How To

The best cuts of meat to use for your favourite roast, stir fry, BBQ or slow cooker dinners

When it comes to choosing which piece of meat to pick up from the butcher or supermarket, it might be confusing with so many options. Here, we tell you which cuts to buy for all your classic dinner recipes.

Meat for barbecuing

Your BBQ will give you a quick surge of direct heat, which differs to an oven and slow-cooker, so you need meat that is naturally lean and tender without hours of cooking.

As a general rule, go for meat which isn’t too thick to allow quick cooking the whole way through. Beef cuts should have a minimum thickness of 21 milimeters and lamb cuts should have a minimum thickness of 15 milimeters. Any steaks over 30 milimeters in thickness, and cooked above medium, should be finished with a hot oven to ensure the meat is properly cooked.

Some ideal cuts for barbecuing include:

Beef: Beef fillet, blade steak, beef spare ribs, oyster blade steak, Porterhouse, rib eye, rump, round, scotch fillet, sirloin, tenderloin and T-Bone.

Chicken: Boneless cuts like chicken breast, fillets or thighs are best.

Lamb: Backstrap, chump chops, cutlets, eye of shortloin, fillet, leg chops, round steaks, spare ribs topside steaks.

Pork: Belly slices, pork rashers, chump end steaks, pork leg, loin chops or spare rib chops.

Barbecued pork spareribs with red cabbage coleslaw

Barbecued pork spareribs with red cabbage slaw.

Meat for roast dinners

There is nothing more comforting than sitting down to a tender roast dinner on Sunday evening, complete with crispy crackling and a juicy middle.

But when picking your meat for the upcoming roast, it’s important to choose meat that will stay tender in the high heat, like these examples below:

Beef: Beef short ribs/spare ribs, butt fillet, lade roast, eye fillet (centre cut), eye of knuckle, rib eye/scotch fillet roast, rostbif, rump roast, rump cap, sirloin roast and standing rib roast.

Chicken: Whole chicken, wings and drumsticks.

Lamb: Forequarter rack, lamb leg roast or mini roast, lamb rump (denuded), loin roast, eye of shortloin/backstrap, Frenched lamb rack, neck fillet, ribs and shoulder.

Pork: Blade, chump, loin, pork leg, pork belly, spare rib, shoulder, tenderloin.

roast chicken

Classic roast chicken with gravy.

Meat for slow cooking

With a slow-cooker, you’re able to turn down the heat and simmer your dish for several hours to achieve ultimate flavour and tenderness.

You need to go for a firm, dryer meat to allow it to soften, but still hold its shape. You’ll save money, but also get huge amounts of flavour when the meat breaks down and absorbs the flavours of its surrounding sauces. For even greater flavour, opt for cuts of meat still on the bone like lamb shanks.

Some other awesome slow-cooking cuts include:

Beef: Blade steak, chuck steak, gravy beef, skirt steak or topside. Corned silverbeef also works great in the slow-cooker.

Chicken: Drumsticks or any meat still on the bone is perfect for your slow-cooker.

Lamb: Boneless forequarter, neck chops, lamb shoulder or lamb shanks on the bone.

Pork: Forequarter shops, pork neck and pork shoulder.

Slow cooker massaman beef curry.

Meat for stir-fries

Every body loves a good stir-fry. They’re super quick to throw together – simply toss all your ingredients into your wok or frying pan, and add whatever herbs, spices and sauces you desire. It’s a great way to get pack a lot of protein and veggies into your diet.

You’ll need a thin, tender cut of meat that responds well to direct heat. We recommend looking for these:

Beef: Beef rump, diced beef, minute steak, stir-fry strips, topside steak

Chicken: Chicken breast, stir-fry strips, tenders and thighs.

Lamb: Lamb leg steaks (sliced), eye of shortloin/backstrap, stir-fry strips and tenderloin.

Pork: Diced cubes, steak (sliced) and stir-fry strips.

Garlic beef stir-fry

Garlic beef stir fry.

Meat for pan-frying

Whether you’re just quickly frying up some chicken to toss through a salad, or cooking up a juicy steak when you can’t be bothered to fire up the BBQ, pan-frying requires a certain type of meat that will cook through well with the rapid, direct heat.

These cuts have proven to be your best bet when it comes to pan-frying:

Beef: Blade steak, flat iron steak, flank steak, mince, rib cutlet, rib eye/scotch fillet steak, sirloin steak (Porterhouse), stir-fry strips, T-Bone steak, tenderloin.

Chicken: Breast and thighs.

Lamb: Chump chops, eye of shortloin/backstrap, Frenched cutlet, lamb ribs, lamb steaks, loin chop, mince, stir-fry strips, tenderloin.

Pork: Cutlets, diced pork, forequarter chops, leg steaks, loin chops, loin steaks, scotch fillet steak and stir-fry strips.

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