If you’re a home cook who’s always looking to up your culinary knowledge, read here to learn about some of the different cuts of beef steak.
Even experienced home cooks often don’t know what all the different cuts of beef steak are. With their unique marbling and size, various cuts cook very differently, resulting in a wide variety of flavors.
As its name suggests, a ribeye steak comes from the cow’s rib section between the chuck (shoulder) and loin. The cut runs from the 6th rib to the 12th, and you can get about one ribeye per bone, depending on how thick you cut it. Ribeye is known for its exceptional marbling, which comes from the intramuscular fat that holds the beef to the ribs. That’s why it’s often the go-to choice for grilling.
Tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, is arguably the most luxurious cut of steak. Its incredible tenderness is why chefs so commonly use it in fine dining. A tenderloin is a very lean cut of beef with some marbling; you can recognize it by its signature thick width and circular shape.
New York Strip
People began referring to strip steaks as New York strips because they were the signature dish of a New York City restaurant called Delmonico’s, which opened in 1827. The cut comes from the loin, and it’s a very tender cut, second to only the tenderloin.
T-bone and Porterhouse
The T-bone and porterhouse both come from the loin of the cow. A T-bone is comprised of a New York strip with a bone and a little bit of filet on the sides. A porterhouse—which is a whole filet accompanied by a New York strip—comes from further back in the loin. Basically, a T-bone and a porterhouse are the same cut; a porterhouse just has a bigger filet.
Round steaks—including top, bottom, and eye cuts—are very lean cuts with little marbling and fat. Because of this, they don’t cook well in dry cooking methods such as over the grill. Instead, they cook best in pans, where they can sit in their juices.
The average cow has about 220 pounds of beef, which works out to 120 to 180 different steaks. So there are many other lesser-known beef cuts that can be just as tender or lean as popular cuts. For example, the London broil comes from the flank; it’s another very lean piece of meat, so you’ll want to marinate it before cooking. The flat iron steak comes from the chuck, so it has a lot of marbling. With flat iron steaks, you always want to make sure you remove the fascia membrane from the top, or else the steak will be too hard to bite into.
By familiarizing yourself with what the different cuts of steak are, you can find the perfect piece of beef for every recipe.