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Can't Identify Beef Cut

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Here in Japan, cuts of beef and pork are labeled very primitively. Almost everything is labeled "roast" or "thigh," although some beef cut in a steak shape is labeled "roast steak" or "thigh steak." I recently found a terrific cut for making a sort of london broil thing, and am wondering what it is (it's labeled "thigh," of course).

Here is a particularly well-marbled, rather short piece:

Now here is what it usually looks like in the supermarket:

As you see, it is generally a thick triangle or sometimes square. The piece I used today had traces of fat running down two sides of the triangle. The meat is generally fairly well marbled.

All things considered, it is not an especially expensive cut here, which must be taken with a bit of a grain of salt: tenderloin is very cheap here, and chicken thighs (often boned-out legs and thighs) are much more expensive than any other cut of chicken.

post #2 of 17
The bottom one almost looks like a NY Strip steak.
post #3 of 17
It looks like a hunk of the triangle end of what we call tri tip roast.
post #4 of 17
Looks like a piece of loin, or strip with tail off. could also be a piece of round split. Judging by marbeling, I would say fairly tender if cut against grain and on a bias.

On second and third look, it could be off the arm chuck.
post #5 of 17
The marbling of the small piece is deceptive for western eyes not used to true "kobe" beef.

It's not tri-tip, which is the muscle at the juncture of the top and bottom sirloins. Tri is well grained and the straight grain structure of the marlbed piece is, again, deceptive. However, it would be impossible to cut the large piece from a tri.

For that matter, it's not sirloin which doesn't have a grain.

IMO, Ed got it at the end. It's a piece of round steak.

post #6 of 17
Dang if I could get round steak that well marbled I wouldn't need to buy Ribeyes.
post #7 of 17
These untrained eyes see a very well-marbled piece of chuck (the part that is cut into flatiron steaks) or even brisket.
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post #8 of 17
It looks like exceptionally marbled round steak but I don't see wagyu beef everyday.
post #9 of 17
Here in Japan, cuts of beef and pork are labeled very primitively. Almost everything is labeled "roast" or "thigh," although some beef cut in a steak shape is labeled "roast steak" or "thigh steak." I recently found a terrific cut for making a sort of london broil thing, and am wondering what it is (it's labeled "thigh," of course). Chris

Chris; correct me if I am wrong > It seems that in Japan they label Roast cut for any larger cut that they feel can be put in ovens ,and cooked for a while, whereas thigh cuts are cuts that can be stir fried or broiled and require quicker cooking. Am I right in assuming this??

PS also here now in the states almost every market sells London Broil. Which as you know is off the flank.However here in small print under london broil label it says (arm chuck or chuck) Flanks used to be so cheap (2.00 pound)I used at all luncheon parties for sliced lonndon broil now they sell trimmed 4.95 and up.:lol:
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I keep turning this over in my head. I wonder whether you're on to something. But it's not at all obvious.

See, almost all meat here is sold cut very small by one means or another. The most popular are shaved thin and sliced about 1/2cm thick. Everything larger than that is usually labeled "block", as in "beef thigh block," the expectation being that you're going to cut it yourself, although sometimes a larger piece of thin-cut may be labeled "steak."

So when you look at a package of meat, most of what you see is how much fat there is -- that's a selling point, as you'd imagine with the whole wagyu thing. It's very, very difficult to tell what part of the animal it might have come from, because you're likely to be scratching your head trying to identify the sub-primal.

I wonder, based on your suggestion, whether the difference has something to do with the primal from which the meat ultimately arises, and that these are being classified by toughness: thigh is soft and fatty, roast is tough and less so, or something like that.

Everybody cooks beef pretty much the same few ways. Grill thin pieces over very high heat, Korean barbecue style; sear thin pieces in a cast-iron pan and top with sauce (teriyaki, sukiyaki, etc.); dip shaved pieces briefly in boiling water at the table (shabu-shabu); there are a few other methods, but they don't come up much. With these methods, notions of toughness and so on are naturally rather different....

Hmm. I'll think about this some more. Thanks, Ed!
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hi again. Forgot to say: the two terms, roast and thigh, are a bit funny in themselves. Thigh is momo, which is one obvious way to say thigh. Roast is rosu, which is a bad transliteration of the English term. If you look up rosu, you'll usually get "loin." Beyond that, it is generally expected that "thigh" will be leaner than "roast."

