A good stir fry is a quick and delicious meal for every day of the week, plus if you cook a generous serve it will act as excellent leftovers for the next day. With the combinations seemingly endless this versatile dish will have you coming back for seconds, if you get it right.
The biggest complaints when it comes to beef stir fry is the meat being dry, chewy, or tough. While you can pack your stir fry full of veggies to compensate for the lacklustre meat, we instead suggest an even simpler solution – just select the right meat. Use the right beef when whipping up a stir fry and the results will give you melt in your mouth texture and flavour.
As a super flexible and versatile meal the type of beef you use can easily vary for a similar result. The most popular choices include flank steak, sirloin steak, rump steak and skirt steak.
Flank steak is arguably the most popular when it comes to choosing a cut for your stir fry. This long and thin cut comes from the belly muscles of the cow and is full of intense beef flavour. It is best when sliced thin and takes to marinade well. A great all-rounder.
Skirt steak is very similar to flank steak and is another long and thin cut, but rather than coming from the belly muscles, it is from the diaphragm muscles of the animal. This cut has a robust flavour and is best if marinated. You’ll want to cook it at a high heat for a short period of time to keep it tender. Best served rare or medium rare.
Sirloin is also known as porterhouse and is a great choice as it is tasty and flavoursome, while still being inexpensive. It is from the large part of the t-bone area and you’ll want to use either the sirloin tip side steak or the tip centre side steak for optimal results. This cut works best when marinated over a couple of hours before cooking, and be careful not to overcook as it can become tough.
Rump is from the hip section of the animal and is the most flavoursome and tender of all cuts from the round. It is a lean cut that is full of flavour and performs best when thinly sliced. It also won’t break the bank. Keep in mind it does best when seared over high heat and then further cooked over a lower temperature.
Preparing the beef
While a lot of this dish relies on the beef you select, the game changer is the way you actually cut the meat. So don’t buy pre-cut stir fry packs from your local supermarket – select and cut the beef yourself.
When prepping your meat, if you have time leave it in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes as it will allow the meat to partially freeze, making it much easier to slice.
Focus on thin and uniform pieces, and it’s crucial you slice the beef against the grain. This trick will break down and shorten the muscle fibres leaving the end product tender and easier to chew.
Cooking the beef
When it comes to cooking the beef, start with a hot pan and a short cooking time. It should only take a couple of minutes for the beef to brown.
You want to avoid a crowded pan as this will reduce the overall heat and minimise the desired effect. Cook your meat in batches in a single layer across the bottom of the pan.
Cook the beef first and place it to the side, cook the vegetables and then add the beef back in to coat in the sauce right before you serve.
Making these simple changes will elevate your stir fry and have you coming back time and time again to this beloved meal.
Now you have the basics covered check out this delectable stir fry recipe here.
This article was first published on 15 August 2018 and updated on 15 May 2021.