With all the different cuts of meat, sometimes it's hard to determine which cut works best for the meal you're planning to cook. Generally, when picking out the right cut, you would want to keep in mind how you would want to prepare and cook your steak, and who you'll be feeding. In this article, we will be going through 10 of the most popular and well-known types of cuts, and the best way to serve them.
TYPES OF STEAK CUTS
1. The Ribeye
The Ribeye Steak is one of the most common steak cuts you can find at the grocery store. It is also one of the juiciest and tastiest steaks you can get because the marbling gives the meat a lot of flavour. Cut from the center of the animal's rib section, you can get this steak bone-in or boneless. When going for the Ribeye, go for the cut with good marbling and a decent fat cap on top. And because this steak has such a high-fat content, you don't need to be too scared of overcooking it, as it will remain pretty juicy.
The Ribeye is a fairly expensive cut, so it may be best to serve this steak over an intimate meal, or for guests you would want to impress. Because this steak is so marbled and flavourful, you wouldn't need to bother with a marinate for this steak. This steak is best served as simple as possible, the Ribeye speaks for itself, so you wouldn't want to do anything too extravagant that could overpower your steak. Opt for some salt and pepper to taste, then cook on a well-oiled skillet to your preferred cook.
2. The Strip
Also known as the New York Strip when boneless and the Kansas City Strip when bone-in, The Strip is cut from the short loin. Although it contains less fat than the tenderloin, some might say The Strip is tastier. With a good amount of marbling, this cut has a pretty beef-forward flavour, and because of it's low fat content, you may want to cook this steak a little rarer than other cuts to prevent it from getting too chewy.
The Strip is also a fairly pricey cut, so you wouldn't want to serve this cut during a big party - maybe over an intimate meal or small get together. Like the Ribeye, this steak is super tasty and relatively lean, so you wouldn't need a marinate to help with flavour. However, the Strip does have less fat than the Ribeye, so it's a little less forgiving. The cook on this steak should be served on the medium-rare to medium range for optimal results.
3. The Sirloin
Or "Top Sirloin", the Sirloin steak is a cut - obviously - from the sirloin section of the animal, near its rear. It's a pretty popular cut, and when cooked properly, has a very nice and beefy flavour.
The Sirloin is a fairly inexpensive cut and can feed the whole family without hurting your pocket. Like the Strip, the Sirloin doesn't have a lot of fat and it doesn't have a lot marbling, so be careful not to overcook this cut, else you'll get a relatively dry and tough steak. If you cook this steak on low heat in the oven, the steak will maintain its juiciness and tenderness.
4. The Skirt Steak
The Skirt Steak is a thin, long cut from the short plate section of the belly, under the rib section. Often confused with the Flank and Hanger Steak, the Skirt is another popular cut. What was once considered a scrap cut, has now been popularized as one of the most desired steaks out there. Now, there are two types of Skirt steaks: the inside and the outside. The inside Skirt comes from the transverse abdominal muscle, and the outside Skirt comes from the diaphragm. The outside Skirt is longer, wider, and thicker than the inside Skirt, making it a lot more tender. The inside Skirt, on the other hand, tends to be tougher. Regardless of the difference between these two cuts, both the inside and outside Skirt steaks are rather flavourful.
The inner Skirt is cheaper than the outer Skirt and shouldn't be cooked any more than a medium rare because it has such a strong muscle grain. The outer Skirt is also quite inexpensive and considered more of a center-of-plate cut compared to the inner skirt. Both Skirt steak cuts work great with an acidic marinate, best seared in a high heat pan, and on a dry surface for a better crust. You would want to cook this steak hot and fast for tender results. When serving, slice it into thin pieces against the grain for optimal tenderness.
5. The Flank Steak
The Flank Steak is another popular cut and is often confused with the Skirt and the Hanger. Like the Skirt, the Flank steak comes from the belly, but further towards the beef's rear. The Flank steak is also wider, thicker, and has a higher fat content than the Skirt, making it a bit more tender when cooked. And because of the higher fat content, this cut ends up very rich in flavour.
