Whether you are cooking up steaks on the grill or slow roasting a brisket in the oven, beef is a wonderfully versatile ingredient. The word itself refers to the meat coming from cattle.
This might be crazy to believe, but we have been eating beef since prehistoric times and it’s no wonder. It is a fantastic source of protein and nutrients but is best eaten in moderation as it is high in saturated fat.
So how are things broken down? Cuts of beef can sometimes be hard to wrap your brain and that can be further compounded by the fact that these cuts and names of cuts can change by region or country. For example, a “brisket” in the US is no the same as a “brisket” in Britain.
To butcher a whole cow, they are broken down into something called “primals.” These are large cuts are basic sections that are the initial part of butchering. Examples of primal cuts include chuck, rib, brisket, plate, flank, and round.
The butcher will then further break down these primal cuts into smaller, more manageable cuts for the home cook. Think different types of steak, short ribs, tenderloin, and bottom round among many others.
Ground beef is interesting in that it is usually a blend of multiple cuts. Chuck, round, and sirloin are popular, but it can be made with any cut of beef. When purchasing, always ask or look for the fat content. This can range anywhere from 10% fat to 30% fat.
What you choose will depend on the recipe you are cooking and how much flavor you want. Fat equals flavor, but it isn’t always best for every recipe. You can always ask your butcher if you are unsure or if it isn’t labeled.
Beef is best used a few days after it is purchased, or it can be frozen for up to six months in an airtight or well-sealed package.
Here are some delicious recipes using beef:
- Easy Steak Frites
- Balsamic Whiskey Sirloin
- Simple Chili
- Mom’s Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Jalapeno Lime Flank Steak Tacos
What’s the deal with temp?
When it comes to beef, it is unique in that it can be served at a range of internal temperatures. Beef tartare is a dish served raw as is carpaccio. A rare steak can be at 120-125F internal temp whereas well done is served with an internal temp of 160F or more.
Is beef red meat?
Yes, it is! Red meats are meats of mammals that are generally red when raw. In addition to beef, this includes venison, mutton, boar, and others.
Is beef good for health?
This is a tricky question to answer. It is very nutritious and has a great source of Vitamins B3, B12, B6, iron, zinc, and selenium in addition to protein. That said, it is best consumed in moderation as it is high in saturated fat. This can raise cholesterol and high levels of certain cholesterol can increase the risk of heart disease.
Is it safe to eat beef if it turns brown?
It is 100% normal for raw beef to turn from a shade of rosy pink to a duller shade of brown in the fridge. This is due to the oxidization of the meat. If it smells funky, is sticky or tacky to the touch, or slimy in the way it looks, then that is a different story and it should be discarded.