Cuts of Beef UK vs. US [split from UK]
(This thread was split from the UK board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6853... -- The Chowhound Team)
You're likely to struggle to find short ribs here. It's a not a cut that features in our cooking. A butcher acquaintance tells me that this part of the carcass is usually used for mince. Presumably if you make friends with your local butcher, he may be happy to prepare them for you.
Braising cuts have different names in different parts of the country. Where I am, we use "skirt" or "chuck" but I have no idea what that might be called down south.
I always cook skirt medium rare and slice it across the grain as for fajitas - didn't realise that it's also a good braising cut (I have two nice ones in the fridge and am looking for something to do with them atm).
Shin is also very good for braising. The only place I know of for short ribs is Jack O'Sheas in Knightsbridge or Selfridges. You will have to order them specially otherwise.
Gigantes = butter beans in the UK. You can find dried or canned ones in every supermarket. I also sometimes buy the canned gigantes from my local deli - a Greek brand - which are surprisingly good.
Shin is The Business for stew.
Must admit for braising, like most Brits I use generic "braising steak", albeit organic stuff from rock gods of the internet organic meat business - Mansergh Hall. I'm not sure exactly what cut it is - although the website says its not chuck - so it's probably skirt.
Clearly a very feminine dish - what with the skirt or, seeing as I'm a northerner, calling it "chuck". Innit?
All this talk of 'cuts' led me to an investigation of what you folks call parts of cows and what we colonists might call the same. I came across an interesting page on Wiki - colorful diagrams of the poor cow. I think I understand it all a bit better now.