Wondering what new to cook for dinner? Tired of the same old steaks, hamburgers or chicken breasts? Why not try a cut of meat that isn’t so popular here in the United States?

  1. Picanha
Picanha cut

This year at the University of Illinois I had the opportunity to try the best piece of meat I have ever eaten. It’s called picanha. It is a favorite cut of beef in Brazil, as it tends to be when it is the most prized cut and often the tastiest. The cut comes from the rear end of the steer or heifer and usually has the fat still attached while it cooks. When it was prepared for me, it was seasoned just like a regular steak, grilled to medium rare and served with a side of barbecue sauce. This cut of beef can be special ordered at most butcher shops around the country.

  1. Chicken Paws

Now don’t get me wrong, who wants to eat feet? But this great, flavorful part of the chicken is a cheap and easy way to add flavor to any soup or broth. Chicken paws are eaten in mostly Asia, but you can find a pan of chicken feet in the buffet line of many Chinese restaurants across the United States.

  1. Bacon Chop

Did you know you can get two cuts of meat in one? This cut is known as the caveman’s chop. It is a bone-in chop with a strip of belly meat attached. Don’t let the name fool you, though. If you are a bacon enthusiast like me, the name of this cut of meat gets you excited. But it has nothing to do with bacon, except for the fact that you’re eating pork fat as part of your main course. Beware, though; cooking this cut of meat takes more than just seasoning and flipping it over.

  1. Tri Tip
Tri Tip cut

The Tri Tip is a super lean cut of meat. It comes from the bottom sirloin of a steer or heifer. It can be cut into steaks or used in ground beef. In the United States, it is mostly eaten in the Western part of the country. It is sometimes referred to as the “Santa Maria steak” because it is most popular in California. Internationally, this cut of meat is usually sliced into steaks and grilled.

  1. Pig Tails

Whether it is a pigtail or cow tail, you can’t go wrong. Every summer at the fair, my family grills out or fries food. This past summer, we tried pigtails. Best fried food you can have! Pigtails can be fried, grilled, barbecued, roasted or smoked. Someone can always find a tasty way to eat them. Although less prevalent in the United States, these tasty treats are a popular cuisine in South America. Whether you like them fried or grilled, you can dip them in ranch or BBQ sauce, and you’ll enjoy!



Logan Honegger
University of Illinois

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