How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

The Best Cuts of Meat for Stir-Fry

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

The best beef cuts for stir-fries are those with a texture that allows them to absorb flavorings while maintaining enough beefiness to stand alone. Expensive, extremely tender cuts like strip or tenderloin are overkill because you’re slicing them so thin. Much better are the so-called butchers cuts. These are my favorites:

  • Skirt steak, sometimes known as “fajita meat,” is a portion of the plate that is cut from the area directly behind the cow’s front leg, close to its belly. It is thin, with the grain going in a short way, and measures about 18 inches long by 5 inches wide. Its rich, robust beef flavor and slight toughness make it ideal for stir-frying.
  • Before experiencing a sharp increase in popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s, flank steak was among the less expensive cuts available at the butcher. Nowadays, it commands prices nearly as high as loin cuts. Its advantage? You can find it pretty much anywhere. Unlike skirt steak, its grain runs the long way. It tastes slightly metallic and isn’t as strong as skirt.
  • Previously limited to chefs and butchers, hanger steak, also called the onglet in French, is becoming more and more accessible. It is incredibly beefy when cut from the diaphragm, and when done correctly (which I’m sure you will do after watching the video), it is as tender as you’d like. The grain can be a little difficult to identify because of its peculiar prism shape. I think my favorite beef cut for quick cooking is this one.
  • Flap meat is derived from the sirloin, which is the top side of the cow directly in front of its butt. In the New England region, it is also sold as sirloin tip. It’s difficult to find, but if you can, seize the opportunity. This is especially true if you can obtain it in its entirety rather than the cubes or strips that it usually comes in. It tastes and feels a bit milder than hanger, but it’s much easier to butcher because of its uniformly large size.

What Cut of Beef is Best for Stir-fry?

Chinese restaurants use flank steak, the most popular cut of meat, in all of their stir-fry dishes. In addition, we use this beef cut most frequently when creating our stir-fry recipes.

Flank steak is flavorful, relatively reasonably priced, and readily available. All you have to do to make a fantastic stir-fry is ensure that you cut and marinate it correctly because it has a strong beefy flavor.

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

For beef stir fries, boneless beef chuck steak is a more affordable option. Because beef chuck steak has additional fat, we like to use it for stewing and braising, but it can also be used for stir-fries.

Chuck steak is also more economical than flank steak. A big piece can be purchased, sliced, portioned out for multiple stir-fries, and frozen!

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

To get the beef chuck steak ready for stir-frying, a little more cutting and handling is needed. Cut the beef along the fat lines and cut off the thick membrane to get nice, chunky pieces that are ready to slice. As always, exercise caution when handling sharp objects and make use of a high-quality chef’s knife!

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

How Chinese Restaurants Tenderize Beef

It’s time to divulge some Chinese restaurant insider knowledge regarding beef tenderization. The first step in Chinese chefs’ traditional velveting beef practices is tenderizing your beef.

First, generously season the beef with baking soda, using one rounded teaspoon for every pound (450g).

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

After that, add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of water per pound of beef and massage the meat to ensure that the water and baking soda are evenly distributed. Set aside for 1-2 hours. This step tenderizes (baking soda) and hydrates (water) the beef.

The beef has to be thoroughly rinsed under running water to remove any remaining baking soda, or it will taste like baking soda in the meal.

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

When the beef is being rinsed, use your hands to mix it around.

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry

After the water runs clear, completely drain the beef in a colander and place it in a bowl to marinate (recipe follows).

How To Cut Beef For Stir Fry