HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >
Are you making a specialty food? Get great advice

Beef cuts translations?

tonbo Apr 16, 2009 10:56 AM

I know that everywhere you go the names for cuts of beef are different, even in English, but I've noticed that Quebec seems to have its own nomenclature and I was wondering if anyone had the translations for the following:

A Boston steak. What on earth is it? It's a very lean cut that lends itself well to stews. That's what the butcher at Boucherie Paris on Gatineau in CDN calls it, but I haven't seen it named that anywhere else . . .

What is a faux-filet? A ribeye?

What would a tri-tip be in French?

A strip steak?

A Chateaubriand?

A flank steak?

Thanks in advance!

  1. carswell Apr 16, 2009 11:40 AM

    There's a doctoral dissertation waiting to be written about this. Not only do you have the issue of different English names for the same cut but, here in Quebec, a lot of meat is butchered *à la française*, and many French cuts have no North American equivalent and vice versa. Ask Boucherie de Paris or Anjou-Québec for a picnic roast and they'll look at you like you've speaking Martian.

    Some approximate translations:

    boston = round steak (aka rump steak). As I understand it, BdP's boston is one of three parts they cut the *romsteck* into.

    faux-filet = rib eye

    tri-tip = Dunno. I think it's cut from the bottom sirloin (*bas de surlonge*).

    strip steak = contrefilet

    chateaubriand = châteaubriand (it's the thicker part of the fillet/ternderloin).

    flank steak = The short answer is *bavette*. See http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/512119?tag=highlight-3621821;post-content-3621821#3621821 and the reply for the long answer and a link to a nifty interactive French meat cuts diagram.

    The CFIA Meats Cut Manual is klunky but useful for the Canadian French/English names of North American cuts. Find the cut you're curious about > note the section number > click the Français/English button at the top of the page > find the equivalent section.

    4 Replies
    1. re: carswell
      tonbo Apr 16, 2009 11:54 AM

      I think you just started the dissertation, Carswell . . . The one I'm most curious about is the tri-tip, as I've had it in the States and it's very good. I was going to do kebabs/brochettes on my new grill this weekend and I was wondering what to ask for at the BdP.

      I know you live in my neighborhood -- do you think Atlantique is better than BdP? I know they're about twice as expensive . . .

      That's great info. I'll go check out those links. Thanks!!

      1. re: tonbo
        carswell Apr 16, 2009 02:33 PM

        It's funny but I rarely buy the same things at Atlantique and BdP so I don't have much basis for comparison. Atlantique's my neighbourhood source for seafood, sausages, ham salad, prepared foods. BdP's where I buy nearly all my red meats (except hanger steak, which they never seem to have), veal, fowl and bacon. When I don't have time to trek to the JTM or cash to burn at Fermes St-Vincent, I also buy pork and rabbits there. The few times I've bought beef at Atlantique (usually when BdP is closed for vacation), I've not been particularly wowed, especially given the price difference. Dunno. What do you think?

        BTW, if you're set on finding a tri tip, you might follow the advice on this site:
        Also, the Wikipedia entry for tri tip says it's called *aiguillette baronne" in French and links to the CIV fiche for that cut.

      2. re: carswell
        mtlalex Apr 17, 2009 05:04 PM

        In my experience:

        Boston = boneless top sirloin

        Chateaubriand, like tournedos = eye of round (supposed to be filet, in theory, but it is so widely abused that most people think it's normal.)

        flanc = flanchet, flanc, but not bavette. Bavette is "sirloin flap" in English. Incidentally, I have never seek skirt for sale in Montreal.

        1. re: mtlalex
          FoodNovice Apr 18, 2009 06:02 PM

          Skirt steak is hampe. Just bought some organic one today at JTM's Prince Noir, where it turns up regularly.

