Beef – Picking Your Cut

One of the questions that we get asked a lot is “how do I know what bit to use for what?” There are numerous cuts of beef and the different cuts often go by different names depending on where you are in the country.However before we get into that, it is important that the raw material is up to scratch. Whether you get you meat from Macbeth’s or elsewhere, it is important to establish the provenance of what you are buying – in an ideal world down to the farm from which it originates. For the best beef you ideally would like something that is extensively reared, grass fed and definitely only fed on natural feedstuffs.One way of ensuring that you are getting this is looking out for quality assurance marks such as the Quality Meat Scotland Scotch Beef logo. This signifies that the animals have been raised and looked after to a specific code setting out high standards of animal husbandry and welfare.So now that we have an idea of the ethos with which we should be buying, the next question is what do we buy?

As we know it can be very daunting to know what to chose when you are picking a bit of beef to cook, we have broken it up into three areas which are explained in a bit more detail below.

Beef Shoulder

Usually used for slow cooking cuts such as pot roasts, stew, braising beef and mince. This area of the animal provides the staple ingredients of many simple and delicious dishes.
More about slow cooking cuts


This is where we get our more economical roasting joints from. These tend to be quite lean and some customers will ask for extra fat to be rolled round the outside of the joint (this is OK by the way!)
More about boneless roasts


Where we get our prime cuts from – either for roasting or to use as steaks. Roasting joints can be left either on the bone or they can be boned and rolled for easier carving. Steaks, on the other hand, are the ultimate in fast food! Also as a little bit of trivia, a roasting without the rump is known as a roast.
More about roasts on the bone
More about steaks