Sharpen up on your beef cuts

Whether you’re impressing your partner and cooking for a date night in, or exploring a new dish with friends, try some of these more exotic cuts of beef for instant wow factor…

In recent years there’s been a surge of interest in where our food comes from. Many of us are now more considered in our food choices, preferring to eat a smaller quantity of meat each week but focusing on choice cuts with good provenance and high welfare standards.

And what a selection of cuts there is out there! So, if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try…

Wagyu
Wagyu (pronounced ‘wah-goo’) literally means Japanese cow, but it’s so much more than that. Wagyu beef comes from a breed native to Japan, which has a genetic predisposition to create a marbling of fat on the inside of the muscle tissue, resulting in a rich, luscious cut of beef. Stress increases cortisol levels, which in turn reduces the quality of the meat, so Wagyu farmers spend huge amounts of time and money making sure that their cows live in a stress-free environment with limited noise, plenty of fresh water and regular observation. Wagyu beef should be sliced super thinly and cooked rare for the best results.

Cupim
Cupim comes from Brazilian Zebu cattle and is a tender, rich and marbled cut with no discernible blood or juices. It’s found almost exclusively in Brazilian dishes and the meat is often stewed to allow the fat to disperse, resulting in a tender texture.

Flat Iron
A flat iron steak is taken from the feather muscle in the chuck and blade shoulder section of the cow. A tender and juicy steak, it has a very short grain and marbling throughout that is best served medium-rare to bring out its unique flavour.

Denver Steak
The chuck is the shoulder of the animal and gets a lot of exercise, which can make it tough. However, Denver Steak is prepared from the serratis ventralis – a single muscle that is situated directly underneath the bone of the shoulder blade and doesn’t get much work. When it’s skilfully extracted all in one piece by a highly skilled butcher, it’s a tender cut with a solid, beefy flavour.

New York Strip Steak
A boneless section cut from the top of the sirloin, the New York Strip is extra tender and full of flavour.

Ox Cheek
It sounds medieval, but this budget cut is popular on high-end menus around the world. Taken from the hardworking cheek muscle, it works particularly well in soups, stews and casseroles as it can withstand long, slow cooking times and absorbs the flavour of sauces beautifully.

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