There’s no greater sound than hearing the sizzle of a steak in a pan. Well, besides the smell, of course.
If you find yourself glancing around in the meat aisles of your favorite grocery store, you will likely encounter a variety of confusing steak cuts. To the point where it can often be quite overwhelming trying to select the best possible steak for your specific needs.
But you don’t need to let the sheer variety get to you. Whether you are new to the world of steak-eating or simply don’t know enough about the different cuts of steak that you can buy, you’ve come to the right place, and we’re here to help you out.
Here are the different cuts of steak that you can get either in a grocery store or in a restaurant.
Also Known As: the tenderloin steak
How To Cook It: it can be cooked however you like from grilling to pan roasting as it doesn’t have any fat that compensates for overcooking
Other Names: a tenderloin steak, the filet mignon is a steak staple in restaurants across the entire country. It’s one of the more expensive cuts of steak out there. It gives way to a soft, fine-grained, and almost buttery texture that gives way beautifully under the pressure of a steak knife.
Since it is usually much smaller than other cuts of steak, the tenderloin is generally a much thicker cut of meat with a very mild flavor.
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Other Names: the London broil
How To Cook It: Use extreme heat to char the outside and prevent the interior from becoming overcooked
The flank steak is located along the cow’s abdomen, just below the sirloin and the loin. It is a much leaner cut of steak than others on this list. It can be quite fibrous and doesn’t have a lot of fat and should usually be cooked to medium-rare and cut into thin strips before eating to increase the tenderness of the meat.
If it is not prepared correctly this cut of meat can be quite tough to chew on. It’s possible to get quite a few servings from a single square cut of this meat which makes it quite convenient.
Other Names: the oyster blade steak or the butler’s steak
How To Cook: the flat iron is at its best (flavors and otherwise) when it is cooked on the gril
The flat iron steak has gained a lot of popularity in recent years. It’s now appearing more often on restaurant menus and in grocery stores as a tasty alternative to the more expensive cut of steak.
It’s very tender, as much as a tenderloin, and offers a lot of delicious beefy flavors as it is nicely marbled. If it is properly cooked, the flat iron will turn out to be juicy and tender with every bite.
Other Names: the butcher’s hidden gem, or the butcher’s steak
How To Cook It: a loose, soft texture is great for dry rubs and sticky marinades
Formerly known as the butcher’s favorite steak, the hanger has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is very similar to a skirt steak but is typically taken from the cow’s diaphragm or plate.
The cut is taken from the front of the cow belly and provides relative tenderness and an astonishing savory flavor as the muscle it is cut from does very little work. It is a long and thin cut of meat that can be quite tough but can also be cooked in a variety of ways.
The New York Strip
Other Names: the ultimate griller’s steak
How To Cook It: they are great anyway you can cook them. Be careful as they can be far less resilient to overcooking!
This is a shorter loin that is cut from behind the ribs, or the short loin, of a cow. It’s a solid choice with less marbling and a bit more bite and chews than other cuts, making it far less tender than other types of steak.
The rich marbling in this steak helps to create a robust flavor and a delightful overall eating experience. It’s sometimes served with the bone still attached but is most often served as a boneless steak.
Other Names: the T-bone steak
How To Cook It: your best bet is broiling or grilling
Also called the T-bone steak, the porterhouse steak cut is a New York strip separated by the T-shaped bone. It is taken from the cross-section of the short loin.
When you eat a porterhouse steak, you’re practically eating two steaks at once – with the buttery flavors of tenderloin on one side and the other, a juicy, meaty side. Fat marbling can also be found all around the cut of steak which melts directly into the meat as it cooks.
To preserve these flavors, you should put away the cast iron.
Other Names: the Spencer steak, the tomahawk steak, or the cowboy steak
How To Cook It: it is best cooked in a cast-iron pan or over charcoal flames
The ribeye comes from the upper ribcage of the cow. It has lots of fat marbling through the meat and is one of the most prized cuts of steak. It doesn’t melt the same way that a filet does, and instead contains just enough of a beefy chewing experience for you to thoroughly enjoy.
It can either come with the rib bone attached or boneless, depending on your preferences. The bone can make it harder to move your knife and fork around but tasting the crispy fat is one of the greatest parts of eating this particular cut.
Other Names: the rump steak
How To Cook It: best practice is to cook it on the grill
The sirloin steak is cut from the sirloin, located near where the T-bone, club steaks, and porterhouse steaks come from. It is a highly flavorful yet chewy steak, despite being quite lean. It can be cooked hot and fast or low and slow to prevent toughness from occurring.
It has a deep beef flavor that also features a lot of marbling – much like the flank steak – and is a lot more tender than other cuts of steak on this list.
When To Order: best cooked at home as fajita meat
How To Cook It: cook it using blistering heat. For some extra flavor, you can marinate or season the meat
This cut of steak should not be confused with the flank! The skirt steak is taken directly from the diaphragm muscles of a cow. It’s usually a very thin and long piece of steak, to the point where you can even see all of the muscle fibers running through the entire piece of meat. As a result, the taste is much better and far more fulfilling than the flank.
The next time you are in the supermarket choosing between different steaks to cook at home, or at a restaurant where they offer more than a sirloin, you don’t need to think twice about which cut of steak to order!
Each of these cuts provides its unique flavor profile that will tease your taste buds and provide you with a glorious mouthful for every bite that you take. So think carefully about the type of flavor you want to experience and you’ll have no problem choosing between these cuts!