Like the Skirt steak, the Flank steak will definitely benefit from a marinade and should be cooked hot and fast to retain its tenderness. This steak is best cooked medium-rare as medium might give you a chewier steak. When serving, slice your steak into thin pieces against the grain.
6. The Hanger Steak
The Hanger steak is probably one of the best cuts of beef you can get, and it's pretty inexpensive. Like the Skirt and Flank, the Hanger steak comes from the belly section of the cow, but it's not connected to any bones - hence it's name - so it's a lot more tender than the Skirt and the Flank. It is cut from a muscle that doesn't see much work, making it incredibly tender; and because it comes from a cut with such a high fat content, it also makes the Hanger very flavourful.
Hanger steaks also taste great with a good marinate! Cook this steak fast and hot, aiming for a medium-rare, but having your steak at a medium won't have it any less tender. Slice your steak against the grain into thin pieces before serving.
The Skirt, Flank, and Hanger steaks make great elevated entrees to serve at any party!
7. The London Broil
Technically, the London Broil is a cooking method that consists of marinating your steak, then broiling it on high - but a lot of steaks in the store are labeled as London Broil. When you see a steak labeled as "London Broil", it's usually a top-round cut from the hindquarters of the beef, although sometimes Flank steaks are sold under the same name.
The London Broil is another affordable steak that can benefit from an acidic marinade as it will help break down any tough muscle fibres. Cook on a hot pan or grill, aiming for a medium-rare to medium, as anything over will result in a tough steak. As the name suggests, you can also broil your steak for about 5-6 minutes, flip it to the other side and broil for another 3-4 minutes. Let your steak rest, then slice against the grain before serving.
8. The T-Bone
The T-Bone is a great cut that, essentially, gives you two types of steaks: the Strip and the Tenderloin (note that when the Tenderloin is separated from the bone, it can be made into Filet Mignon cuts). The T-Bone is a cut from the short loin and is exclusively sold bone-in. This steak can also be known as a "Porterhouse" but the difference between the T-Bone and the Porterhouse is the fact that the Porterhouse is a bigger version of the T-Bone, containing a bigger portion of the Tenderloin.
Now, cooking this steak is a little tricky since it contains two different fat contents from the Strip and the Tenderloin. It's best to sear this steak on high heat using your skillet, then finish it off in the over. Before serving, let your steak rest then cut from the bone and carve the meat across the grain, placing the steak back on the bone for a nice presentation. The T-Bone steak makes for a great main for any party of two!
9. The Tomahawk
The Tomahawk is definitely a crowd favourite for any get together! The Tomahawk is basically a Ribeye Steak that wasn't cut off its bone. It is cut from the loin of the cow and consists of the two muscles found on the animal's rib cage. The thickness of the steak depends on the thickness of the bone, which is usually about 2 inches thick. It is a highly marbled and tender cut with great flavour.
The Tomahawk is another large steak, and depending on how big it is, can feed 2-4 people. Like the T-Bone, it's best to sear the steak on a skillet, then finish it off in the oven. Feel free to proudly show off your steak before carving and serving to your guests!
10. The Filet Mignon
Now we come to the highly sought after, Filet Mignon. The Filet Mignon is cut from the tenderloin, which is from the loin of the cow and is a long cylindrical muscle that runs along the spine. And because these muscles don't get much work, the Filet Mignon is so tender that it can easily cut through with a fork! However, because the steak is so lean, has little marbling, and a low fat content, the Filet Mignon wouldn't be considered to be as flavourful as the other cuts mentioned.
Since the Filet Mignon's fat content is so low, be sure not to overcook it, else it'll dry and ruin the steak. Simply add salt and pepper to taste, add in your aromatics, then cook your steak on a hot skillet. Use tongs to flip your steak, frequently basting with butter to get an even sear. Finish the Filet in the oven for a couple of minutes for a nice, medium rare cook. Serve with a simple sauce, and the Filet Mignon makes a great steak for date night!