Everyone gravitates to the Tenderloin when thinking of tender beef. Smart Chefs can save money and create tender tasty meals with some less well known and less sought after cuts. The following 7 muscles are some of the most tender in the steer.
The 7 most tender muscles are not all merchandised separately and can often be bought at a discount as part of a larger Sub-Primal Cut and then butchered or trimmed to make a portion.
Smart Kitchen's Lesson 7: Beginning Proteins, Topic 3: Beef does a good job of skimming through the basics and then using resource pages to delve into the specifics of different tender and tough beef cuts.
Fifteen of the 22 most tender beef muscles are ranked as being of "intermediate tenderness. As with the 7 most tender, you can find these intermediately tender beef muscles in various Sub-Primal or portion cuts, sometimes selling at a discount because the rest of the shopping public has not "boned-up" on their beef cuts.
Because the beef steer is a heavy ambulatory animal, certain muscles do a lot of work moving the bovine body from place to place, which means that a good portion of the beef steer is comprised of tough muscles. The next 18 beef muscles were rated as tough by both scientific measures and in blind taste tests by consumer panels.
Being tough does not mean that the resulting meat is un-useable just that the meat needs special care to be as palatable as possible. Tenderizing Meat as well as selecting the proper Cooking Techniques to tenderize tougher cuts are ways that chefs reduce waste and make the most of the product at hand. Join Smart Kitchen, "The Smartest Way to Learn to Cook™" and learn them all.
The source for the results displayed above is the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Study "Ranking of Beef Muscles for Tenderness" by Calkins & Sullivan of the University of Nebraska using Warner-Bratzler Shear Force Test.