Beef 101: Ten Popular Cuts and How to Prepare Them at Home | Patrick LaFrieda | Skillshare

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Beef 101: Ten Popular Cuts and How to Prepare Them at Home

teacher avatar Patrick LaFrieda, Meat Purveyor, Pat LaFrieda Meats

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Assignment: Prepare a Cut You've Never Tried Before


    • 3.

      Using Knives


    • 4.

      Understading Meat Selection


    • 5.

      New York Strip Steak


    • 6.

      Outside Skirt Steak


    • 7.

      Chuck Flap Tail


    • 8.

      Filet Mignon


    • 9.

      Flat Iron Steak


    • 10.

      Hanger Steak


    • 11.

      Top Butt Steak


    • 12.

      Rib-Eye Steak


    • 13.



    • 14.

      Short Loin Steak


    • 15.

      Short Ribs


    • 16.



    • 17.

      Hungry for More?


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About This Class

Meat Purveyor Pat LaFrieda talks you through everything you need to know about meat, from cow to table. Learn from the butcher who provides beef for America's best restaurants about the anatomy of a steer and where your meat comes from. He introduces how to shop for meat—whether it's at your local grocery store or a neighborhood butcher—and what to ask for. You'll learn best practices in selecting, preparing, and enjoying 10 of the most popular cuts of beef. By the end of the class, you'll have all the knowledge to impress your friends with a spot-on order at your favorite restaurant or an exceptional homemade entree at a dinner party.

Meet Your Teacher

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Patrick LaFrieda

Meat Purveyor, Pat LaFrieda Meats


Pat LaFrieda's first foray into the meat world began in the summer of 1981 when he was just 10 years old when he began learning the tricks of the meat trade from sunrise to sundown under the watchful eye of his forefathers. That particular summer changed the course of his life. 28 years later, he owns and operates New York City's most prestigious and most valued meat packing facility.

LaFrieda has been featured in such esteemed outlets as The New York Times, New York Magazine, Men's Vogue, Saveur, The New York Post, andTime Out New York. He has also appeared on The Food Network, Martha Stewart, ABC News Nightline, Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations, and The Mike Colemeco show on PBS.

