Beef is delicious and popular, but can get a bit pricey. At least, that is if we stick to the popular cuts, the famous steaks and roasts. However there's far more to a side of beef than porterhouses and brisket. Here's a list of ten less well known cuts of beef that are delicious and inexpensive. Furthermore, making certain to use every inch of the animal makes beef more sustainable. So let's keep an eye out and our Cinder Grills ready for these great cuts:
- Bavette aka Vacio Steak
The Vacio Steak is located beneath the flank and shielded by the belly, remaining relatively tender and delicious. However it has enough texture to be fun to eat. The best way to cook this is to grill it, either as individual steaks (known as Bavette in France) or as a magnificent whole slab of beef, Argentine style.
- Chuck Flat aka Sierra Cut
The Sierra cut, also known as the Chuck Flat, does everything a flank steak can do with even more flavor and usually a at a lower price. It’s from the Chuck primal, a major source of stewing cuts and hamburger. However, this particular cut takes well to cooking to temperature, and thus to the Cinder Grill.
- Culotte aka Picanha aka Sirloin Cap
The sirloin cap wears a cap of its own, a lovely coating of the fat which supported the skin. This makes it rich, delicious, and perfect for the Carnivore Diet. Save every drop in the Drip Tray, and slice thinly across the grain to serve.
- Denver Steaks aka Underblade Roast
This rib cut comes from the chuck primal. However, despite that primal’s reputation for tough meat that needs slow braising, the under-blade roast is succulent and tender. This delicious beef cut has been described as like prime rib for chuck roast prices. It’s most available in butcher shops rather than supermarkets.
- Gracilis aka Top Round Cap
This cut of beef has an open grain which soaks up delicious marinades, just like a skirt steak at a much smaller price tag. It works very well with Latin flavors -- try citrus, peppers, and garlic -- and hot dry cooking methods.
- Hanger Steak
The Hanger Steak, full of rich beef flavor, is another cut to cook hot and fast, then savor slowly. Sear it and cook it no more than medium-rare inside. Then slice this cut thinly across the grain and enjoy any way you like.
- Rectus femoris aka Sirloin Tip Center
The round primal, corresponding to the upper back leg, is famous for meat that needs to be cooked very slowly or ground up to achieve tenderness. This muscle, carefully trimmed away from its neighbors, is the exception to that rule. It boasts classic beef flavor and a delicious tender texture. Grill this to medium-rare and serve with a sauce flavored with red wine and mushrooms or soy, ginger, and shallots. Another serving suggestion is chilled, sliced thinly, and piled high on a roast beef sandwich.
- Beef Shank aka Beef Shin
The lower leg supplies beef shanks. This cut is full of connective tissue that melts into rich gelatin. Furthermore, it comes with a chunk of marrow to further enhance the delicious flavor. Try cooking beef shanks low and slow the way you would short ribs. Don’t forget to save all those drippings to simmer down into an intense sauce..
- Teres Major aka petit tender aka faux filet
Buried in the chuck primal is this almost miraculous little cut. It’s lean, tender, and delicate, for those who love tenderloin at a fraction of the price, at least for now! This delicious bit of beef can dance all the filet mignon’s dances backwards in high heels.
The tri-tip is lean and flavorful with a cap of fat for basting. Due to its rich beef flavor it takes well to intense sauces, marinades, and rubs. Due to its size and fat cap it can be cooked whole with indirect heat, or portioned and grilled. Either way, take note of the grain pattern: it actually has two, one vertical and one horizontal. For best results, divide the steak at the boundary between the two patterns. You can then slice each piece against the grain for delicious tenderness.
Sourcing Delicious Possibilities
These ten cuts are just examples of the possibilities of hidden treasures of beef. Becoming familiar with them will not only gain you quality food at lower prices, but also contributes to the sustainability of meat. These cuts, well-kept secrets of the butchery world, are unlikely to show up at the local supermarket. However, most butcher shops will be delighted by a knowledgeable customer’s request. You can also deal directly with farms, such as our partner White Oaks Pastures.
However you source them, we hope you enjoy these unusual beef cuts on your Cinder Grill!