Everything You Need to Know about Natural Angus Beef Cuts
When it comes to beef cuts, you probably know a few of them. Ground beef. Steak. Maybe sirloin or ribeye? Roasts. Ribs.
But, when you’re at the meat case or ordering from a menu, some specific cuts of beef—chuck roll roast, hanger steak—may seem unfamiliar. What’s the difference? Isn’t a roast a roast and a steak a steak?
Well, not exactly. There are dozens of Natural Angus beef cuts to choose from and knowing the one that’s best for your next meal does take some know-how. However, this quick guide from Aspen Ridge® Natural Angus Beef will help. We’ll break down cuts from grill-ready steaks to the perfect roast—and offer some delicious and simple recipes as well. It’s an easy way to feel more confident at the meat case and in the kitchen.
Natural Angus Beef Cuts: The Basics
Before we get into some of the specific cuts, it’s important to have some background information on how it all works.
Breaking down beef into recipe-ready products is a tiered process. Beef cuts can be categorized into four quarters that are then sectioned out, resulting in multiple categories of cuts—all of which point to the region that the meat comes from and provide insight as to the flavor, tenderness, and marbling of the meat.
Primal and Subprimal Beef Cuts
There are two overarching categories of beef cuts: primal and subprimal cuts. Primal refers to one the of eight regions below.
Primal Cut Beef Chart
Primal cuts are then divided into subprimal cuts, such as tenderloin or short loin. What you see in the grocery store or on a restaurant menu (such as New York Strip or T-bone steak), are products that come from the subprimal sections. Essentially, these are the products that have been portioned and are ready to eat—primal and subprimal cuts are too big to cook and consume at home, so they must be broken down before they’re sold.
Now that We Have the Basics of Beef Cuts …
Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at some of the most common retail-ready cuts.
Natural Angus Ribeye Steak: Rich & Juicy
A favorite among beef lovers, the ribeye steak is a staple on any restaurant menu or in any meat case. It’s cut from the rib area of the beef, making it highly marbled and tender. The Natural Angus ribeye steak is tasty whether fresh off the grill, smoked, or cooked in a skillet. You can choose a boneless ribeye for easy cooking or bone-in for an impressive presentation. For a tasty all-in-one meal, try Ribeye with Pan-Fried Corn or Grilled Ribeye with Garlic Fries.
Other great cuts from the rib primal: Prime rib roast, short ribs, and back ribs.
Natural Angus New York Strip: Fire Up the Grill
Cut from the loin – the area right below the backbone and from where many premium steaks are cut – the Natural Angus New York strip steak is a tender, lean cut perfect for grilling. With bold, beefy flavor and its steakhouse origins, this cut has become an iconic, go-to steak.
Why “New York”? While this cut is also referred to as simply “strip steak,” the traditional name came from a 19th-century New York City restaurant called Delmonico’s where the cut originated.
Try this simple two-ingredient marinade a delicious, caramelized flavor on the grill: Bourbon Street New York Strip. Or get hearty, rich flavor in a skillet with this recipe for Braised Steak and Onions.
Other great cuts from the loin primal: T-bone, Porterhouse, and Beef Tenderloin.
Natural Angus Top Sirloin: Lean & Oh-So-Tasty
The sirloin primal is divided into two sections: top sirloin and bottom sirloin. The top is ideal for grilling, while the bottom works well for roasting. Top sirloin steak is cut—well—from the top area, making it incredibly flavorful and juicy. Although it works well for grilling, it’s an incredibly versatile cut—serve it as a steak or tenderloin, slice it up for stir fry, or cut it up for kabobs. You can also prepare it in the smoker, under the broiler, sous vide, or in a skillet.
Other great cuts from the sirloin primal: Tri-tip steak.
Natural Angus Chuck Roast: Perfect for the Slow Cooker
Near the shoulder of the cattle, the chuck area is tougher than some areas of the beef, as it supports the weight of the cattle throughout the lifespan. However, this primal produces a rich, beefy flavor that you won’t want to miss out on. Slow cooking and braising are the best ways to add tenderness and fully bring out the flavor.
There are a few different cuts of chuck roasts, but you can’t go wrong with the classic Chuck Roll Roast. This easy recipe combines Aspen Ridge Natural Angus Beef, red wine, vegetables, and herbs for comfort food the whole family will love.
Other great cuts from the chuck primal: Shoulder clod arm roast, cross-rib chuck roast.
Natural Angus Country-Style Ribs: Meaty and Boneless
Also cut from the chuck area, Natural Angus country-style ribs are made by splitting a chuck eye steak in half lengthwise. Slow cook them stovetop or in a pressure cooker, and for a little char consider finishing them on the grill. Savor a delicious blend of sweet and spice with Asian Sweet & Spicy Ribs. Or find a new game-day favorite with these Buffalo-Style Beef Bites.
Learn More About Natural Angus Beef Cuts
Want to learn more about beef cuts? Check out our blog post Preparing Versatile Cuts of Natural Angus Beef for cooking tips on beef tenderloin, ground beef, and others. Also, learn about different beef cooking methods and which cuts of steak are best for each method.