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1. Introduction: Hello, I am Pat LaFreida, a fourth generation butcher. I run Pat LaFreida Meat Purveyors, which is a third-generation meat supplier to the best restaurants in the country. My dad still doesn't get it, he always wants to know, why do they want to hear from the butcher? The idea that people are very interested in where their food is coming from now as opposed to his generation, it's changed dramatically. We see more and more people have the interests to be butchers. Today, I will teach you and you will learn how to now source meat correctly, according to grading. You will know all the different cuts that are available and you'll know how to cut those cuts into portions that you're going to actually prepare yourself. 2. Assignment: Prepare a Cut You've Never Tried Before: I want you to pay attention, don't cut yourself. As we go through each cut, you will learn how to prep that. When we do fillets, you will now learn the different by-products that come from a whole fillet. We will talk about New York Strip Steaks. You will know from the front, first cut to the last cut. What's good about each one and why. From a rib eye, there are two very distinct different cuts that come from it. You will determine what you like best, and now you'll know which side to order from. No one ever seems to know the difference between a T-bone and a Porterhouse. They are vastly different. I will show you the difference between both, and now, you'll be able to figure what goes best on your plate. Short ribs are delicious. You don't only have to cook them in the winter in a braising process. You can also grill them. We will talk about plate short ribs, which is the short of that. You need to be ordering. We all love a economy cuts that taste great. Chuck Flap Tail is one of those cuts. Another great economy cut that you will learn is the Flat Iron. Whether you come to my house or my dad's, while we're grilling, you're going to find outside skirt on our barbecue. An outside skirt is our favorite cut. This is something that we prize, and this is something that you better learn. The famous butcher's steak, the Hanger. Where's the Hanger from? Some say it's an acquired taste. I'm addicted to it, but beef tripe is one of my favorites. You need to know what part of the stomach you're ordering. Most don't know what the heck sirloin is, but after today you will know. We're going to separate the top part into two major muscle groups: the coulette and the sirloin steak. Now, take this knowledge, apply it correctly, and share with us on Skillshare. Upload your photos, so we can see your progress. 3. Using Knives: Most commonly, I'm asked, "Pat, what type of knives do I need to cut meat?" My friends and family will show me blocks of knives filled with knives that they don't need especially for cutting meat. We have just two knives that we use all night here at LaFrieda to portion thousands of cuts of beef for over 1,200 restaurants every night. One is scimitar knife. This is a new one, and it's very wide. As the life of this knife goes on, this will get more and more narrow as it goes to the knife sharpener. This is nice and thick, so it has the backbone to actually cut through fattened steak. As it gets more narrow, it's a little bit better and flexible to skin sinew off meat and to slice really thin slices of anything. What I love about a scimitar is that because it's so curved like this, as I'm cutting, I'm only touching the meat with this section so the point of it doesn't puncture or poke anything that I'm cutting. The only other knife that we use is a boning knife. This has to get through the meat to the bone, and actually, once we get to the bone, we're only really using the very end of the knife. We never want the knife to go too far into the meat where we can't control it or see what it's cutting. So, this part is exactly the part that we worry about staying sharp. Of all the knives that exist, a scimitar and boning knife is all the butcher needs. 4. Understading Meat Selection: A very difficult thing to do is to find a good retail butcher. When you don't have a butcher shop and something is pre-packaged, you're looking at that package. Now, if that package has a circle on it, and in that circle is a USDA establishment number, what most people don't know is that you could follow that meat all the way back to where it was processed. So, you're able to see the safety of where the beef is coming from and where it's coming from. It's very important. The difference between that and just someone in a butcher shop telling you that it is what it is, there's a big difference. So, you have trace-ability with the USDA, and you have food safety, which they're very very good at. When you don't have a supermarket with the USDA circle on it, and it's the butcher that's cutting the meat, you're looking for someone that you can engage in conversation with. We often say, most butchers wear white coats. Look at the coat that the butcher is wearing. Does he have a nice clean coat on, and the facility looks like it's sanitized? Very, very important. You're looking for the grading of beef. Within the USDA, there is a grading division. What the grader is looking for are two things, one is intramuscular fat. So, that's going to be these flecks of beautiful fat that run through the inside of the muscle. The other aspect is they want to see aging. The development of cartilage to bone is very important. What we're looking for in good beef is anything that's less than 30 months of age. Actually, to be much closer 24 months or under is the most desirable. As you could see, something that does not have much intramuscular fat has a very very pretty color. It's a little bit darker red than what's next to it, but a little bit less fat and will be a little bit more chewy. This would be utility grade. A steak like this comes from usually something over 30 months of age, which poses one more risk which is BSE, which is very rare, but it does exist and it has only been detected in animals over 30 months of age. Right next to it, this grade is called select. So, it has about 40 percent more intramuscular fat than utility. In order to even get into the select range, you have to be within that 30 months of age or less. One step up from that is choice. This is usually where you're going to have your Black Angus animals. Black Angus is a breed. It's just very consistent and the yield is great. The fact that it has a lot of intramuscular fat, makes Black Angus very desirable as a breed that we really love. When we jump from select into choice, which has about 40 percent more intramuscular fat, we then go to prime. As a country, this steak with this amount of marbling intramuscular fat which is going to make the steak very tender and very flavorful, this only represents four percent of what the entire country has to offer. Getting your hands on a piece of the four percent is very difficult, and that's why the price on prime is always very high. To go one step further, a Japanese-style beef, Kobe, which the American version is called Wagyu, and it gets very confusing. Wagyu just means Japanese-style beef made in America or grown in America. You could see the amount of intramuscular fat here, compared to our prime. It's a big, big difference. There's probably sometimes 40, 50, 60 percent more intramuscular fat in something that's Wagyu or Kobe. I still believe and amongst butchers, USDA prime is the best grade of beef that you can get, for an American-style steak. The Japanese version of cooking steak like this would be to slice this really thin and to sear gorgeous pieces like this that have that. So, a lot of that fat is going to go out in the cooking process. It's going to leave the cut and it's going to leave behind something that's very tender, very juicy. To cook an American-style cut using Japanese-style beef, it just has so much fat content in it that it's almost uncomfortable. So, for that great traditional American-style cut, USDA prime is the best. If you can't afford that or its not accessible, choice would be the next best selection. If you're on a budget or maybe you don't want that intramuscular fat, maybe you want a leaner steak, then you could go down to select or all the way down to utility. Personally, I stay in the choice and prime range, and that's what I feel is of best value and and the best beef in America has to