Our Business Header image: Contre Beef Thatcher (jpg, 18.5k)
Our Meats
Order Online

In this section:

Cuts   Rare Breeds   Ethical Farming & Maturing   Fat lot we Know   What goes in...   Butchery


The Beef Cuts



Our beef comes exclusively from Steers (castrated males) and Heifers (young females that have not bred) and never from bulls.

Many rare breeds mature slowly and while the Over Thirty Month Rule still applies, many are only days away from being 30 months old at the time of slaughter. The relaxation of these rules will allow farmers to grow these breeds even more slowly. You can have complete reassurance of the healthiness of all such stock since government inspectors will test every carcase from cattle older than 30 months before it is allowed to be sold. By studying the certificate that we supply, you can see the age of the animal at slaughter.

Some rare breeds such as the Beef Shorthorn and Traditional Hereford mature a little earlier and will provide top quality meat at 22-28 months old. We select animals for when they reach peak fitness, not for being as old as possible.

The Forequarters (where most stewing cuts, mince and pot roasting joints come from)

1. Forequarter Flank (Plate or F1/4 Flank)
This includes the Short Ribs, a popular cut in the USA and now becoming more recognised here. Ideal for long slow cooking in a stew. After such cooking, the rib bones are easily removed leaving a delicious and intensely flavoured dish.

2. Forerib
Immediately above the Forequarter Flank, this can be one of the best roasting joints you’ll ever try. The layer of fat helps to cook the meat by basting it and the fact that it is on the bone (we can supply it boned out if you prefer) maintains the moisture and maximises the flavour. Trim out the fillet from this cut and you get the Rib Eye steak which is growing in popularity over here after long being a favourite in America.

3. Backrib & Toprib
The Middlerib which is divided into the Backrib and Toprib is located immediately forward of the Forerib. Boned and rolled, this joint can be slow roasted or pot roasted for a well-flavoured, economic joint.

4. Leg of Mutton Cut (LMC) and Chuck & Blade
This is where the Braising and Chuck steak cuts come from which are normally supplied trimmed and diced for stews and casseroles. Although labelled ‘steak’ these cuts are not suited to fast cooking as a Rump or Sirloin would be but for slow, gentle cooking such as in a Steak & Kidney Pie or Pudding. Minced, these cuts are ideal for something cooked slowly like a Bolognese sauce. The Leg of Mutton Cut is a well flavoured joint suitable for slow roasting.

5. Clod, Neck or Stick
The meat from the neck area is ideal for stewing or for mincing for dishes like Bolognese sauce, Chilli con Carne, Cottage pie and other dishes that will be cooked slowly.

Beef Shin6. Shin
Meat from the top of the front leg makes a delicious stew when boned and diced and is probably one of the best flavoured cuts for slow cooked warming meals. It can also be cooked like a shank of lamb, braised on the bone with a rich gravy of wine and vegetables. You can mix it with Leg (see 10) for a stew or casserole but not with Braising or Chuck steak which do not need as long to cook.

7. Brisket
Slow roasted, this is a delicious cut, whether hot or cold. It carries a lot of fat but this ensures that the flavour is locked in and you can always trim it off before carving. You won’t be able to cook this rare but Brisket well cooked shows the versatility of beef and is a favourite of many. It can also be successfully salted for a totally different experience.

The Hindquarters (where most roasting joints and steaks come from)

8. Thin Flank (including Skirt)
Located below the loin and behind the ribs this is in effect the belly of the animal. It is sold boneless and is quite fat but delicious slow cooked in stews and casseroles. Part of this cut is the Skirt, a very lean cut with a very open texture. It is tough and so needs long, slow cooking but you will be rewarded with a delicious dish to show for it. It is often used to make top quality Steak & Kidney pies and puddings and can be trimmed and minced for excellent home-made burgers.

9. Thick Flank or Top Rump
Very suitable for marinating in strips and stir-frying or flash frying. Can also be slow cooked in stews and daubes very successfully.

