Best Beef For Stir Fry

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When stir frying, it’s important to know what’s the best beef for stir frying. You don’t want your steak to end up tough and chewy. Properly cooked stir fried beef should be tender and moist. My 3 favorite steaks for stir frying are flank steak, skirt steak and hanger steak.

BEEF FOR STIR-FRYING CONSUMER TIPS
SMART SHOPPING
WHICH CUTS?
Stir-frying, quickly cooking thin uniform pieces of meat in a
small amount of fat in an open pan is a variation on sautéing. For best
results, use tender beef cuts.
Packages of pre-cut beef strips, beef for stir-fry, are often available in
the meat case.
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.
Even some less tender beef cuts — flank, top round, round tip,
round sirloin tip center and round sirloin tip side steaks —
when cut into thin strips, can be stir-fried.
HOW MUCH TO BUY?
• Lean boneless cuts will yield 3-1/2 to 4 three-ounce servings of cooked,
trimmed beef per pound.
• Ribeye, with slightly more trim, will yield 3 three-ounce servings per
pound.
COOKING TIPS
GETTING READY:
• Prepare and assemble all ingredients for the dish before
starting to cook.
• Be sure the beef strips are of uniform thickness and width for even
cooking.
• To facilitate cutting beef strips from steaks, partially freeze the beef first
— about 30 minutes will do.
MARINATING:
• Thin beef strips absorb flavors and/or tenderize more quickly than
steaks. Keep marinating times short — 15 to 30 minutes to add
flavor; up to 2 hours to tenderize.
• Strips from beef flank, top round and round tip steaks benefit from a
tenderizing marinade — one that contains a food acid (such as lemon
juice) or a tenderizing enzyme (such as fresh ginger).
• A small amount of cornstarch is traditional in Asian stir-fry marinades. It
coats the beef, binding flavors and sealing in juices during cooking.
• Drain beef strips well before stir-frying.
AT THE STOVE:
• Use a wok or a heavy nonstick skillet. Preheat it until hot —
usually about 5 minutes to start — before adding food. Reheat pan
between batches.
• Stir-fry over medium-high heat.
• Stir-fry beef in batches, about 1/2 pound at a time. Overcrowding
causes the beef to steam rather than brown.
• Stir-fry with a continuous stirring-scooping-tossing motion to ensure
even cooking.
• Stir-fry beef just until the outside surface is no longer pink; the center
should be slightly pink.
• Stir-frying proceeds very rapidly. Beef can go from just right to
overcooked in a few seconds, so pay attention. Beef tri-tip, flank
and round cuts are heat sensitive. Be especially careful not to
overcook them.

BEST BEEF CUTS FOR STIR-FRYING

The secret to a great stir-fry is selecting the right protein – and these beef cuts are all proven winners. Assemble your favorite veggies, sauce and one of these stir-fry-friendly beef cuts to deliver a delicious one-skillet meal that’s sure to impress.

TOP SIRLOIN STEAK

A flavorful cut that’s versatile and juicy. Great served as a steak or cut into kabobs.

  • 26gPROTEIN
  • 150CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • STIR-FRY
  • SKILLET TO OVEN
  • BROILING
  • SOUS VIDE
Outside Skirt_Trimmed_121C
OUTSIDE SKIRT

Opposite the Inside Skirt Steak, this cut is known for its robust flavor profile. Marinate and grill hot for fajitas or use for stir-fry.

  • 23gPROTEIN
  • 240CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • STIR-FRY
  • BROILING
Inside Skirt_121D
INSIDE SKIRT

Opposite the Outside Skirt Steak, this cut is known for its robust flavor profile. Marinate and grill hot for fajitas or use for stir-fry.

  • 25gPROTEIN
  • 200CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • STIR-FRY
  • BROILING
FLANK STEAK

Lean and boneless with lots of intense beef flavor. Best when marinated and grilled or sliced thin and stir-fried.

  • 23gPROTEIN
  • 160CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • STIR-FRY
  • BROILING
  • SMOKING
  • SOUS VIDE
SIRLOIN TIP SIDE STEAK

Boneless and lean, this cut is inexpensive and ideal with a tenderizing marinade before grilling.

  • 24gPROTEIN
  • 140CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • OVEN ROASTING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • BRAISING
  • BROILING
SIRLOIN TIP CENTER STEAK

Boneless, lean and a good value for this fairly tender cut. Marinate before grilling for the best experience.

  • 23gPROTEIN
  • 150CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • BRAISING
  • BROILING
SIRLOIN TIP STEAK

This boneless, lean cut is great value. Makes good Kabobs, Stew Meat or Cubed Steak.