offer. Most often I'm asked, where do I get prime beef? Really specialty butcher shops are going to have it available. When it comes to large supermarket chains, it's very rare to ever find that. When it comes to cooking any of these steaks, I would prepare all of these differently. So, if it's something that's very very lean, I love the flavor of eating almost raw beef. If I was going to make a Carpaccio or Carney Cuda, where I was going to grind it like steak tartare, that's what I would want because I don't like to eat raw fat. When it comes to, let's say, prime I want to get a real real serious hot sear on the outside. I want to make sure my grill is at about five or 600 degrees before I put the steak on there. So, I'm going to get that exterior sear and still leave the center a medium rare or rare, so I could taste the flavor, I could taste all the love that's been put into growing this steak. Again, when it comes to Wagyu or Kobe, anything like that with this amount of fat, the best way to cook that would be to sear this on both sides. This is going to be some of the most tender beef that you can ever eat. You just can't eat much of it. It's a little heavy. So, that's why you often see it as appetizers when it's served correctly. When it comes to beef consumption, there's a lot of negative press about its health concerns. Sure, if you're eating Kobe beef every night, it's a problem. Your every day steak would be something along the lines of select or choice because you don't have that intramuscular fat and what fat is there is really going to cook off and it's going to leave you with some very lean protein. For me what I call a Friday night steak or a Saturday night steak, a steak that I want to eat after a long week is the prime. That's USDA prime. That's what I'm going to treat myself to a great steak. So, if it's not in a supermarket and myself cooking it at home, I'm in a restaurant ordering that. That is my one guilty pleasure that I will take is to eat my prime steak. All beef is grass-fed for about 85 percent of its life. It's the last portion of its life which is very important. Anything of quality is finished on all natural grain and or corn. There's been a lot of debate as to whether or not that's healthy for the animal or not. I could tell you if you put corn on one side of a farm's field and you put grass on the other, the grass is not going to get touched. The animals love the corn. It puts that intramuscular fat on and the carbon footprint, which previously was thought to be much larger on corn finished product because you have to grow the corn, you have to grow the animal, it winds up that it's the opposite. So, in order to get a grass-fed steak to the same weight as something that's corn finished, it has to live that much longer and go well above the 30 months of age. So, it's very important to know that steer especially love corn. It's already ground for them so they can digest it as opposed to something that's grass-fed, you're not going to have much flavor. I've done flavor tests blindfolded with 20 people at a table and 20 out of 20 will choose something that's corn finished. I think that's important to say because as retail shoppers, we see these buzzwords, these marketing terms like grass-fed as if it's a real positive thing. As of right now, I have not had a grass-fed steak that I would take over something that was corn finished. The corn farmer is usually located right next to the beef grower. So, there's a very local sustainable circle that's created there. Corn growers love to grow corn, beef growers love to grow beef, and finish it off on corn so that we're getting into the choice and prime realm. The steaks that we love to eat, most people call cows, they're not cows. Cows are older animals that are over 30 months of age and are used for milking. We sell steer. Steer are younger. They are the castrated males. They are grown for this industry for great steaks. The next time you're telling your friends you're going out to buy beef, you can specify you going out to get steer. These are the things that I look for and that's how I select my beef. 5. New York Strip Steak: This is our New York strip steak. This is where the rib eye was separated from the loin. It's one of New York's most commonly eaten steaks. This happens to be prime, and you can tell by the intramuscular fat. I really like to cut these about an inch and a half because that gives us just enough to be able to sear these steaks and to keep a medium rare to rare interior. So, as I cut these steaks, I'm just going to take the excess fat off just about one-eighth of an inc. That's what I'm looking for in a New York strip, just like that. Now, what's important about New York strip steaks is that this is the loin and if the bone was still attached, this is where the T-bone is. The flay is on the opposite side of this. So if this was a short loin, we would be cutting New York strip steaks then T-bones and then porterhouse steaks. The problem with porterhouse steaks is that this side, about the last one-fifth of this, has a nerve that runs through it. It's partially not very tender where that nerve runs through right into the center of the steak. So, when you have two steaks, New York strips, one is perfect like this, and the other one has this nerve that runs through. This is an end steak. It's not what you're looking for. A little secret is that restaurants usually reserve the end steak because they have to use it in some capacity for all those people that love their steaks well done because the restaurants figure, "Heck, they don't know what they want anyway and they're not going to taste it and some of it will break down." You can use the end steak. The best way to use it would be to cut that nerve out as much as possible, square it off here, but as you can see, even cutting off the exterior still has that curve in it. So, if anything, if you were to see this steak at a marketplace, you should definitely be paying a premium for the center cut and a discount for the end steak. 6. Outside Skirt Steak: This is my prized possession when it comes to beef. This is an outside skirt steak. It does have membrane on both sides, and it's something that needs to be removed. You'll probably never see this on the actual meat, but I'll show you how it's removed. The reason that I love it so much, probably because my dad loves it so much, and I grew up eating this. It's not very tender, but the flavor is unlike any other cut in the animal, unlike any other cut. The problem is, there's inside skirt and outside skirt, and they're both part of a diaphragm, one's on the outer side, one's on the inner side. The flavor profile is completely different for inside skirt. When you go to a supermarket, it just says skirt, and it's very hard to tell the difference because this creations in the muscle look very similar in each of the two. So, that's where trust comes in to the butcher. When it comes to skirt, what we want to do is, take a scimitar knife, and what we're using is basically this part of the blade. The reason it's curved is, so that every time I go into this I'm not poking it. I'm just using the edge. I just want to get where that membrane was attached and separate it from the actual muscle without taking any of the muscle off if any. We come back here. So, where you see silver skin or the connective tissue, that can be very tough. So, that's why we want to remove that. There's a little fat on top of it, and we have to do that on all four sides. This membrane is what's holding the diaphragm together. So, as the animal breeds or any of us breathe, these muscles are what inhales and exhales, and helps the lungs get air into it and out of it. So, they're very important muscles, and they're used quite often, and that's what makes them so tough because Mother Nature would never want these to fail. So, usually when you get knocked down and you get the wind knocked out of you, as really a bruising of your skirt steaks. Now, here is that membrane. Now, that we've separated the connective tissue from all four sides that we're going to remove, and there's not much use for this, they're still going to be some sinew on top. So, what we want to do is get our scimitar knife right underneath it, and then remove it, and we will use what's in. On top is a handle. Once we get a little bit in, we hold it up and we could run the knife underneath. Now, it's a little difficult on skirt