Try these off-the-hook beef cuts at your next BBQ

What cuts of meat are you eating?

So, it’s summer time and you’re at the shop choosing your steaks and bangers to throw on the barbie. Take a moment though, and think about where that meat came from. Wouldn’t you like to know the story behind the food you’re eating? David Connaghan from The Good Food Chain looks at non-traditional cuts of beef that you should think about trying next time you fire up your BBQ.

If humans raise animals for meat consumption it makes sense that we consume the range of different cuts from each beast, instead of just the traditional prime cuts. The “traditional” BBQ cuts actually make up quite a small part of the cow.

The usual suspects

Rump steak

Take a look at the succulent prime cut steaks which are most people’s easy to-do BBQ choices. The eye fillet steak comes from the tenderloin which runs along the spine where the muscles do very little work. Eye fillet represents a tiny percentage of the 140-160kg of beef cuts from a whole cow — so every time a consumer buys an eye fillet steak, there’s over 100kg of other beef cuts that need to be used. Another traditionally prime steak, the porterhouse or sirloin, is from the short loin of the cow. Rump steak comes from the hindquarter area, covering the hip of the animal.

Out of the norm

So for your next BBQ think about some other delicious cuts which may just end up being your new favourites, and much more interesting to cook! Here are some options to get you started.

Southwest BBQ brisket

BrisketThe brisket muscles are in the chest area of the cow and support about 60% of the beast’s body weight. This area has a significant amount of tough connective tissue, so cook the meat slowly to tenderise the connective tissue, resulting in loads more flavour.

In the tradition of the Amercian Southwest add chilli, Texan spices (think cumin, paprika and the like) and beer to create a smokey, flavoursome feast. Before cooking season the brisket with a dry rub, and during its slow, low heat cooking make sure you baste it. Research how to prepare your BBQ as a “smoker” grill with natural charcoal, and get creative with your outdoor cooking!

Spicy beef kofta

MincePremium beef mince comes from a range of lean areas of the cow, and is low in fat. Combine beef mince with lots of fresh herbs and spices to create a paste-like mixture that can be moulded around wooden skewers ready to pop on the BBQ. These tasty kebabs also work with lamb mince, and can be served simply with a yoghurt dressing.

Oyster blade

Oyster BladeThe oyster blade is connected to the shoulder blade of the cow. Being a hard-working muscle it’s very flavourful and versatile enough to roast as a whole piece, dice for a slow-cooked curry or, as we’ve featured here, sliced into steaks. Score the thin line of gristle through the steak to prevent it from curling when cooking.

Marinate the steaks in your favourite spices and flavours (preferably overnight if you have the time) then simply grill. Done!

Beef short ribs

Short ribsShort ribs are cut from the rib and plate primals and a small corner of the square-cut chuck. Full of flavour, we suggest braising for an hour before popping on the BBQ and turning until cooked to your taste. Perhaps baste with a spicy (or sweet, it’s up to you) sauce as you go.

Happy and healthy barbequing from The Good Food Chain!

Pasture fed or grain fed?

While feeding cattle grain may be more efficient to ensure consistency in meat for the mass market, the welfare of the animals is a big concern. Penning the cattle in feedlots creates health issues and the grain diet causes disease in the cows’ digestive systems. Apart from being harmful to the animals, if we’re eating the beef from this cattle, what effect does that have on us?

100% pasture-fed beef is richer in antioxidants and minerals, and higher in omega-3 fats than beef from cows raised on grain or grain-finished.

A true pasture-fed cow is a free-roaming healthy animal, allowed to live and behave as nature intended, eating what it’s supposed to eat, and therefore producing healthy food for humans.

Make an informed choice about the beef you’re buying — know how the cattle were raised and what they ate. Find a good butcher — or better yet go to the farmers’ market and ask the farmer directly! Then you can be confident you’re getting all the information you want about the food you’re eating.

About The Good Food Chain

Tired of having little or no insight into the animal welfare and farming practices followed in the production of meat, we decided to source our beef, lamb and eggs directly from farmers. We then launched The Good Food Chain to supply ethically raised meat and eggs directly to households.

We have visited many farms throughout NSW, investigating the practices they use in relation to animal treatment and land management. Farms that we source from meet a number of key requirements in farming practices such as: animals are raised free range on pasture and eat naturally with no chemicals, hormone additives or supplements; and, farms use sustainable farming practices that promote the long term health of
the land. For example: rotational paddock systems, land regeneration programs, complementary farming processes.

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