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What are your favorite classic, forgotten, or underutilized cuts of beef?

From what I have read, when people purchase a cow for slaughter one of the reasons they end up with so much ground beef is because steaks and roasts that are enjoyed in other countries, or that used to be more abundant here, are being tossed into the ground beef pile.

We are taking the plunge by purchasing half a grass-finished cow. This requires that we complete a butcher order and I'm taking it seriously. We like to cook and are not afraid to be adventurous. I plan on asking for the organ meats, ox tails, and the head.

This is our chance - what cuts would be on your list?

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  1. I know you don't want a lot of ground beef, BUT I purchase a fore quarter specifically so that I can have ground beef made from ground neck and skirt. Neck is absolutely sweet and flavorful. I also like neck for stew or cubed for kebabs.

    I like a shoulder clod for roasting, inside skirt for marinating and grilling. The outside skirt is great for fajitas.

    A 7 bone chuck cut 1-2 inches thich is great marinated in a vinegar based dressing and grilled. 3-4 inches thick and it makes a great pot roast/oven roast.

    I like sloulder steak London Broil 2" thick for broiling and slicing at and angle, or 1/4" thick for quick pan broiling for steak sandwiches,

    Brisket and top of the rib for pot roast, (or corning the brisket).

    Plate to make pastrami.

    Typical loin steaks and roasts, top and bottom round roasts. I don't like rump roasts.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      Wow - thank you bagelman01. We have to purchase a half so will have the front and back. I do like ground meat, I just don't want to have a wonderful cut lost to the grinder. There are so many options out there. I really like your suggestion for the neck and the plate for patrami. Thanks again!

      Edit: and I have never tried a 7-bone grilled. Great suggestion.

    2. Lucky you!! That's SO exciting -- I wish I had the initial capital (and freezer space!) to do the same.

      Any chance you can get the hanger? There is only one per animal, and I guess you would have to ask for it very specifically. That's a cut that I would personally love to try.

      I believe cutting the full 7-bone roast would involve cross-cutting the flatiron (top blade) area... so I guess it would kind of be "one or the other" -- but if you aren't getting the whole, bone-in 7-bone, you might consider having the flatiron taken off separately.

      If that's the case, you could then cross-cut the rest of the blade section (the bottom blade) into steaks which are supposedly very good grilled as well.

      I've never had, or seen for sale, flap meat/bavette, but it's supposedly amazing as well.

      Think of all that great brisket you'll have! Mmm...
      Could you get the cheeks as well? Braised goodness. Shanks, too...

      The least inspiring part of the cow, IMO, is the hip. Blah. Would you consider trying curing? Bresaola would be neat.

      Let us know what you decide!

      5 Replies
      1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

        Great point with the flat iron. We will have to make some this-or-that decisions...and I do love a flat iron on the grill.

        I have asked for the head so will have the cheeks. I'm actually going there the day of slaughter (will not be present for the actual deed) so I can make sure I get the parts that are normally not saved - this was actually recommended by the butcher. She said most people don't want these parts so it's hard to remember to save them.

        We love beef cheeks and ox tails. Plan to try making sausage. Your question about Bresaola along with bagelman's suggestion of pastrami have really inspired me!

        1. re: Tidbits

          Since you mentioned taking the organ meats, I didn't mention: liver, tongue (either roasted fresh w/raisin sauce, or pickled), sweetbreads, brains, spleen (miltz) and if the slaughterer is not federally inspected you might be lucky and get lungs......

          These are a few of my favorite things..........................

          1. re: bagelman01

            Spleen. Wow. I have never tasted spleen. I'm game for most things and I figure this is our chance to try everything AND know where it came from. How do you prepare spleen? lungs? It never crossed my mind to try lungs. I grew up with English parents so I've had exposure to some organ meats, mostly kidneys, liver, and heart. Oh, and my mother loved head cheese and pickled pigs feet.

            I'm friends with a man who raises rabbits and he saves the organs for our dog, including the lungs. Based on the size of the rabbits', I would think a beef lung is rather weighty.

            1. re: Tidbits

              Spleen (known as Miltz in Yiddish) is usually cleaned and stuffed--think haggis
              Miltz or cow's spleen stuffed with Couscous, Raw Oats or Bread Crumbs.

              A real peasant food form Lithuania, Ponevez, Vilkomer, Puselatos, Plumy an,


              1 Miltz (cleaned) “What a job can be messy”

              ¼ Cup Water or chicken stock

              3 Large potatoes

              2 Bay leaves


              2 cups Couscous, Raw Oats or Bread Crumbs

              1 Large onion finely chopped

              ½ Cup Schmaltz (chicken fat)

              3 Cloves Garlic crushed

              Good pinch Salt

              Good pinch White pepper

              FILLING METHOD
              In a frying pan, on medium-high heat, brown the onions in the schmaltz until golden brown.

              Remove to a bowl.

              Mix all the filling ingredients together to make a stiff kind of dough.

              Can add drop or two of water or chicken stock if filling is too dry.

              Leave to rest in the refrigerator for 1 hours.


              Slit skin covering Miltz

              With a sharp knife cut a pocket in the Miltz.

              Fill pocket with filling mixture

              Season Miltz with salt and pepper.

              Now sew together with a large Darning needle and double white cotton {use white cotton as it shown easily when needed to be removed once cooked.

              Add to the Miltz to a pan on the hob and sear on all sides.

              Remove the browned Miltz to an oven dish.

              Add cut and peeled potatoes and enough water to cover and bake in a Oven 180C - 350F covered for 2 – 21/2 hours or until soft.

