Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cuts: How to Learn Different Steak Cuts

We at SteakPerfection of often asked where a consumer can find basic information about the different cuts and names of steaks.


The best way for a consumer to obtain accurate information about steak cuts is to ask us. Consumers can send their questions in any of the usual ways -- email, tweet, blog, facebook, website (see below) -- and we will answer as soon as possible, often immediately.

In addition to the SteakPerfection website, another excellent online site for beginniers is Beef: It's What's for Dinner. For each of the major retail cuts of beef, this site provides a description, pictures and an explanation of how best to cook them.


A more advanced site is the Gayot's Steak Cuts. The site includes information on where steak comes from, a description of some of the major cuts, and information about many of the beef cattle breeds.


The most advanced source of information is the official, USDA 2010 Institutional Meat Purchase Specifications ("IMPS"). This is a large PDF file site which includes the official names, descriptions and identification numbers for all recognized beef cuts in the United States.

The companion publication to the IMPS is the "Meat Buyer's Guide", which is published by the North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP). This is a required reference book for butchers, chefs and other serious cooks, but it is expensive. The book contains detailed descriptions and pictures of the beef cuts, as well as lamb, veal, pork and poultry.

Both the IMPS and the NAMP are used together, and the identification numbers for steaks and other cuts are usually given in the formation of IMPS/NAMP. For example, the New York steak is known officially as IMPS/NAMP 1180. (See our blog about the many common names for the strip, New York and Kansas City steak.)


We all love great steak, and we have to learn from each other how to identify and purchase the best steak. There are many different steak and other beef cuts, and we welcome your questions about them.



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