Stake out special occasion meals in the beef aisle

(BPT) - Hosting dinner for a special occasion can be stressful. Whether you’re gathering with family for the holidays or making something new for friends, you want to deliver an entertaining evening and impress your guests with a pristine meal that everyone enjoys. A delicious beef cut is the focal point of a dinner that will treat guests to a night they will remember.

Beef is a traditional choice for many special occasions, including preparing a nostalgic favorite for the family or creating a meal from one’s cultural heritage. Guests of all ages identify beef cuts as a delicacy.

Cargill surveyed consumers to learn more about their perceptions of beef and when beef is on their plate. Among American beef shoppers who were asked about beef cuts (such as steaks, roasts, etc.):

  • 78% said that beef cuts have delicious flavor
  • 74% said beef cuts are great for special occasions and celebrations
  • 73% said beef cuts are moist and juicy.

Consumers view beef cuts as a savory entrée and want that luxury on their plate at special occasions. Selecting the perfect cut for a specific occasion can be a challenge, though.

Sterling Silver Premium Meats outlines the wide variety of beef cuts and details what each one brings to the table. Tenderloin steak is lean, yet succulent, with a fine buttery texture. Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin and serves as a stellar main course, perhaps as a mushroom filet, at a small gathering. Tenderloin can also be incorporated into a sophisticated mac and cheese recipe or a petite tender flatbread.

Ribeye is one of the best-known steaks and a favorite at steakhouses everywhere for being rich, juicy and full-flavored. Prime rib steak comes from the same section as ribeye, but the cuts are larger since they include the ribeye and the bone.

If you want a portion friendly entrée, short ribs are rich in tenderness and flavor, and are easily divvied up among the guests at a party. There are tons of recipes for short rib meals and appetizers including: smoky tomato braised short ribs with polenta, chipotle-braised short rib tacos, mini ancho short rib tamales and short rib sliders.

Skirt steak is tender and flavorful too, and it’s perfect for the grill. An indulgence that’s just as enjoyable as an individual steak as it is in stir-fry or fajitas, skirt cuts can create many different delectable dinners.

For a more affordable meal, ideal for large gatherings with families and friends, serve brisket or roast beef. Brisket incorporates some variety into the eating experience and is best when roasted slowly at a lower temperature. Add a puree to your plate for a complete slow braised brisket meal. Pot roast is economical and versatile. It can be tenderized by cooking in liquid for hours or cut into cubes for stew that can be shared by a big group.

Most consumers responding to the Cargill survey also said that USDA grades are important to them, but many shoppers lack an understanding of how to use the USDA grading system as a guide when purchasing beef.

While surveying the meat case at the grocery store, consumers can scan for the USDA grades on packaging. For a high-quality cut of meat for a special occasion, shoppers should grab a Prime cut, which has amazing tenderness, juiciness, flavor and fine texture. USDA Select grade beef offers a leaner protein source with slight amounts of fat and marbling. The Choice grade features moderate marbling and flavor and is a little less lean than Select cuts.

Entertaining for a special occasion becomes less intimidating when you know exactly what to cook. Armed with knowledge of the numerous beef cuts and USDA grades, consumers can be prepared to host family or friends for an extraordinary evening in any occasion.

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