Ultimate Guide to Steak: The Best Cuts and How to Cook Them

Jason Webster
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Steak 101

The Best Cuts to Buy

The Best Cuts of Steak for High-Temperature Cooking

These cuts are characterized by a thick fat cap and lots of marbling, i.e. streaks of fat running throughout the steak.

As the fat melts during cooking, it embraces the meat fibers and really produces a moist, juicy steak.

The most popular high-heat cuts are ribeye and strip steaks.

Ribeye Steaks

This is the Cadillac of steaks. The bone-in ribeye steak is the most flavorful cut.

It is taken from beef’s rib area and has a wide, flat bone in the middle.

Take a look at the pictures above (left). You can see that ribeye steaks are very tender and juicy, with fat that bursts with a slight pressure. The reason for this is that the area where this cut is found is full of fat and marbling. That is the reason why ribeye steaks are the most delicious and tender cuts.

Strip Steaks

These are taken from the blade rib and are usually cut 2” inches thick.

They can be a little tougher than ribeyes because there’s not as much marbling. But that’s ideal for the grill, because a lot of moisture seeps out at high temperatures.

What part of the cow do steaks come from?

The most popular cut of beef is the Flat Iron Steak, which comes from the Chuck, or shoulder area. It is a cheap cut of meat that is full of flavor and nutrition, high in protein and very tender when cooked correctly. Veal and Lamb steaks also come from the Chuck. However they are much thinner.

Another popular cut is the Ribeye steak, which comes from the Ribs area of the cow. The ribeye is very tender and juicy because it is from the prime rib area. Ribeye is thick and full of flavor.

Why is steak so expensive?

A lot of people can’t spend a third of their pay check on a piece of red meat. Oftentimes people think that you can only afford good quality steak if you’re high on cash.

Avoid making that assumption. These days, top quality steak is just a little more expensive than the grocery store beef and the price isn’t necessarily proportionate to the amount of beef per piece.

The good news is that you can get high quality steak on a budget. Quality is just as dependent on the nutrient content of the meat as it is on the fat levels.

For example, lean sirloin cuts are of a higher quality than a fattier cut of beef, like chuck.

And, while marbled beef is more tender, marbling is also indicative of high fat content.

If you are watching your fat intake, avoid cuts with a lot of marbling, like ribeye and rib steak.

The worth of a cut of steak is based on how much of the meat is tender and tasty and how much of it is gristly, chewy, and ground up trimmings.

This is good news if you just want a good cut of steak but you’re on a budget. Good steak cuts are more likely to be cheaper than fancy beef cuts that are mostly made up of trim.

The best steak cuts for grilling (or ordering at a steakhouse)

The best way to enjoy a nice steak in my opinion is to grill it to your preference. Whether you prefer a nice & tender medium-rare steak, or a nice crusty steak cooked to the well-done range, grilling is the best way to cook and enjoy the juicy flavor of a steak.

Here are the best cuts of steak you should try grilling next time you are throwing a barbeque:

  • Ribeye: This cut of steak is very popular and well-known in a steakhouse. It is known for its very thick fat that lies just on top of the meat, producing a rich and full-flavoured steak.
  • New York Strip (or Top Sirloin): This is a very tender cut of steak that has a lot of flavour and works best for medium-rare to medium steaks. If eaten well done, this cut of steak will definitely be a tough experience for your palate.
  • Filet Mignon: Filet mignon, also known as the tenderloin, is the most tender cut of meat out there. It might be the most expensive meat cut out there, but this is definitely one of the best-tasting steaks out there.

The Ribeye

Ribeye is one of the most popular premium steaks available today. It is a large steak with tons of rich flavor and buttery-soft texture.

It is cut from the rib section, hence the name. It is cut from rib-bone running along the length of the spine. Ribeye is one of those steak cuts that are best just cooked rare, medium rare or rare.

This is not because it is hard to do otherwise, but because it will be so tender that it will be falling apart if you cook it past medium.

One of the most distinctive features of the ribeye is that, it is full of big juicy flavor. It has a large size as well with an average weight of about 1 pound.

But what makes the steak even more delicious is that it is marbled with pockets of fat. This is one of those steak types, because the fat will baste the meat while it is being cooked. This creates not only a juicy, tender piece of steak, but also a thick piece of juicy steak.

With all of the juiciness and tenderness that a ribeye is known for, you would think that it would be pretty oily. Well, it is. But, this will do you a favor. It will help squeeze out all of the goodness that comes with cooking a perfect ribeye.

The Strip Steak

The strip is a rectangular steak with a strip of fat on the outside. Commonly known as the Club cut, this steak is handily available as a commercial cut or as a butchered steak.

It is one of the most popular steaks amongst home cooks and an all time favorite amongst professional chefs.

The strip is a sort of a hybrid between the Rib Steak and the Porterhouse Steak.

