Beef Cuts

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About
Beef carcasses are large and, except on the rare occasion of an ox-roast, are divided into smaller cuts or joints. This is a more complex task than dividing pigs and sheep, and the pattern of division varies between and within countries.

In Britain, the main cutting lines run at right angles to major muscle groups, cutting through fat deposits and bone. The most expensive and tender cuts, used primarily for roasting, or for cutting into steaks, come from the ribs and sirloin. An exceptionally tender piece of meat is located underneath the backbone in the region of the sirloin; if removed in one piece it is known as the ‘fillet’, and used as a superior roast or for steaks. Both sides of the rump together, with the back part of the sirloin attached, constitute a ‘baron’ of beef.