because skirts already a thin meat. Now, skirt steak was the original Romanian steak. So, in diners as a kid when Romanian steak was on the menu, which was always, this is what they served. In the last decade, it was almost revealed or discovered that there's so much flavor in this, that you'll almost never see to serve in a diner anymore because it's just way too expensive. To think on an 875 pound cold weight animal, there's only two of these. Each one of these weighs about two pounds or four pounds on nearly 900, makes it very expensive. Anytime we open our borders especially with the Pacific Rim, skirt steaks is part of the culture, and that's what they want. Skirt steaks, flank stakes, short ribs, you'll see those prices spike, anytime is a huge export to that region. This is our skirt steak. There are restaurants in your city that will serve this entire thing, just like this on the plate. What we normally do is cut this into about three even sized portions, and a great way to cook this because I don't have time to marinade meat a day in advance. I have a five-minute marinade which has basically inspired from Korean barbecue, put little Italian twist which is balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and a little cinnamon, a little Worcestershire sauce, and I marinade that for five minutes. Put this on the grill. Because it has such a strong flavor, that kind of marinade sticks to the outside, and not only do you get the main reaction, which is the browning of meats, which is the reduction of sugars. That's what makes steak pay so great when it's seared. You also get caramelization, so that's the actual cooking of the sugar that you've just put into the marinade. Either way, to me, there's no better flavored steak in the animal. So, this is the [inaudible] your favorite. 7. Chuck Flap Tail: When it comes to economy stakes, I love Chuck Flap Tail. Chuck Flap Tail is an extension of the short rib muscles, so this comes from the chunk of the animal. It is the same muscle as short lib but boneless. So, the four rib bones were there, but because it's in the chuck those are deboned and we're left with this beautiful piece that's rectangular in shape, but when we slice cross-sections, you'll see that the marbling is just superb. Now, chuck lib meat is not tender. So, there are two ways to cook this. Certain kind of barbecue marinades like Korean-style barbecue, or just to take this into barbecue it when it's thin is a great, great way to do all summer long. When it comes to the winter months, and I'll slice one more actually to the thickness that I like it, which is about one-third of an inch. To me, that's something that's absolutely delicious because all that intramuscular fat translates into flavor. And this meat that normally is tough it's tender it's just perfect because you do want some resistance in what you're eating. But when it comes to stews or anything braising, if you're going to make a roast, cutting this into a roast or cutting this into stew, putting this into Sunday sauce to braise. Any kind of braising technique would take this with all of the intramuscular fat and make this tasty already because it is short rib. This will become fork-tender. To braise this in a liquid for a few hours, it's a no-brainer. As we cut through you just see, is just pure, pure short rib meat. And an intramuscular fat there it's there naturally. So, even if you had an animal that graded select, or choice, there are some muscles in the animal that are always going to have intramuscular fat far greater than the rib eye or the New York Strip. The Chuck Flap Tail is one of them. This cut was made famous by Bill Buford's book called Heat. Where he followed along the chefs had bonobo restaurant one of Mariel fatalities for a year and I had gone for dinner there and ordered the short rib with the bone. It came out and it was boneless, and it was cubed like this, and on that following Monday, I had asked the executive chef, "Why was it boneless? What are you doing with the bones that I'm sending you?" He said, "No, we debone it. We just want the meat." From that one visit I turn them into using Chuck Flap Tail and save them 30 percent on their food cost and they've been using that cut ever since. Now, since then did many restaurants also catch on because they follow each other, and did the price go up slightly? Yes, but it's still a great cut and very little waste. 8. Filet Mignon: Every steer has two filets, so this is an entire filet mignon. Most likely, most accustomed to seeing this in a barrel cut. In our industry, we call this a PSMO, P-S-M-O. Peeled, meaning that the kidney fat which laid right on top of here actually used to come right on here. The problem was you never knew how big the filet was so it went to a peeled filet. So that's where they get the the P from. SMO? Side muscle on. So the first thing we're going to do to clean this is to remove what we call the chain muscle. So that's this muscle right here which runs along the side of it. It would be great if I had the same characteristics of the filet but it doesn't. Don't get me wrong, there's a use for it. None of this would go to waste. If we were to take a look at it, a cross-section of it, you'll see sinew, that connective tissue there is very tough. One could make mini filets and trim them, but to me, this is something more that you'd want to braise for a long time. So once we get that side muscle off, this part would be called the chateaubriand, and that's the head of the filet. So because there's another side muscle attached to the main body, a famous French dish, chateaubriand, was made from this. So instead of trimming all that off, this was cut right here, and then this was tied and roasted for two or three people. It's a great idea except it doesn't sell often. The way to center-cut filets out of this would be to follow the sinew around to the front right underneath it. Again, this would be more side muscle. What we want to do is, with our fingers, follow along where that silver skin goes. So this silver skin is not something that you want to eat because it's just very tough and it's nerve and acts as connective tissue as well. So, we want to clear any exterior membrane off. Where this actually separates, we're going to cut it with our knife off, very simply like that. Now, we'll get back to that in a second. Right now, what we want to do is to continue to take all of the silver skin off because this is something that is very chewy. Because filet is so expensive, each of these weigh about seven pounds, so that's 14 pounds per 900 pounds. There's only, obviously, two on each animal. We want to take that silver skin off without removing any of the meat. Now, when it comes to filet, it's a very common and the most tender cut in the entire animal, doesn't have the flavor that a New York strip or rib-eye has. That's why I love to make carpaccio out of this or eat this raw because it's very lean, very tender, and that's the way I can taste it's flavor profile. Our first cut, and if you were shopping for filet and you've got something that looked like this, you probably wouldn't want to pay 20 something dollars for a pound for that. However, this is very, very tender, so if you're buying whole filet, and I see them offered whole often, is once you took all the silver skin off, this is a great sandwich steak. This is something that you'd want to butterfly. To butterfly something, you just want to cut almost through it but not all the way. Roll it a little bit and repeat without cutting all the way through. What we're going to make is basically a medallion that's flat. So some call it minute steak because it takes a minute to cook. If I was making a Philly cheesesteak, this is what I would use, and for the palate for the steak sandwich, this is what we use. So now, that's all the properties of a filet, meaning, as the most tender cut in the animal. We're not going to let the tip or the tail go to waste. That's the way we would prep it. Anything after that is center-cut filet. We want to just make sure that we mold this a little bit so that, let's say, every two and a quarter inches, we're getting that center-cut look. There's a little fat on the inside where it was attached to the spine. The filet lies right below the spine. Now, as we get a little thicker, we're going to have to cut it a little more narrow. So we push down a little bit, the first cut, and then as