Braising: Best Cuts of Beef for Braised Dishes

On Friday we introduced Dave Zino of the Beef Checkoff Culinary Center. He explained the difference between stewing and braising. Today he's back to talk about the best cuts of beef for holiday braises. We are very much in favor of braises and pot roasts for big crowds; they are usually cheap, easy, and convenient because they can be made ahead of time. Here are Dave's suggestions on the best meat to buy.

You want to prepare a seasonal roast, but you’re not sure which cut of meat to buy. Sound familiar? Today’s supermarket meat case is filled with new cuts, lean options and traditional favorites. Read more to help take out the guesswork for your next pot roast.

Braising (AKA pot roasting) is used to cook large cuts of beef, such as a roast or brisket, with a small amount of liquid. This slow cooking method is ideal for tenderizing less tender - and typically less expensive - cuts of beef. Generally, cuts from the chuck (the front section of the animal), the shank and brisket (the lower front sections) and the round (the back section), are the most suitable for braising and stewing.

If you think about it, these parts of the animal work harder than the middle section and therefore the muscles are more exercised and the connective tissue is stronger – and a bit tougher. The slow cooking method helps soften and tenderize the muscle fibers and connective tissue, resulting in moist, flavorful beef!

So, when picking beef cuts for a pot roast, look for:

• Chuck – Cuts will include the term, “chuck” (chuck shoulder pot roast or chuck 7-bone pot roast) or terms related to the front portion, such as the shoulder steak
• Brisket – Cuts of meat from the breast or lower chest
• Round – Choose rump roast or bottom round.

But whether you’re braising (pot roasting) pan-broiling or grilling, not all beef cuts are created equal, so it’s important to match the proper cooking method with the cut of beef. Each method brings different flavors and textures to your beef. So whatever cut you choose, you’ll end up with a flavorful, tender beef eating experience.

Now you just need to decide how much to buy – download our helpful resource at BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.

-- Thanks Dave! Tomorrow we'll have some good beef braise recipes for everyone to try.

Related: The Difference Between Braising and Stewing

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