Where’s the Beef… Cut From? A Tasty Two Minute Read!

Grilled Steak

A while back we offered up the BBQ Dragon quick read for understanding the different grades of beef such as Prime and Choice cuts. Now, with Spring grilling season around the corner, we decided to offer up some more information about different cuts of beef and where the cuts come from. After all, you need to know this info when making your selection at the meat market and when trying to impress your grilling guru friends! So, here’s the official TWO MINUTE READ for Steak Cuts and where they come from.

And yes, we used the catchphrase “Where’s the Beef” which belongs to the hamburger chain Wendy’s from an old add campaign… probably needed to give credit before somebody claims infringement!

Best Steaks for Grilling:

Not all beef steaks are the same! Some are tender, some are kind of tender, and some are not. The great thing is this… all of them are steaks! To help sort things out here is some information to help you buy your next choice of steak.

According to the Beef Council, the Best Steaks for Grilling are:  “Ribeye steak, Top Loin steak, T-bone steak, Top Sirloin steak, Tenderloin, Top Blade steak, kabobs, and hamburger patties. Appropriate cuts if marinated: Flank steak, Shoulder steak, Blade steak (7-bone steak), and Skirt steak.”
Source – Texas Beef Council

Eight Main Categories for Beef and Cuts

According to the Beef Council, there are eight main categories of beef ranging from steaks and roast to ribs and ground beef. Here’s a basic breakdown of how to approach the meat section at your local grocery store. Check out the full chart below!

Chuck Steak

  • Chuck bone-in pot roast
  • Chuck boneless pot roast
  • Shoulder pot roast
  • Shoulder steak
  • Ranch steak
  • Chuck steak
  • Chuck eye steak
  • Top blade steak
  • Flat iron steak
  • Petite tender roast
  • Petite tender medallion
  • Short ribs boneless


  •  Bone-in ribeye roast
  • Bone-in ribeye steak
  • Ribeye roast boneless
  • Ribeye steak boneless
  • Back ribs (Beef ribs)


  • Porterhouse steak
  • T-Bone steak
  • Bone-in strip steak
  • Boneless strip steak (New York Strip)
  • Tenderloin roast
  • Tenderloin steak


  • Tri-tip roast
  • Tri-tip steak
  • Top Sirloin steak


  • Bottom round roast
  • Round tip roast
  • Sirloin Tip center roast
  • Eye of round roast
  • Top round steak
  • Western steak
  • Sirloin tip steak
  • Sirloin tip center steak
  • Sirloin tip side steak

Shank and Brisket

  • Brisket cross cut
  • Shank cross cut

Plate and Flank

  • Flank steaks
  • Skirt steaks

Ground and other

  • Ground beef
  • Cubed steaks
  • Stew meat
  • Kabob meat
  • Strip cuts

As we mentioned in the post about the differences between cuts labeled prime, choice, etc. – don’t forget to cook your next steak to the proper temperature using your BBQ Dragon meat temp charts – aka the Cooking and Smoking Temperature Magnets – 2 Piece Set – which is available in the shop! And here’s a quick chart courtesy of the Beef Council.


Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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