There’s nothing more heart warming than a delicious bowl of beef stew during the cold winter months. As you can add all sorts of different vegetable and pulses as well as your chosen beef cut, then a stew is also an easy and inexpensive family meal.
The temptation by many of us is to simply buy our stewing beef already chopped and ready to pop into the slow cooker or casserole dish. But for the best flavour (and a better price), you should be looking at cuts that feature more muscle (or collagen) which when cooked long and slow, transform into meltingly soft gelatin, giving the meat a moist and tender texture. That gelatin will also seep into the surrounding stew liquids, increasing their thickness and giving them rich body.
By the same token, you should avoid using lean cuts of beef in your winter stew. As these cuts don’t have the all-essential layers of muscle and fat, then they will end up dry and tough after prolonged cooking.
So, the key to serving up a tasty, wholesome stew is to use the tougher cuts of beef with plenty of collagen and fat. And believe us, there is quite a wide chose of beef cuts available that suit this style of cooking.
The Best Cuts of Beef for Stews
The following are some of the best cuts of beef for stewing, yielding meat that’s juicy and tender even after long cooking:
- Beef Chuck: The chuck is a primal cut from the forequarter of the cow and includes the shoulder, neck, and upper arm muscles. It’s a relatively cheap cut, with good flavour and lots of connective tissue and fat, making it a great choice for stews. The downside is that chuck is made up of many different muscles, so you’re more likely to get irregular pieces, some leaner, some fattier, some tenderer, some tougher. Overall, it averages out in a good way.
- Flat Ribs: Flat Ribs, also known as “Jacob’s Ladder” are cut between the brisket and flank of beef. With natural fat and marbling these are perfect for braising on the bone and slow cooked until the meat falls off the bone. The result is a deep, beefy flavour with a beautiful, even grain throughout.
- Shin of Beef: The beef shin comes from the animal shank and due to the constant use of this muscle it tends to be tough and sinewy, so is best when cooked for a long time in moist heat. The perfect cut for braising slowly in the oven or slow cooker.
- Brisket of Beef: Brisket is cut from the breast and is an economical and flavoursome cut with a natural layer of fat and marbling throughout the meat. Cooked slowly, the meat will fall off the bone and the juices from cooking add a richness to the flavour our your beef stew.
Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher
In addition to the cuts recommended above, we do also offer customers who are looking for a quick meal fix, diced cuts of beef taken from the fore quarter of the animal for maximum flavour.
Importantly, all our beef comes from grass fed, Welsh beef which has been traditionally matured. So, whether you opt for a fatty cut that needs slow cooking, or leaner meat which can be roasted, grilled or fried, you are guaranteed quality and flavour.
To see our full selection of beef products, you can visit our online shop, www.bestonlinebutcher.co.uk or pop into our shop in Swansea Market.