One of the first lessons in cooking meat is finding out which steaks and roasts come from specific primal and sub primal cuts. For everyone but the most seasoned chefs, it’s an ongoing learning process. After all, there are hundreds of different meals you can make with beef.
That said, some rank as more popular than others. We’ve listed some of those below. All these cuts are available from Acabonac Farms, where we offer 100% grass-fed, pasture-finished beef.
Also, for reference, here are the generally accepted temperatures levels (in Fahrenheit) for the standard cooking “doneness” levels.
Recipes For The Chuck
The Chuck primal cut is a well-used muscle that is tougher than other cuts. It’s best when cooked in moist heat, stewed, braised, grilled, fried or ground for burgers.
Many well-known cuts come from the Chuck. They include these tasty choices.
Delmonico steak. A well-marbled steak known for its beefy flavor and fork-tender juiciness. They are best when cooked quickly over high heat on the grill or in the skillet.
Denver steak.Known for its tenderness and well-marbled texture. The Denver cut takes a marinade well, and can work pan-seared in a skillet or cooked on a grill.
Flap steak.A delicious, economical cut that takes a marinade well and has a bold, beefy flavor. It cooks up well on the grill or the skillet, or you can cut them into cubes as use them for kabobs.
Flat iron steak. The versatility, tenderness and bold, beefy flavor have made this cut popular. A flat iron cooks up well on the grill or in the skillet when seared over high heat for a minute or two, then cooked at medium heat to your desired doneness level.
Recipe For Rib Meat
Cuts from the Rib primal have plenty of marbling and make for rich roasts and steaks bursting with flavor. They are most often cooked with dry heat. Here we want to focus on one cut, because the Rib is home to one of the best steaks you can eat.
Ribeye steak. The steak lover’s steak. Perfectly marbled, tender and buttery, the Ribeye is one of the best steaks you can eat. The Acabonac Farms version is bone-in, which enhances the savory taste. You can grill, pan sear or broil it at high heat. This steak is often best when prepared in a traditional way: brushed with a bit of oil, salted and peppered, and then seared in the skillet. If you want additional flavor and juiciness, add butter, peppers and herbs into the skillet. That creates a sauce you can pour over the steak as you cook.
Recipes For Short Loin, Tenderloin and Sirloin
These are other sub primal groups where steak lovers gravitate. The Loin primal is not a load-bearing muscle group, which means steaks from these sub primals rank among the most tender. Here are some of the cuts from the Short Loin we offer at Acabonac Farms.
New York Strip. The New York Strip, or top sirloin, comes from this cut. This is one of our favorite cuts at Acabonac Farms. You can grill, pan sear or broil to your favorite level of tenderness - it will turn out well whatever approach you use.
Filet Mignon. The name itself is associated with high-end, luxurious meals. When you cook your own, you will find it doesn’t disappoint. Opinions vary on the best cooking method, but you can’t go wrong with a traditional approach: add a bit of oil (and/or butter) to the skillet, then cook the filets at high heat.
Sirloin Cap Steak.Sometimes called the Coulotte Steak, this cut has great flavor and tenderness. It can take a marinade if you want a certain flavor, but has a strong, beef flavor on its own. This versatile cut works well for kabobs and steak sandwiches, too.
Bavette Steak.The Bavette gives fajita lovers another option when choosing meat. But it’s also tender and tasty enough to cook up as a steak on its own. A popular approach is to sear on high heat on the skillet, then lower the temp and cook until your desired level of doneness.
Recipes For The Round
The round primal is a frequently used muscle, making the meat lean with different degrees of toughness. The cuts you’ll get from this sub primal are among the most economical you will find. When cooked right, you’ll get great meals. Some of the most popular cuts at Acabonac Farms include the following.
Eye Round Steak. This produces steaks or roasts. Boneless and lean, this cut does best when marinated or salted to tenderize, then cooked slow and low on the grill or in the skillet.
Bottom Round Steak. The Bottom Round Steak is an everyday kind of steak cut, perfect in all kinds of recipes. Best if soaked in your favorite marinade for flavor and tenderness, then cooked in the skillet or broiled. It works as a standalone steak, in stir fry, in steak tacos, sandwiches and salads.
London Broil. This is not a cut, but the name of the dish made from the top round. Best if placed in a marinade to tenderize and add flavor, then cooked at high heat.
Recipe For Brisket
Brisket is best known, and deservedly so, for the style of barbecue that bears its name. It’s a tough cut of meat, but with a lot of fat and flavor. Typically used for soups and stocks or barbecue. It’s best if cooked in moist heat (braising).
The grass-fed brisket from Acabonac Farms is perfect for a cookout or picnic. It’s best when cooked low and slow on the grill, making sure you don’t dry out the meat. Often slightly burnt on the outside, but tender and juicy on the inside.
The muscles in this cut get regular use, so the meat is tougher but with rich beefy flavor. It’s also the home of two steaks perfect for making fajitas, tacos and other dishes.
Flank steak. Usually marinated before cooking because the flank takes on flavor well and needs tenderizing. It’s perfect for tacos, stir fry and fajitas. Best if pan-seared to a high temperature. Another favorite from Acabonac Farms, where you can taste the difference with grass-fed flank steak.
Skirt steak. This cut has great flavor, but also requires some tenderization. It’s what you will find in most fajita dishes, as well as churrasco and Bolognese sauce. Also, Acabonac Farms skirt steak works well with breakfast dishes like steak and eggs, steak and hash browns or steak and vegetables (tomatoes, avocado, etc.). Best if marinated and then pan-seared to a high temperature.
These are just some of the many cuts you can get from Acabonac Farms, where we use sustainable farming practices to produce grass-fed, pasture-finished beef free of hormones or antibiotics. You’ll not only get nutrient-rich, pure beef, but you’ll also taste the difference.