Different Cuts of Beef: A Simple Guide

Not all cuts of beef were created equal. There are eight primal cuts or sections on each side of a steer. We’ll examine each according to its different cuts, different flavors and different levels of tenderness. In addition, we’ll add some tips on how you cook cuts from each area so you can place the very best slice of beef on your plate.


Chuck comes from the steer’s shoulder. It tends to be tougher than some of the other cuts, but it also has a lot of flavor. Chuck cuts tend to be a bit more affordable. The popular cuts that tend to come from chuck are:

  • Ground chuck
  • Flat-iron steak
  • Shoulder tender medallions
  • Stew meat
  • Rib roast
  • Chuck pot roast


These cuts come from the ribs and backbone of the animal. Of the 13 ribs of a steer, the first five are included in the chuck cuts, and ribs 6 through 12 are included in the rib cuts. Rib cuts have a lot of flavoring from marbling and include some very tasty cuts like:

  • Delmonico steak
  • Ribeye steak
  • Ribeye roast
  • Beef short ribs.


This is the steer’s forearm area. This is one of the toughest cuts of beef. These cuts are typically used in soups and stews. Slowly braising, or cooking with a pressure cooker, helps provide tenderness for the most common cut from this area, which is Osso Buco.


The breast of a steer is known as brisket. This is a tough, stringy meat that contains a lot of fat. It is also one of the most flavorful cuts of beef available if properly cooked. It is usually prepared with a rub or marinade to help tenderize it, and then it is cooked slowly on low heat (especially smoking). Barbecue, corned beef and pastrami are popular uses of brisket.


Found near the abdomen, these are fattier cuts of meat that include some of the short ribs or rib tips. Common uses of plate cuts are:

  • Fajitas
  • Pastrami
  • Philly steak
  • Skirt steak


If you are looking for the best cuts of meat on a steer, than look no further than the loin. This is where the most flavorful and most expensive cuts come from, which is along the back behind the ribs. There are two sections of the loin, the short loin (which includes that 13th rib) and the sirloin. The short loin provides:

  • Filet mignon
  • Tenderloin steak
  • T-bone steak
  • Porterhouse steak
  • NY and KC strip steaks

Sirloin steaks come from the sirloin area, which is slightly less tender, but tends to be more flavorful. Other common sirloin cuts include top sirloin, bottom sirloin, tri-tip roast and tri-tip steak.


Located below the loin and in front of the legs, where there are no bones, is the flank. You get good flavor out of cuts from this area, but they tend to be pretty tough. Flank steak is often used in fajitas or for making a London broil.


Inexpensive and leaner cuts of meat come from the round, which includes the rump and hind leg of the steer. Because it is lean, it is tough and has the least marbling to add flavor. Steaks from this area are often perforated to make them more tender and are commonly used in chicken fried steak. Some of the cuts from this area include:

  • Ground round
  • Tip steak
  • Tip roast
  • Top or bottom round roast
  • Rump roast

Choosing the right cut of beef is a great deal easier when you understand the various cuts of a side of beef, their flavor, and how they are best prepared. With this knowledge in hand, you can now come to Rio De Brazil, select your favorite cuts of meat, and know what you’re getting. Contact us to make your reservation today!

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