Beef tips can be cut from any type of beef, from sirloin to chuck steak. There is no standard for this terminology in the beef industry. This means that it is at the butcher's discretion to decide whether to use one cut of beef or another. Often, the package labeling simply says "beef for stew meat." If it is important to you to know exactly which cut of beef you are serving, then purchase the meat whole and cut it up into beef tips yourself. Any cut will do, but the most tender pieces of beef are the tenderloin, from which fillet mignon is cut. Any type of steak will also be tender.
Things You'll Need
Sharp kitchen knife
Freeze the beef. Freezing the beef for approximately 30 minutes will make it easier to work with. Be careful not to allow the beef to freeze solid. It should be firm but not frozen. Cutting beef at room temperature can be dangerous, as the meat will give too much when sliced. If using a cut of steak, such as New York strip, then reduce the freezer time to about 15 minutes.
Cut the beef. Remove the beef from the freezer and place it on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, begin to cut the beef tips. A beef tip should measure approximately 1 inch square. This is the perfect size for placing on a skewer for beef shish kabobs. If you are planning to make beef tips and rice or a beef stew, then you can cut them a bit smaller if you prefer. For chili, you would definitely want to cut the pieces smaller, about the size of a pea.
Slice the beef against the grain. Make steady, even cuts approximately 1 inch apart, depending upon how large you want each beef tip. After you've made the first row of cuts, turn the cutting board so that you are now cutting the strips into squares. Continue to work in this manner until the entire piece of meat has been cut into small, square pieces. If you feel that the squares of beef are too large for your recipe, then you can cut them into smaller portions. Remember that the meat will be easier to work with if it is very cold.
Purchase your cut of beef depending on your final recipe. A good cut of steak is preferred for shish kabobs, while beef tips and rice can be delicious when made from an arm roast.
Use caution when working with a sharp fillet knife. Stay focused on where you are slicing at all times. Don't allow yourself to be distracted by a TV program or phone call.