Stir fry succulence with Alberta beef

Stir fry cooking originated in China and is done quickly over high heat in a large pan or wok. One of the best parts of stir fry is the versatility of the dish – add the vegetables and flavours you like best. You can usually purchase pre-cut beef for stir fry, or you can buy a full cut and trim it yourself at home.

When choosing beef for stir-frying, you want lean cuts that offer some tenderness. Flank steak (from the primal flank cut) is definitely the most popular option, and is very economical. It’s a long thin cut of meat from the abdomen. Below are a few other cuts well suited for this cooking method:

  • Skirt steak (popular in Mexican fajita dishes)
  • Sirloin
  • Round steak

Flavour Profile of Stir Fry

Stir fry dishes can be seasoned in many different ways depending on the preferences of the cook. The meat used in stir fry (often flank steak) is a lean cut and can be marinated ahead of time to add lots of exciting new tastes to the dish. A foolproof way to add some zest to a stir fry entrée is to sauté ingredients like garlic and onions in oil and then cook the meat with them in the same pan. Soy sauce is a very common addition for stir fry and can bring the flavours of the meat and vegetables to life. You can also make or buy marinating and/or flavour-enhancing sauces based on what tastes you like best.

Cooking up a Mean Stir Fry

Stir fry is a great way to prepare a quick, delectable dish, which can be served on its own or made even more economical and delicious by serving over rice, noodles or high protein grains like quinoa or spelt (gluten-free). A few tricks:

  • Cut the meat against the grain (especially for tougher cuts like flank)
  • Cut the meat into evenly sized pieces so you don’t over or under cook
  • Be sure to turn the pan or wok up to a very high heat
  • Use high temperature smoke point cooking oils such as soy, canola or sesame in small amounts and make sure you swirl them around the pan to coat it evenly before putting the meat in
  • Once the oil is just starting to smoke, put the meat in (it should sizzle)
  • Cook the meat and vegetables quickly (five to seven minutes to cook meat strips and two to five minutes to soften vegetables)
  • Stir or toss the ingredients often

For more cooking ideas, check out our Recipes page.

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