Buy: When purchasing beef, the meat should be moist but not shiny, have a good color, and should not have an off-putting smell. The packaging should be tear-free. Depending on the cut, the qualities to evaluate beef are the marbling (the fat mixed into the meat), color, ratio of bone to meat, ratio of fat to meat, and the shape of the cut. The color of the meat varies from pink to dark red according to the cut, age, breed, and gender of the cow, and whether the beef is fresh or dry aged. Aging beef enhances the flavor of the beef, although it costs more as the meat will have lost some of its water weight which they make up for in the price. Beef should be aged for no less than 2 weeks.
There are a lot of different cuts used in the world. Such as Swiss cut, Italian cut, American cut and more. Here are the cuts that we use at Pegas.
- Full Loin – this part is perfect for steaks, rare roast beef, or grilling
- Fillet – this is the most tender, good for steaks, steak tartar, larding and roasting, or grilling
- Topside – good for roast beef, grilled steaks, cutlets, and steak tartar
- Thick flank – a prized cut of beef good for escallops, slices, steaks, and roasting
- Tri-tip steak – a small triangular cut of beef, very tender and flavorful cut, suitable for rare steaks
- Rump – a cut which needs to be cooked quickly, so it is good for large roasts and steaks or can be larded and braised
- Top round – good for boiling or larded and braised
- Silverside – good for steaks, escallops, roast beef, braising, or Carpaccio
- Leg – used for stews, pot roasts, and boiling. The outside part of the cut, once free from connective tissues, can be used as steak
- Shin – rich in connective tissues so is best for slow cooking such as braising and stewing; the knuckle is good for making gelatin
- Shank – rich in connective tissues so is best for slow cooking, good for braising and stewing; the knuckle is good for making gelatin
- Blade – is flavorful and tender, good for steaks and roulades
- Arm clod - a large and lean cut good for steaks, roulades, cutlets, and roasts
- Chuck – a cut with some cartiledge suitable for braising, stewing, and boiling
- Top clod – lean cut of beef which should be larded before cooking; suitable for braising, stewing, roasting, and pan-frying
- Shoulder – suitable for slow cooking such as braising or stewing
- Neck - a cut with lots of connective tissue so it needs to be boiled for a long time to be tender and flavorful; suitable for boiling, mincing, and stewing
- Rib – this is a tender and flavorful cut suitable for roast beef, chops, grilling, and pan frying
- Flank / Middle rib - a flat and elongated cut with good flavor suitable for soup, stocks, boiling, braising, stews, and meatballs
- Brisket – a fatty and flavorful cut suitable for baking, stewing, or boiling (particularly the part towards the neck) although it should not be cooked too long and should remain pink inside
- Chuck – suitable for braising and stewing
- Chuck – lean, flavorful meat suited to slow cooking such as boiling and making broth
Store: It is better to store beef in the refrigerator at 5 C in it’ s original wrap as an airtight container may promote bacterial growth. Cuts of beef should be eaten within 3 to 5 days of purchase and minced beef within a day of purchase. If your time requirement is longer than this then the beef can be frozen at – 18˚C and then thawed in the refrigerator, or in a sealed bag immersed in cold water until thawed. Cuts of beef can be stored, well-sealed in thick freezer bags, in the freezer for 6 to 12 months. If the meat begins to show signs of grey, white or brown patches on the meat, it is developing freezer burn and is dehydrating. It is still edible but it will be dry and the taste would be not so good . Organ meats such as liver and brain are more highly perishable and should be consumed within a week of slaughter or purchased frozen.
Prepare: Remove the packaging, rinse the beef under cold water, dry on paper towels, and prepare according to the recipe. Steaks and roasts are often prepared rare so the meat is not completely cooked ( pink inside). Beef is considered rare at 51˚C and will be very pink inside, medium at 60 to 65˚C and will be slightly pink inside, and 70˚C is considered well done and will have no sign of pink. The meat should be removed 2 to 3 degrees below this temperature however as it will continue to cook after being removed from the heat. Overcooked steaks and roast will turn to leather.