Learn the difference between stew meat and kabob meat, and when to use each in recipes.
When you buy a beef from us, two of the many cuts you get are stew meat and kabob meat.
When you look at each package, the cuts look very similar. Once you get past their appearance and take off the packaging , you find some wonderful pre-cut chunks of meat. And when you look even deeper into where the cuts are from on the steer, you’ll realize there’s an even bigger difference between the two beef cuts.
What Kind of Meat is Stew Meat?
Stew meat is typically trimmings from the chuck, which is the shoulder of the cow. It can also come from the round, which is the cow’s rump and hind legs.
Cuts of beef from the chuck and round are tougher because they’re from well-worked muscles that are full of collagen-rich connective tissue. This is important to know is because the collagen melts into the beef, and the meat will become more tender as it cooks.
It is best when it’s incorporated into dishes with long cooking time and lots of liquid. The combination of cooking time and liquid turns the tougher cuts into melt-in-your-mouth beef.
What Kind of Meat is Kabob Meat?
Kabob meat is trimmings from the primal cuts of beef, such as the sirloin, but it can also be from other cuts.
A very high level overview of the process is, when a whole beef is being butchered, there’s always some leftover (or trimmings) that aren’t quite big enough to turn into steaks. The trimmings of the steak cuts are packaged together and labeled as kabob meat.
Comparison of Kabob Meat and Stew Meat
If you do a side-by-side comparison of the two, you’ll see that stew meat is often in slightly smaller chunks than kabob meat.
Can Stew Meat Be Used For Kabobs?
We’ve tested making traditional kabobs with stew meat. In our test, we had a kabob night at our house. We made kabobs using both types of beef.
We did a traditional rub on them, but if you want to do something more fancy, here’s one of our favorites.
Here’s how they look before the grill.
And here’s how they look after the grill.
After grilling them and doing a taste test, the stew meat was slightly chewer when used as a kabob. This didn’t surprise us.
As mentioned above, stew meat is from the chuck or round cut. The chuck is from the cow’s shoulder and the round is found at the cow’s rump and hind legs. Both of these muscles are used a lot, so the beef there can be tougher. That’s why long cooking times are recommended for them.
So, can you use stew meat for kabobs? Yes, you can, but if you do, expect kabobs with chewier beef. If you want really good kabobs, go with kabob meat or cut a steak into chunks and make your own kabob meat.
What Can I Make With Stew Meat, Other Than Stew?
You can use stew meat in any recipe that calls for chuck or round roast and that braises the meat in liquid for a period of time. If you decide to adjust a recipe you’ve found, simply swap in the beef in the equal weight.
Some recipes that are easy to make with stew meat are Beef Stroganoff, Beef Bourguignon, and even Chili (just swap out the ground beef for large chunks of beef).
What to Look For if Buying Stew Meat at the Store?
If you aren’t in the St. Louis area and aren’t able to purchase your beef from our farm, you have two options for buying stew meat at the store.
You can buy a chuck roast and cut it into pieces, or buy prepackaged stew meat. If you buy prepackaged meat, look for a package with a good amount of white striping (fat and connective tissue) since this make the meat more tender as it cooks.
Favorite Stew Meat and Beef Kabob Recipes
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