Try These Waste-Not Beef Cuts If You're A Caring Carnivore
If we’re going to eat beef at all, we can lessen the waste by eating more of the animal. As artisanal butchers explore what lies between the nose and the tail of a steer, more cuts of beef, often less expensive than premium cuts, are showing up in shops and farmers’ markets. They tend to have rich flavor and need only a bit of care to prevent overcooking.
ILLUSTRATIONS BY JOHN BOURGYNE
Bavette, or flap meat, is a thin, marbled cut from the bottom sirloin. Marinate it or rub it with spices, then grill it charred outside, medium rare within, and slice it against the grain.
Cap steak, or spinalis, the muscle around the outside of the rib eye, is one of the most flavorful, tender pieces of beef for the grill. It is well marbled but doesn’t need marinating.
Denver steak, or underblade steak, is cut from the chuck. Marbled and beefy, it’s great grilled, salted, and served with a mint chimichurri.
Flanken ribs are short ribs sliced thinly across the bone. Chewy and full of succulent fat and gnaw-worthy bones, they’re the cut for Korean short ribs.
Flat iron steak, a well-marbled, tender shoulder cut, is great for grilling and slicing onto a platter.
Hanger steak comes from the muscle that supports the diaphragm. It’s a gamy, slightly ropy cut, well marbled and perfect for marinating, quick grilling, and slicing against the grain. Try it in tacos with the plum and cucumber salsa.
Merlot steak, a lean, fine-grained flat steak cut from the cow’s calf, is not unlike flank steak, but it’s a bit more tender. Grill it to medium and slice it to serve.
Petite tender, or teres major, a very lean cut from the chuck, has a filet mignon flavor and near-tenderloin texture. Cut it into medallions, quickly grill it, and serve it rare.
Skirt steak is best, says New York butcher Pat LaFrieda Jr., if you ask for the more flavorful “outside cut.” Marinate this long, thin cut from the diaphragm muscle, grill it to medium rare, and slice it on the bias for tender eating.
Tri-tip, a lean, chewy triangle taken from the bottom sirloin, is favored by Santa Maria, California, grillers, who rub it with spices and grill it medium rare directly over the fire.