Beef cut names and cooking methods can be confusing

There are resources available to help you select and prepare the perfect beef dinner.

Have you ever struggled to figure out how many servings per pound are in different beef cuts? Do all the names of beef cuts confuse you?

Michigan State University Extension has a Michigan Fresh bulletin on handling, using and storing beef. The bulletin lists beef cuts, alternative names, servings per pound and preferred preparation/cookery methods. Beef cut names can be confusing and just because the word steak is in the name, does not mean it should be grilled. Eye of the round steaks are good examples of steaks that should be cooked with moisture and braised. A chuck eye steak and flat iron steak are great candidates for dry heat cookery and grilling. The flat iron steak comes from the shoulder, but is the second most tender muscle in the beef carcass.

An Interactive Butcher Counter is available from the Beef Checkoff that lets individuals select the cuts of interest and provides recommended cooking, recipe ideas and more. You can select a beef cut you have, explore new cuts, and search for cuts.

After the appropriate cut is selected and matched with the ideal method of cooking, you should understand the cooking process. Moist heat cookery such as braising or stewing is used with less tender cuts of meat and is cooked at low heat and for a long time. Meat cooked with moist heat should be cooked to around 180 degrees Fahrenheit for best results. This allows the collagen and connective tissue in the muscle to break down and become tender.

Whole muscle beef steaks that are appropriate for grilling or using dry heat cookery should be cooked to 145 F and allowed to rest for three minutes before eating. Larger roasts like prime rib need longer resting times; typically at least 10 minutes. Letting the meat rest makes sure that juices are absorbed by the muscle fibers inside the center of the cut and not quickly released onto the plate when it is cut. Beef should be allowed to rest while still keeping it warm and not allowing it to completely cool. Ground beef needs to be cooked to 160 F or greater in order to be considered safe for consumption. Color is not an indicator of doneness, especially in ground beef.

Enjoy eating your meal that includes beef after utilizing proper selection and cookery. 

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