What Is Beef Knuckle And What Part Of The Cow Does It Come From?

Hands slicing a beef knuckle roast
Hands slicing a beef knuckle roast - Skull and Mortar/YouTube

There's a fair chance that you've come across the term "beef knuckle," probably at the butcher's counter. But this is a slightly misleading term, and not just because cows don't have hands. Beef knuckle comes from a specific portion of the round, the name for the cow's hindquarters. It also goes by other names, including sirloin tip, round tip, and tip center.

Located between the top round and bottom round, the knuckle is found on the front end of the rear leg. As you can imagine, this part of the cow's body gets a lot of exercise, making the meat of the knuckle very lean. There isn't much fat content here, but there is a lot of flavor.

Beef knuckle is a surprisingly versatile cut of meat. Commonly, it is braised or roasted. It's also often cut into cubes for stews or kebabs, or strips for minute steaks or stir-fries.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Breaking Down Beef Knuckle Can Be Complicated

A pair of hands butchering beef knuckle on a cutting board
A pair of hands butchering beef knuckle on a cutting board - Butcher Magazine/YouTube

While other inexpensive cuts of beef, such as Denver steak, come from a single muscle in the cow's body, the beef knuckle comprises four different muscles. Each has a varying degree of connective tissue attached to it, and there's often a considerable amount of membrane that must be cut away.

Before it's divided and cut, a beef knuckle looks like a big, round ball of meat, a little larger than a basketball. But as a butcher cuts along its seams, the different kinds of muscles become apparent: the femur muscle, the wedge muscle, and two bullet muscles.

Though all four can be cut into thin strips or cubes, beef knuckle can also be the source of flavorful steaks. However, given the leanness of the cut, these steaks often need an added fat source, or a marinade to tenderize them. This also makes beef knuckle well-suited for roasts. It is well-suited to a pressure cooker, too, served with a red wine glaze.

Other Kinds Of Knuckles

Roasted pork knuckle with pickles and greens on a plate
Roasted pork knuckle with pickles and greens on a plate - Marian Weyo/Shutterstock

It's essential to point out that beef knuckle meat is sold separately from the bones of the beef knuckle. While the meat of beef knuckle is very lean, the bones are rich in gelatin and used in stocks. They are also sometimes used as dog bones.

It also bears mentioning that while beef knuckle comes from a cow's hindquarters, parts of other animals commonly referred to as the knuckle come from different places. For example, pork knuckles are located further down a pig's leg than on a cow's, around where the foot connects. They can come from either the front or back legs and are also called ham hocks.

Lamb knuckle, meanwhile, is better known as lamb shank, though it comes from a similar part of the lamb's hind legs. In contrast with beef knuckle, both are frequently served bone-in. All three kinds of knuckle are reasonably inexpensive, though. Butchered and cooked properly, they can be the focal point of some delicious dishes.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.