The Morley Butchers Guide to the different Cuts of Beef

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Use our Cuts of Beef guide to help you find the best match for the recipe you want to cook. As with most large animals, different Beef cuts are better suited for different recipes and cooking methods. The most tender cuts for frying and grilling or others that reward slow cooking by braising or in stews. Don’t forget many of the value cuts deliver the richest and deepest flavours. Longer cooking breaks down the denser fibres creating tender meat in a thicker delicious sauce or gravy.

During the animals life different parts of the body will develop in different ways depending on the amount of work they do.This means that individual cuts will have differing proportions of muscle, fat and connective tissues. For example those that have worked the hardest such as (the neck which is constantly moving about as the animal grazes) will build up more fibre and sinew.

Provenance Matters

Other factors to consider are the provenance of the animal. We select meat from suppliers that have taken care to raise animals that will cook well with great flavour. Quality meats will have plenty of marbling (white lines of fat in and around the muscle) that will keep the meat moist as it melts away during cooking and impart a real depth of flavour. In the same way the layer of fat on the outside of a roasting joint will ensure you get a tasty result. Morley Butchers also age certain cuts to improve the final flavour and tenderness.

When “hung” or aged the beef’s natural enzymes break down the connective tissue in the muscle, which leads to more tender beef on you plate also some moisture loss helps concentrate the flavour.

Ask An Expert

If you want to know more about the provenance or aging of our beef please ask us – we are your local experts and happy to talk about what we do. Find out more about the beef from Morley Butchers here >>

Below is a guide to the various UK cuts of beef with suggested cooking technique .

Description of the beef cuts and recommended cooking methods

Chuck & Blade

This cut is often sold as Braising Steak. A little more tender than stewing steak. Use in casseroles, stews and to braise. Also Blade steak sometimes known as “Flatiron Steak” as it has a shape similar to that of an old-fashioned flat iron

Fore Rib

Sold “Boned and rolled”, “French trimmed” or “On the bone”. Has good marbling throughout the flesh and with excellent fat cover on the outside making for a superb roast. Can also be cut into steaks”Ribeyes” for grilling, frying or BBQ. The last few ribs before the sirloin are known as wing rib.


This is typically sold boned and rolled. A prime cut which is suitable for a classic sunday roast. Sirloin Steak comes from the same area but cut into steaks such as “T”-bone, Porterhouse and Entrecote. Prime cuts which are suitable for grilling, frying, stir-fries and barbecuing.

Beef Fillet also comes from this section. Probably the most prized cut of beef, the fillet is very tender and very lean, as a steak it is suitable for quick cooking under the grill or frying. Larger peices are used for dishes such as Beef Wellington. Other names for cuts of fillet include Filet Mignon, Tenderloin, Tournedos and Chateaubriand.


Although this is a prime cut, it’s often cheaper than fillet or sirloin because it’s not quite as tender. However many say that it has a far superior flavour than sirloin or fillet. Rump is suitable for quick cooking such as frying, stir-fry, grilling or the barbecue. The popular Brazilian steak “Picanha” is taken from the top section of the rump.

Silverside & Topside

Silverside was traditionally salted and sold as a boiling joint for salt beef. This very lean piece of meat is now most often sold unsalted as a joint for roasting. We recommend regular basting whilst cooking. Topside is also a very lean joint and , often has a extra layer of fat tied around it to help baste and keep it moist.  This is also suitable cut into steaks for frying or grilling and in stir-fries.


One of the most, flavoursome and inexpensive cuts of beef . Oxtail is most often sold cut into individual vertebra.  Long and slow braising will release their excellent rich flavour.

 Thick Flank

This joint is also known as Top Rump good for slow roasting as a joint or braised in pieces. Also sold as “stir fry” strips or flash fry steak. These can also be called flank steak

Thin Flank

Meat from this area is often known as “Skirt”. Skirt steak is a thin, long cut of beef from around the diaphragm, also known as “Hanger steak” (or “Onglet” in France). It has plenty of fat marbling which makes it moist and flavoursome.  Bavette is the French name for a flank steak from this section. These steaks can be recognised by quite a coarse ridged grain. Due to its positioning on the animal these muscles do relatively little work and are therefore quite tender. This cut is often used in Mexican recipes such as Fajitas. Good for grilling, frying or the BBQ. It should be served cut into slices across the grain to make it as tender as possible.

Leg & Shin

Generally sold as Stewing Steak. Best suited for long, slow cooking to breakdown the high proportion of connective tissues and denser fibres and make thick sauces and gravy

Thin Rib

One of the denser cuts and is usually sold as mince (ground beef) meat.


Usually sold “boned and rolled” and sometimes salted. This joint is full of flavour suitable for slow cooking or pot roasting. Brisket is the cut traditionally used for making corned beef. It is also used for lean mince. Large brisket joints are very popular for “low and slow” BBQ smoking

 Thick Rib

Typically sold as Braising Steak. This cut is somewhat more tender than stewing steak. Ideal for use in casseroles, stews and for braising.


This is an economical cut that is flavorful but a less tender meat. It is cut from the middle of the shoulder and usually sold as stewing steak or used in burgers. Suitable for slow cooking in stews.


This cut is generally sold as stewing steak. Long and slow cooking will release a good flavor and produce tasty gravy or sauce.

Ox Cheek

As the name suggests this cut is the hardworking cheek muscle of cows. It is a budget cut that will reward being cooked long and slow to make it tender. The many connective fibres will break down to form a thick gravy. It absorbs the flavours of braising liquid such as wine or ale well. Cooked it has a texture similar to brisket.

Have a look at some of the recent posts on Beef from the Butchers Blog. There are plenty of recipes and cooking tips.