What Makes The Short Plate Cut Of Beef Unique

Let's face it — purchasing beef at the butcher can be confusing. With unique nomenclature and a large variety, knowing what cut works best for a dish takes a bit of know-how, however, just a bit of background knowledge can ease such selections. Each large section of a cow is associated with its own lexicon.

Take the short plate, for example. A type of beef rib, the plate in the name refers to the cut's origin from the belly of the cow. And the short refers to how it's sliced — short, i.e. without the brisket. Encompassing ribs six through ten, it's wedged in the lower ribs, right on the bottom of the cow. This large cut includes familiar favorites like short ribs, skirts, and hangar steaks. However, when cut with the bone still intact, it takes on a character of its own. The short plate cut is set apart from others because it is densely packed with fat. This makes it a flavorful cut of beef ideal for slow cooking, hence its nickname "brisket popsicle." So here's how to best use short plate cuts of beef in the kitchen.

The high-fat content in a short plate cut make it ideal for slow-cooking

Due to its high-fat content, the short plate is often ground into flavorful minced beef. However, kept intact, it can still yield some unique cooking applications. Cooked for long durations on low heat, short plate cuts yield some of the juiciest, most beefy ribs on the market. With a tasty rub and five hours of cooking time on a smoker, they'll produce a melt-in-your-mouth rack with abundant beef flavor. For another slow-cooking application, create a bone-in roast beef; after all, the cut does share similarities with brisket.

There are applications that don't necessitate a smoker, too. When sliced uber-thin, a short plate's high-fat content creates makes for an incredible candidate for a shabu shabu-like cut. Especially if purchased frozen, such thin slices are much easier to work with than the whole rack. They can be added to a stir-fry, thrown on the grill, or incorporated into a hot pot, and cooked through incredibly quickly – even in less than a minute if they're sliced thin enough. Best of all, there's no need for them to be the star of the dish; instead, they can integrate a hefty dose of beef flavor into a number of veggie-heavy dishes. 

So the next time your at the butcher unsure of what cut to grab out of the case, consider grabbing a short plate cut, and you'll have plenty of tasty dishes you'll be able to try out.