The marbling, texture, and flavor of beef vary by cut. Learning about the different cuts will let you get more out of the meals you cook and have more fun at a yakiniku (barbecue) restaurant.

★Ideal ◎Optimal

<Cuts explained>

Cut Explanation

Chuck
This cut is closest to the head and is long chuck meat running from the shoulders to back. Chuck on the back is also referred to as "kurashita" in Japanese. It has a fine texture, good taste, and soft feel in the mouth. It has more red meat and more marbling than rib roast and and is suited to shabu-shabu and sukiyaki. It can also be cut into large pieces for steak, where it is soft and has a rich taste of fat.
Chuck has less fat than rib roast and is softer. It has a high proportion of red meat, but has a clean taste, with the signature depth of meat.
(Suited to sukiyaki and shabu-shabu)

Rib roast
The rib roast has many sinews and is a tougher meat. It is not suited to barbecue, but it can be used in ground beef or meat cut into cubes and used for curries and stews. It can also be thinly sliced and used for meat-and-potatoes dishes and stewed foods and soups, producing a melt-in-the-mouth texture and deep flavor.
When mixed with end pieces or ground beef from shank or other prime cuts of meat, the result is a juicy meat with a touch of fat and a deep flavor. (Suited to curries and stews)

Brisket
Brisket refers to the chest and upper thigh. This section also contains the chuck rib. This meat surrounds the ribs and is constantly in motion. It has red meat with a moderate amount of marbling, and it is on the tougher side. While this means the meat has a bit of tooth, it produces a rich flavor the more you chew.
Slice thinly to use as kalbi for barbecue, or dice into cubes and stew.
(Suited to yakiniku and barbecue)

Chuck rib
(prime kalbi)
This cut is part of the brisket. The meat around ribs 1 through 6 is cut into a triangular shape. This meat tends to be nicely marbled and is used for prime kalbi. Only two pieces of chuck rib1 can be obtained per cow, so it is a rare cut. At yakiniku restaurants, it is served as prime kalbi and, given the low yield, is considered a luxurious dish.
There is no specific “kalbi” cut -- this name comes from the word for ribs in Korean. Chuck rib is found between the front rib sections and can be enjoyed with salt for a smooth and rich taste.
(Suited to yakiniku and barbecue)

Shank
The shank is the shin portion on the front and back legs. It is sinewous and tough, but it produces a rich taste. Ground meat made from the shank is considered the finest grade of ground beef. It is rich in collagen and develops a deep flavor when stewed or used in broths. There is both a front and back shank.
When ground together with cuts from the rib roast and other areas, it produces a rich flavor. (Suited to Hamburg steak and other ground beef dishes)
Cut Explanation

Ribeye
Of the 13 ribs, the area between the 7th through 10th rib along the back is the ribeye. It has a good balance of red meat and marbling, with a fine texture and beautiful appearance. It offers the inherent rich flavor and softness true to the meat. One might say it is the pinnacle of beef, packing in rich flavor, marbling, and a sweet note of fat. It is exceptionally suited to shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, and large steak cuts.
Ribeye has a rich flavor, but it is not as fatty as it would appear. It has a clean taste with a concentrated rich note of beef
(Suited to sukiyaki and shabu-shabu)

Sirloin
This cut is on the back and follows the rib roast. Sirloin is considered the most prime cut of beef. It is famous as a steak cut, with a fine texture and utmost quality. Sirloin is noted for its soft texture and marbling. This cut is ideal for steak and other dishes in which the flavor of the meat is front and center.
Sirloin steak has a subtle and beautiful red color with marbling -- it is the pinnacle of steak cuts. (Suited to steak)

Tenderloin
This cut is also referred to as the filet. This is the long and narrow piece along the inside of the sirloin. Only 3% can be obtained from meat on the bone. It is noted for its very soft texture and lean quality. This is a prime cut of meat that ranks alongside the sirloin and roast. The center piece is known as Chateaubriand. The soft texture of this meat is enjoyed by people of all ages, and it is suited to steaks, and roast beef. The secret is not over-grilling it.
Only two pieces of tenderloin can be obtained per head of cattle. This soft and juicy cut is best enjoyed served rare. (Suited to steak)
Cut Explanation

Boneless short rib
This cut is located on the ribs. The upper part of the stomach is referred to as the boneless short rib. This cut is suited to curries, stews, and stir-fries.
The base of the thig is considered a prime yakiniku meat.
(Suited to yakiniku and barbecue)

Side rib
The cut found along the rib cage on the underside of the stomach is called the side rib. It has more red meat than rib cuts found on the sides of the body. This cut is a popular standby item used for yakiniku kalbi cuts. The flavorful taste of fat meets with a rich depth; this cut is among the prime cuts of beef.
This cut is regularly used as a classic yakiniku cut and lets you savor the beef to the fullest.
(Suited to yakiniku and barbecue)

Round
The remaining cut portion is referred to as the “rump.” This cut is positioned after the sirloin and is located along the waist to bottom. It is a large piece of red meat. Among the thigh meats, it is particularly noted for its softness and rich flavor. The red meat has a moderate amount of marbling and is suited to a comparatively wide range of dishes.
This cut has red meat and is low in calories, making it ideal for those looking for a healthy option. This is the softest cut of thigh meat, and it has a rich flavor.
(Suited to sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, steak, and roast beef)

Knuckle
A round-shaped cut of red meat located at the bottom of the thigh. It can be served whole or sliced into pieces for shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, yakiniku, sautees, curries, and stews. When sliced, this cut is good for yakiniku or roast beef.
It has a clean taste and soft texture. This cut can be enjoyed even by the elderly.
(Suited to shabu-shabu, sukiyaki, yakiniku, sautees, curries, stews, and roast beef)

Bottom round
This cut is located at the base of the back thigh. Of the thigh cuts, this has the finest texture and least fat. It is slightly tougher than the top round. The taste is rich and largely revolves around red meat. It is suited to barbecue, curry, stew, pot-au-fe, and other stewed dishes. It can also be ground or used for corned beef.
This is red meat with a light taste. It is lean, low calorie, and healthy.
(Suited to yakiniku, barbecue, curry, and stews)

Top round
This cut is located at the base of the back leg. This cut is the most lean of all beef cuts, making it ideal for those who dislike fat. “Red meat” generally refers to meat from the thighs. Thigh meat is soft and is suited to beef cutlets, tenders, carpaccio, roast beef, and more.
There is a mistaken image that thigh meat is dry. This cut does away with that notion. It offers a juicy texture and delicious, light taste.
(Suited to yakiniku, barbecue, beef cutlets, searing, and carpaccio)

Back shank
Like the front shank, the back shank is lean and has many tendons and sinews. This area sees lots of movement, so it is sinewy and red. It is high in gelatin, producing a rich flavor when stewed.
Stewing for long periods produces a flavorful broth.
(Suited to yakiniku, barbecue, and stews)