Neck of beef is most often used in casseroles and stews which are cooked slowly in stock to tenderise the meat. Neck is also used in mince. Neck is one of the less expensive cuts of beef.
Chuck & Blade
Chuck & blade, often known as the shoulder, is the cut next to the neck. As with the neck it is suitable for slow, moist cooking in casseroles or is often used for braising. This cut can also be sold as a joint for slow roasting. This is another less expensive cut of beef.
The thick rib is another cut which is often sold as braising steak. Somewhat more tender than the neck but not as expensive as some of the prime cuts, the thick rib can also be used in stews and casseroles.
The fore rib, taken from the back of the animal behind the blade, is a medium priced cut of beef. If is usually sold as a roasting joint and can be sold either on or off the bone. Off the bone the joint is rolled and often stuffed. Either way the fore rib makes a good and tender roasting joint when cooked slowly. The fore rib can also be sold as steaks.
The thin rib is found between the fore rib and the brisket. It is most suitable for slow cooking which will ensure the meat remains moist and tender. Casseroling or stewing the meat in a rich stock can produce best results. The thin rib can also be used as mince.
The brisket comes from the breast of the animal It is one of the cheaper cuts of beef which is usually sold as a boned and rolled roasting joint suitable for slow roasting. Brisket can also cubed to be used as casserole beef or can be stewed. The brisket can be used as mince and is the traditional cut used for making corned beef.
The shin of beef comes from the fore leg of the cow. Shin beef is most commonly used for stewing as the gelatinous nature of the meat makes it an ideal natural thickener for the stock which will be full of flavour. The shin, which can also be used for mince, is one of the less expensive cuts of beef.
Sirloin is a undoubtedly a prime cut of beef. The sirloin, from the centre of the back, can be sold as a full joint or as prime steak. Sold as a joint the sirloin is available either on the bone or boned and rolled. Either way it forms an excellent roasting meat. Sirloin steak are particularly tender and very tolerant of high temperatures. The sirloin is one of the more expensive cuts of beef.
The flank of beef is a typically lean meat often used for the mince that makes cottage pie. The meat is also good when slow cooked in casseroles to retain moisture and is regularly used in beef curry. If dry cooking flank it should be well marinated first.
The rump of the animal comes from the small of the back next to the sirloin. Slightly less tender than the sirloin the rump is still an excellent steak meat suitable for quick cooking methods. The rump has a strong flavour and is considered by many to be superior to sirloin as a consequence.
The silverside comes from the outside of the thigh and is a boneless meat. Silverside makes a good roasting joint as long as it is well basted during cooking to maintain moisture. Silverside also cooks particularly well with wine or stock.
The topside comes from the rear of the cow at the top of the leg. A joint of topside has a cap of fat and whilst this can be removed for roasting it is often considered to enhance the flavour. Although topside is more commonly roasted it makes wonderful stir-fry when cut into thin strips.
The thick flank comes from the front of the thigh of the animal. This is a reasonably dry meat so is more suited to braising than roasting. The thick flank can also be cut into steaks for frying.
The leg of beef is only from the hind leg - the front leg is known as shin. As with shin the leg makes good stewing beef with a natural thickener for the stock. Slow cooking is the key to a good beef stew from this cheaper cut of meat.