It’s important to us that you get the best cuts.
Here, we look at meat from all angles, helping you to make the most of our delicious meat with advice on buying and cooking – plus loads of fantastic recipes to try.
Beef: The best cuts for...
Rib of Beef/Striploin
Without doubt the Rib of Beef is the best piece of meat to roast. It has a good covering of fat to baste the roast and the meat is very tender. See what Delia Smith has to say about how best to cook it. (we’ll take the ‘British is Best’ part with a pinch of salt!)
Here’s some advice from Delia Smith on how to roast Beef. Click here.
This is suitable for high heat roasting or braising.
This is a cut of meat that sits beside the …you guessed it… Shoulder Blade. It is relatively tender and very flavoursome. It is ideal for slow cooking in a casserole dish (as is the Topside). Other cuts from this area are the Oyster /feather/ flatiron steak. It has lovely marbling which gives it a great taste.
This is a slow braising dish. Sometimes called a Daube of Beef this piece of meat comes in a portion size and usually weighs about 350-400 gr. When cooked it will be a very generous portion for one.
It is best slow cooked in a casserole dish with a marinade of red wine (there are many recipes on the internet) for 6-8 hours over a low low heat. Chefs cook them in vacuum pouches in a bath of 62degrees water. We sell them in individual vacuum pouches if you wish to cook them this way yourself.
This is a slow braising dish.
This comes from the leg of the animal and is best for stewing. Because the leg muscle works a lot the shin is very flavoursome and its toughness will disappear with long slow cooking. AS the meat breaks down in the cooking it releases its intense flavour into the liquid of the stew.
Chuck of beef
This is ideal for a stew.
This is the meat that comes from the neck and shoulder of the animal. It is usually cut into 1 inch cubes and sold as stewing beef. Like the shin it is very flavoursome and melts in your mouth when cooked slowly for a decent length of time.
The beauty of slow cooking is that it is difficult to get it wrong! The only danger is that you don’t have sufficient liquid in the pan as it can boil off if the pan isn’t covered or the heat is too high.A perfect temperature is when the liquid is barely simmering.
This cut requires slow cooking in a liquid.
The Brisket is a very large long piece of meat that is cut from each side of the breastbone. In America it’s sometimes refer to as The Plate which is the big single piece of lean meat that is within the Brisket.
They tend to use it for slow roasting or Pastrami.
In Ireland Brisket is sold sometimes as a Pot Roast but mainly it is salted and sold as Brisket Corned Beef. There tends to be fat running through it and when boiled, the meat is fork-tender and the fat lovely and sweet – a favourite in our shop.
Silverside / Tailend
This cut is best when slow cooked.
This is a large very lean piece of meat from beside the Topside and as the name suggests, it comes from the rear end of the animal ! In Ireland it is always salted and sold as corned beef. It is too tough to eat as steak. At Christmas time butchers will rub a special mix of spices onto the outside of it and sell it as Spiced Beef. Corned Beef is always boiled in water and is very tender and flavoursome when cooked.
This requires slow cooking or can be twice-cooked.
This is a relatively new cut in Ireland and consists of the 1st – 5 th rib, cut about 6 inches long with the thick layer of lean and flavoursome meat attached. It is also known as Short Ribs or Thick Cut Ribs. They are slowly braised until the meat falls from the bone.
The Sirloin can be grilled or fried when cut into steaks or oven-roasted when left whole.
This is a tender cut of meat that sits on top of the hip. It is sold in shops as Sirloin Steak or Rump Steak and it is ideal for frying or grilling.
It consists of a couple of different muscles and sometimes the butcher will seam it into cuts such as London Broil, which is a beautifully flavoursome cut (also known as Pichana) which can be roasted whole.
For grilling or frying.
A long tender muscle that sits on either side of the backbone, it is very tender and makes beautiful steaks with a nice covering of fat. Also called a New York Strip and is sometimes confusingly referred to as Sirloin. The Fillet sits under this and when they are left attached to the bone and cut as steaks you get a T-Bone Steak ( named after the shape of the bone ) a heifer that a butcher will sell in his shop will weigh about 280- 350 kg. The whole Fillets from this will weigh about 4 – 6kg.
