Chris Bolyard's 5 Favorite Cuts

The last thing you want to think about the day after Thanksgiving is more poultry. That's why I'm hitting you with a post about beef.

It took me awhile to build up the confidence to ask Chris Bolyard, owner of Bolyard's Meat & Provisions, about some of the beef cuts on their big board. Was I dumb for not knowing what a Ranch steak was? How does a blade steak differ from a heel steak? I didn't want him to think that I was some dumb-dumb food blogger who didn't know the basics (like a food writer who can't tell tonkotsu ramen from chicken soup). Finally, I gave in and asked.

These so called 'off cuts' are really just the cuts of beef that haven't been picked by the steakhouses and beef industry—they're not the household names like filet mignon, tenderloin, strip steak, etc. No, these are the Paul Giammati, John C. Reilly cuts. They're the less sexy, unknown options that can still kill it at a BBQ or fancy steak dinner.

I stopped by Bolyard's to talk to Chris about his five favorite off cuts. Call ahead to order if you want to be extra sure you can get it. My personal favorite: the fatty culotte steak.

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Blade Steak

Chris Says: "It's the piece of meat that lays right underneath the shoulder blade in the forequarter of the cow. It’s pretty tender, and really lean. It’s good for grilling. I always give it to people who are looking for a flank or skirt steak if we don’t have them—it’s a good substitute. It’s a steak where you can cook the whole piece over high heat then just slice against the grain."

Culotte Steak

Chris Says: "It’s the rump cap. It sits right on top of the sirloin butt—there’s a natural seam and it comes right off. You can cook the whole thing as is, or you can cut it up into steaks. It’s a really good steak for a cast iron pan beacuse it’s got that nice fat cap on it. I did one last week where I put the fat side down, let it render out, then flipped it over and let it cook in its own fat. It’s really good. Really tender."

Heel Steak

Chris Says: "Considering it’s the calf muscle, it's a great, surprisingly tender cut. We pull the whole calf muscle out and get two heel steaks, each typically 1.5 lbs. Two people could have a meal from one heel steak, if they wanted to. It’s kind of like a fatter, more tender version of the flank. Very versatile. You can grill it or roast it."

Sirloin Flap

Chris Says: "It comes out of the flank primal, laying right next to flank steak. It’s great for marinating, though it doesn’t have to be. It’s kind of like a skirt steak, in that regard. It’s very similar with how it looks and cooks, but it’s thicker."

Teres Major

Chris Says: "Also referred to as a petite tender. There are only two in each animal, and they’re really small and tender. It’s a little muscle that lays right across the first five ribs of the animal in the forequarter. When you pull the brisket off, it’s laying right there. They’re usually about 9-10 oz. If you go real well done, it’s going to be really chewy, so I always tell people to keep it medium rare. It’s real tasty."

Bolyard's Meat and Provisions

2810 Sutton Blvd

Maplewood, MO 63143

(314) 647-2567