simply entails the internal organs of a butchered animal. Some do not prefer to use these parts as food; however, many consider offal dishes as gourmet. The common meals made from offal are pâté and haggis. Below are the common types of offal:
- Liver – This is very fined textured and has no grain. It is very tender and can be sliced in any direction to suit your desires. It can be prepared using dry heat and has a very distinct flavor so be careful when adding spices.
- Kidney – Either smooth, bean shaped (in lamb and pork) or irregularly shaped, kidneys can be very tough and need intense moist when cooking. When done right, kidneys can be used as a substitute for meat in a sauce or a stew.
- Tongue – With its coarse surface, the tongue requires a long period of slow cooking to be able to remove it. This usually takes about 6 to 8 hours of simmering. Therefore, ensure you start this cooking process a day before you plan on eating it. Once skinned, the tongue can be sliced, and the tenderness can be enjoyed. Due to its high amount of gelatin, the tongue is often pickled or corned before cooking.
- Oxtail – As the only external offal, oxtail is mainly used for making soup to extract its rich flavors. It is though more bone than meat which some do not people prefer, however once the meat is properly braised, can as well be as flavorful. Check out oxtail recipes cooked in red wine.
- Tripe (Utumbo) basically this is the stomach part, did you know that the 24th October is the World’s Tripe Day? That’s how good it is, they even have a special day for it… Tripe is eaten in many parts of the World, there are so many recipes out there. Our favorite here is Ndizi Utumbo.
- Trotters and head – Not technically offal, but this cut is most commonly used from lamb and pigs. Traditionally added as an ingredient in soup as well as in stews, some prefer to have it barbecued and enjoy it the way it is.
For more information talk to the experts:-
Star Butcher = Tel: +255 784 770 043
Butcher Shop = Tel: +255 758 888 395
Home Butchery = Tel: +255 713 324 731
Man City Butchery = 0784 541 542, 0713 541 542