The Go-To Cuts Of Beef For The Best Carpaccio

If you haven't had the pleasure of trying raw meat — you're missing out. Sure, hygiene and textural concerns are understandable but prepared properly, it's one of the most tender ways to consume beef. And there's no better introduction to the food than carpaccio.

In the Italian dish, the beef's sliced ultra-thin and layered with parmesan cheese, olive oil, lemon juice, and a bit of arugula. The combination of acidic and savory notes elevates the meat's flavor to a new level. But, of course, it all needs to start with a delectable beef cut.

In Italy, carpaccio reaches for lean cuts like tenderloin or sirloin. It's paramount the meat lacks any connective tissue, skin, and large splotches of fat. Plus, it needs to be purchased in a shape that can generate large slices — hence why tenderloin is an especially popular pick in the U.S. So, with this in mind, how should you buy and prepare these cuts of beef?

What to look for when purchasing beef for carpaccio

First and foremost, look for beef that's as fresh as possible, purchased from a trusted butcher. The original sourcing of the cow will impact the final carpaccio just as much as the utilized cut. Plus, buying closer to the source will ease safety concerns, as it can be sliced right before purchase.

Inspect the lean cut for any abundant areas of connective tissue and fat. If there are some that are still workable, they'll just need to be removed prior to cutting. Additionally, make sure the piece is large enough to yield large circular pieces when sliced against the grain. Tenderloins align especially well with such factors.

If you're still feeling uneasy about diving in raw, sear the outside of the beef. To ensure the inside remains rare, freeze for a couple of hours beforehand. In fact, it's a good idea to let the beef chill at low temperatures anyway since it'll aid in slicing it paper thin.