Choosing the Best Cut of Beef
Choosing the best cut of beef at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market can be confusing. Each week beef vendors offer a vast array of cuts from the well-known ribeye steak to the lesser-used brisket meat. Each cut offers a different texture and flavor, yet with the proper cooking techniques any selection can be made into a delicious meal.
The cut of the beef refers to the area of the animal that the meat originated. The location from which the meat is taken affects not only the nutritional quality, but also the tenderness and flavor of the beef when cooked. Cuts of meat taken from the top of the animal, such as the top round, loin or sirloin, are usually less exercised and contain more marbling, or visible fat within the muscle. Beef cut from the bottom portion of the animal, such as the bottom round, brisket or shank on the other hand is typically leaner and should be prepared differently.
If you are looking to grill or broil your meat, choosing a tenderloin or porterhouse steak from the top of the animal will produce the most tender product. The extra marbling present in these cuts allows them to maintain their juicy flavor when subjected to high heat. Top round and flank steaks can also be cooked on the grill, however it is best to marinate them ahead of time to tenderize and enhance the flavor of the meat.
Cuts with less marbling, including the bottom round or chuck roast are best cooked slowly and under low heat. These selections may be labeled as “stewing meat” and make great choices for stew, soup and slow-cooker recipes. Longer cooking times at lower temperatures allows lean meat to maintain moisture that is often lost in other cooking methods. Cooking in the crock-pot is also a great way to prepare a meal in the summer without heating up the kitchen. Try purchasing a bottom round steak at the market this week to prepare the Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff recipe featured below.
For more information about cuts of beef, recommended cooking methods and recipes check out the New York Beef Industry Council website at www.nybeef.org.
Beef Stroganoff in the Slow Cooker
1 pound bottom round steak*
1 cup onion, chopped*
2 cups mushrooms, sliced*
2 tablespoons parsley*
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dried dill*
½ teaspoon pepper
3 cloves of garlic, minced*
1/3 cup flour
1cup low-sodium beef broth
1 cup low-fat sour cream
Cut steak into ¼-inch thick-slices. Place steak, onion, mushrooms, parsley, mustard, salt, dill, pepper and garlic into slow cooker. In a separate bowl combine flour and broth, mix until well blended. Add broth mixture to slow cooker and stir well. Cover and cook on high-heat for one hour. Reduce to low-heat and cook for 7-8 hours or until steak is tender. Remove lid and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in sour cream.
Recommendation: Serve over egg noodles.
Nutrition Per Serving: 290calories, 13g fat, 5g saturated fat, 97mg cholesterol, 455mg sodium, 12g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 32g protein
Ingredients marked with an asterisk (*) are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For information about food and nutrition contact Diane Whitten at Cornell Cooperative Extension at 885-8995 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Farmers’ Market Recipe article is by Christine Sloat, dietetic intern from The Sage Colleges interning at Cornell Cooperative Extension Saratoga County.