This is the soft underbelly of the animal that has some large cuts of meat whose texture is very loose because of the expansion and contraction of the belly. These cuts are being used increasingly by restaurants as they seek tasty alternatives to the scarce and therefore expensive fillet. The Bavette is a large piece of meat weighing 900gr – 1500gr. The French love it and most of the Bavette produced by Irish Factories would be exported to France. Marinate in a little oil and lemon and fry over a high heat til just rare and it is a delight. The Flank/Goose steak comes from this region also and is very popular for Beef Stirfry. The Skirt Steak also comes from here but is a poor cousin to the Bavette.
Suitable for high heat frying, grilling or roasting
This cut consists of the meat between the 5th and the 12th. Rib of the animal (there are 13 ribs). This is where we get the Ribeye steak, hugely popular in restaurants for its flavour and tenderness. The Cube Roll is the same cut of meat except it is left in one piece for roasting. This is also where we get the Rib Roast that our grannies cooked for Sunday dinner. The Rib roast is either left with the rib bones in or they are taken out by the butcher and he ties the meat up into a roll for cooking.
Lamb: The best cuts for...
Leg of lamb
This is suitable for high heat roasting.
The leg is great for roasting for a large group of people. Weighing 2.2kg – 3 kg it will feed 6-10 people. It is best roasted in the oven on a roasting tray. It can be cut in half and sold by your local butcher as a fillet of lamb and a shank of lamb. There are many great recipes on the internet from simple roasting with seasoning and herbs and garlic to marinated in yoghurt and barbequed!
Lap/breast of lamb
It is best as a braising joint if being cooked in the oven.
This is a large flat piece of meat that is full of flavour. It can be chopped into slices and panfried or boned and stuffed and braised with some stuffing inside. One piece would be enough for two.
Rack of Lamb
This is best cooked on a high heat
Also known as Best End. This is a beautiful cut of meat consisting of 8-9 ribs of meat and is best simply roasted with garlic and herbs. One rack will feed 2-3 people depending on the size of the rack.
Gigot / Shoulder chops are cut from the Forequarter or shoulder and are best when braised . The lamb is most tender before November and the gigot can be panfried while still young. Cook with the bone attached and the bone will impart its flavour into the dish. Sideloin Chops are very tender and can be panfried or grilled. When left in the piece it is called a Rump of Lamb and Restaurants roast it.
Centre loin chops are equally tender. They are expensive and on a 25kg lamb one will only get 1.5kg -2kg of centre loin.
This is a slow cook cut.
This is a relatively inexpensive piece of meat. There is more bone and connective tissue inside it but once cooked slowly, the fat melts away and gives the lamb a wonderful flavour. This can be bought on the bone or butcher will bone and roll it for you. Jamie Oliver has some wonderful recipes for this.
This is a slow cooked cut of meat.
Also known as Scrag End. When cut into chops it is great for stews and casseroles. You can also take out the bone and when cooked, roll it tightly in cling film and chill before slicing it for a tasty salad.
This is best slow roasted or braised in a casserole.
The fore-shank comes from the shoulder and the hind-shank comes from the back leg. The hind shank is the more desirable and when the lamb is young it is perfectly good for roasting with lashings of herbs and garlic. The fore-shank is best braised in a casserole dish and needs slow cooking.
This is suitable for stewing or casserole cooking.
This can be cut from the Shoulder or the leg. The leg tends to be leaner and more uniform in size and therefore more expensive but the Diced Lamb from the Shoulder is equally good and the connective fat tends to melt away and add to the flavour of the dish.
This is best when fried.
Tender and flavoursome, it is best panfried as is or coated in seasoned flour and panfried. Be careful of overcooking as it becomes hard and dry if overcooked. Press it with your finger while on the pan. a little springiness and its perfect.
Pork: The best cuts for...
This can be salted and sold as collar bacon. When left unsalted it is used as diced pork, or it can be slow roasted for many hours and makes a tender and flavoursome sandwich filler called Pulled Pork. Click here for a delicious recipe.
Pork Belly has also become popular in restaurants as a slow cooked dish where the layers of fat melt away with the long hours of cooking and give a succulent dish.
Bacon is always boiled slowly and this reduces the salt when the meat is cooked.
Usually cut into chops and sold in the butcher shop, in the bacon factory it is boned out and cured and cut into Back Rashers. In Our Shop we Dry-cure some loins of pork by rubbing a salt cure into them and packing them in salt. No water is injected so it takes 20 days for the salt to penetrate into the middle of the meat. They make a beautiful Dry-Cured Rasher and they don’t shrink on the pan.