10. Leg
Similar to Shin, its equivalent from the front leg. The meat is lean and full-flavoured and ideal for slow cooking in stews and casseroles when diced. Whole, on the bone, it can make a delicious meal slowly braised with vegetables and wine.

11. Topside & Silverside
These are the cuts taken from the inside and back of the animal’s thigh respectively. The Topside is a well used muscle and makes an ideal roasting joint when properly hung as we do. It should be more slowly roasted (ca. 150oc/Gas Mark 2) than Sirloin but can still be served pink in the middle. Add a little stock to the bottom of the roasting tin or pot roast the joint on a bed of vegetables. Silverside is a little tougher and needs long, slow roasting so forget about serving it rare. It too is good pot roasted or dice it for stews and casseroles or cut it into strips for marinating and frying or barbecuing. It is also a favourite cut for making into Salt Beef.Oxtail

12. Aitchbone (including Oxtail)
Whole, this makes a very large joint sometimes used in catering but more normally it is boned out to provide additional Silverside joints. The Oxtail is sold divided into slices about 5-7cm thick on the bone and very slowly cooked makes the most fantastic stew or soup. A really economic and delicious cut.

13. Rump
This is the first of the steak cuts. Rump can be a little tougher than Sirloin or Fillet but it is full flavoured and being properly hung as ours is, you are unlikely to notice much difference. What makes for a good Rump is the amount of inter-muscular fat (marbling) which you are much more likely to find on the traditional breeds we sell than on most modern continental breeds and hybrids that supply the mass market. You can order Rump as a fast roasting joint too which can be served as pink as you like.

14. Loin (including Sirloin, Fillet, Wing Rib and Porterhouse Steaks)
This is where the best steaks and joint come from although you will find a lot of excellent cuts all around the body and as variety is the spice of life, you will enjoy trying the different experiences other cuts can provide. The Sirloin is a top quality roasting joint on the bone from the middle of the back. Boned and trimmed it provides succulent Sirloin steaks or entrecôtes for frying or grilling. Left on the bone, a T-Bone steak is a cross-section of the Sirloin and it is arguable that cooking it on the bone maximises the flavour and succulence of the steak. The Fillet forms a small part of the entire Sirloin joint from the underside and is usually offered as a small steak with no fat around it for the best quality dishes. Further forward where the Loin joins the Forerib (2) is the Wing Rib which is another excellent joint for roasting on the bone. Boned and cut into steaks, this joint then becomes Porterhouse steaks, (a popular choice in America).

Other Choices
The above takes you round the body of the beef animal explaining what each cut is and how you should treat it. We also offer you Prime Lean Mince which is so versatile. Use our mince for Bolgnese sauce, Chilli con Carne, Cottage pie, home-made Burgers, Moussaka, Lasagna, etc. Keep some in the freezer and you’ll never be short of a quick, easy and delicious meal.

Our Beef Burgers are legendary and should not be confused with the pappy offerings of the fast food movement. These use only the finest quality rare breed beef with natural ingredients and seasoning for a delicious, nutritious and healthy treat.

Ox Kidney is traditionally used in Steak & Kidney dishes. We can either supply it on its own or ready cored and diced with trimmed, diced stewing steak for you to prepare a warming, comforting pie or pudding. Ox Heart is a large organ and needs a long slow cooking to tenderise it and bring out the flavour. Trim off the membrane (but not the fat) and remove the major blood vessels. You can stuff the cavity with bacon and onion and braise the heart on vegetables with a wine-enhanced gravy for a sumptuous, cheap dish. Ox Liver is often overlooked but slowly braised with bacon and onions, it can be remarkably tender and delicious.

If you require more information, we'd be delighted to help. Please send an e-mail to mail@rarebreedsbutcher.com, or call us on +44 (0) 1531 632744



Beef | Pork | Lamb