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Retailers, be they butchers or mega-food stores, purchase whole steers that are processed according to long-established patterns. The steaks and roasts that serve as centerpieces for cookouts and holiday dinners come from the center "top" of the animal -- the ribs and loin. Other more muscular parts contain less fat and provide brisket for corned beef, shoulder, chuck and rump roasts, beef riblets, organs, flank and round steaks. Even shanks and knuckles provide beef for creative cooks. Leftover trimmings may become stew meat and beef tips.
Beef tips may be used for stews but beef labeled "stew beef" is most often taken from the steer's neck, shoulder and shank; and from the breast plate, the source of short ribs, and back leg, or heel of round. Stew beef is less tender than other cuts because it is what is left over after the steaks and roasts have been cut. Meat labeled as beef tips should always show the source of the tips to ensure that they are not just stew meat which requires slow, moist heat for a tender result.
Types of Tips
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