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Jason’s Elevated guide to buying beef

Beef can get a bad rap – which is why we’ve produced this buying guide to beef. It’s true that some cuts can be high in fat and it’s more calorific than other sources of high protein, but it is also packed with iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium, alongside vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B12 and D. Other nutrients of interest include choline – essential for cell growth and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) which can help reduce fat and build muscle.

Here’s Jason’s guide to the best cuts and the most Elevated types of beef to buy. If in doubt, find a good local butcher and ask their advice, rather than grabbing pre-packed beef from the cold aisles of the supermarket.

Elevation levels

  1. Grass-fed beef: Naturally fertilise the land to grow more grass without adding extra carbon to the atmosphere. The meat contains higher levels of vitamins, conjugated linoleic acid (see right) and omega-3 fats.
  2. Organic beef: Organic means the animal was not given hormones, antibiotics or man-made pesticides in its feed – but it could be fed corn or soy. Grass-fed beef is often organic, but organic does not mean grass-fed.
  3. None-organic beef: May have been treated with hormones or pesticides. A Newcastle University study found that non-organic beef had higher levels of undesirable saturated fats such as myristic and palmitic acid and less poly-unsaturated and omega-3 fats.
Cuts of meat


Ox cheek: This cut is succulent with incredible flavour and a rich and sticky texture. It’s a tough muscle so you should pre-marinade and cook low ’n’ slow to keep tender.

 Brisket: The brisket is made up of two different muscles: the point and the flat. The point is the fatty part (the deckle). The flat has the deckle removed to make it leaner. Great flavour, if minced down and blended with other high VL fat cuts for a tasty burger patty. Can also be cooked slowly in a stock, chilled and pressed for cold cuts.

Jacobs Ladder or short ribs: Magnificent, flavoursome cut, ideal for marinading then cooking low ’n’ slow in the braising liquor or over a low-heat high-smoke fire pit or smoker.

Feather blade (chuck): A cornerstone of most burger blend recipes, chuck is versatile and can be used for quality mince, diced for casseroles/stews or flash fried as thin cut steaks.

Flat Iron: The flat iron steak is cut from a relatively tender muscle at the top of the shoulder. Traditionally used braising steak, it makes for a tasty grilled steak if cooked rare – but the outer hard membrane needs to be trimmed.

Jewish fillet: A lean tender cut of beef from the shoulder, ideal for braising as a whole or sliced. Minimal fats mean it can dry out in cooking.

Fore rib: The fore rib comprises the first five bones of the loin and is an ideal roasting joint. Look for more marbling as this adds flavour and succulence.

Carvery rib: A celebration or showpiece joint prepared by having the vertebrae removed from a ‘standing rib’ and leaving the remaining rib ‘fingers’ exposed. Roast on the bone for best flavour.

Côte de boeuf: Also known as fore rib steak, this French Brasserie favourite is deep cut on the bone through the rib, usually to serve two people. Pan seal and oven finish or char grill.

Rib eye: Considered one of the tastiest and most elegantly flavoured of steaks, rib-eyes are cut from the main muscle attached to the spine. Grill, pan fry, BBQ, cook medium to allow the fats to begin to render naturally.

Onglet: Also known as ‘hanger’ or ‘butcher steak’ this cut from the upper side of the belly skirt makes a great, affordable steal and is often what is used for steak frittes on the continent.

Bavette/flank: Cut from the long flank muscle, this has great flavour but needs to be flash fried quickly and kept rare to medium or it will dry out and toughen up. A good cut for fajitas.

Mince: Most mince is taken from the off-cuts or really hard-working, tough muscles, which is why we prefer to mince our own or to choose cuts and ask our local butcher to mince them on the spot.


Wing rib: The wing rib is sirloin left with the bone in for added flavour. As with cote de boeuf, this is usually served as a single portion, so the long beef bone tends to be split (sawn in half by the butcher) which allows the marrow to be roasted and eaten smothered across the meat.

T-Bone or Porterhouse: Some consider this a sacrifice as it cuts into both the sirloin and fillet muscles which are joined together by the rib bone which is sawn through. The UK T-Bone tends to favour a smaller, tail-end fillet, the more American Porterhouse is a full-size fillet. Cook medium on a grill, pan or BBQ.

Sirloin steak: For many the archetypical steak – treat the same way as a rib-eye.

Fillet: The least working muscle means it has virtually no fat and is supremely tender but has high value as there’s not much of it! Look for a fillet with dense marbling to retain moisture and flavour. Do not overcook – it really does spoil an excellent cut.

Chateaubriand: The head of the fillet muscle, where a split and fold back occurs naturally is usually served as a small carvery joint for two.

New York strip/striploin: Cut from the short loin which does little work making for a tender steak or great roast.

Minute steak: Thinly cut end of the sirloin tenderised with a cutlet bat or similar and flash fried.

Whole rump: The lower part of the back beyond the sirloin can be divided into the heart and the tail (the latter is the most tender and flavoursome). Can be left whole as a joint, or used as a steak where it is best cut thinly and flash fried not beyond medium.

Topside and silverside: These are cheaper cuts than sirloin for Sunday roasts but can dry out quickly, which is why they often come with added fat. Both have multiple uses, including braising low ’n’ slow then cut thinly for sandwiches.

Salmon roll: A great cut attached to the silverside that is very lean, If pan sealed and roasted then rested, it is easily carved and very tasty.

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