Beef cuts on a board with knife

Cheap cuts: How to buy beef

You might think the butcher's shop is pricey, but you'll find a great variety of inexpensive cuts plus lots of advice.

With names like flank, chuck and blade, the cheapest cuts of meat can sound severe and a little intimidating. However, butchers and professional chefs know the worth of these less popular cuts – they often have far more flavour than their expensive counterparts.

Advertisement

However, they do generally require longer cooking. The muscles that an animal uses most often – such as the shin or shoulder – are the toughest, but also the cheapest and most tasty. Most butchers buy animals whole too, so these parts should be readily available. Plus, you won’t have to settle for pre-packaged portions and can buy exactly the amount you need.

Our advice: Get to know your butcher and get your head around some of our favourite cheap cuts.

Brisket

Award-winning West Yorkshire butcher Brindon Addy says brisket is one of his favourite cuts of beef. “I’d choose this over topside any day. A 700g joint will feed four people well and cost around £5.50.”

Try it in…
Pot-roasted brisket in beer with parsnips & mushrooms
Texas barbecue brisket

Skirt

Taken from the underbelly of the cow, skirt steak is very cheap to buy but should not be cooked further than medium otherwise it becomes very tough. It’s traditionally used in Cornish pasties, so have a go at making your own.

Try it in…
Seared beef with orange & chilli
Braised beef with anchovy toasts
Cornish pasties

Shin

As this cut is taken from the leg, it usually comes with a bone intact. Stew in slices or use as a replacement for traditional veal shin in osso bucco.

Try it in…
Chinese braised beef with ginger

Flank

A steak cut that’s from the abdominal muscles of the cow, flank comes in thick, hindquarter and forequarter varieties. It works well minced.

Try it in…
Barbecued fajita steak
Minced beef Wellington

Silverside

Silverside is very lean, but good for corned beef or salt beef.

Try it in…
Red flannel hash
Salt beef with beetroot & horseradish

Chuck and blade

Dice and braise these cuts that come from the top of the animal, just past the neck.

Try it in…
Crispy-topped Cumberland pie

Leg

The leg is similar to shin, so cook it slowly in plenty of liquid.

Try it in…
Beef bourguignon

Top rump

This is also known as thick flank- thinly slice it for a cheap steak or roast whole for an extremely economical Sunday lunch. If you serve it pink it will keep it tender.

Advertisement

Try it in…
Roast beef & carrots with easy gravy
Do you like to use cheap cuts? How do you like to serve them? Share your suggestions with us below