Of course, already that tells you there's something funny going on. If "roast" is actually loin, including absolutely everything that could remotely be called so (as opposed to anything that one could at all sanely associate with the thighs), then surely the tenderloin would be loin, and thus fattier... hang on...

This is what I mean about primitive labeling. The terms really just mean "kinda lean, you don't want that so much," and "nice and fatty, the way you like it." Beyond that, you just go by shape if it's "block" and fat content if it's not.
post #12 of 17
I notice here in the states when I go to Chinese buffets or Korean places most of the chicken dishes are made from boned out legs and thighs. This I assume is because of price factor(breast sells for more) . This is a far cry and better then some years ago when a lot of them were useing "chicken roll" or processed pressed breast. If I went to an average neighborhood family place there for dinner, what would average check be.? Thanks edb
post #13 of 17
Ed, you're right about the fact that those cuts are cheaper, but Chinese cooking, anyway, is very specific about when you use white and when you use dark. For instance, a Kung Pow would always be dark meat, whereas a Moo Goo Gai Pan is traditionally always white.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
In Japan, the price is the other way around. Breasts are cheap, thighs expensive.
That's harder to answer than you might think. Neighborhood family places are very sharply divided by type of food. I mean, yes, a lot of places do everything, but nobody orders a big chunk of the average menu because a given place is clearly specializing in something. Still...

The basic "family restaurant" is a teishoku place. Here you get a set with rice, pickles, miso soup, some kind of main dish, shredded cabbage salad, maybe a chunk of cold tofu; eliminate one or more of these if it's redundant with the main dish, so you don't get soup with a stew. These places are dirt cheap, as a rule. About $6-$10 per person, not including drinks of any kind.

Drinks are weirdly priced: beer and soft drinks generally cost much the same, around $4 a glass. Some slightly more old-fashioned places give you barley tea (mugicha), hot or cold depending on the weather, for free.

Note that there is no way you could possibly compete with those prices at home. I mean, you actually save money by eating at a teishoku place, assuming you want to eat the same range and quantity of food. The problem is that all teishoku rapidly comes to taste the same. In point of fact, 90% of Japanese food tastes more or less the same. And since the most popular texture in Japanese food is soft and/or slimy, it all starts to weigh on you after a while.

The other big kind of family restaurant is the kind that serves yoshoku, which means spaghetti, "hanbagu" (not a burger, more like round meatloaf, served with sauce), maybe some kinds of pizza, deep-fried stuff, and so on. These places are generally more expensive, probably $10-$15 per person without drinks. The food is more varied, but it still tastes unmistakably like Japanese food: you would never in a million years try to sell this stuff in the US. It sounds like an Applebee's sort of menu, and that's what it is, but any Applebee's / Cracker Barrel / etc. customer who isn't Japanese would send the food back.

Good food in Japan, which does not happen in family restaurants except certain kinds of sushi places in Tokyo that I don't know much about, varies wildly in price:

Izakaya (bars, basically, but with good and often very creative food): $25-$35/person

French / Italian / Spanish: $50-$75 or more/person for a pretty good place, plus wine costs a fortune

Chinese (high end, I mean): $40-$100/person depending on what you're eating

Kaiseki comes in grades:
$75/person - a little of the kaiseki experience
$150/person - decent, respectable stuff, but nothing great
$250/person - a good place, standard menu; an OK place, fancy menu
$350/person - a good place, fancy menu
and you can decide how much higher you'd like to go and they will be happy to accomodate you within reason

That help?
post #15 of 17
That piece of meat actually looks a cut that comes from the top of a beef rump. This cut looks suspiciously like a striploin/sirloin, but is slightly longer and higher than your normal striploin but not much. It also explains the lack of sinew across the top and under top fat.

A dodgy chef once suggested that I could sell it as striploin.
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post #16 of 17
I would also say rump, coz it looks very similar to the wagyu rump steaks i am serving for lunch these days.

Chris, don't forget RAMEN. I miss the ramen near the harajuku / meiji jingu station....:cry:
post #17 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the suggestions about the cut. I'll let you know if I learn anything more specific.

Well, ramen is not something I associate with a "family restaurant" by any stretch of the imagination. Besides, I'm in Kyoto, which is not known for its ramen.
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