The mystery of beef. We’ve all been there…standing at the meat counter, looking at rows of packaged beef cuts and thinking, “Should I just close my eyes and pick one?”
Well, we’re here to unravel the mystery with Beef 101: How to Select the Perfect Cut! Will Wilson, owner of Snider Brothers Meats, is our latest Fellow Foodie, and he’s agreed to help us solve the mystery of BEEF!
Will’s family has owned Snider Brothers for six generations, and Will has worked in the meat butchery business since he was 12 years old, so he knows his stuff. He now works with his son, Jake, and an awesome team of butchers who bring the Salt Lake City area phenomenal, quality meats, including a whopping 50 different cuts of beef!
Will breaks beef cuts down into two areas of the cow: front and hind. The muscles in the front quarter do most of the work, so they’re tougher cuts and best used for braising (cooking low and slow in a closed container)…The cuts in the front quarter include: pot roast, chuck roast, beef ribs, shank, brisket, prime rib.
Those in the hind quarter are typically more tender, since they don’t do as much work. They’re great for grilling, broiling or roasting. They include: round cuts, sirloin tip, t-bone, porterhouse, top sirloin, new york and filet. Below is a list of popular roasts and Will’s suggestions of how to cook them:
♦ Prime rib roast: roast or cut into steaks to grill
♦ Round/shoulder: pot roast or braise
♦ Chuck eye roast: pot roast **best roast to braise
♦ Bottom round: oven roast
♦ Eye of round: oven roast
♦ Inside round/top round: oven roast or cut into steaks (London broil)
**top round is the best cut for crock pot if you will cut meat into slices
♦ Sirloin tip: roast/cut into steaks/pot roast/very good for grilling
♦ Chuck roast: best to use in crock pot if you want meat to fall apart/shred easily
So, pick your meat and get roastin! **Sniders’ slow-roasting suggestion: The conventional rule is to roast at 325 degrees for 20 minutes per pound. Sniders roasts theirs at 250 degrees for 40 minutes per pound.
WILL’S TIPS FOR COOKING BEEF:
1) Will’s favorite way to cook FILET: wrap bacon around it, season with your favorite rub, and grill over medium heat; flip every 3-4 minutes BUT flip before you see juices rise to top or you lose all that moisture down in the grill.
2) It’s not really necessary to bring beef to room temp before cooking, BUT you should “sweat” the meat first. Sweating means to season the meat and let it sit for 20-30 minutes to absorb the flavors.
3) Always use a meat thermometer (Snider’s recommends Thermoworks) – instant reads are nice because you can use in the oven or on the grill.
4) Remember that meat continues to cook after it is pulled off the heat so remove when it reaches 5-7 degrees less than your desired temp.
5) Let your beef rest for 10 to even 30 minutes before serving. A resting roast will absorb juices, retain moisture and be juicier and more flavorful. DON’T CUT INTO YOUR MEAT RIGHT WHEN IT’S DONE COOKING! You will lose all the juices that make it tender.
6) Don’t cover an oven roast with foil. Covering it steams the meat instead of roasting, so it pulls the moisture out of the meat and dries it out.
7) Always add moisture (beef stock, broth, marinade, etc.) to meat cooked in a crock pot.
8) You can freeze uncooked beef up to 10-12 months. Make sure it’s wrapped very well, preferably in meat paper rather than plastic. Uncooked beef will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. Ground beef has been processed, so it is more fragile and should be used within 2 days.
9) Leftovers should be refrigerated and used within 3-4 days.
10) Most importantly, start with high quality cuts! This makes the biggest difference in how your meat will taste!
USDA GRADES OF BEEF: There are three main grades assigned to beef cuts: select, choice and prime. All beef is graded by inspectors for quality, and assigned a grade, which can be found on the packaging at the store.
1) Select grade beef has little or no marbling.
2) Choice grade has slight to moderate marbling.
3) Prime grade cuts are heavily marbled.
The marble is basically the fat content found in the muscle. Marbling melts out as it’s cooked, leaving a more tender and flavorful meat. Sniders’ meats are mostly “upper third choice” (at the top end of “choice”), which Will finds is the most popular. Most people don’t buy “prime” cuts as they can be very fatty.
We learned a lot in the couple hours we spent at Snider Brothers’ Meats! We buy our meats from Sniders and know how great their quality is. In the words of Will:
“We strive to have the highest quality products available for our customers every single day in our meat case. Everything that’s put into our cases is touched by us: we trim it, we cut it, we put on the trays, we wrap it. We’re passionate about our products; we’re passionate about our customers. We’re PASSIONATE about what we do.”
P.S. EAT THE JERKY!