Dive Into the World of Argentine Beef Cuts Available in USA.
If you are reading this article, chances are, you didn't just stumble upon it; you actually searched for the various cuts of beef. Well, you have certainly come to the right place. And now that you are here, we hope you are ready to join the league of experts that house butchers, gourmet chefs, grill chefs, and people like you stepping up the ladder.
If you are in the US, you'll soon see your supermarkets and high-end food stores stack up with more options of boneless Argentine beef. This is due to the growing availability of boneless Argentine beef cuts and consumer demand in the US. Also, you can already enjoy a delicious Argentine beef steak in one of these, growing list of fine restaurants (link). Some claim that South America's best naturally raised, grass-fed beef comes from Argentina, and we're excited to tell you why.
First off, as any meat master will tell you, you can't look at a steak like it's just a loaf or chunk of beef. Whether you're eating it alone or making it for your family, you need to know the type of cut used to make that steak. It may seem like a foreign concept for someone who has not yet familiarized themselves with the various sorts of Beef cuts- and the difference in taste, textures and shape. But not to worry, we'll dive into the many kinds of cuts of Beef for the best gourmet meal.
Beef is chopped into huge pieces, known as primal cuts. After that, these primal beef cuts are subdivided even further into sub-primal. After that, individual steaks, roasts, and other retail cuts are sliced and diced from the entire piece of meat.
A cut of beef known as a 'side' comes from the portion of the carcass cut horizontally across the backbone. After that, you'll cut each side in half between the 12th and 13th ribs. The front of the cow is referred to as the forequarter, while the back is referred to as the hindquarter.
The portions of the cow located furthest away from the top of the head and hooves produce the most tender cuts of beef, such as the ribeye and the tenderloin. Also, because they are used so frequently, the muscles in the animal's shoulders and legs are among the most difficult to develop.
Chuck is a cut of beef that yields slices of meat that are chewy yet very tasty. Chuck comprises sections from the neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm.
This primary incision contains a significant amount of the animal's connective tissue. Because of this, chuck is an excellent choice for braised meals like beef stew and pot roast, both of which are known for their ability to tenderize tough pieces of meat. Because it contains a high percentage of fat, beef chuck is an ideal choice for creating ground beef, which results in burgers and stews that are juicy and flavorful.
The beef rib is derived from the upper portion of the rib's central section. In addition, it is the origin of the succulent ribeye steak. Steaks and roasts cut from the beef rib primal can withstand a wide range of dry-heat cooking techniques without losing their tenderness. This is because beef ribs are naturally soft.
The beef plate primal includes the short ribs and is sometimes referred to as the "short plate" or the "long plate," depending on where it is separated from the rib primal located above it. It is connected to the inner wall of the abdominal cavity by a network of dense connective tissue, which must be dissected and removed precisely. This kind of steak has an incredible amount of flavor to it.
Moreover, it is a very thin cut of meat, enabling you to cook it rapidly over high heat. Just make sure not to overcook it. Cut against the grain while slicing it since the muscle fibers are coarse; otherwise, the meat will be chewy.
Despite its toughness and the fact that it must be cooked in a specific manner, beef brisket is often regarded as one of the most delectable cuts of meat. It is also a cut of beef that is moderately fatty. Still, the fact that it is somewhat fatty can work to your benefit since it tenderizes into juicy, meaty perfection when appropriately cooked.
The brisket is essentially the chest or pectoral muscle of the animal and is taken from the region surrounding the breastbone. To break down and tenderize the unusually thick and coarse-grained meat requires a significant amount of time and cooking at a low temperature.
The leg of the animal's thigh is known as the beef shank. There are two shanks on each side of the beef. It is incredibly tough and packed with connective tissue throughout its entirety.
Beef Short Loin
The short loin is where the most delicious and tender cuts of beef are found. These include the T-bone steak, the porterhouse steak, and the strip loin steak and the strip steak.