we go down, we're going to just make sure we're about the same weight. The goal here is that if five people are sitting down to the table to eat filet, you'd want them all to think that they got the same size portion. That's why it takes many years to eyeball this to get these center-cut filets, but once we're done, we'll have probably seven portions that are pretty much identical, identical enough for your guests at your table to all feel that they were treated equally. Now, amongst yourselves, you could decide who was going to get the larger one. You got a scale. Now, since we got a little bit more narrow, we have to go a little bit longer. So it's a little bit longer, and push down and form it into that. Once cooked, you cannot see the difference between the two. So there are our eight portions. Now, this is again, too narrow. So with this, we're going to do the same thing. Two things you can do with this, you can make mini filets and have them as an appetizer. It's something that I often do because I can get my grill to 600 or 700 degrees and literally throw these on for about 30 seconds each and char the outside and eat them as like filet nuggets. They're delicious. So that's a secondary product that we're making out of the filet which would be mini filets. Then again, as small as a tail is, if you're making sandwich steaks, we're going to butterfly that also and open that up. It's not going to be as large as the first, but a couple of these fanned out on a steak sandwich is perfect. So there we have tips and tails butterflied. We have mini filets, and then we have our eight center-cut portions. We still have the head of the chateaubriand that we cut off. In that, as a butcher, it is my job to make sure I can get one center-cut filet out of this, because this has the same properties and characteristics of these. So not getting one more could put a butcher out of business because filet is already very expensive and has a lot of waste and takes a lot of labor and skill to carve it. Again, we're going to make tips and tails because we have to start somewhere. So we're very close to the center-cut filets. I'm going to cut a little bit off the back, and then potentially, if high enough, we're going to make two center-cuts out of this. Now, we just went from eight center-cut portions to ten, very important. With the tail, just like we did with the tip where we started, we're going to butterfly it again and make another minute steak. If doing this at home, just go slow. You're in no rush. Don't cut or push with a knife where you can't see. That's the best tip because once you don't see where the blades are going, you really have no control over what you're cutting. Of course, it's going to be irregular. We started off when it looked like a cone. Take the center of our knife and pound that down a little bit. The reason would be so that when you do cook this on a flat surface, we have a thickness that runs throughout which is very even. So that's plenty more than you would need for one sandwich. It's about eight ounces of sandwich meat or mini filets and then our center-cut filets. 9. Flat Iron Steak: This is the flat iron steak. It's become very popular lately because it was discovered recently that blindfolded. This tasted more similar to a New York strip steak but it's about a quarter of the price. This comes from the front shoulder. It has a lot of great flavor in it. The problem is it's actually two muscles separated by a septum down the center which is very difficult to remove and exterior sinew you on both sides. So, takes a little work to get to it, but it is worth it. I'm going to start by running our knife right underneath. I can feel where my knife is going and I just want to come out right underneath that skin. So now I have something to hold on to and I'm going to bring it back to me. The residual force or recoil of the pressure that I'm putting on the knife is always going in a direction that I'm not in so if this knife were to slip it's going this way as long as no one standing next to you like that's the goal and you control how much pressure you're putting on the knife. So, you know that if it were to slip exactly where it should be facing. So, that's part of the exterior. We're going to continue and clean this perfectly because any of this sinew or silver skin is very tough and you want to remove it. You could start to see how we have some very nice marbling and a cut that probably started off as choice but it would have the same marbling as prime beef on a New York strip would have. This sinew is so tough that actually I'm touching the interior of it with the tip of my knife and it won't puncture it. It'll just slide right underneath it and again great marbling. So, trying to get my handle here so that I have something to hold on to. Then as I run my knife through, it's translucent. I can see exactly where my blade is so I know where it is at all times. As soon as you start cutting into something like this and you don't know where your knife is, stop, readjust, feel, and start again. So, for the most part the exterior is cleaned. That was the easy part. The hard part is that we have two muscles here. They're both separated by a real thick piece of sinew similar to what we just removed. We want to get to it. We could see where it starts here without cutting too much of the actual protein which is almost impossible. We're going to cut some protein so I don't want anyone to get dismayed. If they start cutting into the steak, what's going to happen. But what you want to take place is you want to be able to get your knife to run across that silver skin. So, if you can see that in there, almost as if you're shaving. Because when you then cover it with the protein to pull, you can feel where that silver skin is. See how my knife just slid right across it. You don't want it to escape you. So, if you see the angle of my knife right now, it's pointing right down at the silver skin but it's not cutting through it, which is a good thing. So, it's just cutting straight across it. What we'd like to do out of this one cut is to make four equal portions and they're all going to look like flank steak but tastes like New York strip. So, as long as I can still see this silver skin, I know that I'm in the right place. So, that's one side off. Now, when I turn this over it's like we're starting from scratch again because now I have exterior silver skin that I need to remove. So, I'm going to come right underneath that again till I get to it. Again what we want to do is we want to use the exterior as a handle or something to hold onto so that we can hold it when we slide our knife above it. It goes from end to end so we really have to get all the way to the source of it. Now, you can see where it's trying to get away from my knife. There's one way to prepare this without taking the silver skin off and that is to braise it. So, if you were braise it for a few hours, this silver skin turns into a delicious gelatinous experience that I've only had in very few restaurants that took their time to do that. Otherwise, this is perfect for grilling. To grill, we can't have any of that on. So, that is our cleaned flat iron. We'll squared it off. So, our two portions that we will get from this will be here. So, the appearance of a flank steak, the tenderness and the flavor of New York strip. I come back on the other side and do the same thing and these are our four portions that were going to get out of that one flat iron that would be eight portions per animal but still one quarter of the price of what a New York strip steak would cost but now much more flat. It's much more narrow. So again, high heat sear, serve medium-rare slice put out it'll taste the same and you'll save yourself a lot of money. Unlike flank steak where you see the long striations in the muscle, this tastes like the New York strip and it as tender as New York strip because you don't have those striations and the muscles are very tight, the fibers are very tight. So, you could start on an angle and get really beautiful strips and fannels out on a plate like so. Depending on the cut, it's been my experience that in dealing with an economy cut, it is not a bad thing, but a lot of restaurants like to slice the steaks to send that out because there's just nervous that maybe their customer may cut it incorrectly and have a bad experience. I think that you see sliced at a restaurant, it's most likely because they wanted to ensure that you had a great experience. So that's the way I would slice my flat irons steaks. 