Originally Posted by moosetags
I kind of figured that. Is there a cheap cut of steak that would fill the bill?
There are four beef qualities: Prime, Choice, Select, and Standard. This has to do with marbling, the amount of intramuscular fat on the animal. Individual cuts can be very lean even from a well-marbled carcass if the fat is trimmed off before sale.
Beef is also measured in Grade, which is determined by the physiological age— not the chronological age; it ain't the years, it's the mileage— of the animal when it was slaughtered. Grade A is aged 9 to 30 months. Since veal is from an animal less than a year old, all veal is Grade A. Grade B is 30-42 months, and so on to Grade E which is older than 96 months. Grade A tends to be tender, Grade E tends to be tough as boot leather in comparison.
The most desirable cuts are Grade A Prime, of course. But those are also more expensive, and not usually prepackaged. These are the cuts you have to ask the butcher to wrap for you.
cut of beef can be a "cheap" cut, as long as it's not labeled Prime or Choice. But to ensure a minimum of gristle it's still best to go for Grade A if possible. As for fat content, that's a matter of personal preference, and if the package isn't labeled for "% lean" then you'll have to judge by eye; with the understanding that meat markets usually lay the cut of meat in the package so the side that looks
leanest faces up. There may be more fat content on the back than on the front.
My dad used to raise beef cattle once upon a time, and one of my summer jobs in college was in a stockyard. Amazing what you can pick up.