Steak Guide so you don't make a Mis... Steak
One of the most difficult parts about cooking steak at home is actually buying one, so whether you cook it at home or save it for special occasions like we did, it's important to know what cuts are best since there are many different types. If you’ve been craving for some juicy steaks, we’ve got the best ones on our menu. Read on and find out what cut they come from and how to best cook them. You might want to get started with this one:
Why Are These Steaks So Expensive?
Relative to the size of the steer, these premium cuts are only a small percentage, which contribute to their premium prices. Since they’re expensive, it’s really worth knowing how each one is different so you buy the one that you like the best! Do you like big beefy flavor, or is the tenderest cut your favorite? Here’s everything you need to know about each cut so that you make a wise choice.
- Other names: Filet mignon, Châteaubriand, fillet, filet
- How it’s sold: Boneless; the most expensive cut of steak
- Where it’s from: Short loin and sirloin, under the ribs. A whole tenderloin starts out wide and then tapers at the other end (the “tail”). Filet mignon comes from the narrower end, while Châteaubriand comes from the thicker end.
- What it looks like: When trimmed of silver skin, gristle, and fat, tenderloin is small and compact. The meat is lean and very fine-grained in texture. Because of its smaller shape, tenderloin steaks are cut thicker than most steaks.
- What it tastes like: The tenderest of all the steaks and lean, tenderloin is buttery and mild in flavor.
- How to cook it: Because cuts of tenderloin tend to be thick, the best way to cook it is to sear the outside until browned, then finish the cooking in the gentle, even heat of an oven.
- Other names: NY strip, Manhattan, Kansas City strip, top sirloin, top loin, contre-filet
- How it’s sold: Usually boneless
- Where it’s from: Short loin (behind the ribs)
- What it looks like: Strip steaks are almost rectangular with a slightly tapered edge. The meat is well marbled with some large pieces of fat around its edge. The meat is fine-grained in texture.
- What it tastes like: The platonic ideal of steak — lots of beefy flavor, tender with a nice balance of lean meat to fat. They’re not as tender as tenderloins or ribeyes.
- How to cook it: Cook over high heat — pan-sear, broil, or grill. Also makes great sandwiches like the Philly Cheesesteak.
- Other names: T-bone, date steak
- How it’s sold: Bone in. According to USDA regulations, the tenderloin portion must be 1.25″ wide to be classified as a porterhouse and only .5″ wide to be classified as a T-bone.
- Where it’s from: A cross section of the short loin
- What it looks like: A T-shaped bone with meat on both sides of the longer portion of the bone. On one side is a piece of the tenderloin, and the other side is New York strip. Generous fat marbling throughout.
- What it tastes like: Porterhouses are like getting two steaks for one — one side is a piece of the buttery tenderloin, and the other side is beefy, juicy New York strip.
- How to cook it: Because there are basically two different kinds of steak in one cut, you have to be careful when cooking since the tenderloin will cook more quickly than the strip side. Try to keep the tenderloin further away from the heat source: use a two-level fire when grilling or position it away from the heating element if broiling.
- Other names: Entrecôte, Delmonico, Scotch fillet, Spencer, market, beauty
- How it’s sold: Bone in or boneless
- Where it’s from: Upper rib cage, ribs #6-12. Ribeyes are basically a prime rib or standing rib roast cut down into individual steaks
- What it looks like: Lots of fat marbling the meat and large pockets of fat interspersed throughout. The middle (central eye) has a finer grain while the outer section is looser and fattier.
- What it tastes like: Ribeyes are deeply beefy and juicy, with plenty of fat to carry their flavor.
- How to cook it: Cook over high heat — pan sear, broil, or grill. With the high fat content, though, you need to be careful about flare ups.
5. Flank Steak
- Other names: Sometimes labelled as a London Broil
- Where it’s from: The flank! Below the loin and sirloin and along the cows abdomen.
- What it looks like: Lean without much fat and lots of fibers running along its length.
- What it tastes like: Beefy and takes well to marinades. Be sure to cut the flank into thin strips against its grain for maximum tenderness.
- How to cook it: Quick high heat is best for flank steak, but it also takes well to rolling and stuffing.
6. Skirt Steak
- Other names: Often confused with flank, though skirt steak comes from the another area of the cow’s abdomen.
- Where it’s from: Skirt steak is from the diaphragm muscles of the cow — a sub primal known as the plate.
- What it looks like: A long thin steak with visible muscle fibers running across the width of the steak.
- What it tastes like: Even beefier than flank steak and takes especially well to marinades.
- How to cook it: Skirt steak is best seared or grilled and makes a great stir-fry meat. It is the classic cut used in fajitas.