This meaty and large steak can be cut into thick or thin pieces, depending on your preference.

The strip has a bold flavor but not overpowering. But it also has a good meaty texture too.

Placed amongst any roughage, the strip will stand out and the flavor will shine.

Best way to keep it juicy and tender is basting it regularly with a healthy dollop of vegetable oil as it cooks.

Trimmed of the excess fat, it can also be marinated.

Pan frying and grilling are the most common cooking methods for this cut, but it is also possible to barbeque or braise it.

The strip steak is a good deal if you can get it online at a good price.

The Tenderloin

The tenderloin is the most popular cut. It sits right under the spine, next to the back of your ribcage, and can weigh 1 to 2 pounds per steak.

On account of its location, the tenderloin is very low-fat and has little, if any, taste on its own.

This is why it needs to be cooked quickly to cook it and maintain its shape.

The tenderloin is best cooked by pan-frying, grilling or broiling it.

It can be rubbed with spices or coated with breadcrumbs for added flavor and texture.

The T-Bone

The porterhouse steak is called the beef tenderloin add-on steak due to its size and shape. It is basically a T-bone steak with a tenderloin attached. You can use the full tenderloin part of the steak or you could just use the T-bone and cut the tenderloin part off separately. The Porterhouse steak is one of the most flavorful steaks owing its popularity to its rich steakhouse flavors. It is considered to be the most delicious steak and considered to be an indulgence that is worth the price.

The Filet Mignon cuts are portions of beef tenderloin and are extremely tender and delicious, and are a highlight of the steak house. The filet mignon shouldn’t be confused with the tenderloin, however, as it is a leaner cut than the tenderloin. The Porterhouse often has more fat than the tenderloin.

The New York Cut is what everybody is familiar with. While it might not have the most flavor, it has excellent tenderness and is well marbled which provides the flavor. The New York cut has the most content of marbling and is known for its juiciness.

Lesser-known types of steak you should know

Depending on where you live, there may be different cuts of steak available to you.

But, rest assured, you will be guaranteed to find the most popular ones in any place.

The different types of steak are usually given a geographical description, e.g. Rib Eye for the US and New York Steak for Australia.

Prior to cooking, all cuts of steak should be allowed to sit at room temperature for 30–60 minutes, unless otherwise recommended by the recipe.

Rib Eye or Delmonico

The Rib Eye is also known as the Delmonico. It is the most popular part of the rib and cut from the cow’s loin. A steak cut from here has a fold of fat on one side which is perfect for crusting on the hot grill or frying pan.

Generally, Rib Eye Steak will have a thicker appearance than other cuts.

This type of steak is considered the best steak because of the high fat content available and the tenderness.


If you like to cook beef to well-done (which is my favorite), you may want to use a steak cut from the Loin. This kind is very tasty even when cooked to medium or medium-well. It has a pleasant fat composition, though it is not as tender as the Rib Eye.

Flank steak

Flank steak is a very lean cut (it has only a half percent fat content), which makes it quite flavourless, resulting in a tough and dry steak. It is sold in many supermarkets across America sliced up into thin slices.

This is a good cut of meat if you want to mix it up with other, more flavourful cuts of meat.

Skirt steak

Among the thin cuts, skirt steak is one of the best. This cut is not as tender as others such as flank steak and hanger steak, but it is loaded with flavor. When preparing this cut, it is not necessary to marinate it with any special spices. It is a great piece of meat that will need little more than salt and pepper.

Skirt steak has great flavor because it is from the diaphragm of the cow. When preparing this flank steak, it is best to cook it fast at high heat. It is ideal for simple recipes that do not need to cook for a long time.

It will work great in very thin slices, and it can be served in many ways. With the wide variety of spices, skirt steak can be served in chili, tacos, salads, burritos and more.

Like any other steak, skirt steak can also be cooked on a grill. Unlike the other types of steaks, it is harder to cook without burning it. This is why it is important to have a grill that you are used to and that you know how to control.

Skirt Steak vs Flank Steak

These are two similar cuts from the diaphragm muscles. The difference is that the skirt is a bit thinner, and it does not contain the bottom scoop. If you want to add a bit of flavor to your dish, you just need to use skirt steak.

Hanger steak

(also called “Butcher’s steak”)

Hanger steak has long been the gift that many butchers would never give.

Butchers tend to prefer this cut for themselves rather than give it away, because hanger steak is considered a tender, juicy cut of meat. T

Hus, although it’s been around for years, hanger steak is still a somewhat mysterious steak cut.

No two hanger steaks are alike,and every hanger steak seems to be cut slightly differently, but the general consensus is that the hanger can be an odd-looking piece of meat, but it’s a cut that any griller should have in their repertoire.