  • GRILLING
  • BRAISING
  • BROILING
DENVER STEAK

Cut from the center of the Under Blade, these steaks are extremely tender with a good amount of marbling and beef flavor. Best when cooked over high heat on the grill.

  • 22gPROTEIN
  • 180CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • STIR-FRY
  • BROILING
RANCH STEAK

Affordable, lean and versatile. Good for grilling or broiling.

  • 22gPROTEIN
  • 150CALORIES
  • GRILLING
  • SKILLET COOKING
  • BROILING

Best beef cut for stir fry

Beef and vegetables stir fry

Stir-frying is a quick and relatively cheap way of cooking meat and vegetables.

There are many cuts of meat you can use. Here we look at some options and how to get the best out of them.

There are many less expensive and more affordable cuts of meat that you can use.

Some of the best cheap cuts are great in stir-fry.

Your local, real butchers will help you choose the more inexpensive cuts of meat if the price per pound is important.

They will also give you cooking tips and advice on the cheaper cuts of meat.

You can eat well even on a budget if you know what you are doing if you stay away from the expensive cuts. Stir-fry gives you great food, that is tasty and tender and saves cooking time. What’s not to like?

BEST CUTS OF MEAT FOR STIR-FRY

Fillet (tenderloin) steak is probably the best beef cut for stir-fry. It is very tender beef with no gristle or fat so it is very popular. It is also the most expensive. Because it is not a working muscle, the fillet lacks the beef flavor some other less expensive cuts have in spades. We review other options below.

However, there are many less expensive cuts of meat, and more affordable cuts of meat that you can use.

Some of the best cheap cuts are great in stir-fry.

Your local, real butchers will help you choose the more inexpensive cuts of meat if price per pound is important.

They will also give you cooking tips and advice on the cheaper cuts of meat.

You can eat well even on a budget if you know what you are doing if you stay away from the expensive cuts. Stir-fry gives you great food, that is tasty and tender and saves cooking time. What’s not to like?

Healthy Eating

Stir-fry, a great way to get your 5 a day , if like me, you are not a great vegetable eater. Tender meat, crunchy vegetables, savoury marinade and egg noodles or rice, make a complete, satisfying meal. Apart from the time marinating, stir-fries take very little time to prepare and cook.

When you are cooking stir-fry strips, the best method is cooking at a high heat for 2-3 minutes until browned lightly. We will look at the cuts of beef you could use in stir-fry.

The essentials of a good stir-fry:

  • Good quality cuts of meat are a must. Stir-fries use gristle-free meat.
  • Remove all connective tissue.
  • The stir-fry strips have to be cut thinly, and you will need a sharp knife to achieve the best results.
  • Allow the strips to come to room temperature before cooking.
  • When cooking the meat, don’t overcrowd the wok. If you do, the temperature of the oil goes down and you will be steaming the meat, not frying it.
  • Fresh vegetables add a level of crisp texture to your stir-fry as a contrast to the tender meat.
  • The marinade you use has to have three ingredients to work its magic: acid, salt, and seasoning
  • ✅ Acid is essential to tenderize the meat before cooking.
  • ✅ Salt also tenderizes meat and brings out the flavor of the meat when cooked.
  • ✅ Seasonings add the extra zing to a stir-fry. Eastern, middle eastern, BBQ, whatever your favorite flavors are you can make a marinade to suit your tastes. Soy sauce has been a favorite for years. You can use Bell peppers, Hoi-sin sauce, Teriyaki sauce, Brown sugar, Snow peas, Green onion, Oyster sauce, Vegetable oil, and of course a wok.
  • You can stir-fry on a frying pan or a skillet, but best results are from a wok.
  • If you have no other way, you could try grilling, but you will need to stir the meat often.
  • Because you will use a marinade and crisp vegetables in your stir-fry, you will have a flavorful meal that can cook in minutes.

Slicing Across The Grain

If you are cutting meat for stir-fry to get the most tender meat you should cut across the grain. Cutting across the grain (or against the grain) will mean more tender meat. Cut meat thinly so it will cook quickly.

Slicing beef strips from the Beef Knuckle

Flank Steak

Flank Steak is a nice inexpensive cut that won’t break the bank. Flank steak when cut across the grain will be very tender. This comes from the belly section of a cow and great in tacos.

Flank steak

Beef Knuckle

The Bullet muscle from the Beef Knuckle if matured for at least 14 days, is a serious runner-up to Fillet. It has a better beef flavor too.

