Two Nineteenth Century Cookbook Authors’ Advice on Beef


An 1840s cookbook author offered advice on the best way to prepare certain sections of beef. Following her terminology for the above graphic, here is the breakdown of the sections:

1 – Shin; 2 – Clod; 3 – Neck or Sticking Piece; 4 – Cheek; 5 – Chuck Rib; 6 – Middle Rib; 7 – Fore Rib; 8 and part of 11 – Sirloin; 9 – Brisket; 10 – Thin Flank; 11 – Part Sirloin and part Veiny Piece; 12 – Rump; 13 – Edge Bone; 14 – Buttock; 15 – Thick Flank; 16 – Mouse Buttock; 17 – Leg.

The modern sketch doesn’t totally match the 1841 drawing though it was pretty close.

Select fine, smooth grain on beef where lean areas are bright red. Fat should be white or almost white.

The round makes the best Beef Alamode. 1840s cooks deboned the beef, beat it, and the stewed it slowly in water with vegetables, bacon, and herbs. This meat may also be dried.

steak-1445124_960_720Sirloins make the best steaks. Ribs provide good steaks.

Chuck roasts or steaks, cut between the shoulder and neck, may be baked or stewed. Chuck ribs are often eaten as pot roasts.

Boil, corn, roast, or bake thick flanks.

Dry or corn the veiny piece.

Make soups from the shin and leg.

Pickle and smoke the tongue.

The leg, neck piece, and tongue may be used in mince pies. The neck is also good for corning.

1840s cooks realized that different cuts of beef taste better prepared certain ways, just as cooks today know.

-Sandra Merville Hart


Compiled from Original Recipes. Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping, Applewood Books, 1877.

Hale, Sarah Josepha. Early American Cookery: “The Good Housekeeper.” 1841, Dover Publications , Inc., 1996.