      3. m
        Maximilien Apr 16, 2009 12:58 PM

        you could always give the "Office de la langue française" Grand dictionnaire Terminologique a try.

        for example :
        strip steak : coquille d'aloyau
        flank steak : bavette de flanchet
        ribeye: faux-filet


        1. ScoobySnacks20 Apr 16, 2009 01:06 PM

          Actually Flank Steak is Steak the Flanc; Bavette is skirt steak.

          Hanger Steak is Onglet.
          Sirloin is Surlonge
          T-Bone is Aloyau
          Rib Steak is Cote (d'aloyau)

          10 Replies
          1. re: ScoobySnacks20
            carswell Apr 16, 2009 02:16 PM

            «Actually Flank Steak is Steak the Flanc; Bavette is skirt steak.»

            At Boucherie de Paris, the bavette is flank steak (the big ones would be called London broil in the States). In my experience, the bavette served in most local bistros is flank. Termium, the Canadian Translation Bureau's terminology database, gives *bifteck de hampe* as the translation for skirt steak, *bifteck de flanc* for flank steak. The Centre d'information des viandes shows *bavette d'aloyau* as being more or less analogous to skirt steak, *bavette de flanchet* to flank steak. Yet the CIV's diagram shows the "bavette d'aloyau" as being at the rear of the flank, while many sources define skirt steak as coming from the plate, the part of the animal between the flank and the brisket, i.e. the front of the flank. Etc., etc. All of which is to say that the situation is complicated, shades of grey, not black and white. In Montreal, however, when I want a flank steak, ordering a *bavette* usually gets me one.

            Rib steak is often translated as *entrecôte*, though technically that's a boneless rib steak.

            1. re: carswell
              tonbo Apr 16, 2009 06:54 PM

              Damn, I'm permanently saving this thread as a PDF.

              Carswell, refer to my steak blog (now long-defunct) at http://tiedtothesteak.blogspot.com/ for my opinion on Atlantique's steaks. They brag constantly that they dry-age everything for "two weeks" or something like that, that all their sausages are homemade, fresh every day, their orange juice is made in house blah blah blah, but frankly, I've never see exactly where it is all these elvish activities go on, so I can't comment on veracity.

              Good ol' Pierre (don't know his name) at Boucherie de Paris is always up-front about his meat, never brags and seems to charge a fair price compared to, say, the butchers upstairs at Atwater. His stuff is always fresh, too, never looks (or tastes) like it's been sitting around a mite too long.

              My only complaint is that he's closed on Sundays AND Mondays and closes at 5 on Saturdays.

              How Parisian!

              All I know is that Metro is next to useless, as are most of the grocery chains, and sometimes I REALLY wish I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are so few neighbourhood butchers around that deliver great service at a reasonable price. Which seems astounding, since the "French" seem to enjoy their boeuf.

              Maybe that's part of why I became a vegetarian for six months (http://mtlfoodvegetable.blogspot.com/) . . . steak is just too expensive to have bad experiences with.

              1. re: tonbo
                amelie1980 Apr 17, 2009 06:31 AM

                I am SO happy someone agrees with my about this Metro! I can't find anything when I shop there, they seem to not carry the most basic things.
                I'm definitely going to keep Boucherie de Paris in mind - I used to walk in front of it all the time, and somehow never went in...

                1. re: tonbo
                  carswell Apr 17, 2009 06:51 AM

                  His name is Thierry, actually. Comes from Picardie, I believe. Worked at Anjou-Québec before setting out on his own.

                  He used to regularly sell entrecôtes that he'd dry age for 3-4 months. They'd lose about a third of their weight to evaporation and would take on a nutty/gamy flavour. Not sure why he stopped offering them.

                  The shop is open on Mondays for a few hours around noon, mainly to sell sandwiches, trade in which appears to have become a profit centre for them. But, yeah, the hours could be more shopper friendly.

                2. re: carswell
                  porker Apr 17, 2009 04:00 AM

                  Just thought I'd throw a monkey wrench in here.
                  When I've seen London Broil in the US, it pretty much looked like a boneless blade roast. The flank I've seen there is usually simply called 'flank'.