Only roughly being around eighteen inches in length, the short loin is relatively short. Depending on how thick you cut them, you can get around a maximum of fourteen of them. It is customary to begin cutting steaks from the short loin at the rib end and work one's way back toward the rear of the cut.
The tenderloin begins at the back of the short loin and continues all the way into the sirloin. Notably, removing the tenderloin makes it impossible to cut T-bone or porterhouse steaks from the beef. These two steaks each have a portion of the tenderloin muscle as their primary cut.
The beef sirloin is cut from the center, or belly, of the animal. The complete sirloin cut can be further sectioned off into the top and bottom. The top sirloin is typically cut into steaks, which are excellent candidates for cooking over a barbecue.
The sirloin is located closer to the animal's hind legs, which causes the muscles to become somewhat robust. After being separated from the top sirloin, the bottom sirloin is typically cut into three primary components: the tri-tip, the ball tip, and the flap, all of which make for great options for roasting and grilling. Sometimes, they are also made into ground beef.
The beef tenderloin, located within the loin, is the cut of beef known for having the highest degree of tenderness. We use this portion of the tenderloin to obtain fillet mignon, which is cut from the very tip of the pointed end of the tenderloin. The tenderloin is cut down the middle horizontally.
You'll find the tenderloin from the short loin into the sirloin is where. Butchers usually take the entire tenderloin and either sell it as one piece or cut it into individual steaks and roasts. Cooking methods that use dry heat, such as grilling and broiling, are the only ways to prepare beef tenderloin. There is no need to cook the meat for an extended period of time because it is already quite soft.
The flank steak can be grilled to perfection by searing it on a hot grill for a short time. Marinating this Argentine Bife de Vacío before cooking can help prevent it from drying out, but the best way to avoid this is to ensure it is not cooked for too long. It is important to remember to slice this steak thinly across the grain just before you are ready to serve it. This will prevent the steak from being chewy.
The beef round is essentially comprised of the hind leg. Because of the intense training on the legs and rump, the muscles that originate from the round are very slender and robust.
This cut is divided into multiple sub-primal cuts, including the knuckle, the top round (also known as the inside round), and the bottom round (also known as the outside round). The rump roast and eye of the round both come from the bottom round.
The ideal way to prepare round roasts is to slow-roast them so the meat is cooked to a medium-rare consistency. After that, you can slice them very thinly, use them in sandwiches, or even cook them and serve them as roasts. It is essential to slice the meat thinly and against the grain. One of the main reasons for this is that we want to cut through the fibers and shorten them rather than cut in the same direction they run. The most significant advantage of this is that it makes it easier to chew through.
The Best Steak for You
So now that you know where each part is located inside the cow and where each cut is derived from, we'll investigate parts or cuts that will make it the best meal for you. And honestly, there is nothing quite like a steak that has been grilled to perfection. It goes well with virtually anything.
Although the manner of preparation and the surface on which the steak is cooked are both critical components, the quality of the cut of meat used is the primary factor in determining the final product. You could have the best seasoning, grilling, and cooking methods under your sleeve, but if you start with a low-quality piece of steak, the steak you prepare will be, at best, average.
As a reminder, only boneless cuts of Argentine Beef are currently available in the U.S. So we will focus this article on premium steaks with no bone.
Ribeye or “Ojo de Bife”
Ribeye is an excellent choice if you're looking for the juiciest and most flavorful cut of beef. These extremely tasty steaks are essentially prime rib roasts that have been chopped into separate portions. They originate from the upper rib section of the cow.
Ribeye steaks have an extremely high-fat content, which enables them to keep their juicy flavor even when cooked at a very high temperature. When purchasing a ribeye, you should search for a cut that is larger in thickness with marbling distributed uniformly across the meat. Bone-in and boneless cuts are available. The decision between the two boils down to a matter of personal opinion because the two have similar flavor profiles and may be prepared similarly.
