Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (2024)

I created this beef cuts diagram to sort out the cuts of the beef jigsaw in French and Italian! My biggest challenge when cooking French or Italian meat dishes in a foreign country is buying the proper cut of beef. While pork and lamb cuts are easier to recognize, it is not the same as beef cuts. Some pieces are universally known, while others are not.

Shopping for meat when you have a recipe from another country is always a nightmare. Besides finding the correct name, different countries cut the beef in other portions and sizes.

In England, they tend to use more generic names for cuts of beef (usually larger), while the French, on the other hand, prefer to use more minor cuts and consequently have a wider variety of names, for example, the English Fillet in French becomes: Filet,Chateaubriand, Tournedos,Filets Mignon.

The same cuts of beef are also sold for various dishes worldwide; for example, cuts used for stews in one country are used for hamburgers in another.

Therefore, I spent some time sorting out the cut's names and cooking methods and created a beef cuts diagram that I could bring to the Supermarket with me.

Here I start with cuts for Barbecuing; the charts can be downloaded at the end of this post.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (1)

Beef cuts diagram for different types of steak

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (2)

1. Fillet, Tenderloin (Eng.), Filet (Fr.), Filetto (It.): It is the prime and most renowned cut of beef, lean with light marbling. It is very tender as the muscle is completely inactive. As it has no fat, it does not have a strong flavor. The side closest to the leg is a less refined cut used for steaks. The Chateaubriand comes from the middle of the Filet, while the Tournedos and the Filets Mignon come from the tail end. This cut requires a short cooking time.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (3)

2. Short Lion, Steak, T-Bone (Eng.), Cote (with bone), Entrecotes (without bone) (Fr.), Lombata (It.), Roastbeef (It. Milan), Lombo (It. Rome), Trinca (It. Sicily) Located at the end of the ribs over the Filet, it is less tasty and tender than the Filet. The famous Florentine Steak is where the steak is cut with the Filet and the bone. It is a perfect cut for Barbecuing.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (4)

3. Rib (Eng.), Basse Cote (Fr.), Costata, Braciole, Costa (It.)
This muscle covers the end of the rib cage and can be cut with or without the bone. It is very tender, with plenty of fat that gives the meat a lot of flavors when barbecued. This is the cut used for veal Milanese

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (5)

The latest trend is to cut the slices leaving the whole rib bone clean of fat. Here in Europe, this cut is called Tomahawk, named after its shape resembling the Indian Tomahawk. In the USA, it is called Boned in Rib Chop or Cowboy Steak.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (6)

4. Sirloin (Eng.), Faux Filet (Fr.), Lombata (It.), Roastbeef (It. Milan), Lombo (It. Rome), Trinca (It. Sicily). Situated above the rear end of the Filet, it is lean and has light marbling. An outer layer of creamy white fat makes it very tasty for Barbecuing. In Italy, it is cut together with the Short Lion and jointly called Lombata.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (7)

5. Top Sirloin, Topside (Eng.) Tende de Tranche, Poire, Merlan (Fr.), Fesa (It.), Scannello (It. Rome), Rosa (It. Milan) It is the round central piece of the leg. Lean and with little marbling, it can be cooked in many different ways, such as barbecued: braised, pot-roast, roast, or steak tartare.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (8)

6. Rump cover, Rump steak (Eng.), Rumsteak (Fr.), Scamone (It.), Pezza (It. Roma), Codata (It. Sicily). Called Picanha in Portuguese, it is one of the prime cuts in the Brazilian Churrasco. It is a very tender cut of beef, located at the top of the leg just before the tail.

In some breeds, this cut is covered by a significant layer of fat; in the picture, the Picanha from the Aberdeen Angus breed. The fat melts while cooking, giving a fantastic flavor to the meat.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (9)

The cheapest cut of meat for the barbecue

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (10)

7. Flank Skirt, Thin rib (Eng.), Bavette aloyau (Fr.), Pancia (It.), Scalfo (It. Milano), Spuntatura di lonzo (It. Roma) , Bavetta di lombo (It.) This is a less refined piece of meat and used to be reasonably priced. However, it is becoming more popular as it is used in well-known international recipes like Fajitas in TexMex, Fraldinha in the Brasilian Churrasco, Vacío in the Argentinean Asado, and the Chinese Stir fry beef. It is a stringy cut of meat full of flavor,so it should be marinated with more pungent seasoning to soften it. Once cooked, it should be sliced across the grain.

Beef cuts diagram for stews

The best cuts of beef to use in the stew are the cheaper cuts, usually well-worked muscles. Because they worked a lot, they are lean and tough but with many connective tissues. Those tissues melt when cooked for a long time forming thick creamy gelatine.

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (11)

In the chart below, you can see where those cuts are located. They are called:

  • 8 & 9 Shank in Italian Campanello or Muscolo, in French Jarret, Gîte
  • 10 & 11 Round in Italian Girello or Controgirello, in French Semelle, Jumeau
  • 12 Chuck in Italian Giovarro or Collo, in French Collier

If you want to know more about the difference between those cuts, you can read an interesting article on Stew Science: How to Choose the Best Cuts for Beef Stew.

Here are some recipes that use beef stew cuts:

  1. Beef Pie With Marsala Sauce and Mushrooms
  2. Beef daube provencal stew with red wine
Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (12)

I enjoy trying new cuts of beef and hope that these beef cuts diagramswill provide you with some new ideas.

If you want to buy different cuts of meat and don’t speak the language, find my charts with names translated into French and Italian for Cuts For Lamb, Pork, and What Are Calamari Squid Cuttlefish and Octopus.

You can download all these charts here below (discount code for subscribers):

Buy Conversion Charts

Beef Cuts Diagram for French and Italian Recipes (2024)
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