Meat by Number in Israel
If you’re an English speaker in the Land of Israel, you might have a difficult time choosing the right meat for your barbecue in a state where you order by number at the butcher.
#1 Entrecote, Steak Ayin
Americans will call this Rib or Rib Eye steak, and it’s the perfect grill-cut for any barbecue. The tender meat is toward the top of the cow, away from the muscle-making front or back legs, and the fat just melts into the meat. Pop it on the stove, throw it on the grill, or blast it in the oven, just please don’t let it get ‘well-done’
#2 Tzlaot, Rifaan
Known as Chuck Roast to some, this cut is good for braising and other slow cooking methods. This muscle group of the cow was responsible for the constant back and forth motion of the cow’s two front legs, and therefore it isn’t as tender as a #1 (which also makes it less expensive). The meat is lean but tough.
#3 Chazeh Bakar
Every Jewish mother’s go-to home-cooked meal, the brisket. Another well-exercised part of the cow, there are hundreds of ways to cook a brisket, including smoking, braising, slow-roasting, and curing, but the golden rule of how-to-cook-it is low and slow. Enjoy a cup of Manischewitz wine and say a l’haim for this gorgeous piece of meat.
#4 Katef Mercazi
Part of the cow’s leg, this cut is also called a Silver Tip Roast and can be used to make the Lower East Side Classic, Roast Beef, or Pot Roast. Remove the layer of silverskin on the top of the meat and wrap it in butcher’s twine, season, and...roast!
#5 Tzli Katef
Another more expensive cut, the Tzli Katef is a minute steak and an easy grill, roast, or stovetop dinner, lunch, or breakfast.
#6 Filet Medumeh
Not as tender as steak, but not in need of any slow braising, the Filet Medumeh or Petit Tender is a mid-range priced meat with a high-end taste.
#7 Michaseh HaTzlah
Also known as the Chuck Cover, this cut is often overlooked because no one knows quite what to do with it. The Chuck Cover covers the shoulder blade, where cuts #4 #5 and #6 are found: meaning a #7 is a tough cookie. It can be used in two ways: slice it thinner and turn it into London Broil, or slow cook, braise or stew the meat with aromatics.
#8 Shrir Kidmi
The foreshank is one of the toughest cuts on a cow, the Shrir Kidmi needs to cook for a long while. Used throughout the cow’s lifetime, the muscular leg can always use a cleanup of silverskin, but when the connective tissue hits 85℃ it melts into the meat and that, my friend, is flavor.
Short ribs. Flanken. Flank Steak. If you can cut a #9 right, you can get two or three pieces of meat out of it (depending on whether yours has bones in it or not). The flank steak can be roasted or grilled, and the flanken or “Asado” is fatty, tough meat that can be slow-roasted, or braised. Very often served at weddings. Delicious.
This is the neck. Unpopular because it’s mostly bones, but useful and flavorful as a base for soups, stews, and delicious braised.