A versatile meat with a deep, rich flavour. The quality and flavour is partly dictated to by its breed and there are so many cuts to choose from, so take time to choose the right one. British-reared Aberdeen Angus is probably the best known throughout the world.
How to cook
For quick-cook dishes, such as steaks and stir-fries, go for tender cuts such as rump, rib-eye, sirloin and fillet. Get the pan really hot before and season just before you start cooking. For a classic roast, the best cuts include rib or fore-rib, sirloin or fillet. Brown the meat to begin with and baste throughout roasting. Rest the meat for 30 minutes before carving.
Silverside, topside and brisket are ideally suited for pot-roasts and braising. Neck and shin are collectively labelled as 'stewing' beef, where the long and gentle style of cooking will tenderise the tough meat, which will literally begin to fall apart when ready.
Available all year round
Look for moist meat that is firm to the touch, burgundy red in colour and with fine strands of fat running through it, known as marbling. Organically reared beef and rare breeds will offer you a exceptionally good quality but expect to pay more.
Trim away any thick layers of fat or sinew from any steaks. Beef can be marinated to add extra flavour or to tenderise the meat further before cooking. Remove from the fridge 30-60 minutes before cooking in the oven.
Always follow the use-by-dates on any vacuum-packed beef and store on the bottom shelf of the fridge. You can keep any loosely bought smaller cuts for 2-4 days, and large joints for up to 5 days.