A Comprehensive Guide to the 8 Cuts of Beef

When it comes to meat, it’s easy to stick to what’s familiar. But knowing the different cuts of beef and how to use them can open up a whole world of cooking possibilities and save you from making costly shopping mistakes. With so many different types of beef products available, it’s no wonder that most people find it overwhelming. That’s where we come in. As experts in the field, we’re here to help you understand the different cuts of beef and how best to prepare them!

Cut To The Chase: Primal, Subprimal, and Portion Cuts

Let’s start by breaking down the eight main cuts of beef, known as the primal cuts:

  • Chuck
  • Rib
  • Loin
  • Round
  • Flank
  • Short Plate
  • Brisket
  • Shank

These large primal cuts are then divided into smaller subprimal cuts, which are shipped to local markets for final cutting and preparation. These final cuts, known as portion cuts, are what you’ll find in your local stores, like steaks, ribs, and roasts.

Cuts of Beef


The chuck comes from the cow’s shoulder. It’s a flavorful region that can be prepared in many ways, but it’s typically a firmer cut of beef. Ground chuck, chuck short ribs, chuck pot roast, and shoulder steak are just a few of the portion cuts you can find for chuck.


The rib primal cut refers to meat from the cow’s ribs and backbone. This section includes the last six pairs of ribs. Rib cuts are known for their fatty marbling, tenderness, and distinctive flavor. Beef short ribs, ribeye steak, and ribeye roast are some of the portion cuts you’ll find for ribs.

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The loin is located directly behind the ribs and is not heavily used, making it very tender compared to other cuts. It comprises two parts: sirloin and short loin. Sirloin is typically best for grilling, while short loin cuts like NY strip and tenderloin filet are great for special occasions.


The round primal region is an inexpensive, lean cut located near the cow’s hind legs. It’s typically tougher and requires specific cooking methods. Round steak, eye of round, and top round are some of the common round cuts you’ll find in stores.


The flank primal cut, located just below the loin, is tough but flavorful. Flank steak and skirt steak are the most common cuts from this region and are best grilled at high heat.

Short Plate

Short plate cuts are found near the cow’s stomach and are often tough and fatty. Skirt steak, hanger steak, and short ribs are some of the common portion cuts from this region.


A favorite for barbecues, brisket comes from the cow’s breast. It’s known for its fatty, tough texture, but when slow-cooked correctly, it becomes tender and flavorful. Brisket point and brisket flat are the two widely available cuts of brisket.


Located in front of the brisket, the shank is the toughest and cheapest cut of beef. It’s often used for stock or ground beef and requires long cooking times in moist heat.

At Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ, we take great pride in offering the best cuts of meat. We only source locally-raised, grass-fed calf meat, ensuring the most tender and flavorful cuts. Whether you’re braising brisket or slow cooking a stuffed roast, our specialty meats will take your dinner from familiar to fabulous. Visit our website Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ or stop by our location in Scott, Louisiana to experience the best quality meats. We also offer online shopping with nationwide shipping, so you can enjoy our premium ingredients, seasonings, and marinades right at your doorstep.

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