Steaks for stewing come from the parts of the animal that do more work, that are packed with the most flavour, but which need to be cooked slowly and gently.
These are the cuts that you can dice for casseroles and stew and cook all day until the meat is soft and unctuous and melts in the mouth.
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Silverside is very similar to Topside, but has a little gristle running through it. Don’t let this put you off: the meat is still just as lean and full of flavour, you just need to cook it differently. Silverside is best braised; that is, cooked slowly in a pot with liquid. Any gristle will then just melt away.
Silverside is the adjacent muscle to the Topside (which is the Adductor muscle) and is separated from it by a silver wall of connective tissue, which is how it gets its name. The primary muscle is the biceps femoris, which ends up as the cap of the rump, the Picanha.
Silverside and Topside are leg muscles. The American names “Outside Round” and “Inside Round” are probably better descriptions: Silverside is from the outer thigh of the animal, Topside from the inner thigh.
Traditionally Silverside has been used to make Salt Beef, an art we think should be revived.
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Ribeye is many peoples’ favourite cut; it is both tender and full of flavour. Rib eye has excellent marbling, which adds to the flavour and helps keep the meat moist during cooking, making it a superb quality roasting joint.
There are many ways to enjoy Ribeye. It can be boned and rolled as joint, or roast on the bone; you can French trim the rib bones for a Cote De Boeuf; you can remove the eye of the rib for rib eye steaks, or leave a long length of rib and you’ve got a tomahawk steak.
Ribeye is taken from the fore rib primal. The fore rib generally contains four ribs, ribs 7, 8, 9 and 10 counting backwards from the neck. (Cattle have 13 ribs in all.) However a fifth rib is sometimes included (rib 6) to make an even more substantial roast.
There are in fact two main muscles in the fore rib: the rib eye muscle itself (the longissimus dorsi, which just means the longest on the back), which also makes up one of the halves of T-bone and Porterhouse steaks, along with the fillet, and the rib eye cap (the Spinalis Dorsi) which is a thin layer of muscle that surrounds the rib eye itself. The rib eye cap is, again, very tender and adds another layer of flavour to the roast. You really cannot go wrong with ribeye.
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