I love cows. More precisely, I love beef. To learn more about the hot beast, I'll be writing about anything that interests me. This post will describe the different cuts of the cow, from the tongue to the tail, and a little into the tastes and uses for each of the cuts. I won't be adding pictures of the different parts as cuts because that's unappetizing so I'll be adding in a few dishes that do make the cut look delicious. Sorry for the small pictures. You can click on them to zoom in. My post width size is too small and the medium-sized pictures are too large.
The tongue is more commonly used in parts of Europe, Asia, and Mexico. Beef tongue is very high in fat with a large portion of it being collagen, which happens to be good for your joints and skin. The process of preparing the tongue is tedious. Basically, you have to cut the skin off and cut out all the weird slimy parts (leaving all the meaty goodness). Next, the tongue is sliced and cooked according to the particular type of dish. Beef tongue tacos are like gifts from heaven. If you sear and marinade them right, the meat is just unbelievable. Coupled with red peppers, chili, cheese, maybe some guacamole, BOOM, flavor bomb. In my very biased opinion, Philippine Lengua in mushroom sauce is a simple, tasty, and comforting dish. If it's rubbery, that's bad and nobody will like it. When cooked right, the tongue should be tender and juicy.
|Beef Tongue. Source: LexnGer|
|Beef Tongue Tacos. Souce: Wally Gobetz|
The chuck is located along the lower neck and upper shoulder of the cow. Chuck is usually fairly flavorful and cheap. However, since cows use this muscle regularly, the meat is very tough. Chuck is sold ground or as a whole muscle. Ground chuck is used for burgers or ground beef dishes. Some of the subprimal cuts include Chuck Eye Roast, Boneless Top Blade Steak, Arm Pot Roast, Boneless Chuck Pot Roast, Cross Rib Pot Roast, Mock Tender, Blade Roast, Under Blade Pot Roast, 7-Bone Pot Roast, Short Ribs, and Flanken-Style Ribs. Ground chuck is best cooked grilled or pan fried, while chuck roasts are best cooked for long periods of time under low temperatures. Thus, chuck roasts are usually braised or broiled. Okay, there's just too many things you can do with beef chuck and each of them probably deserve their own separate post but I still need to go outside and have a normal life. I added this inhumane picture of some In-N-Out double-doubles. Fun fact: If you really enjoy In-N-Out as much as I do, you can download some free wallpapers and ringtones on their website here. As I said earlier, chuck roasts do really well when slow-cooked. Chuck roast is a lot like life. You get out when you put into it. And if you put in a lot of time into your chuck roast, you'll turn this cheap piece of meat into a series of serious flavor bombs that will bring all the boys and girls into your yard.
|Love. Source: Joits|
|BBQ Chuck Roast. Source: rprata|
The brisket is taken from the breast of the cow. Similar to the chuck, it is very tough because the muscle is used so regularly. Cooking brisket at high temperatures for shorter periods of time will toughen the fat and connective tissue, giving the meat a dry texture. Therefore, brisket has to be slow cooked for a long period of time. The slow cooking will gently dissolve the fat and connective tissue to create a moist, tender, and juicy flavor. It is possible to enhance the brisket's flavor by marinading or smoking it before cooking. Brisket is not very different from chuck. It's definitely healthier with less calories, cholesterol, and fat. In terms of absolute flavor, I think you could do more life-changing things with brisket. Sometimes, when people think about brisket, they think about the brisket that comes in their pho or hot pot. That stuff is pretty good but I feel you lose a lot of the flavor that way. Trust me, the flavor you get out of smoked, braised, or marinaded brisket will make you want to fart on your old, regular pieces of brisket.
|Brisket. Source: Robyn Lee|
|Smoked Brisket and Fries. Source: Robert.|
A shank is prison slang for a homemade knife. That's not important. A tastier and less dangerous shank refers to the upper portion of the cow's leg. Generally, this cut of the beef is used in soups and stews. The shank can be sold bone in or grounded. Shank is high in collagen and when cooked at high temperatures, the collagen turns into gelatin, which creates a rich and creamy flavor. This explains why it does so well in soups and stews. You get to keep all those nutrients and mind-numbing flavors. The two links below provide some sexy recipes that make use of beef shank. Check them out, explore them, perfect them, then cook for me :)
|Beef Shank Ragu. Source: Renee Suen|
|Beef Shank Bone-in. Source: Indirect Heat|
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|Cow Cuts 101. Source: Stubb's Legendary BBQ|