                  Speaking of blade roast and lexicon, many places simply call this 'pot au feu' which I find peculiar, giving a cut of beef the name of a dish (but then again my grasp of the French language is poor at best).

                  1. re: porker
                    carswell Apr 17, 2009 06:02 AM

                    Merriam-Webster's (11th edition, 2003) admits both:
                    Lon·don broil
                    Function: noun
                    Etymology: London, England
                    Date: 1902
                    a boneless cut of beef (as from the shoulder or flank) usually served sliced diagonally across the grain

                    The London broil recipe in my 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking calls for "a 2 to 3 lb. flank steak".

                    1. re: carswell
                      tonbo Apr 17, 2009 09:50 AM

                      Found a very nice resource for English>French French>English beef terms at http://tinyurl.com/ckokbm.

                      Not sure if it has the same Québecois equivalents but it's very extensive.

                      1. re: tonbo
                        carswell Apr 17, 2009 10:03 AM

                        Cool. It's even got tri-tip.

                        BTW, for the link to work properly, you should remove the period at the end.

                        1. re: carswell
                          tonbo Apr 17, 2009 01:46 PM

                          Darn periods.


                          Just went to BdP and found out the owner had just been asked about tri-tip yesterday and I thought it might be you, Carswell, but it wasn't. I'll prepare him a chart of the names of the cuts in English and also print out that multipage translation. Apparently they don't get too many English speakers, though his wife speaks flawless English.

                          Got some nice "haute surlonge" for some brochettes tomorrow! Should be a blast.

                          1. re: tonbo
                            BLM Apr 18, 2009 10:41 AM

                            So you couldn't find tri-tips in Montreal?

              2. souschef Apr 17, 2009 08:29 PM

                "A Boston steak. What on earth is it? It's a very lean cut that lends itself well to stews."

                I'm surprised at that. You normally use the cheapest, toughest cuts for stews. The long braising tenderizes the meat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: souschef
                  SnackHappy Apr 19, 2009 01:18 PM

                  Top sirloin is not really one of the most tender parts of a steer.

                2. b
                  BLM Apr 18, 2009 08:03 AM

                  You can call the Beef Information Centre. They have a office in Montreal.

                  1. Yummylicious Apr 19, 2009 06:23 PM

                    Anyone knows the difference between osso bucco and jarret d'agneau?

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Yummylicious
                      carswell Apr 19, 2009 07:24 PM

                      Jarret d'agneau is a lamb shank. Osso bucco (aka ossobucco, ossobuco) is the name of a dish that -- like the pot au feu referred to above -- has come to be applied to the cut of meat used to make it, namely cross-section slices of a hind-leg shank (Hazan says no more than 1 1/2 inches thick), traditionally veal. Classic ossobuco (the dish) is browned shank slices braised with aromatic vegetables and tomato in white wine and often garnished with germolada, a mixture of grated lemon zest, minced garlic and chopped parsley.

                      1. re: carswell
                        Yummylicious Apr 19, 2009 08:33 PM

                        So... ossobucco is veal just like jarret d'agneau is lamb? I saw it in the supermarket and both cuts seemed different. I've tried jarret before so that's why I was wondering what the difference was.
                        I wasn't referring to the dish, I was referring to the cut, which I found in the supermarket (Metro for all you Quebecers)

                        1. re: Yummylicious
                          carswell Apr 19, 2009 09:23 PM

                          Don't know how Metro is packaging it but a *jarret* is a shank, the part of the leg between the knee and the ankle as it were. *Jarret d'agneau* = lamb shank. *Jarret de veau* = veal shank.

                          The cut called osso bucco is a slice, a cross section, of the shank. Veal is used in Milan's traditional osso bucco, but other animals' shanks (lamb, beef, goat, etc.) can be cut and cooked the same way.

                          Whole veal shank:
                          Cross-cut veal shank for osso bucco:

                    Show Hidden Posts