When it comes to beef, there’s more than filet mignon and rib eye to experiment with. Less expensive cuts like flank, chuck and blades—(what I call the wallflowers of the beef world) sound a little intimidating to work with, however these less popular cuts often have far more flavour than their expensive counterparts and no one wants to see any part of an animal go to waste. These cuts also happen to cost up to 60% less compared to a premium one.
Here are some tips and recipes for using 6 less popular cuts of beef. You’ll be surprised by how similar they are to their more posh counterparts and by how easy they are to prepare:
Skirt and Flank: These are the hanging pieces of flavourful meat from the inside of the ribs and have similar cooking properties as a porterhouse or T-bone. Once marinated, they are the cut of choice for fajitas and stir-frys and generally cost 40% less than rime cuts (but are just as tender IF HANDLED PROPERLY).
Tip: make sure to slice against the grain or the meat will be tough. Use a hot pan for a good sear, and let sit for 3-4 minutes after cooking to let juices set inside meat. Some tasty flank steak recipes can be found here.
Hanger and Flat Iron: The most tender of cuts. Hanger steak is often called “butcher’s steak” because butchers would often keep it for themselves. These are great to use as steaks the way you would prepare a rib eye or a New York strip and generally cost a third of the price (about $10/lb instead of $30-$40).
Tip: Marinate these for a longer period of time.
Brisket: Great for slow roast or braising such as pot roast and casseroles. Make this for a lazy weekend meal which can carry over for weekday lunches.
Tip: Do not trim off too much fat, sear before roasting or braising and cook with a tight fitting lid to ensure heat stays constant. Your place will smell amazing.
Chuck: The boneless portion of a short rib. This part of the shoulder is closest to the rib eye and has all the flavour of that fancy cut.
Tip: Cook this at a low temperature (300 degrees Fahrenheit) slowly for 3-5 hours in stock and with lots of wine. Click here for a recipe using chuck.
Have fun experimenting while helping to promote sustainable eating and while reducing food waste. And for more cooking tips, watch me experiment (and compete) in the kitchen on Sundays.