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Meat. Fire. Manliness. This we know. But there comes a time in a man's life when knowing more than just "meat is good served hot" becomes essential. Learn the basics and beyond as we break down man's best friend. Best friend that we eat, that is.

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Know Thine Bovine: Understanding Beef Cuts

Provided By: 

Beef header

Meat. Fire. Manliness. This we know. But there comes a time in a man's life when knowing more than just "meat is good served hot" becomes essential. Learn the basics and beyond as we break down man's best friend. Best friend that we eat, that is.


B y Robert Fure

Is there anything more manly or more delicious than beef? Don't bother answering, we all know the answer. Over our long history as creatures who could walk upright, we've longed to slap some red meat on the fire and savor that sweet taste. Combining the manliness of hunting and providing, the talent and technique of fine cooking, and the harnessing of fire, making a good steak or beef dish is the pinnacle of being a man.

While we're sure you've noticed there's a few different looking slabs in your butchers display, do you know just how complex the meat puzzle is? Join us as we explore the variety of cuts and the best way to prepare each for the perfect meat meal.

cow diagram

Meet Mr. Cow


Is it any wonder cows are worshiped in some parts of the world? They gift us succulent roasts, delicious thick-cut steaks, divine ribs, and even milk to wash it all down. I say the best way to celebrate these bovine deities is to become one with them through diet. Sorry cow, you're just too damn tasty to live.

Our friend the cow, after the shoe making material has been removed, is divided up into several large "primal cuts," which are the large sections that are later cut down even further to give us what is commonly referred to as, surprise surprise, "a cut."

Meet Chuck


This area is the upper front shoulder of the beast. As a major muscle group, it is well exercised and composed mostly of muscle with relatively little fat. What it does have is connective tissue, such as collagen, that breaks down during cooking and brings more flavor to the meat.

The Cut - From this area of the cow comes the "Flat Iron Steak," which has risen in popularity in recent years. This is a really tender, flavorful steak that can be prepared on the grill, in the skillet, or in the broiler. This is a personal favorite of the staff of Primer due to its modest cost, high flavor, and tenderness. Marinate and grill for 6 minutes a side.

Other Notable Cuts - Pot Roast, Chuck Steaks, Boneless Short Ribs

The Prep - While steaks cut from this area can be prepared on the grill or broiled, you may want to go with larger cuts (roasts) and slow cook them to completely break down any collagen and get a soft, flavorful dish.

Rib Stickin' Good


The next primal cut is the aptly named "rib" area. I feel like maybe you already know why. This area balances muscle and fat nicely and can be prepared any number of ways. Many recipes will direct you towards roasting, broiling, and grilling.

The Cut - Back Ribs. Is there anything more satisfying than tearing soft, flavorful meat straight from the bone? I don't think so. Slather these bad boys in barbecue sauce and slap them on the grill or wrap them in foil and cook in an oven...

Click here to read the rest of this article from Primer Magazine