              Cut into slices and serve with gravy.

              Lung-Beuschel (Lung Stew)
              Wash 1 1/2 pounds beef lung and put it in a saucepan with 1 onion, 2 carrots, 1 bay leaf, 1 clove, a few peppercorns, 1 stalk of celery and a few sprigs of parsley, and 1 teaspoon each of salt and grated lemon rind. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar and enough water barely to cover the meat. Bring the liquid to a boil and simmer the lung, covered, for about 1 1/2 hours, or until it is very tender. Melt 2 tablespoons beef fat or butter in a saucepan, stir in 1/4 cup flour, and cook and stir the roux until it is richly browned. Strain the stock in which the lung was cooked and stir 2 to 3 cups into the roux to make a thick sauce. Flavor the sauce to taste with lemon juice, a pinch of sugar and a little French mustard. Add 1 tablespoon chopped capers and 2 anchovy filets, washed and chopped. Cut the cooked lung into strips and heat the strips in the sauce. Just before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons sour cream.

              We never used the sour cream

              1. re: bagelman01

                This takes me back to my greatgrandmother's kitchen in the Bronx...she owned a fish store and bartered with the butcher, dairy man, etc...so we always had a supply of organ meats and other cuts nobody cared to purchase...in return the butcher got what did not sell that day!

                I do not think I have eaten lung or miltz in 40 or 50 years, but just looking at teh receipe brings those flavors to mind.

      2. chuck is yummy

        I also love ox tails!!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: hotteacher1976

          I love ox tails too. They are right up there with beef cheeks when it comes to unctuous tastiness.

          1. re: Tidbits

            A local abbatoir has a small retail area, open only a few days a week. They will dry age for me, always have hanger and skirt steak, and are one of the few places where I can get a flat iron steak (rare on the east coast). The place does have that funky slaughterhouse smell, but they keep a bowl of candy on the counter to help you get over that.

        2. Lots of great suggestions here, but don't forget the shanks, especially if you can get them about 2 inches thick. Nothing like a great osso bucco on a cold wet night.

          2 Replies
          1. re: FrankD

            When I read the title of this thread my first thought was "shin/shanks". Slow cooked in a stew...omfg, SO good.

            1. re: FrankD

              Agree totally, my first thought as well. l make a sweet and sour cabbage soup with long braised shin meat, or as my mother called it; 'stringy meat'

            2. Unless I missed it, no one has mentioned marrow bones,

              1 Reply
              1. re: ferventfoodie

                I use them all of the time in my vegetable soup, as well a bones from the and foreshanks.....de-lish!

              2. My absolute favorite piece of beef is the short ribs. I know they've become pretty trendy lately, but my customers here in suburban Pennsylvania still insist I take them off their holiday prime rib roasts so that they aren't bothered by them when they carve. At first, I encouraged them to try it with the ribs attached because it would be so much better. Then I realized that their loss was my gain, and I have a freezer full of my favorite treat!

                1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this one- my favorite so far is beef heart. I purchased a whole beef heart at an organic butcher in Toronto. I didn't care about the organic factor but I didn't know if my local butcher would have one in stock. I cleaned it myself which was QUITE time-consuming although I think letting the people at the shop do it would have resulted in less meat for me.

                  I roasted it in the oven at approx. 350-400 degrees with some red wine and potatoes- the end result was AMAZING!!! rich meaty and flavourful with a dark musky undertaste similar to that of liver. Apart from the muscle sheathing/fat which you have to remove, it's all muscle and no fat- but loaded with flavour because the organ is constantly being exersized. I highly recommend it, and the man who sold it to me said it was his favorite cut too! Kinda pricey, but it yields a lot so it works for leftovers

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ragtime_6

                    +1 on the heart. just made some with tomato confit (from my freezer) and thai basil. much goodness.

                    also thumbs up on the tongue, shins, shanks and oxtail. definitely get oogly bits, like neck bones, tendons and feet for making broth.

                  2. A much-forgotten cut is the Coulotte.

                    On top of the top sirloin, there is a crown or cap, much like there is on a rib eye, only it's much thicker on the top sirloin, up to a couple of inches at its tallest point. This is an incredibly tender and flavorful piece of beef that's virtually unknown in the U.S.

                    Out of the four major supermarkets here in Portland, only one sells it in steak form, cut to look like a NY steak. They label it as 'restaurant cut'. All of the others slice it into strips to sell for stir-fry beef. The nice thing is that when top sirloin goes on sale, so does the coulotte at this one store, so I buy up the family packs for as low as $2.99/lb., then freeze it for steaks, satays, kabobs, any recipe calling for sirloin tips, etc.

                    Everyone I've served it to marvels at what a nice cut of beef it is, but no one else has ever heard of it, at least people I know.

                    For a visual guide, the first photo on the right side of the Wikipedia page for top sirloin is of the Coulotte. The fat on top is quite thick, but the supermarket will cut that down to about 1/4". If you've not tried this cut, you owe yourself the favor of doing so.


                    ETA: It looks like Dean & DeLuca will sell you four 10 oz. Coulottes for $75. Egads.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RelishPDX

                      WE have it all the time....I ususally marinade it for up to two days, with a vinegar or citrus based liquid....we then washh it and grill it over very low heat for at least an hour.....WOw what flavor....
                      we love it....

                      3 limes
                      2 tbls olive oil
                      1 tbls chopped cilantro
                      1 small white onion chopped fine
                      1 stalk of celery chopped small
                      1 /2 green pepper chopped fine....
                      All ingredients into a palstic bag with the meat...in the fridge....one or two days later ...take it out....wash and grill....