Even though I have been cooking meat for many a year, I still need to refer to diagrams of the animal to see where certain cuts come from.

This gets a bit complicated when we go out to eat in France on holiday. Ditto when we’re watching an American show on the Food Network and don’t know where to place one of their cuts, e.g. tri-tip, which was not around when I lived there.

If you are of similar mind and would like to clear up the confusion, featured below are links to diagrams of cuts of beef in Britain, the United States and France.

Britain

The Telegraph has an excellent diagram, sponsored by Scotch Beef, of British cuts.

Click on one of the numbers to see photos of a particular cut, what comes from it, how to cook it and a suggested recipe.

Clicking on No. 8 — Rump — reveals that the old cut popeseye comes from this part. Pavé, too, is taken from the rump.

United States

In the US, Certified Angus Beef® has a similarly helpful site which provides diagrams and photographs on one page and recipes on another.

I have learned that tri-tip steak and roast are types of sirloin cuts. The Delmonico is a boneless rib-eye steak.

France

France has an incredible array of cuts of beef. Unfortunately, the otherwise laudable Le Boeuf Français site has no diagram.

Seasoned Advice has two to study: English beef and French beef. Whoa! It would take me weeks to get my head around the French cuts.

This is why I never order steak in France unless it comes as part of a tasting menu. The cut of beef served with steak and chips can differ greatly from one restaurant to another. You can see this from a page of diagrams on Wikipedia. Don’t worry — it has English and French text.

Look at the two cuts of bavette in the top row. They come from two different sections of the animal.

As The Reluctant Gourmet explains:

After doing just a little research, there is no simple answer because there are two different cuts in France called “bavette”. One is Bavette d’aloyau “of the sirloin” also called a skirt steak and the other is Bavette de flanchet or what we call flank steak. Both these cuts are sometimes sold as hanger steak but according to the article I read, that would be wrong.

Just to confuse matters a bit more, I read another article in the San Francisco Chronicle describing this bavette as “flap” meat. It also added, “Because bavette means bib in French, sometimes the word is used as a catch-all phrase for thin steak.”

If you look at Bruce Aidell’s new book, The Great Meat Cookbook, he describes flap meat (bavette) as coming from the bottom sirloin or the “underside of the hip”.  It looks like the above mentioned flank steak but is larger. Ok, now I’m starting to get confused even more.

Exactly!

In any event, all of the diagrams are very helpful and excellent resources for the home cook. However, they will take some time to study.

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