Maybe you’re confused by the amount of new steak cuts in the market, or perhaps you just need to refresh your meat cut knowledge. Our steak primer gives you all the info you want – and need – about the most popular steak and meat cuts, including the best cooking techniques for each.
RIB EYE STEAK
AKA: Delmonico Steak/ Entrecote
Cut from the Rib Primal, the front end of the longissimuss dorsi muscle, this is one of America’s most popular steaks. The buttery Rib Eye is full of beautiful fat marbling and loads of rich beefy flavor. One step short of the tenderness of the Tenderloin, it has more intensity. It’s thick, it’s succulent, and it cooks quickly on the grill.
How to cook Ribeye Steak:
Grilling, pan-frying, broiling.
NY STRIP STEAK
AKA: Strip Steak / Kansas City Strip / Top Sirloin Steak / Shell Steak
Cut from the Short Loin primal. With a beautiful strip of mouthwatering cream, this classic steakhouse favorite packs a punch of beefy flavor. Juicy and tender – though not as tender as the Rib Eye or Tenderloin steaks – the NY Strip has loads of even fat marbling, without a lot of big pockets or pieces of fat, and a distinct grain that gives it a bit of chew. It’s served boneless, but when the bone is included, the steak will be named a Shell Steak.
How to cook NY Strip Steak:
Pan frying, grilling, broiling.
AKA: Filet Mignon / Chateaubriand / Tournedo
The star of the steer, the Tenderloin is the most tender steak you can find. Cut from the Short Loin primal, the central section of Psoas muscle. Because it is such a small muscle, it fetches a premium price. When the tenderloin is cut as a large, center-cut roast feeding two or more, it’s called a Chateaubriand. Lean, the tenderloin has almost no fat, which means it is supremely buttery, but doesn’t have a lot of flavor, so it benefits from adding butter, bacon or oil.
How to cook Tenderloin Steak:
Pan frying, grilling (and roasting for a Chauteabriand). The tenderloin cooks very fast and has a tendency to dry out, so a good trick is to add butter or oil to keep it moist. Sear at high heat, then finish at lower heat. Cook to medium-rare tops.
T-BONE & PORTERHOUSE STEAK
Another great cut from the Short Loin primal, a T-Bone Steak is so called because of the T-shaped bone that separates a piece of the Strip from a piece of the Tenderloin – making it a two-for-one steak deal. The difference between a T-Bone and a Porterhouse is in the tenderloin: the Porterhouse will include a sizable piece of tenderloin – at least 1-½ inches wide – and the T-Bone will have a very small piece of tenderloin, and will be mostly Strip steak.
How to cook T-Bone Steak:
Grilling, broiling, pan-fry. The tenderloin part will cook faster than the “fattier” Strip side, so grill this using different hot zones on your grill.
FLAT IRON STEAK
AKA: Top Blade Steak
What it is & where it comes from: This rectangular steak comes the hardworking chuck primal. It’s tougher than other steaks, but because it is thin and uniform, it works well for quick cooking techniques.
How to cook Flat Iron Steak:
grilling, broiling or even pan searing. Marinade.
Cut from the blade roast on the Chuck where it meets the Rib Primal, a Blade Steak is a pretty much an extension of the rib eye, which makes it much more tender than you would expect a steak from the chuck. The Blade Steak has lots of beefy flavor and good marbling.
How to cook Blade Steak:
Grilling, broiling, braising. Grill on medium to high heat, cook to medium rare to break down the fat into flavor.
AKA: Bone-In Rib Eye Steak
When the bone is left in a Ribeye Steak, it’s called a Tomahawk Steak. This is large steak, which a generous piece of the juicy and beefy Rib-Eye meat, and with a long, “frenched” bone for presentation.
How to cook Tomahawk Steak:
Grilling, pan-frying, broiling.
TRI TIP STEAK
AKA: Bottom Sirloin Steak/ Newport Steak / Santa Maria Steak / Tri tip Roast
Cut from the bottom of the Sirloin primal, the Tri-Tip is so called for its triangular shape, with three distinct points. This is a lean steak, very little fat, so it’s incredibly tender and has a mild beefy flavor, which lends itself to a good rub or marinade. If not portioned into steaks, it’s called a Tri Tip Roast.
How to cook Tri Tip:
Grilling, pan searing, roasting, marinade or rub. Because its uneven shape makes it difficult to cook evenly, the smaller, tapering ends inevitably overcook. Slice against the grain.
AKA: Butcher’s Steak/ Hangar/Bistro Steak/Onglet
Cut from the Plate Primal, the Hanger Steak “hangs” from the belly of the steer. It has a full, rich and robust beef flavor and a coarse grain.
How to cook Hanger Steak:
High heat grilling, pain searing, marinade. A hanger steak should be cooked to no less than medium-rare and no more than medium, otherwise, it will be mushy or rubbery. Slice against the grain.
SIRLOIN TIP STEAK
AKA: Flap Steak/Bavette/Vacio
This juicy and flavorful steak is cut from the Round primal, but because it’s from an area right next to the bottom of the Sirloin and the top of the Flank (very close to the Tri Tip), it’s often confused for cuts from those primals. This inexpensive cut is juicy and flavorful (more so than Flank steak), and relatively lean and tender, and with a coarse grain. Large, it’s well suited for serving a whole family or for events.
How to cook Sirloin Tip Steak:
Grilling, broiling, pan searing, marinade. Cut against the grain. Great for fajitas or steak salads.
Cut from the bottom Flank primal, Flank steaks are lean, generally tough with coarse grain, but with the advantages of a great, intensely beefy flavor, a thin size that cooks quickly and a large, party-friendly size.
How to cook Flank Steak:
Grilling, pan frying, marinades.