what cut of beef is best for chinese stir-fry

Most tender beef cuts, such as sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin (strip), tenderloin, shoulder center (Ranch Steak), shoulder top blade (Flat Iron) and shoulder petite tender, can be cut into strips for use in stir-fry recipes.

Best beef stir-fry recipes to try

what cut of beef is best for chinese stir-fry

what cut of beef is best for chinese stir-fry

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what cut of beef is best for chinese stir-fry

“When it comes to the best beef stir-fry, what cut should I use?” It’s a great question! Does the most expensive steak give the greatest flavour? Or are the often overlooked cuts the better choice, given the right treatment? It was time to step into Marion’s Test Kitchen to find the best beef for stir frying.

The different cuts of beef

I chose five different beef cuts – chuck, rump, sirloin, scotch and eye fillet – that were widely available in my local supermarket and used them all in a classic super-tender beef stir-fry recipe of mine.

They ranged from the most expensive eye fillet (often considered to be the most tender) down to the cheapest chuck steak, otherwise known as gravy beef. In fact, the price difference between the cheapest and most expensive was pretty big: $3.75 compared to $16.

Chuck steak is mostly made up of muscle and connective tissue, and to be honest I hadn’t previously considered it as stir-fry material. Here goes!

How you slice your steak for a stir-fry is so important, and plays a huge role in how tender your meat will end up. The general wisdom is that you want to be slicing across the grain of your meat.

If you take a look at your steak, you should be able to see the grain running in a certain direction. Should you cut with it, your pieces will have long grains running across their surface area, making them harder for you to chew. Take your knife and cut across it instead, and you’ll immediately see the difference in how your slices behave.

For bigger pieces like rump steak, where the meat almost separates into sections with their own grain, I would suggest dividing these sections up firstly. Once that’s done, treat each section as a separate cut with its own grain direction. Check the video above to see what I mean.

Oh, and very importantly: keep your slices THIN. No more than 3mm (⅛”) is what you should be aiming for.

Once I’d done my all-important marinating (check my article on how to cook beef stir-fries for the full lowdown on what secret weapons you need), it was time to cook, then test.

Gotta admit: I had high hopes for the premium cut. However, as I was stir-frying with the slices, they broke up a lot in the wok. By the time I was done, the finished dish looked like I’d used beef mince instead! Taste-wise, it was still very tender, but the beef almost ‘disintegrated’ in my mouth – just far too quickly for my liking.

These strips kept their shape in the wok, which is what you want in a beef stir-fry. Nothing bad to say about this one: it was tender, it tasted nice and soaked up the sauce perfectly. Thumbs up. But can we do it cheaper?

It was actually kind of hard to tell the difference between this and the Scotch fillet! So for the cost saving between the two, this is my top contender so far in the taste test.

There was a noticeable difference in the beef stir-fry tenderness when I got to the rump. It was by no means tough, but it definitely wasn’t as tender as its predecessors.

Most tender beef cuts, such as sirloin, tri-tip, ribeye, top loin (strip), tenderloin, shoulder center (Ranch Steak), shoulder top blade (Flat Iron) and shoulder petite tender, can be cut into strips for use in stir-fry recipes.

FAQ

What is the most tender cut of beef for stir fry?

Sirloin Tip Center Steak Boneless, lean and a good value for this fairly tender cut.

What meat to use for Chinese stir fry?

What Cut of Beef Is Best For Beef Stir-Fry? Flank steaks are the most popular choice for making a stir-fry. However, you can also use sirloin steak, skirt steak, Denver steak, or even beef chuck. Beef chuck steak is the most economical choice, but it does require some extra trimming.

Why is Chinese stir fry meat so tender?

In Chinese cooking, proteins like beef, pork or chicken are velveted first before stir-frying them. There are several ways to velvet, but at its most basic level, it involves marinating meat with at least one ingredient that will make it alkaline. This is what tenderizes the meat, especially cheaper, tougher cuts.

What cut of beef is used in Chinese food?

More often than not, it’s the cheapest cuts like flank or hanger steak, or loin or butt meat from the pork or beef. Just like in the modern age, the mark of a good chef is the ability to turn cheaper ingredients into something really tasty.

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