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The 4 Best Cuts of Beef for Flavorful and Tender Soups and Stews

Ready for stew and soup season?

Cozying up to a hearty, flavorful stew in the dead of winter...this truly is my favorite time of year. 

When choosing cuts of beef for stew, I look for a tougher cut of meat. The beauty of choosing a tougher cut of beef is found in the collagen.  The precious collagen.  

This connective tissue that’s found in the most-worked muscles of the cow shines beautifully when simmered in a hearty stew.

If you start off with an already tender cut of beef, every ounce of tenderness will seep into the liquid and leave you with hard and chewy chunks of meat.

But leaner cuts like chuck and roast have time to break down their collagen which melts into the meat, basting it in moisture and flavor. 

Its a beautiful thing.  And depending on your particular cut, you’ll walk a way with a rich, hearty stew that’s full of flavorful, tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef. Is your mouth watering like mine?

Which cuts are considered stew meat?

Packages labeled stew meat are usually chuck or round...excellent choices, but aren't the only options. Not even the best ones in my opinion. 

Short ribs, oxtails and beef shanks also create irresistible stews. Any large cuts of beef from either the front shoulder or rear end of the animal will create a beautiful stew. 

The Four Best Cuts of Beef for Soups and Stews


1. Oxtail.

I want to brag on the oxtail a little bit. This bone-in cut is full of delicious, healthy marrow that not only bastes the meat in rich flavor, but the nutritious marrow also seeps into the stew as it simmers.

Oxtail meat boasts more fat and connective tissue than it’s stew meat brothers, resulting in an intensely flavorful stew when simmered long enough. 

The only "downside" is as it gets tender it begins to fall off the bone and shred.  So if you’re counting on defined chunks of meat in your stew, then you might be happier with one of the three other beef cuts on this list.

2. Chuck-eye roast.

Yum, yum, yum.  Chuck is probably the least expensive on the list, but it definitely doesn't disappoint in terms of tenderness and flavor when simmered in a stew. 

The chuck often ends up more tender and moist than the round simply because it seeps out more gelatin as it cooks. 

One downside is that chuck, the shoulder, is made up of many different muscles.  You may wind up with irregular chunks of meat with varying degrees of tenderness and flavor.  


3. Beef Shank.

The beef shank, the cross-section of a cow’s leg, is an expert choice as well.  Plenty of rich collagen that becomes “velvety tender” as it cooks. Beef shank can be pricier than chuck and contains just about as much bone as it does meat.

However this cut has been described as containing a “rich consistency, along with the oxtail.” Shanks, however, are leaner in fat than oxtail, keeping down the calories without sacrificing an ounce of flavor.

4. Short ribs.

Lastly, the short rib makes its way onto this list.  The short rib comes from the underside of the cow, the part of the rib that meets the belly. 

Short ribs are more expensive than chuck, however they’re sold bone-in, which means for you, “a deep, beefy flavor with a beautiful, even grain throughout.” 

Short ribs offer the most consistency in both texture and flavor than the rest of the cuts listed, and can be cut several different ways.

 When choosing your cuts always remember to go for leaner, tougher cuts of meat, usually less expensive.

These tougher cuts will rise to the occasion and and shine.  Which means you’ll be left with rich, flavorful, comforting stews for the season. 

I pray you and your family all the best this holiday season. Love, Kristen

View our Angus Comfort Food Package, full of flavorful stew meats, packaged and ready to be shipped. 

And join the Beef Fam for more tips like these, plus you’ll gain access to exclusive sales and discounts!

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