There are a variety of beef cuts that are perfect for different cooking methods.
Slow-cooker stew is a common dish that features beef cooked in the slow-cooker.
If you are wondering if some cuts of beef work better for slow-cooker stew than others, keep reading our article and find out more interesting things about this topic.
How to choose beef for slow-cooker stew?
Slow-cooker stew is a hand-free dish that doesn’t require much effort to cook.
All you need to do is to choose the best cut of beef and set the slow cooker for a couple of hours cooking until the meat and other ingredients like vegetables are tender.
Here are some tips that might help you pick the best beef for slow-cooker stew:
1. Choose a tough cut with a lot of collagen
Since this method uses low heat to cook the meat for a long time, it will help tenderize even a tough cut of beef until it is fork-tender or melt in your mouth.
Choosing a tender cut, in this case, might make your beef too tender and not even be able to form a beef cube.
The collagen from these tough cuts will provide body, making your stew more appealing in both appearance and texture.
2. The beef should be well marbled with fat, but not too fatty
Another key to having the best cut of beef is to opt for a well-marbled cut.
The marbling fat inside the meat cut will add flavor to your dish as well as making it juicier.
A too lean cut might end up relatively dry and chewy even when it is slow-cooked.
However, don’t opt for a very fatty cut of beef, otherwise, your stew might be greasy and hard to eat.
3. Buy fresh beef instead of stale or frozen cuts
Fresh beef is always better than stale meat.
Therefore, avoid buying the beef cut that looks dull with a pale color, watery, and off-smell.
Only buy frozen beef if this is your last resort.
When buying frozen beef, choose a package without any ice crystals.
4. Cut the beef into about one-inch cubes
Don’t forget to cut your beef into equally one-inch cubes so that they can be cooked evenly.
Thinly sliced beef is only for stir-fry beef, while the whole cut is for roasting or baking.
For stewing, it is best to cut your beef into cubes.
Best beef for slow-cooker stew
Here are the five best cuts of beef that are perfect for slow-cooker stew:
1. Chuck steak
A chuck steak is ideal for any slow-cooking technique, from roasting to braising and stewing.
A chuck cut is taken from the top shoulder of the cattle, which is used in their daily activities thanks to the movement of the front legs.
Therefore, there are a lot of connective tissues in a chuck steak, making it perfect for slow-cooker stew.
This cut is also prized for its flavorful taste due to the perfect marbling fat.
That’s why this cut is always a priority choice when it comes to roasting or stewing recipes.
If there is no chuck steak left in your local butcher or grocery store, then look for a brisket instead.
A brisket cut is often used for making corned beef or pastrami, but it is also perfect for slow-cooker stew because it is a tough cut that needs a long cooking time to tenderize the meat.
3. Bone-in/ boneless short ribs
Short ribs are also an ideal option for slow-cooker stew.
You can use either bone-in or boneless short ribs.
Bone-in short ribs are actual ribs of beef that are cut from the cow’s rib cage, while the boneless counterpart is from the chuck portion.
The bones will add more flavor to your dish, but bone-in short ribs are obviously pricier than boneless short ribs.
4. Sirloin steak
Sirloin steak is another good option in this case.
Although this cut is lean, it is moderately tender and juicy rather than being tough or too dry.
Moreover, a sirloin steak is also an economical cut for daily meals, making it more affordable for people from different classes.
Sirloin is also great for grilling, sauteing, or broiling.
Oxtail is actually the culinary term for the tail of the cow.
It is widely used in slow-cooking methods like stewing or braising.
Oxtail is packed with a lot of collagen and connective tissue, making it perfect to be cooked in a slow cooker.
It is extremely flavorful, that’s why it is quite expensive.
The bottom line
Slow-cooker stew is a perfect dish for cold winter days.
With our help of the best beef cuts for this stew dish, now you can easily shop for one cut that is more available in your local butcher for your slow-cooker stew.
From a chuck steak to a sirloin steak or oxtail, there are many options for you to choose from.
One thing in common is that these cuts are flavorful and can be tenderized until tender and juicy after slow and low cooking in the slow cooker.