Different Cuts of Meat From a Cow

Updated April 17, 2017

The cow supplies our table with many cuts of beef. The cuts are sourced from different body parts, so the meat differs in texture and taste and vary in tenderness and all play a different role in modern cooking. Know your cuts to get the best taste from your meat.

The Neck

Meat from here is made into steak mince or stewing steak. Chunks are good in slow cooked casseroles and stews with plenty of herbs. Short ribs and top blade steak also come from the neck and are very tasty.

The Chuck

This is known as the blade and provides braising steak. Fat is marbled through with the meat and so is good for long slow cooking as the fat provides lots of taste.


There are five ribs called the fore-rib, and it is from here that the tastiest steaks are cut, and the best roasting meat.

Middle Ribs

There are four ribs here that are perfect for roasting in their entirety.


The brisket is at the lower part of the cow's front end and can be roasted as a joint. Traditionally, it is cured with salt and/or spices and is the basis for pastrami.


Also known as the shank, the meat here is used for soups or stewing as it demands slow cooking.

Sirloin and Fillet

These steaks are cut from the centre of the back, the part of the cow where it's muscle's do the least work. Meat from here is very tender.


The rump is the area in front of the buttock and provides meat for steaks and roasts.

Topside and Silverside

The cuts of meat from the back end of the cow tend to be dry and require braising or pot-roasting in stock and/or wine to keep them moist.


This is the area behind the underbelly of the cow and produces flank and skirt steak. Thick flank is similar to the topside cuts in that it needs wine and/or stock to keep it moist while thin flank is mainly sold as minced beef, or salted and cooked for corn beef.


This needs very slow cooking and produces a gelatinous meat perfect for soup.


The cow's organ meat remains popular. Calf's liver is the tenderest, the kidneys are perfect in pies, and the tongue is sold after it's cured and pressed.

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About the Author

Karen Lovell started writing professionally in 2009. She specializes in diet, nutrition and exercise along with the information technology, hospitality and catering industries. Her work has appeared in various online publications. Lovell holds a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing and English from Greenwich University.