10 Recipes for cooking with unique cuts of meat

Helen Best-Shaw 21 March 2022

Here are ten delectable recipes perfect for dinner that will keep you coming back for more portions

Even if, like me, you’re not eating as much meat as you used to, it’s still very easy to stick to the well known usuals of something like a chop, chicken breast or thigh. But there’s so much to miss out on if you do this.

There are plenty of lesser known cuts that offer delicious dishes, frequently at a much cheaper price. Many of them benefit from long, slow cooking, making them ideal for crock pots/slow cookers.

Here are ten ideas for less known cuts and types of meat.

Picanha Beef Cut With Chimichurri Sauce

Picanha is a cut of beef popular in Brazil. Outside of Brazil, the cut is less known and often called top sirloin cap, rump cover, rump cap, or culotte. This is a super quick roast of tasty and tender meat that needs little preparation. You won't be slaving in a hot kitchen because the cooking time is much shorter than for traditional roasts.

I do prefer my beef to be medium rare, but I know that some people prefer their meat more cooked through, and this recipe includes instructions to cook the beef to your liking.

Authentic Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Belly (Thit Kho Tau)

Vietnamese Caramelised Pork Belly (thit kho tau) is classic comfort food of Viet families. Pork belly is slowly braised with caramel and fish sauces until it has a beautiful colour and becomes unctuous and  tender. Eggs can also be added to the dish, and then it’s called “thit kho trung“.

The version with eggs is a must-have in the Lunar New Year feast of Southern Vietnamese people. This recipe includes a video offering full details.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef

This shredded beef made with chuck, round, or blade roast, is so versatile: serve with mashed potatoes or steamed rice, as a filling in tacos, or make a beef sandwich. The recipe can be as simple as you want it to be. You can fuss with a few extra steps, like I have in the video, or you can just throw everything in the slow cooker and let it do its thing.

The recipe author likes to tie the beef when cooking, so that the herbs in in the joint can be removed before serving. She also sears the joint before slow cooking; this is something that I’m a great believer of too. It makes such a difference!

Greek Pork Gyros

Pork gyros are made by cooking a skewer of seasoned meat on a rotisserie. The meat is brined, then marinated, and cooked on a vertical rotisserie in the oven. If you don’t have one of those, then cook, under the grill, turning frequently.

The crispy yet tender meat is served with warm pita, tomatoes, and tzatziki.

Marha Porkolt - Hungarian stew

Braising is a great way of tenderising a tough cut of meat and unlocking its glorious flavour. This Marha Porkolt is a Hungarian stew that is as popular as goulash. It’s a deliciously simple dish: meat in a thick paprika gravy.

Use either neck or shin of beef, or both; using both you get great body from the shin and great flavour from the neck. The recipe has both oven and slow cooker instructions—I would definitely use the slow cooker here. Just set and forget.

Feijoada (Brazilian Black Bean Stew)

Feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew) is Brazil's national dish, reputedly created by slaves. Their masters used the pig for their meals and threw away the scraps. The slaves then collected these discards and added them to black beans, thus creating feijoada. From this rather macabre and distressing history comes a delicious dish rich in both flavour and meaning.

Pasta Ossobuco With Orange And Lemon Zest

Ossobuco, meaning “bone with a hole”, is a wonderful traditional braised veal shank recipe from Milan. The veal shank is cut into “chops” which are braised in white wine and stock and served with a gremolata (a chopped herb condiment which includes lemon zest).

It’s traditionally eaten with either risotto Milanese (risotto with saffron) or polenta. Away from Milan, it is sometimes served with pasta, like in this pasta ossobuco recipe. Either way, I think this dish sound absolutely delicious.

Instant Pot Taiwanese Beef Stew

Instant Pot Taiwanese Beef Stew originally is a variation on a noodle soup recipe. The author uses the same aroma and seasonings but turns the recipe into a beef stew using beef shanks. Beef noodle soup is Taiwan’s most iconic dish; every household in Taiwan has its own method and ingredients when it comes to this dish.

This author uses an instant pot to significantly reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes, making this dish ideal for a weeknight dinner.

Pork Knuckle German Style

Fall-apart tender meat on the inside and crispy skin on the outside is what makes this German delicacy special and loved by many. Like numerous other dishes using cheaper cuts of meat, it does need a longer cooking time, first simmered for up to 90 minutes, and then spending a couple of hours in the oven.

The result is meat that is falling off the bone; the photos of the finished dish look delicious!

Quail & Grana Padano Risotto With Prosciutto

I’m ending on this quail recipe. Quail is a bird that hits the sweet spot between having a richer and more interesting flavour than chicken, but not so gamey that it puts most people off.

This is a more complicated recipe best made when you have some time, but I can say from experience that the results are worth it.

The quail is wrapped in sage leaves and sweet prosciutto. It’s browned on all sides in a pan, and then quickly roasted and then carved. The breast meat is kept separate to be placed on the risotto at the end, and meat from the legs and wings is stirred into the risotto. The carcass is used to add more flavour to the risotto stock, so everything is used here.

Read more: Panna cotta with rhubarb recipe

Read more: Slow roasted lamb shoulder recipe

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