The Ultimate Guide to Beef



Beef is the third most widely eaten meat in the world, after pork and poultry. It is a source of high-quality protein and essential nutrients, including iron and zinc. Produced primarily from full-grown cattle, beef makes up a variety of meat products including steak, hamburgers, brisket, and roast beef.

How to…Know Beef Cuts                                   

Steak

Beef steaks are taken from the hindquarters of a cow. It is usually sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers and might include the bone.

  • Rib eye steak comes from the rib section and spans from ribs six through twelve. It contains the longissimus dorsi, complexus, and spinalis muscles. Usually, the bone is removed from the rib eye steak.
  • T-bone steaks come from the short loin and includes a “T-shaped” bone surrounded by meat.
  • Sirloin is steak cut from the rear portion of the animal, continuing off the short loin.
  • Filet mignon is steak cut from the tenderloin.
  • Kansas City beef strip steak comes from the short loin.

Hamburgers

Hamburgers are a type of ground beef patty that is usually placed on a bun with vegetables and condiments.

 

Brisket

Brisket comes from around the breastbone, essentially the chest or pectoral muscle of the animal. It is a large, boneless cut that weighs anywhere from 8 to 20 pounds. Brisket is not a tender cut of meat, but slow cooking it makes this meat very tender. Some examples of brisket include smoked brisket, corned beef and pastrami. 

Cuts of brisket:

  • Point cuts are usually cut in the shape of a triangle. It is flavorful and fat runs throughout the meat.
  • Flat cuts tend to be more expensive than point cuts. The fat is on the bottom layer and the cut tends is less fatty than a point cut.

Fully cooked brisket options:

Roast Beef

Roast beef is a chunk of meat taken from many cuts that is traditionally roasted in the oven, often with vegetables. Usually, this dish is served warm. But, it can also be served cold and put on sandwiches.  

How to…Know How Beef Is Made

Cattle are raised using a variety of methods including ranching, feedlots, and free range. Once an animal reaches about two years old, it is slaughtered and then processed into different cuts of meat under strict animal welfare guidance. In America, there are nine primary cuts of beef that can be further divided into cuts one might see at their grocery store or on a menu. The nine primary cuts are chuck, brisket, foreshank, rib, short loin, sirloin, short plate, flank and round.  Cuts can vary in different countries.

How to…Cook Beef

How to Cook Hamburgers

  1. Season hamburger meat with salt and pepper.
  2. Form the meat into patties.
  3. Place some oil on the bottom of a frying pan.
  4. Heat the pan to medium heat.
  5. Place the patties on the pan and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Flip the patty to the other side with a spatula. One-inch patties take 8-12 minutes to cook.
  7. Place the patty on a bun with your favorite vegetables and condiments.

How to Cook Brisket

  1. In a bowl, stir together ½ cup chopped onion, ¾ cup water, 2 minced garlic cloves, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, and 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Trim the fat off a 3 to 3½ pound beef brisket.
  3. Place a beef brisket in a 13x9x2-inch baking pan.
  4. Poor the cooking liquid over the brisket.
  5. Cover the pan with aluminum foil.
  6. Bake for 3 hours in a 425°F oven. Turn the roast once halfway through cooking. Discard the cooking liquid.
  7. Serve the brisket sliced with barbecue sauce.

How to Cook Roast Beef

  1. Choose a roast beef with a dark red color and a thick layer of fat. This will prevent your meat from drying out while it is cooking. Buy at least a ½ pound per person.
  2. Put the roast in a baking pan and season it with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the roast beef for 30 minutes at 425°F. Lower the temperature to 375°F and cook for 11-16 minutes per pound.
  4. Test the beef with a meat thermometer. It should be at least 145°F in the thickest part of the roast.
  5. Let the roast rest for 3-20 minutes after you pull it out from the oven.

How to Cook Steak in the Oven

  1. Heat a skillet on the stove with a bit of oil ( 1/2 Tablespoon or less.)  When oil is hot, sear each side of the steak(s) for approximately 1 minute to lock in the juices.
  2. At the same time, turn the oven onto the Broil setting.
  3. After searing, transfer to an oven safe dish or skillet and place in the oven on the broil setting.  
  4. Cook on broil for three minutes, remove the skillet (with an oven safe glove) and flip the steak in the pan and return it to cook for another three minutes. 
  5. When the steak has cooked for a total of six minutes, use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of the steak to make sure it's the desired degree of done.  It's recommended to cook to 145 degree F and let rest for 3 minutes (medium.)

How to… Use & Serve Beef

Beef Recipes

Side Dishes for Steak

Side Dishes for Hamburgers

  • French fries
  • Onion rings
  • Coleslaw
  • Fried green beans
  • Potato salad

Sides for Brisket

  • Sauerkraut
  • Roasted corn on the cob
  • Roasted tomatoes
  • Grilled asparagus
  • Roasted cauliflower

Sides for Roast Beef

  • Steamed broccoli
  • Green bean casserole
  • Glazed carrots
  • Roasted potatoes
  • Yorkshire pudding
  • Helpful Tips for Cooking Beef
  • If your beef is defrosted, you can take it directly from the fridge to cook. You do not need to bring your beef to room temperature before cooking.
  • Cook beef on medium or low heat. High heat can overcook the outside of beef while the interior remains uncooked.
  • If you are making beef patties, do not press down on them when they are cooking. This will release flavorful juices.
  • Do not turn roasts or steaks with a fork. Instead, use tongs or a spatula. Using a fork will pierce the meat and cause it to lose flavorful juices.
  • Check the interior of your roast or steak with a meat thermometer. Serve only if it is above 145°F. In the case of ground beef, cook until it is 160°F.
  • Salt your beef after you cook it. Salting your beef before cooking soaks up moisture and flavor.
  • Let beef rest at least three minutes before serving.

Food Safety Tips 

  • Choose beef that is a bright-red, firm to the touch, and does not have excess liquid
  • Pick up beef just before you check out of the grocery store. Keep the beef in a cold cooler if it will take you longer than 30 minutes to get home.
  • Put the beef in the refrigerator or freezer as soon as you get home.
  • If you refrigerate your beef, put it on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Put it on a plate so no juices leak into your fridge.
  • If you plan on freezing your beef for longer than two weeks, pace it in a freezer bag or wrap it in heavy-duty aluminum foil.
  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours after cooking.

Did You Know? 10 Interesting Facts about Beef

  1. Beef is considered red meat because it has a large amount of myoglobin, a protein that holds oxygen in the muscle.
  2. Brazil and the United States are the two countries that produce the most beef.
  3. Texas is the state with the most beef cows.
  4. Beef is one of the main sources of zinc and iron in the human diet.
  5. The average steer produces 450 pounds of edible meat.
  6. 76 million Americans eat beef each day.
  7. The most beef is eaten on Memorial Day each year.
  8. Americans eat an average of 60 pounds of beef per person each year.
  9. Choosing meat labeled USDA-certified-organic means the beef came from cows that were fed grass, grain, and were not given steroids or antibiotics.
  10. The United States only has 10% of the world’s cattle, but it provides 25% of the world’s beef.

Sources: meat-online.co.za; meatinstitute.org; www.businessinsider.com