Picanha

Also known as Culotte, the Picanha is another contender for go-to meat for stir-fry. It is lean and tasty and when cut properly after maturing stands up with the best cuts.

picanha cut of beef rump cap sirloin cap
Picanha steaks

Sirloin Steak

This cut is also excellent but heading back up the price ladder. Good flavor, higher cost and works well in many dishes.

Skirt Steak Or Bavette

Hard to find,except in a real butcher shop, the skirt steak is tasty, cheap and is also very good in tacos.

Bavette means Bib or apron in French or diaper in Brazil. Matured for 14 days it will be very tender when cut across the grain.

Beef Clod

The centre muscle in the Beef Clod (we call it Top Rib, Housekeeper’s Cut, Cross Rib or LMC. In the USA it can be called Ranch Steak) is a little used cut that is very good for stir-fry. When matured for at least 14 days, this cut is tender and has a great beef flavor. Very affordable.

Beef Chuck Steak

The Chuck eye steak can be stir-fried but you will need to have any fat or gristle removed. Your real butcher can help here. Great flavor, tender and inexpensive.

Eye Of Round

Not really a runner in the tenderness stakes, but velveting can make a big difference and reduce the density of some tougher cuts. Cut across the grain after maturing, then coat in bicarbonate of soda or cornstarch for 15 minutes. Wash cornstarch off with fresh water and dry well before cooking. It really makes a big difference to the tenderness of the meats.

Heel Muscle

This is a little-known cut from the hind beef shin.

You will need to go to a real butcher who has the skills to remove this muscle correctly. After maturing for at least 14 days, cut across the grain and experience the real beef flavor without spending too heavily. Also known as Merlot Steaks or Velvet Steaks

Merlot (heel) steak

Flat Iron Steaks

Cut from the Beef Chuck, this is a really tender cut that has become better known over the last 10 years. Matured properly and cut across the grain this beef strip will soon become a favorite.

Feather Blade Steaks

Similar to the Flat Iron, this is a cut from the chuck that will impress. Rated as the second most tender cut in the beef carcass, this cut has it all. There is a layer of gristle running through the middle that you should remove before cooking. You will need a very sharp knife to do this properly. Or, go to a real butcher who will happily (and expertly) do this for you. As before mature for two weeks and cut across the grain.

Ribeye Steaks

This is an expensive cut but will be excellent in stir-fry. You will need to remove any fat and gristle to get the best of it, and that makes it more expensive per pound.

Rump Or Sirloin Steaks

Great value, tender and great beef taste. Probably my favorite of them all. This comes from the animal’s hip, and while it is a working muscle, it is quite tender. Working muscles always have more flavor than supporting muscles.

Rump (Sirloin) Steak

Ground Beef

You can stir-fry ground beef using any of the recipes you normally work with. The beefy flavour will come through with a minimum of seasoning. Just don’t overcook it.

Lamb Topside

The lamb leg has some nice broad, lean muscles that are excellent in stir-fry. The full lamb topside is the same muscle as beef topside, albeit much smaller. Cut across the grain into slices then cut into strips for a delicious lamb stir-fry. Middle eastern spices work really well with lamb so experiment to find the ones you like.

Lamb topside

Lamb Knuckle

Similar to beef knuckle, lean broad slices without gristle are ideal for stir-fry.

Lamb sliced for stir-fry

Lamb Shoulder

Part of the lamb shoulder works well stir-fried. As before, you need to find a real butcher who will cut the meat the way it’s needed for stir-fry.

Lamb Loin

You could use lamb loin, but it needs to be boned and trimmed and can work out quite expensive. Best using the Lamb Topside above.

Topside Pork

Leg Pork has some broad lean muscles that work really well in stir-fry and will cook reasonably quickly.

Pork Topside is a great piece of meat sliced thinly and cut into strips. Pork Topside is also great for Viener schnitzel.

Belly Pork

There are some great recipes for Oriental Belly Pork Stir-Fry. Click here for the recipe.

Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder has so many uses and is probably the best value meat you can buy.

Great for sausages, pulled pork, roasting and using the broad slices, for stir-fry.

Chicken Breast

Boneless Chicken Breasts are perfect for making stir-fry. Lean and tender, without gristle, chicken fillet absorbs the flavors of marinade really well.

Breast chicken sliced

Chicken Thighs

Remove any gristle and tiny soft bone from chicken thighs and slice into strips to make a very economical, and tasty, chicken stir-fry.

A Few Cuts NOT To Use

Brisket, Hanger Steak, Beef Ribs, Pork Ribs, Pot Roast, anything with a bone, any roasts or any cuts that are better suited to slow cooking, or need a longer cooking time.

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