“Beef” has become an entirely over-used word. Most of us know that where the meat comes from greatly impact its taste, texture and price. Of course, not very many of us know which kind of beef cut comes from where, or how best to prepare it. Content goes here

Walking in to a meat shop can be somewhat overwhelming. The butcher will likely have dozens of different cuts for you to sift through and decide what’s best for the occasion. Every cut should be served differently and mixes uniquely with varying spices.

Here’s a quick guide to some of the different beef cuts, and how they should be prepared.

  1. Chuck

The chuck is known as the seven-bone steak and is most famous for making the best roast and flat iron steaks. The cut comes from the top of the cow’s neck.

This cut contains a lot of connective tissue, which is a fancy way of saying it’s a very tough meat with a lot of flavor.

Because of this, you will typically find that most chuck is braised slowly over several hours.

  1. Ribs

The ribs contain some of the very best portions of the cow. These cuts are some of the mlst diverse, meaning they can be cut and prepared a number of ways.

Usually, the rib cut refers to meat between the sixth and twelfth rib bones of the cow.

Some of the best cuts include the prime rib, short rib, rib-eye steak and even rib-eye roasts. They’re best cooked slowly over dry heat, which is where your barbeque shines.

  1. Short Plate

This steak rests at the belly of the cow, where it becomes saturated by the cow’s fat. As a result, this cut is both flavorful and a little tough.

The cut is most famous for carne asada, a Latin American dish that’s heavy with sauce. The meet is best served braised because of its hardness, but the end-result is a thick chunk of meat that’s full of flavor and mixed in well with traditional spicy sauces.

  1. Loin

By far one of the most desirable cuts of meat, these nuggets of flavor come from the hindquarter of the cow – just behind the ribs. Its tenderness makes it one of the best parts of the cow, and inspires thousands of recipes around the world.

The most famous dish inspired by the cut is the filet mignon, followed swiftly by the porterhouse steak and the T-bone.

Because of its softness, loin is best cooked on a grill and doesn’t take as much time to prepare as a cut with more toughness, leaving most of the natural flavor intact.

  1. Shank

The shank is by far the most tough part of the cow. If cows had dark meat, this would be it, because it comes from the cow’s leg. Because the muscle is constantly used, it makes the tissue tough and calloused, making the meat dense and difficult to chew if not prepared correctly.

That’s not to say the shank is without flavor. On the contrary, it’s one of the most flavorful parts of the animal. It’s not typically utilized as a steak or a clean cut, but rather used to flavor broths and stews. It’s also on of the cheapest portions of the cow.

The shank must be cooked over a very long period of time, the result is a reliable agent for beef flavoring that can be applied to thousands of other dishes for a hearty taste.

Whether you’re having a casual party and preparing some hamburgers, or heading out to dinner for a fancy meal, be sure you’re knowledgeable in what beef products you are preparing or ordering!