10. Hanger Steak: This is Hanger steak. This is most normally known for being the butcher's steak, the reason for that is that it's not symmetrical. As you can see, one side is about one-third larger than the other. It's also separated right here by a real thick piece of sinew so that has to be removed and once that's removed, you have two very different very striated cut of beef. Butchers, used to take this right off the animal and put it to the side and make beef stew or just put it on skewers and heated over an open fire and during the night eat it. There's a great story of my grandfather, was next to a pastrami maker and he cut hanger steak and he put it on the end of his butcher's needle through the tenement building that they were in, through a crack to the pastrami maker. The pastrami maker would take it off and eat it and put a piece of half pastrami on and they would exchange back and forth. It took a long time before chefs realized the flavors here, you could see this as darker, it has a more enriched flavor, it just takes a little bit of skill to get to it. We're going to start by taking the exterior off anywhere where we see sinew, and we're going to do that on both sides. Two things, this breaks a myth. Most people say, "Oh, this is a very tender cut of meat because it's not used often or this is a very tough piece of meat because it's used often." This is not used often and it's tough, as a butcher Angelo Bonsono ways to teach me, an old timer that my dad had training me when I was a kid. As butchers, we never say anything is tough, it's just less tender than other cuts. Because of the striations in the muscle and you can see it there, you could see the strands of muscle fiber held together by collagen, is really holding it together, that is going to be less tender. To slice that thin, is one way to take care of that problem and to make sure that it's an enjoyable experience and not feel like you're chewing on a shoe. Again, the flavor of hanger steak is incredible and that's what gives it its value. Now, that sinew runs between the two, so now with my boning knife, I'm going to cut all the way to it. Where I could see it all the way across, I'm going to use that and shave, and run my knife right along it. If I cut too hard into it, I'm going to cut throw it and don't want to do that. So, as I'm pulling on one side of the hanger releasing the protein from the other, I just keep pulling and rolling. When I'm done, there'll be no protein wasted and that's what we're looking to do. So, we've free this side of any sinew. You can see there's actually good marbling in this. This is a huge portion. So, this is about 16 ounces. Would probably cut that into two eight-ounce portions. Now, we have to remove the sinew from the second side. Again, we run our knife underneath, blade facing up and slender knife back to us, removing it once and for all. Butchers had a hard time selling this cut because not only was it already damaged, now this does not look like much. But let's say we were to take the less-desirable looking piece and we were to grill this and then where we have striation, this way, we need to cut against that. So, in order to cut against that, as you can see the lines are here, we would do just that and that is going to break up a lot of the fiber and a lot of the collagen that I was talking about and most certainly, I've only ever had hanger steak that was sliced and fanned out. Now, cutting in on an angle like this, enables us to do two things; we're breaking through the creation, and we're also making the pieces longer than what they would normally have been. About halfway through the hanger, another tricky part, the striation turns the other way. So, we'll turn this the other way, finding again, now the striations are in this direction. So, we're going to start all over again and cut against it. The first one-third, so that's the one side of the hanger steak because it's not symmetrical, is here and now I have separated the other two-thirds so that we have equal portions and just like I did with the first, we're going to find striations and no muscle which were running this way and turn it so that we can cut against it and do the same thing we did with the first steak. So, again, just when we get about two-thirds of the way through now my striations are in this direction I have to actually turn the cut around and follow and be perpendicular to that. So, my first cut is going to be a little uneven and now I'm going to get back into cutting across the grain. I am completely against the grain, with each slice. Because now I've cut through the muscle fiber, I've cut through the striations, so it will be tender. If you follow this technique and you prep it this way and you serve it this way, this is something that I recommend especially from a price standpoint, you can't get a less expensive beef protein with this much flavor anywhere else on the animal. Take the septum out, take all the sinew off, take the silver skin off, and really look for the striations in the muscle, and cut against them if you do it like that and make sure again, this is not something that you want to overcook, it's not forgiving, this is something that needs to be grilled perfection. So, you have a little room, a little margin of error in there that will not ruin the experience, but you really want again, I can't stress this enough is a thin meet, high-heat, short amount of time, rested for about five minutes after grilling, and you're ready to slice. In an undervalued stake still, yes this is still an economy cut and has amazing flavor. 11. Top Butt Steak: A term often used which is sirloin is never really used correctly. Sirloin has to do with three different muscle groups; the peeled knuckle, the flap meat and the top butt. This is the top butt. In the top butt, we will get legitimate sirloin steaks and a coulotte. The coulotte is this thin steak that's right here. It's triangular, it is very big in Argentinian cooking and is a byproduct of making sirloin steaks. So to remove that, we're going to use a boning knife, and we're going to pull back, and we can see where this is starting to separate already without me even putting a knife in. I'm just going to follow along that line. We pull a lot with our hands, always better than a knife. We know we can't cut anything incorrectly. We want to pull out coulotte off in one piece. Now the coulette is something that can be rolled and cooked on a steak and then sliced, and I think that's the most common way that it is prepared. I'm going to to cut both so that you can completely understand both uses and both cooking methods. So, the top butt is actually the love handle from the back of the steer. We'll put the sirloin steaks aside for a second. We'll clean up the coulotte. I just want to remove any of this exterior fat and sinew, and you can start to see this triangular piece almost looks like a beef triangle. Often in the warehouse or in butcher shops, it does get confused for beef triangle. Again, following that sinew underneath because we need all that off. So from here down is all fat. We're going to put that to the side, and on the top, we're not going to remove all the fat because we want a little bit of a fat cap. So, we're going to run a knife about a quarter down to an eighth of an inch or fat cap on top so we have something to cook with. Now the blue ink, during the grading system and for traceability, food dye is used by the USDA and the grading board to identify the plant that it comes from. So this would have the USDA number on it if it wasn't in vacuum. That's the way you can identify what grade of beef it, what yield yield of beef it is. Quite often I get calls concerned about blue ink in or on meat. But it is completely harmless and again it's just food dye. Okay. So that is our coulotte muscle, and if we were gonna make traditional coulotte steaks, we would cut these down fairly thin, and I would take a little bit more of the fat off just enough so that when it's cooked, it dissipates. So that is just enough to eat and not have to trim off. So that is a traditional coulotte steak. The other way to prepare this is to put this whole piece on a skewer and then roast this whole. So when you go to some restaurants and they have the medium skewers and they come