What Are the Different Cuts of Beef – The Beginner’s Guide

Beef is a type of beef that people around the world enjoy. It’s also one of those foods that can be confusing to buy at first, as there are so many different types and cuts available. In this article, we’ll help you get the hang of beef cuts by walking you through what they are and how to cut beef properly for the best flavor.

You’re going to need premium beef if you want a family dinner or party-planning success. Sure, it might seem easy enough just to go out and pick up a few packages from the store. Or look for premium Wagyu beef online from a trusted seller. But did you know that there are actually dozens (if not hundreds) of different types? Not only do these different beef cuts taste differently. Some will be more suited to certain dishes than others. But they also require different cooking methods.

The Different Cuts of Beef

In order to get the most out of your meat, it’s important to understand a little bit about the different cuts of beef. So let’s take a closer look at each type and discover what makes them unique.


This is one of the most versatile beef cuts as it can be used for everything from steaks to roasts. It comes from the shoulder area and has a fair amount of fat. This gives it plenty of flavors. Because it’s so tough, chuck is best braised or slow-cooked.


This cut comes from the rib section and is known for its tenderness and juicy texture. Ribeye beef has a higher fat content than other beef cuts. This means it’s extra flavorful. It can be grilled or pan-seared and makes for an excellent steak.


This is the most tender cut of beef you’ll find, making it perfect for roasting whole. As such, this beef cut is not typically served in steaks. People will use them to create amazing roast beef dinners that they serve up on holidays like Christmas and Easter.


Briskets come from the chest area and are very tough hunks of meat. This might also explain why brisket prices tend to be lower.

Beef Plate Ribs

These ribs come from near the chuck section. But they aren’t as beefy-tasting as the beef plate ribs. They can be very meaty, though, and are typically cut into individual portions before they go to market for sale.


These beef cuts come from the tail area of a cow. They usually need slow cooking in order to turn them into fork-tender beef dishes that people will love.


Not all beef has connective tissues like tendons. However, those that do have these types of meats should not be eaten. Because it takes too long for them to cook through. Thus, toughening up your beef.


Beef brains aren’t served often on restaurant menus. But you might find one or two restaurants serving this type of beef cut.

Leanest Cuts of Beef

The beef cuts that are considered to be the leanest and healthiest for human consumption are typically found in the round primal cut.

Flank Steak. This beef cut is taken from the flank section of a cow. It is known for its toughness. But when cooked properly, it can be one of the most flavorful beef dishes you’ll ever taste.

Brisket. The beef brisket is taken from the breast area of a cow. It is usually cooked low and slow so that it becomes fall-apart tender. It’s a great beef cut if you’re looking for beef that’s loaded with flavor and perfect to use in recipes like beef brisket chili.

Short Ribs. Short ribs are taken from the beef chuck primal cut, which means they come from the front part of a cow. They get their name because they include several rib bones attached at one end and short muscles on top.

Fattiest Cuts of Beef

The fattier beef cuts are the ones that have a lot of marbling. This means they come from areas on a cow where there is more fat. These beef cuts include beef tenderloin and ribeye steak. Such cuts are usually more expensive. They include more saturated fats so it is not recommended to intake on a regular basis.

For How Long Should You Cook a Beef Steak?

It depends on the beef cut you are using. For a beef tenderloin, for example, you will want to cook it for a shorter amount of time than if you were cooking a beef ribeye steak and enjoy it with a cold beer.

There are usually three ways you can cook beef – broiling, barbecuing, and pan-frying. For beef steaks that need more cooking time, you may want to consider using your oven. These are related to tougher cuts of meat like beef chuck or beef arm pot roast. Cook them for around an hour at 400 degrees Fahrenheit before finishing them on the grill. This will make sure they are nice and cooked through by adding some charring along with smoky flavors coming off the fire itself.


Beef cuts can be confusing for the beginner, but with a little knowledge, it is easy to understand what each cut entails. Knowing how to cook meat properly will result in a delicious and premium piece of meat.

When you are looking at different cuts of beef at the grocery store or butcher shop, remember that not all beef is created equal. Just like with anything else, some beef cuts are better than others. For example, a filet mignon or tenderloin is going to be much more expensive than a beef chuck roast. Because it is a higher-quality cut of meat. However, if you know how to cook beef correctly then even tougher cuts can be quite tasty.

Michelle Li

Michelle Li, with a background in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University, has explored the intersection of health and culinary arts for over 15 years. Joining us in 2020, her approach to cooking is informed by her extensive travels and studies in global food cultures. Michelle is also a certified sommelier, further enriching her gastronomic insights. Her hobbies include organic gardening and participating in culinary workshops. Michelle is an avid blogger on food sustainability and enjoys hosting cooking classes in her local community.

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