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Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Beef Cuts

Cuts of beef

Topside & silverside

Also known as the ‘round’, the topside and silverside muscles run down from the tail-end of the spine to the top of the hind leg. Cuts that come from here include:

Silverside: a lean, open-textured roasting joint
Topside: the perfect joint for blushing-pink roast beef
Every day steak: lightly marbled, open-grained and fried in a flash
Biltong: cured, air-dried silverside cut into strips and flavoured with spices
Bresaola: Italian-style charcuterie meat that’s cured, partially dried and thinly sliced
Sandwich steak: thin-cut and lean, perfect for flash frying
Aitch bone: a joint that’s best slow-cooked until it falls off its H-shaped bone
Beef silverside salmon fillet: a single-muscle joint that cooks and carves evenly and easily and has nothing to do with salmon 

Offal & Bones

The organ meats and other bits and bobs that make up a treasure trove of goodies including:

Ox heart: massive, steaky, rich and lean. Cook it super-quick or super-slow
Ox cheek: mellow flavour meets a gently flaking texture when cooked in a rich gravy for as long as you dare
Tallow: also known as beef dripping, this traditional cooking fat imparts flavour and unbeatable crispiness to roasties
Ox tongue: favoured in Asian cuisines for its delicate flavour and soft texture, it’s also a classic cold cut when cured, pressed and sliced
Oxtail: a surprisingly meaty cut, the muscular tail of the beef animal rewards patient braising with hearty flavour and fall-off-the-bone softness
Stock bones: marrow and joint bones make full-flavoured stocks and broths that are versatile and warming


The muscular backside of the beef carcass is made up of the rump eye, the rump cap and the rump tail. Cuts include:

Rump steak: open-grained with plenty of bite and bags of beefy flavour
Picanha steak: delicately marbled and topped with a layer of fat that ensures succulence
Rump roast: the rump eye, cap and tail muscles are wrapped in a thin layer of fat for a juicy, tasty roast


The softest and tenderest cut on the beef carcass, it’s cut from the side of the animal and is otherwise known as the tenderloin. Prized cuts from this muscle include:

Fillet steak: thick-cut from the centre of the fillet, considered the king of steaks for its tenderness
Fillet tail: the tapering end of the fillet, it’s as buttery soft as the rest, just a slightly odd shape
Fillet: the whole muscle from the thicker cap end to the tapering tail, a luxurious quick roaster
Chateaubriand: cut from the thickest part of the fillet, an even and consistent joint with delicate marbling
T-Bone steak: the big daddy of steaks, comprising a fillet steak on one side of the bone and a sirloin on the other


Running from the middle of the spine down the ribs to the side, it includes:  

Sirloin joint: a tender and delicate joint that comes boned and rolled for super-easy cooking and carving
Sirloin steak: topped with fat and marbled throughout, a robust steak with plenty of bite
Porterhouse steak: a whopping collection of muscles held together by a T-shaped bone deliver complex texture and flavour


A highly prized primal that sits between the shoulder and the sirloin and includes:

Beef rib on the bone: a show-stopping centrepiece for celebration meals, it’s well-marbled succulent and complex
Rib-eye steak: ruby red and robustly flavoured with generous marbling connecting a collection of muscles together
Short ribs: thick and chunky with layers of meat interspersed with fat making them a perfect slow cooker


The front end of the carcass from the neck down to the shoulder, this hard-working group of muscles makes:

Mince: ultimately versatile and oh-so-tasty, with just the right ratio of meat and fat
Burgers: robust chuck meat makes flavour-packed burgers that hold together and stay juicy
Sausages: not-too-lean and not-too-fatty, a perfectly balanced banger   
Denver steak: an economical single-muscle steak that’s nicely marbled without superficial fat and is easy – and quick – to cook


Found at the top of the chuck on the shoulder, it yields:

Flat iron steak: well-marbled and juicy, all the character of rib eye but without the price tag
Leg of mutton cut (LMC): an old-fashioned joint for super-slow cooking that looks like a leg of lamb when trimmed and tied
Braising steak: a beef-stew classic that yields super-tender results when given lots of time


The lower leg of the carcass is surprisingly meaty and holds lots of treats, including:

Osso Buco: a lateral cut through the shin gives all the complex muscles, connective tissue and bone marrow needed for a meltingly juicy stew
Diced stewing steak: low and slow cooking transforms meat from firmly grained to delicately flaky
Marrow bones: an old-fashioned shortcut to thick, glossy sauces and good-for-you broths


Found running between the forelegs of the carcass this is a long flat breast muscle that works hard and produces:

Brisket: the ultimate pot roaster, it cuts like butter when cooked slowly and is a thrifty to way to feed a crowd 
Salt beef: the robust texture and defined flavour of brisket makes a classic cold cut when salt-cured, boiled and thinly sliced

Thick Flank

Set at the top of the hind leg where it meets the animal's side, this sheet of muscle contains:

Minute steak: cut thin and even to be cooked in – you guessed it – a minute
Top rump joint: a tender cut that delivers a joint with the character of steak 

THin Flank

Found low on the side of the carcass between the tail of the brisket and the thick flank, this thin diaphragm muscle produces:

Bavette: an open, almost elastic texture is super lean and responds to quick, hot frying
Skirt: the perfect stir-frying cut, sliced thinly it sizzles up in a flash and has bold flavour that partners well with spice
Hanger steak: also known as onglet or butcher's steak – an intensely flavoured cut that supports the diaphragm  




  • Organic Beef has to be certified by an approved organic body to a number of set organic standards. These include the space that an organic beef animal has to graze, the way that it’s food is grown, without the use of pesticides and or unapproved fertilisers. The standards for organic beef also cover use of medicines and other points that improve the welfare and conditions throughout the life of the animal and on through slaughter and butchery.

  • By definition – organic beef in the UK is fed on a diet predominantly made up of grass. However this won’t necessarily make it 100% grass fed – this is not an organic standard. Many organic farms work in a system or crop rotation to ensure the health of the soils that grow the grasses. Barley, Whole Crop, Peas and other crops can be cut, fermented with cut grass and fed to the organic beef animas during colder months when the cows move into barns.

  • When choosing meat to purchase, it is worth carrying out some research. There are a number of studies that suggest organic meat is a healthier option – higher in Omega 3, Amino Acids and Healthy Fats. There are also several other reasons why choosing organic meat is a good idea. They range from the contribution of organic farming to climate change, animal welfare and the use of pesticides and medicines used in the farming of conventional animals having a detrimental effect on our health.

  • With so many amazing cuts of beef available, it really does depend of what it is you are intending to do with it. Steak is always a winner, with the most popular cuts being melt in your mouth fillet and succulent sirloin. If it’s slow cooking you’re after, then diced stewing or braising steak are versatile cuts packed full of flavour, making delicious stews or pies. And finally, for a real crowd pleaser opt for a topside of beef, this full flavoured joint of beef makes for a classic roast.