Find the best cut of beef for your meals, whether it's a weeknight dinner or a special occasion.
If it's rich flavour you love, skirt (similarly flank, hanger or bavette) is for you. But you need to show it a little care to get it just right. Marinate it overnight (simply in olive oil with sea salt and rosemary is good), bring to room temperature and cook whole in a cast iron pan or on a barbecue grill directly over high heat for 3-4 mins each side. Rest, then slice against the grain – the opposite way the lines of flesh are running. Try it in tacos, sandwiches, or topped with gremolata.
This triangular cut from the bottom of the sirloin is lean and offers deep flavour. It's good roasted or grilled and especially well-suited to smoking. Slice against the grain after cooking.
Time is key with short rib – they need a slow cook at a low temperature to yield to unctuous perfection. Braising in liquid (Chinese-style with black vinegar, sweet soy and star anise is great), or sous-vide are the most foolproof methods, but confident cooks can achieve beautiful results with slow dry-roasting, indirect grilling on barbecue, or smoking.
Here's a great cut for the charcoal or wood red barbecue. Brisket loves a dry rub followed by a long cook over indirect heat (using the heat deflection plate). When cooking low and slow like this, a pink 'smoke ring' circling the flesh indicates you're on to a good thing.
This muscle sits beneath the ribs and doesn't do much work, so it's as tender as it gets, with a mild flavour. A whole fillet is an excellent way to feed a crowd – roast for about an hour at a low temperature and finish with a blast of high heat, serve with new potatoes and a green salad. Fillet steaks are best cooked by searing then giving it a bit of time in the oven; or if you like it rare, sear briefly and slice thinly for carpaccio or tataki. Thinly-sliced fillet can be added raw to soups like pho, where it will cook in the hot broth.
From the forequarter by the rib, scotch is boneless rib-eye. It's tender with marbling and often a strip of fat, which helps keep it nice and moist during cooking.
Cross-cut blade is our go-to at Farro for any saucy dishes like casseroles, stews, tagines, slow curries like rendang, and ragus, as well as for meaty soups. You can either dice before slow-cooking or cook in large pieces and shred using forks. Whatever you're cooking, blade does best when seared first – and you may like to coat it in flour (with or without spices) which helps seal in juices as well as thickening the sauce.
It's one of the most versatile and value-for-money cuts of beef. Treat rump in a similar way to skirt. Seared and thinly sliced rump steak is excellent in salads – think Isaan Thai style, or with bitter leaves like radicchio and a honey mustard dressing. It's also great diced and used in stir-fries, Thai curries, hearty stews like goulash, or threaded onto kebab sticks to grill on the barbecue.