Filet Mignon or “Medallón de Lomo"
A fillet mignon is usually boneless and is cut from underneath a cow's ribs. This cut of meat is also known as tenderloin and is referred to simply as a fillet. The fillet mignon is typically the costliest cut of steak due to its exceedingly thin grain, mild flavor, and incredible tenderness. It also has a relatively subtle flavor.
This steak is usually chopped into bite-sized circular slices between two and three inches in thickness. You may add more dimension to the flavor profile of fillets by using seasonings or bacon in the cooking process. Filets cook very well on the grill or in a cast-iron skillet on the stove.
New York Strip or “Bife de Chorizo”
Originally known in the US as the Kansas City Strip Steak, the New York Strip, or just plain Strip, was served as the most prized Midwest beef cut, which was reserved as a refined cut for fine dining clientele. This short-loin cut without the bone became their New York Strip. The short loin, which is the part slightly below the ribs and closer to the animal's rear end, is where New York strip steaks are cut. They aren't nearly as soft as ribeye steaks or tenderloins, but they have an excellent beef flavor that's really robust, and they have the perfect balance of lean meat and fat.
When searching for New York strips, you should look for portions with marbling consistent across the entire piece and more significant bits of fat around the borders. Since top sirloin is taken from a particularly muscular section of the animal, it can quickly become a chewy mess if it is slightly overdone. For optimal results, aim for a medium-rare cook on the grill. In addition, when you overcook it, you're rendering out the fat and liquid, so when it's time to eat it, you're left with toughened muscle fibers.
Other cuts of boneless Argentine Beef are available in the United States.
The Rump Cup Steak or “Picaña”
The picaña steak, also known as a culotte, is boneless and cut from the top sirloin cap- the ones available in the US are one of a kind. It is next to impossible to replicate the flavor of any other kind of beef. It's lean yet amazingly flavorful, with a texture similar to sirloin.
Grilling a Picaña steak in Argentina is an art form that demands precision and expertise. The Argentine parrilla (grill) plays a pivotal role, where the carefully seasoned Picaña is placed directly over hot wood or charcoal embers.
The Outside Skirt Steak, or “Entraña”,
The Outside Skirt Steak, known as "Entraña" in Argentina, comes from the abdominal area of the cow, specifically the diaphragm muscle. This well-exercised muscle results in a cut of beef that is lean and textured, making it perfect for grilling.
The marinated steaks are placed onto the grill, allowing them to cook slowly and evenly. The key is achieving the ideal balance between a beautifully charred exterior and a succulent, medium-rare interior.
The Flank Steak, or “Bife de Vacío”
The Bife de Vacío is derived from the flank of the cow, a muscle that is well-exercised but generously marbled with intramuscular fat. This marbling is what lends the flank steak its mouthwatering tenderness and depth of flavor.
Before cooking begins, the grill master carefully arranges the glowing embers or charcoal to achieve the perfect heat distribution. To achieve the ideal balance between a beautifully caramelized crust and a juicy, medium-rare interior, the Asador (grill master) diligently tends to the bife de vacío, turning it at just the right moment.
The Tri-tip roast, or “Colita de Cuadril”
The Tri-Tip Roast comes from the triangular-shaped tip of the beef sirloin. Its unique cut is prized for its beautiful marbling and intense beefy flavor. Argentinian butchers take special care when preparing the Tri-Tip, ensuring it is trimmed and shaped to perfection, showcasing the meat's inherent tenderness.
Argentine Asadores (grill masters) take immense pride in their grilling skills and use wood or charcoal to create a bed of hot embers that impart a distinct smoky flavor to the meat. The key is balancing a beautifully seared exterior perfectly and a succulent, medium-rare interior.
We hope this article has been helpful towards expanding your overall knowledge of Beef Cuts, and especially Argentine Beef cuts available in the U.S. Although it may not seem evident to many, people in this business and discerning consumers alike, have exquisite taste and thus, the knowledge to recognize the subtle difference between the various cuts of beef.
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