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Want beef stew with tender and juicy pieces of meat? Don’t buy pre-cut stewing beef. Here’s what you need to know, along with top secrets best cut of meat for stew, join us at BestLifeTips to nail it every time.
What is stew meat?
We often use the tougher, larger portions of animals such as calves, elk, deer, or pigs for stewing. Beef stew meat traditionally comes from a cow’s broad shoulder, often known as “chuck.” However, we can do it with roast, top and bottom round, tips, and even steak.
When buying beef stew meat at the supermarket, it’s common to see a mix of bits and pieces left over from cutting up bigger cuts of meat into steaks and roasts.
Many home cooks love to use chuck because it cooks evenly and consistently, and the results are tender and juicy!
What kind of meat for stew?
Beef is obviously a stewing favorite, and this is because slow-cooking it and simmering it in thick sauces and gravies. However, in order to carry out the flavor and tenderness of the beef by stewing, you must first determine the type of beef for stew to use.
There is no finer cut of beef for beef stew than chuck! For the most tender taste, buy a thick chuck roast and break it into chunks. Chuck roast is a harder cut of meat than sirloin or rib roast, and it profits greatly from pressure cooking or slow cooking to provide the finest beef stew!
Pressure cooking or slow cooking breaks down tough fibers, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth tender beef.
Besides of that, what makes chuck the best for beef stew? The secret lies in collagen, which makes beef moist and tender when cooked. The more collagen in a muscle, the better it is.
Chuck, on the other hand, supports a lot on body weight, making them very strong, collagen-rich, and, definitely, tough. So how often a muscle is used and its strength are the best predictors for collagen portion.
Pre-cut stew meat is also a good choice for the busy and budget-conscious cook. As beef stew meat tends to be a mixture of bits and pieces having a different texture when stewing.
Best cut of meat for stew
The following are some of the best beef cuts for stewing, resulting in meat that is juicy and tender even after long cooking:
Best cut of meat for stew – Chuck
The chuck involves the shoulder, neck, and upper arm muscles. It’s a low-cost cut with decent taste, along with a lot of connective tissue and fat, making it an excellent choice for stews.
However, chuck contains so many different muscles, you don’t get the same quality all the time. Sometimes you’re more likely to get parts that are leaner, fattier, tenderer, or stronger.
Best cut of meat for stew – Bone-in short rib
If you want consistency in texture and taste, short rib is the best choice and they come at a high price as well.
Short ribs are from a primal cut on the underside of the cow called the plate.
They are, in essence, the ribs right down where they get close to the belly. Actually, short ribs are even more expensive than chuck, and you need to notice that the bone weight is counted as well, but what they offer is a deep beefy flavor.
Best cut of meat for stew – Bohemian (Bottom Sirloin Flap)
Bohemian is like a cross between a hanger steak and a short rib, tender but a bit chewy. In case you are into deep beefy flavor and don’t mind chewing a bit, take this one into your ingredient list.
It’s not easy to find this cut if you have no familiar butcher. It is derived from the sirloin of the cow, which is located just in front of the hind legs. Bottom sirloin flap is best for cooking with high heat, such as grilling.
However, it also fits perfectly when it comes to beef stew.
Best cut of meat for stew – Beef Shin
Beef shin is derived from the cow shank and, owing to the frequent use of this muscle, it appears to be robust and sinewy, so it is better when cooked for an extended period in moist heat.
The ideal cut for slow braising in the oven or slow cooker.
Best cut of meat for stew – Fatty brisket
Brisket, which is sliced from the breast, is a cost-effective and flavorful cut with a natural coating of fat and marbling in the beef. Slow cooking causes the meat to fall off the bone, and the cooking juices bring a richness to the flavor of your beef stew.
How to cook stew meat?
Searing the beef bits before adding the stock creates a huge difference in the taste of the soup. It’s your only chance to get that delicious caramelization on the meat!
As the vegetables and soup boil, the tastes in the stew can begin to escalate. Peas cook fast, so I add them right at the end!
This stew recipe is also an excellent way to use up some leftover vegetables. If you have leftover roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, or fried mushrooms, just cut them up and toss them in.
One more thing to add to your stew, make it thickened by mashing the vegetables quickly, or by using flour or cornstarch.
- 2 pounds stewing beef trimmed and cubed
- 3 tablespoons flour
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion chopped
- 6 cups beef broth
- ½ cup red wine optional
- 1 pound potatoes peeled and cubed
- 4 carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 stalks celery cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 sprig fresh
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons water
- ¾ cup peas
How to cook:
- Mix flour, garlic powder, and salt & pepper.
- Toss beef in flour mixture.
- Heat olive oil.
- Cook the beef and onions until they get browned.
- Add beef broth and red wine while scraping up any brown bits in the pan.
- Stir in all remaining ingredients but peas, cornstarch and water.
- Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer 1 hour or until beef is tender (timeframe depends on what kind of meat you use).
- Mix equal parts cornstarch and water to create a slurry.
- Gradulally add the slurry to the boiling stew to reach desired level of consistency.
- Stir in peas and simmer 5-10 minutes before serving. Season with salt & pepper to your taste.
To soak up some broth, we can eat it with bread or mashed potatoes in the bottom of the bowl.
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All in all, beef stew is a belly warming dish that draws everyone into your kitchen. Don’t let the wrong cut spoil your stew. BestLifeTips hope with this list of best cut of meat for stew. Give us a thumb up if you nail it and return more often for more helpful cooking tips.