The chuck, or shoulder, contains connective tissue that is best prepared by longer, slower cooking methods such as braising, pot roasting, stewing, and slow cooking. Chuck can also be made into an economical ground beef for hamburgers and meatballs.
The Brisket comes from the breast or lower chest region. The brisket is a tougher meat that is best prepared with longer cooking methods such as slow smoking and braising. Cured brisket is used to make pastrami and corned beef.
The Shank, or upper leg, is traditionally used for beef bourguignon, and responds well to a long, slow cooking method such as braising.
Plate cuts come from the underbelly region, and are extremely flavorful and economical. Often used for fajitas or stir-fry, plate cuts are best marinated before grilling, broiling, braising, or pan-searing to add moisture.
Flank steaks from the abdominal muscles are also often used for fajitas and stir-fry. Like plate cuts, flank steaks are best marinated before being grilled, pan-fried, broiled, or braised to increase tenderness.
Round cuts from the backside and leg have minimal fat marbling, and are often ground to make sausage or beef for burgers. Round cuts can be thinly sliced and dried or smoked to make jerky, or slow cooked in moist heat.
Sirloin cuts are very flavorful, with a chewy texture. They are economical cuts best prepared by pan frying, pan broiling, or broiling.
The Short loin cuts from immediately behind the ribs are extremely tender. These popular cuts include Filet Mignon, New York strip, T-bone, and porterhouse and are best prepared by grilling or pan searing.
Rib cuts are generously marbled with fat which gives a full-bodied flavor, and tender texture. Smaller cuts can be grilled or pan fried, while larger rib cuts are best braised or roasted.