all out and slice them, what they're doing is they're slicing this across the grain and it's delicious. So, that is true sirloin. Now sirloin steaks come from the bottom part of that top butt, which I'm going to move into the center. If you can see, this is a really, really white steak if we were to cut it like this. So, taking that one slice off about an inch and a quarter will give us a sirloin steak. They're never this big. What normally happens here is when you get sirloin steaks and they have that rectangular look, it's because they're cut in half. So, this can be shaped to look like the other side just by finishing it off in a rectangle position and the same with this, and it's just cosmetics and these are sirloin steak. So you have your sirloin steak and your coulotte both off the legitimate sirloin. In many French bistros, this is used as the bar steak. So, to get a sirloin steak cut off of here, again, about an inch inch and a quarter you'll never going to see it like this especially in a French bistro. You'll get it squared off and trimmed, and now you have your bar steak. On any type of steak that's this lean, you want some type of exterior fat. In this case, we're going to leave about one-eighth of an inch of fat on here so that there's some fat presence because let's face it, that is the flavorful part. So if it's not on the interior, you need at least a little bit of a cap on the exterior to cook with, and it's up to that particular cooking method or that chef or that customer as to how much they want to leave. Industry standard, we'll call for about an eighth of an inch. If you look on the other side, because the muscle changes and the fat cap changes, you have to check the other side where it would be a little more about a quarter of an inch. Then to get the two to equal, you want to put the wider side of fat down on the cutting board. What you do is you would cut on an angle toward it so that you can evenly get down to a quarter. What we're doing is we're using the cutting board as resistance so that my knife can slice through the fat so that we have just that little bit of cap now on both sides. So we have it on here and equals on here. So when that steak comes out, very lean protein, very good, not as much intramuscular fat as I would like, but at least there's a little bit on the outside for flavor. Often people think sirloin means something greater and bigger. You hear a lot about ground sirloin. It's meaningless. Ground sirloin most likely are the trimmings that come off of this. I don't think there are many great qualities about this. It's very lean, so it's a lean protein but it's usually sold at a premiumlavour. 12. Rib-Eye Steak: This is an entire rib eye. The front end of where the front of the animal is, is on this side and we're going to cut this first. This is my most favorite side. This is often called the end cut of the rib eye. Either way this is where the flavor is. So, if I cut an inch and a quarter steak, I'll show you the reason I love it so much. Besides the marbling of the main muscle which is the longissimus muscle. This spinalis muscle is most prominent here. It actually runs out as it goes towards the center of the animal but this is also called rib eye cap, or rib eye cap meat. It has an excess amount of intramuscular fat and flavor that's beyond. So, it's kind of like two different experiences in one rib eye in one stake. Now, let's compare that to the front. This is called the front, although it faces the rear of the animal and is located in the center. If we were to cut the same size steak. You'll see a very different cross section between the two. So, where the New York strip steak was removed is where the rib eye started. So, in essence it's the same muscle as a New York strip steak all the way down to the end. That's why I love what is called the end stake because I have an extra bit of fat cap. This fat here in the center is called walnut fat. Walnut fat sometimes can get a little excessive. You can't remove it, there's no way to get it out of there without leaving a hole. And if you don't know the anatomy of a rib eye steak and you say that a rib eye steak or may complain at one is too fatty, is probably because you didn't realize they cut around that walnut fat. Once you have that experience you'll cut around it put into the side and know that it's actually a very good thing. Again, this is the whole rib eye. First cut, end cut, my favorite This spinalis muscle has become so prized that restaurants actually only buy that muscle. A way to prep that is to take it, season it, roll it, tie it, and cut it into medallions almost like filet mignon rib eye steaks. It's absolutely delicious and my most favorite cut after outside skirt steak. 13. Tripe: This is tripe. This is one of the four stomachs of the animal. This is called honeycomb tripe because this is where you can actually see where food that's being digested is taken into the bloodstream and used for energy by the animal. This tripe goes through an intense cleaning process and bleaching process so that it's very safe to eat, and it has a very distinct gamey flavor. This is something that I boil for about two hours and then throw into red sauce, and especially during the holidays, is one of the most craved items that go on my table. My brother, my dad, and I will consume pounds of this and then we lose our appetite for everything else. So, right now I serve it with everything else, otherwise that's all we eat for the day. Honeycomb tripe needs to be cut. So, it's kind of Julienned and it's very simple. We're just going to take slices about this thick. Now, this by itself is very tough. You can imagine a stomach wall and how important it is for that not to burst or to be cut in any way. So, taking these Julienne slices and then slow cooking them is what's going to get them to break down and be real tender. Tripe, historically, has been inexpensive, and I would say according to the beef market and how high the beef market historically as today, it still is on the inexpensive side of things. This is definitely an acquired taste. I've never met anyone in their adult age that has tried tripe for the first time and liked it. It's all of us that have grown up eating it that have a passion for it and can't get enough of it. When I make it, traditionally it's made with peas and potatoes cut up into tomato sauce or Sunday sauce. We like it so much that we cut the peas and the potatoes out just so they don't get in the way of us eating the tripe. So, I would say that's an addiction. That's the way I slice them, and when it comes to tripe or beef stomach in general, you're looking for the honeycomb. That's this section, because there are four sections of the stomach in beef. This is the one section that tastes great. The other two a less desirable and are sold at a discount and the way to tell if it's honeycomb is to actually see that shape there and all that surface area though. Only reason that's there is to increase the surface area of the food that's being digested so that the body can absorb it and that is fresh tripe. 14. Short Loin Steak: This is a short loin. This is from the hind quarter, and this here is the New York strip steak. So, all New York strip steak, and halfway down, our fillet begins. So, the tail of the filet mignon actually starts right in here, right beneath this kidney fat. We'll get a good look at the fillet when we turn this. So, this is all fillet, and this is the end of the New York strip. So, when we cut our porterhouse steaks, technically, our porterhouse steaks come from the first two cuts. Then the fillet gets a little bit more narrow, we call those T-bones, because the argument is that the fillet is not large enough to call it a porterhouse. So, we'll get a few T-bone steaks out of it, and then when fillet gets really narrow, we're just going to cut New York strip steaks. Because that's what this whole part is. What I like about porterhouse is that you have the two different experiences with the bone, so you have nice tender fillet, you have a very tasty New York strip. What I don't like about it is that the actual porterhouse side has the vein steak, so that vein steak that runs through it can be a little tough. So, you have to cut around that, and make sure that is taken off as much as possible. So, if I were to flip this, this is all kidney fat. Peels right off. So, that would be the first thing I would do