Trimming, Cutting, and Boning Beef

Many cuts of beef purchased at a food store or specialty meat market are ready to cook, but some cuts may need additional trimming or boning before they can be cooked. If extra calories and saturated fat are an issue, then it is best to remove as much external fat as possible. However, removing the external fat before cooking can result in beef that is a bit tough because the fat acts as a natural tenderizer during the cooking process and seals in some of the juices.

Rib Roasts | Trimming a Tenderloin
Preparing Steaks for Grilling or Broiling
Cut and Trim Beef Yourself and Save Money

Rib Roasts

  • Boning: It may be beneficial to remove the backbone (also known as the chine bone) from very large rib roasts. This will make the rib roast easier to carve after it is cooked. A meat saw or sharp knife will work well for removing the chine bone. The boneless rib roast can then be rolled and tied before it is roasted. A rib roast with the rib bones intact is called a standing rib roast because the roast stands on the rib side of the meat as it roasts. It is more popular than the boneless roast.

  • Frenching: A form of trimming called frenching refers to the process of scraping the fat and gristle from the ends of rib bones using a sharp knife. When preparing beef cuts such as a standing rib roast, the process makes the beef more decorative when it is served. The bone ends should be wrapped with foil or decorative foil coverings, known as frills, in order to prevent the bone ends from burning during the roasting process.

Trimming a Tenderloin

If you plan on roasting a beef tenderloin, you can save money by purchasing an untrimmed tenderloin and performing the trimming at home. A tenderloin that is not trimmed of the outer fat layers may weigh as much as 9 pounds. It may weigh as much as 5 pounds when it is trimmed.

Using a sharp knife, remove the layers of outer fat from the tenderloin. The layers should pull away easily after a knife has been inserted between the fat and the meat. The silverskin, which is a tough, silver colored membrane should also be completely removed. If it is not removed, it tends to shrink during cooking, which causes uneven roasting.

Preparing Steaks for Grilling or Broiling

If a steak has a thick layer of fat on the outside edges, it can be trimmed off so that only about 1/8" of fat remains. A little bit of fat around the edges helps to seal in the juices and keeps the edges from drying out when the meat is grilled or broiled.
This thin layer of remaining fat should be vertically slashed at about 1" intervals all the way around the steak so that the meat will not curl up while it is cooking.

Cut and Trim Beef Yourself and Save Money

You can save money by purchasing larger portions of beef and then cutting them into smaller cuts at home. Larger cuts of beef often cost less per pound because less preparation is required from the butcher. Steaks can be obtained from roasts, beef strips can be trimmed from larger pieces for stir-fry recipes, and chunks of beef can be cut and used as kabobs or stew meat. The pieces are easier to cut if the beef is placed in the freezer for a few minutes to firm it up.

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