Beef stew is a classic dish all over the world when the weather starts to turn colder.
But does anyone actually know what type of beef should be used in a soup or stew recipe?
Fear not because today we are going to explore everything you need to know before stewing your next pot of beef stew.
Let’s dig into it right now!
How to choose beef for stew?
Beef stew is an easy dish, but it doesn’t mean that you can always have the best cut for stewing by randomly picking one cut of beef on the market.
Don’t worry, the following tips can help you choose the best beef for your next stews or soups.
1. Never buy stale beef or frozen
The fresher the meat is, the tastier your dish is.
Therefore, never trade the flavor of your dish with a cheaper kind of meat by purchasing a stale or frozen cut of beef.
The tip to shop for a fresh cut of beef is to look for it in a local butcher shop with a dark red color, glowy look, dry and has a sticky touch.
2. Tough cuts with marbling fat work better
Many people desire to have the most tender cut of meat like beef tenderloin, but it is just true in other recipes, not for stewing.
Tougher cuts will work better in this case.
Since stewing means slow-cooking the meat in liquid under low heat, so your beef cut has time to be tenderized and the result can even melt in your mouth.
There are two kinds of tough cuts, with the rear leg cuts will be leaner and the front or belly cuts are a bit fattier with more marbling fat.
Either can work, but a tough cut that is well-marbled will be the best for stewing.
You will not only achieve a tender texture but also a moist and juicy mouthfeel.
3. Considered bone-in cuts
Another tip to choose a good cut for beef stew is to consider a bone-in cut.
The most common type of bone-in cut of beef sold on the market often comes from the rib section.
It is also a tough cut, and the additional bones even add more flavor to your dish.
So after stewing for hours, the meat can fall off the bones and you have an extremely delicious dish that is tender and very flavorful.
Best 5 cuts of beef for stew
Here are the best five cuts of beef we highly recommend to use for your next stews:
Chuck is a primal cut from the neck and upper shoulder of the cow, right above the brisket.
It is an ideal cut for slow-cooking methods like stewing, braising, or pot roasting.
Chuck steak is a tough cut and has a perfect marbling fat that helps moisten the meat while cooking for a long time.
It is also an economical cut so that most people from any class can afford it.
2. Short ribs (bone-in, boneless)
Another cut of beef that is perfect for stewing is short ribs.
You can opt for either bone-in or boneless short ribs in your next stewing recipe.
Keep in mind that boneless short ribs are not the deboned short ribs, but they are actually cut from the chuck and have a similar appearance to the rib cut.
However, real bone-in short ribs are much more expensive than the boneless version.
Brisket is also a common cut of beef that comes from the chest section of the cow.
It is specially chosen for making corned beef or pastrami, but stewing is not a bad idea at all.
The reason is that brisket is a tough cut with a perfect meat-to-fat ratio, making it perfect for slow-cooking methods like stewing.
4. Round (top and bottom)
A round cut can be divided into the top and bottom round, and they are relatively similar in texture and flavor.
The beef round is leaner than the other aforementioned cuts because it is cut from the top of the cattle’s rear leg which the cow uses the most to walk.
Despite the low-fat content, a round cut is still a perfect choice for stewing to tenderize the meat.
Oxtail is actually the culinary term for the tail of the cow.
It is perfect for making soups or stews because it has a rich flavor and silky texture.
Oxtail turns out to be relatively expensive compared to other meat or steak cuts of beef.
The bottom line
In conclusion, most kinds of tough cuts will work in a stewing recipe.
From a chuck cut to a round cut or even oxtail, all are perfect to be slow-cooked until they can melt in your mouth.
Moreover, make sure that these cuts have enough fat to keep the meat moist during cooking.
If you have some time on your hands then go ahead and try all of these beef cuts to find out which one works best for stewing.