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Apr 16, 2009 10:56 AM

Beef cuts translations?

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!

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  1. 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 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

      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

        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

        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

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

      3. 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. 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

            «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

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

              Carswell, refer to my steak blog (now long-defunct) at 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 ( . . . steak is just too expensive to have bad experiences with.

              1. re: tonbo

                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

                  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

                  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

                    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

                      Found a very nice resource for English>French French>English beef terms at

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

                      1. re: tonbo

                        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

                          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

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

              2. "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

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

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