Grass Fed Beef Primals: Knowing The Cuts Of Meat
Knowing which parts of the animal your meat comes from can enhance your culinary experience. It helps to understand why there are differences in tenderness and flavor, as well as the optimal method of cooking for particular items. Not to mention, it helps us to have a more integrated understanding of the energy we are taking into our bodies when we consume meat. Knowing where your food comes from is always important, but we believe that it’s essential when it comes to meat. We love knowing that we provide the best meat to order online.
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Our grass-fed & finished beef is raised essentially wild on a beautiful 20,000 acre ranch here in New Mexico. The cows roam freely as far as the eye can see with extremely minimal handling. For those familiar with New Mexico, it might sound surprising that there’s so much lush green grass for them to graze on. These fields are naturally irrigated by a sparkling river flowing with ice-melt from the Sangre de Cristo mountains.
As you might guess, this means the grass is incredibly pure and nutritious. Our cattle enjoy the shade of large trees, blue sunny skies and direct access to this river. It’s a wonderfully relaxing environment to spend time in, whether you’ve got four legs or two. We feel great about offering this grass-fed beef online for nationwide delivery.
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We work with local butchers who are masters of their craft. Every cut of meat is done by hand with expertise and careful attention. We think you’ll be extremely pleased with how our free range, grass-fed beef looks, tastes, and most importantly the way it makes you feel.
The most tender cuts of meat from cows comes from the center of the animal, which is where the ribs and tenderloin are. The areas of the cow’s body containing muscles that are worked a lot, like the legs and shoulders, are more tough. However, every cut of meat has the potential to be incredibly tender and delicious - it’s just a matter of preparing it correctly.
When a cow is butchered, the first cut is made along the backbone, making two sides of beef. Then, each side is cut again between the twelfth and thirteenth ribs. The front sections of the cow are referred to as the forequarters, and the back sections as the hindquarters. From here, the meat is divided into eight sections called primals. These large pieces are further cut down into subprimals. The subprimals are finally cut into steaks, roasts or made into ground beef.
The chuck primal comes from the forequarter. It consists of the cow’s neck, shoulders and the muscly upper part of the arm. Meat that comes from the chuck is super flavorful but tough because the muscles are constantly in use. This also means that it’s rich in connective tissues, which make slow cooked stews and pot roasts rich and flavorful.
It’s simple to make these tougher yet delicious cuts of meat more tender - they simply need to be slow cooked. This part of the cow also makes great ground burger meat due to its high fat content. You can order our grass-fed, grass finished ground beef for delivery from our ranch straight to your door. This is where you find the chuck roast, flat iron steak and Denver steak.
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The rib primal is located behind the chuck on the front half of the cow’s torso. It contains the sixth through the twelfth ribs and is where the highly desirable prime rib and ribeye steaks come from. The lower part of the ribs is technically a different subprimal called the plate. However, the cut made separating the rib primal from the plate can vary, but this lower area is where short ribs come from.
Short ribs are absolutely delicious when cooked low and slow, and become fall-off-the-bone tender. Methods of cooking with low heat and high moisture content allow the cartilage of the short ribs to dissolve and become gelatinous. When you buy meat from this primal, you’re definitely in for a treat.
The beef plate is also where the skirt steak comes from. The skirt steak is the cow’s diaphragm muscle. It’s a super flavorful and very thin cut of meat, so it can be quickly seared over high heat. To avoid chewiness from the muscle fibers simply slice it against the grain before serving.
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The brisket primal comes from the lower part of the cow’s chest. It’s incredibly delicious but needs to be cooked properly to counteract the toughness of the muscle. It needs to be cooked low and slow for a lengthy amount of time. The results when this meat gets broken down and tenderized are absolutely worth it. It’s a great thing to cook in a smoker and is a traditional cut to use for pot roast or corned beef.
The shanks are the upper part of the cow’s legs. They’re super tough and full of connective tissue. If you simply throw these cuts on the grill, you won’t have great results. However, when given the proper time to cook as osso buco, these cuts make a luxurious and indulgent meal. There’s also the rich bone marrow inside the bones of the shanks, nourishing and flavorful spread on bread.
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The short loin is located behind the rib primal, towards the back of the cow’s torso. It’s part of the hindquarter of the cow. This one of the most desirable primals of the entire animal, and where we find the strip loin steak, also known as the New York strip. These tender cuts are best seared quickly over dry heat.
T-bones and Porterhouse steaks can be cut from this primal, but when the tenderloin of the cow is used for steaks these bigger steak cuts aren’t made since they would contain a part of this meat. Since we love our tenderloin steaks, we have our cows butchered with these cuts as a priority. The tenderloin subprimal includes a small portion in the short loin area but largely extends back into the sirloin. We provide the best mail order meat to our customers - these steaks will be sure to please.
The sirloin is a large primal cut that spans from the 13th rib of the cow back to the hipbone. It spans the torso from the spine down to the belly. The top of the sirloin is still quite tender, but the closer it gets down to the rear leg it can be tougher. The bottom sirloin consists of cuts that are great for roasting, barbecuing or grinding into burger meat.
The back end of the tenderloin is referred to as the butt tender. This part of the tenderloin can be sold as a roast. Filet mignon comes from the very front tip of the tenderloin. This meat should only be cooked using dry heat, cooking very quickly over high heat. For the most delectable prime steaks online, browse our selections today.
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The beef flank is the sub primal on the underside of the cow’s belly. It can be cooked on the grill quickly at high temperatures. It should be marinated and prepared with care to ensure that it doesn’t get overcooked. Be sure to slice the steak against the grain to avoid chewiness from the muscle fibers. These cuts make great candidates for braising. This meat is frequently used to make ground burger meat.
The beef round primal is from the cow’s muscular back legs. This area is lean and tough with muscle fibers. This primal is where we get rump roast and eye of round. This area doesn’t contain very much collagen, as opposed to chuck roast. For that reason it doesn’t do as well when braised like meat from the chuck does. They turn out best when slowly roasted to medium rare. As with any area of high muscle fiber, make sure to slice against the grain.