The Definitive Guide to Cuts of Meat: different cuts of Beef

What are The Best cuts of Meat? The best cuts of meat are generally regarded to be the rib, short loin, and sirloin cuts. These are the cuts where the popular prime rib, rib eye, and filet

By Lele Gobbi
Nov 03, 2022
tagAlt.Various cuts of marbled beef meat and dry aged steaks, tomahawk, t bone, club steak, rib eye and tenderloin cuts, on black ston

Meat Cuts Explained: Your Ultimate Guide To Different Cuts of Beef


What is Meat?

Meat is the muscle of animals used as food, which only becomes edible after two fundamental events: bleeding and maturation.

The various meats, whatever the animal species they come from, have an equal nutritional value, as they provide a high percentage of protein, composed of essential amino acids (which the body cannot produce), an appreciable amount of iron, B-complex vitamins and vitamin PP.

Dry-aged cuts of meat, aged beef for steaks


What is Meat Maturation or Hanging?

It is the maturation or aging of meat, its unprocessed preservation above freezing point.


What is the purpose of Meat Maturation?

Its main purpose is to tenderize the meat, but this can only be achieved within certain limits, as other factors also contribute to tenderness. The more connective tissue is present, the less tender the meat is, and the greater the muscle contraction, the lower the tenderness.


What are the Different Cuts of Meat?

Different cuts of meat_20221010


Different cuts of meat

There are two determining factors: 

  1. Only with animals fed balanced diets based on quality cereals and legumes, without by-products and high-protein cores is it possible to process and cook meat with skill and satisfaction. 
  2. The cutting of meat must always follow the direction of the muscle fibres

The (adult) bovine tends to be divided into half-carcases by cutting along the spinal column. A half-carcase is defined as the eviscerated animal, cut exactly in half, without head or tail.

Closeup view of raw beef neck with thyme, garlic and spice on wooden stump


Main Cut

The Front Quarter


The Neck

  • Beef Neck (Chuck): this is a cut with a high percentage of connective tissue, traversed by portions of fat and rich in muscle, flaky and tasty. It requires long, slow cooking in an always moist receptacle. Main use: a variety of stews, boiled beef, minced for stuffing.
  • Royal or Middle Rib: is the part covering the first three to four thoracic vertebrae with the adjoining portion of the biancostato (white rib). Main use: stews, roasted, boiled.
  • Short Ribs (Regular roll): formed by the continuation of the sirloin and comprising the section between the fifth and eighth vertebrae or back, including the corresponding ribs. Slow cooked, tender and tasty meat. Main use: boiled, stewed.
Raw dry aged wagyu beef shoulder clod roast as closeup on black background


The Shoulder

  • Chuck Tender (Blade filet): part made from the front muscles of the shoulder. In shape and flavour it can replace the thigh rump (girello di coscia): medium-fast cooking is sufficient. Lean cut. Main use: steaks, cutlets, marinade.
  • The Priest’s Hat (Shoulder clod): made from a central muscle of the shoulder, it has a slight vein of fat that makes the meat soft and jelled. Main use: roasted, braised, boiled.
  • Shoulder clod: continuation of the Cappello del Prete ‘priest's hat’ and includes part of the shoulder muscles. Semi-rapid cooking. High-quality cut. Main use: cutlets, steaks, cutlets, marinade, rolls.
  • Shoulder Muscle (Shoulder clod): muscle under the Cappello del Prete. Main use: various stews, braises, goulash.
  • Front girdle (Shank): comprises the flexor or extensor muscles of the phalanges. It has a considerable amount of connective tissue. Renowned for use as ossobuco and shank.

How to Cure Meat: Cooking Classes 

in Italy




  • Breast (Brisket): muscles intersected by veins of fat. Slow-cooked for boiled meat, or after some processing can be used as knife-beaten raw meat. 
  • (Brisket): comprises the muscles of the lateral rib. This meat, although slightly fibrous, is suitable for garnishing boiled, stewed and minced dishes.



  • Belly (Flank steak): includes the pectoral and abdominal muscles behind the sternum. Requires cooking in an always moist receptacle, it is a meat consisting of alternating layers of muscle and fat. Main use: boiled.
Beef meat_20201010


The Hindquarters


The loin

  • Rib: forming the muscle mass covering the upper part of the last ribs and vertebrae of the back. It is a meat that does not require long cooking. Main use: grilled rib steak, without bone we have the well-known entrecôtes (prime rib meat).
  • loin (Short loin): rear part of the long back muscle located above the loins on both sides of the back, between the last rib and the sacrum. It does not require long cooking and is a very tender cut. When the fillet /tenderloin is incorporated, the famous T-bone steaks are made.
  • Tender loin: this is a very tender muscle mass, because it has never been used by the animal. It is elongated and pyramid shaped. It is the noblest cut but not the tastiest, because it lacks bone and fat.
Portion of raw beef thigh on dark butcher board


The Thigh


  • Rump: comprises the muscles of the dorso-lumbar region, which lie immediately after the loin and before the hip. It is a lean, tender and tasty meat. Main use: roast-beef and roasts. It is fat and rib-free. 
  • Bottom sirloin (Thick flank): contains the femur bone and includes the central muscles of the thigh. It is cooked quickly, and the meat is very tender.
  • Estern Outer rump (Top beef): covers a large part of the outer portion of the thigh. It is a bulky part that also includes the inner muscles of the upper part of the thigh. It is a fibrous, flavourful meat. Main use: Roast-beef.
  • Inner rump (top side): is voluminous and includes the inner thigh muscles and the femur bone. Main use: steaks, carpaccio, tartare. 
  • Eye round: comprises the round, elongated muscle that forms the anatomical basis of the buttock profile. It is a meat that allows rapid cooking. Main use: veal in tuna sauce, carpaccio.
  • Leg of beef: comprises an outer thigh muscle located at the end of the rump behind the shank. Main use: stewed, boiled, stew. 
  • Hind shank (Shank): is the cut par excellence for ossobuco, because the bone marrow section of the hindquarters is larger than that of the front and is round in shape.


The Fifth quarter


This consists of the thoracic and abdominal organs, as well as the extremities (legs, tail, head) and blood. Particularly in the past, it was the basis of Italian cuisine since only the rich could eat the ‘valuable’ parts, while the people only used the offal. 


Unlike meat, offal must be eaten fresh in the first 24 or 36 hours, without being matured. 


Of the fifth quarter, a distinction must be made between offal, which are the internal organs, and sweetbreads, which are the salivary glands and pancreas.


  • Blood, head, brains, cheek, tongue.
  • Lungs, heart, liver, pancreas, spleen.
  • Kidneys, stomachs, intestines, spinal cord.
  • Breast, feet, testicles, tail, eye, diaphragm.
Chef in restaurant kitchen preparing food_20202020


Classic Beef Recipes

  1.  Peposo - Tuscan Red Wine Beef Stew
  2.  Beef Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Mashed Potatoes
  3.  Braised Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta

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