Study Abroad

What type of meat do I want?

A common issue I’ve had living in Europe the past year is figuring out the cuts of meat when I go grocery shopping. Primarily because of translations, but also because of not knowing which cuts of meat are used to cook what meals?

*Typical trip to the grocery store*

Me: Okay, so tonight I want steak. What cut do I get?

*calls mom*

Mom: show them a picture of a cow and point to “x” body part

Me: (pulls up picture to show butcher)

Butcher: (confused stare then proceeds to point to several chunks of meat behind the glass)

Me: Thanks, I’ll just come back later.

*calls mom”

Me: Why did you never teach me cuts of meat?!

So, after playing out this scenario in real-life on multiple occasions I decided to do some research and compile a few resources on how to make your selections and not starve.


Illustration of the cuts of beef on a cow


  1. Chuck – neck, shoulder blade, and upper arm : tough but flavorful cuts of meat
    1. cooking purposes: beef stew, pot roast, 7-bone roast, flat iron steak, Denver steak
  2. Rib (entrecôte) – 6th – 12th ribs : tender
    1. cooking purposes: grill, fry, broil, roast, or barbecue
  3. Short Loin – most desirable cuts of meat
    1. cooking purposes: T-Bone, Porterhouse, Strip Steak
  4. Sirloin – pin-bone steak, similar to porterhouse
  5. Tenderloin – most tender cut of beef, produces filet mignon, chateaubriand
    1. cooking purposes: grilling and broiling, quick and high heat
  6. Top Sirloin – steaks good for grilling
  7. Bottom Sirloin – roasts and barbecuing
  8. Round – bottom round = rump roast and eye of round, no collagen so won’t be turned to gelatin, used for sandwiches or roast
  9. Brisket – chest or pectoral muscle
    1. cooking purposes: lot of time and low-temperature to break down and tenderize. Pot roast or corned beef.
  10. Plate – includes short ribs (braising), skirt steak (cook quickly over high heat)
    1. cooking purposes: carne asada
  11. Flank – flank steak
    1. cooking purposes: can be dried out and has tough muscle fibers, marinate, and don’t overcook, grill on high heat
  12. Shank – animal’s thigh, very tough

For more detailed info check out the full post at

Check out this link for further explanation – France
Image result for tagli del bovino
Check out this link for further explanation – Italy

With this knowledge now I can be successful in the supermarket showing a picture as my mom suggested. However, as I assume this isn’t common knowledge to most young adults I figured I’d do my duty to help you out! Keep in mind each country varies in how they butcher their meat, so again, knowing the basic parts it should be easier explaining which part of beef you want.




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