is start to peel this off. Now, beef fat is very desired for many different uses to include baking, or rendering, beef lard is made from it. It's a really clean product. At one point, all cosmetics were made with beef fat. This fillet now, you can see exactly where it was cut, so the head of the fillet, which was the Chateaubriand, is actually in the hind leg, and the fillet continues here, until I would say we could safely stop around here cutting T-bones. Now, what do we do with that fillet that's left here? That will become a fillet tip and tail, so that's something that, from this one short loin, we're going to get a couple of different cuts. We're going to remove that fillet there, and take off any exterior fat, and make, again, a great appetizer which are mini fillets. Once the fillet gets too narrow, that's when we're going to have to come in and butterfly it. For our sandwich steak slash minute steak, we're going butterfly this open and get the same thickness throughout. With a few of these bad boys, we have some of the best steak sandwiches that you could ask for. So, everything from here onto the front are going to be bone and New York strips. We're going to get two T-bone steaks and two porterhouse steaks. Now that we have our short loin cut, our first two cuts are the porterhouse. We want to be very careful in removing this kidney fat here. So, kidney fat removed. We want to make sure that we have that layer of fat that we talked about, about an eighth of an inch. Now, anywhere along here where we see that we have silver skin, we're going to want to remove that. Because that's the part that is tough. Once it goes into the main cut, we can't remove it, it gets thinner, so it's not as bad. But what's important to know when you're cutting steaks like this is that because the back of the animal is arched, because we have about a half an inch of fat on this side doesn't mean it's the same on the other side. So, we want to be careful, even though we're going to get to an eighth of an inch over here, it doesn't mean it's the same on this side. So, clearly, we have much more fat on this side. We're going to use the board, we're going to cut toward the board. Whittle that down, not actually getting to the protein, but as close to it as possible. That exterior fat is what's going to give this steak some flavor and keep it moist during the cooking process. So, that's a porterhouse steak. You see how big the fillet is. So you have fillet, here's your T-bone, and here's your New York strip steak. So, we get two porterhouse steaks out of the short loin, and we're going to get two T-bones out of the short loin. The T-bones have the same trimming that we need to do. But that vein now, instead of running through the actual protein, is on the exterior, so it's not an issue. We do want to cut what we call a corner off, again, where we could see that. Then I like to turn this on its side, so I can see both sides of this strip. Just making sure that the fat is even on both sides. This tail is going to come off completely, and what's left of the kidney fat, we want to take off without damaging the fillet at all. So, as you can see, and this is a very common question that's asked, what's the difference between a T-bone and a porterhouse? The difference is the fillet is about 40 percent larger on the porterhouse, yet the New York strip part of it has a vein that runs through. Whereas, the T-bone, the fillet is smaller, so the perceived value is not as much, however, on the New York strip, the vein is on the exterior of the steak. So, this is a much more tender, much more valuable New York strip steak. What's left after this is the New York strip. Because now the fillet has run out where it's not wide enough at all to call it a T-bone, that's what we'll cut next. After that fillet runs out, now we have our T-bone, but we're going to cut on the bandsaw that bit of T off, because there's no supporting fillet behind it. There's no reason to have that bone there. So, once that's trimmed off with a saw, in our case, a bandsaw, we're going to then cut right below the secondary I is our guideline, and you can almost see without even take a knife to it, there's a natural quarter of an inch line that runs all the way down. You can just follow that line all the way to the top. Always felt that it was amazing that that line is actually there already. Without even cutting, just pulling back on the steak like that, I'm getting my eighth of an inch. When I get to the corner, there's a lot of sinew there. What I want to do is cut right through that, so that I don't have that interfere with my steak. We're going to cut a little bit of the kidney fat of that's left, and that's my New York strips. Of my short loin, I got two porterhouse steaks, two T-bone steaks, and four New York strips. All three from that one primal cut. 15. Short Ribs: Welcome to Short Ribs. In Short Ribs, what we're looking for are plate short ribs. Plate. Those are from three specific rib bones. So, these three rib bones which are bones five, six, and seven are the only place where this short rib meat is found. Now, this meat continues into the chuck, but while it's on a rib bone, it can only come from these three, because after that, the meat gets so thin that it's more bone and waste than it is anything else. Now, what's great about short rib is that despite the grade of beef, it usually has a lot of marbling. So, if you can look at all this delicious marbling here, this is what makes your short rib a short rib. There are a few ways to cut it. So, first we're looking for plate short rib. Second, from this point down, it's mostly fat, and if we were to remove that part, and I'll separate this from the bone, you could see from one side it's all fat to where there's a little bit of thin meet and the rest is bone. So, when shopping for short ribs, you want short ribs that have meat on them. So, these are called first-cut short ribs. This is the first, let's say, 80 percent of the plate short rib. Anything beyond that, you could use for stock or to make any consumable but not for grilling. Now, short ribs cut an inch and a half thick, is called flunken style. So, this is something that's going to be braised. Short ribs are very very tough. The most amount of collagen in any muscle come from the short ribs. So, braising this for a few hours leaves a part of it tender and delicious. This is truly one of the best cuts in the animal. This is more of a Korean-style, so, if you wanted to grill because I'm not going to wait all winter to braise short ribs flunken style. In order to combat, this being tough naturally they can be cut into about a third of an inch pieces. This on a barbecue is very tender. My favorite is Korean-style barbecue, it has some brown sugars in it, those brown sugars help to break down the collagen and make it even more tender, but those are the options. So, we have a thin one third of an inch cut, we have what we call flunken style which is about an inch and a half, where we have the entire short rib. Now, if we were going to cook this entire short rib, with that bottom part removed, we can cut straight down and each of these can be served to a person as one portion. So, what we would do is french the bone that's right above where the meat is, and what's going to happen during a braising process, is that this meat is going to contract down. So, you'll have a clean bone off the top that, come time to serve you'll be able to stand and it's a really cool presentation and a different take on short ribs. But any which way, any of these presentations or any of these cooking methods are perfect for this cut. 16. Conclusion: With the thirst of knowledge of where meat comes from, just the demand that the general public has, we're really excited that we were able to put something together that shows me in the correct light and breaks the elements and explains about each of the cuts and how they should be prepared and what to look for. I knew how to write the book. I knew how to put it together, just becoming the staple of meat. On my day off, I want to do nothing other than to char brussels sprouts, cook skirt steak on my grill, and pair it with Tato's vodka, with enough lime, the squeeze, the entire line all over my drain. That is my perfect Saturday afternoon. Now take this knowledge and share with us on Skillshare. Upload your photos so we can see your progress. 17. Hungry for More?: