Yesterday, Michael asked me to buy a roast beef and I came home with a London broil. I made this mistake because I confused “top round” and “top sirloin.” I’m sure that for guys, this is like confusing apples and oranges, but I can never get all of this meat stuff straight. Hopefully I am not alone in admitting this. So, for all the girls out there who want to impress their man at the next BBQ or steakhouse, here is a collection of helpful info that I’ve gathered from the internet.
First of all, where do different cuts of beef come from? This handy chart will help explain. Luckily, I don’t think this stuff has changed since 1996.
Chuck: Also known as the 7-bone steak because of the shape of the bone in this cut, chuck comes from the area above the brisket toward the animal’s front. A chuck cut of meat is loaded with connective tissues such as collagen, which add a stronger flavor to the meat.
Rib: A rib cut of meat is arguably one of the finest cuts of meat from the cow. It’s here you’ll find the best cuts such as prime rib, short ribs and rib eye steaks, all of which are prized for their juiciness, tenderness, marbling, and superb flavor.
Short Loin: You may not have heard of the short loin cut of meat, but it’s another part of the cow in which you’ll find some of your favorites, such as tenderloin, T-bone, and porterhouse.
Sirloin: Sirloin is a good cut of meat that comes from the lower portion of the animal’s ribs, and it’s got more of the best cuts out there, such as the tenderloin and the top and bottom sirloins. Also, London broil is the name of a finished dish, not a cut of meat—but butchers sometimes assign the name “London broil” to the following cuts: flank steak, top round steak, or top blade steak.
Round: A round steak or roast comes from the animal’s rump. It’s a lean cut with little fat, which makes it a bit tougher than the best cuts listed above. It’s a popular cut but can be difficult to cook.
Brisket: A brisket is the cut of meat from a cow’s breast or lower chest. It’s not very tender, but when it’s cooked properly, it’s a crowd favorite.
Shank: A shank cut of meat is the animal’s leg, and since it’s one of the muscles the animal uses most often, it’s one of the toughest cuts of meat out there.
Plate: The plate is the area on the animal’s front belly, just below the ribs. It’s generally fatty and tough, but it does yield two gems: the skirt and hanger steaks. (Note: skirt steaks are great in burritos!)
Flank: The flank steak comes from the cow’s belly muscles. It’s one tough cut of meat.
I got this info from an article on AskMen.com. Visit if you’d like to read up on cooking tips for each cut.
Last, here is a great chart that you can refer to in moments of doubt. I think I’m going to print it out and hang it in the kitchen!