Your wallet—and belly—will thank you.

By Elyse Inamine
Updated June 26, 2017

Not every carnivorous craving calls for a pricey tomahawk steak. Have you ever sunk your teeth into the teres major, the beefy cut that could double for filet? Or brisket-like tongue? Welcome to the wonderful world of whole-animal cookery, which welcomes aspiring meat heads on instant-ramen budgets. Your guide: chef Joey Beato.

Here, the chef behind Community Tavern in Chicago reveals his essential beef offcuts and what to make with them.

1. Chuck Tail Flap (aka Denver Steak, Chuck Zabuton)

“This comes from a muscle in the beef chuck roll,” Beato says of this shoulder cut. “I use it place of braised short ribs, but you can also tenderize it and throw on the grill for steak frites.”

2. Beef Cheeks

Forget the pre-packaged “stew meats” at the grocery store. “Beef cheeks are perfect in anything slow-cooked, like brisket,” he says. But his ideal sub has a more Italian bent: “I braise it and make a ragù, then toss with fresh fettuccine.”

3. Top Blade (aka Flat Iron Steak)

The flat-iron has a very distinct texture and flavor,” Beato says of the well-marbled shoulder cut, which makes it a great swap-in for flavorful hanger steak.

RELATED: Lemon-and-Garlic-Marinated Flat Iron Steak

4. Top Sirloin Filet

Found on along the back of the cow, this super-lean cut is a dead ringer for filet mignon. “If you tenderize this piece just a bit, it is almost spot on with an expensive filet,” he says.

5. Oxtails

Like everyone’s favorite ingredient of 2012 (marrow!), there’s something delicious inside the bones. “Oxtails have a deep, rich flavor,” Beato says. “Braised for a long time so the connective tissue is broken down, it’s great in any Asian noodle soup.”

6. Beef Tongue

Tongue got your appetite? “This can be a very unpopular cut of meat,” he says. “But if treated properly, it can be fantastic.” His trick: Treat the tongue the way you would brisket. “Boom, this can be your next pastrami sandwich,” he says.

7. Shoulder Tender (aka Teres Major)

Brush up on your Latin for this shoulder blade cut. “It’s naturally tender, so it can replace skirt steak,” he says. “It can take marinating and grilling.”