The hanger steak comes from the diaphragm of the cow, and also known as the “butcher’s steak” because it is the muscle that butchers cut from the carcass. Hangers will have a bit of a “hanging” look and a little more fat than a flap steak, but throughout the fat, it’s surprisingly tender.

Flatiron steak

This is a very tender cut, a little like a sirloin. It is very generous and can feed a small army! It also comes in different sizes. It comes from the shoulder, where the hand meets the arm.

The best thing about this cut is that it can be cubed for meatballs, cut crosswise into strips for stir-fry dishes, or carved into broad flat slices (not too thick or it becomes chewy and tough).

It is slightly leaner than a sirloin, but is excellent without the sauce. It also goes well with pasta, of course.

Add a tablespoon of butter, a clove of minced garlic, chopped onion, a little chopped chili pepper and a tsp of soy sauce. Simmer on low for ten minutes and the sauce is ready.

Roast in the oven on low, for about forty minutes.

Tri-Tip steak

(bottom sirloin)

You want this one for smoking. It doesn’t dry out when cooked low and slow. It’s lean and tender and consistently good. Like the name suggests, it really does have a triangular shape, on the bone, so that’s a big clue. Tri-tip is a great option for a party because you can serve it sliced into smaller portions and still get a beautifully charred, nice-looking steak.

Steak buying tips

The best steaks to buy come from the loin, rib and shoulder of beef. Prime is most of the time only used to refer to beef that was raised in the USA. In the UK for instance, the Beef Marbling Standard grading system is more widespread.

Some people believe that only aged prime steak can be termed as a real steak. However, just like wine age does not make a wine better, aging does not make a steak better. In fact whether you are talking about wine or steak, aging can cause the meat to lose some of its taste. Don’t be afraid to buy steaks that have not matured.

Beef grade is determined by how the beef was bred, raised and slaughtered. There are three major grades of beef, Prime, Choice and Select. In the UK you will see beef being sold by its age, Aged, Extra Mature and Mature. It is important to know that every cut can be of any grade.

You now know that beef is graded by its age and by its nutrient level. Each grade of beef has its own unique flavor, texture and cut. But how do you know which grade of beef is best for you? Find out next.

Grades of steak

There are many grades and flavors of beef. All cuts of beef are not equal in quality. The grade refers to the quality of the beef and only higher grade beef is used for steaks. The higher the grade, the better the overall flavor of the meat.

Here is the grading scale as follows:

Prime Grade:

Prime grade beef is the top grade. Prime grade is especially good for dry-aged steaks because the marbling is at its highest, with evenly distributed fat throughout. It’s fattier than USDA Choice with a higher fat content of between two and three percent.

Examples of Prime Grade Beef: Manhattan, Kansas City Ribeye

USDA Prime Beef is very expensive and the retail selection is quite limited. You can get the same flavor by choosing the Porterhouse or T-Bone steaks.

Wagyu & Kobe beef

Are Wagyu & Kobe beef the same?

In the past it was hard to find Wagyu beef outside of Japan, but thankfully this is starting to change. In the US Wagyu beef is bred by Japanese farmers and what they produce is pure Wagyu beef.

Wagyu beef is so pure that the Japanese have decided to label meat of US origin using the original breed name of “Wagyus”.

Wagyu beef comes from a type of cow known as beef cattle and is originally from the island of Japan.

Kobe beef is Wagyu beef that is then graded and endorsed by the Kobe Beef Association in Kobe, Japan.

Interestingly, Kobe beef itself is not eligible for export to the US, due to certain regulations in the US that are incompatible with these grades of Kobe beef.

So when you see the word Kobe beef, you can be reasonably sure that it originates in Japan and that it will be Wagyu beef.

So Is Wagyu beef better than beef from other countries?

I think that it depends on the skill of the chef rather than the place in which it was produced. It’s not as much about the beef; it’s about the chef. The standard of the preparation and the techniques used matter much more than the source of the beef.

Dry / Wet Aging

<Dry aging beef is not a complicated process. Essentially, dry aging is a controlled rotting of the meat to make it more tender, flavorful and nutritious.

Dry aging was once conducted primarily in butcher shops or at the warehouse where meat was stored. No one kept track of exactly how long butts, short ribs and steaks were exposed to air and microbes.

So, dry aging was a bit of a shot in the dark, one might say.

In more recent years, however, it is regulated by the USDA and while many butchers still dry age whole carcasses in their coolers, dry aging individual steaks has been taken out of the hands of the amateurs and moved to the realm of a few specialty shops, although large meat wholesalers still employ the technique, but at a mass scale.>

Lately, dry aging your own steaks at home has become popular, but money would be better spent visiting a quality butcher shop.

A quality butcher shop is likely to have a meat cooler that is always capped at a specific temperature. This is the trick to creating dry aging conditions.

You can tell you are in the right place if you see wooden shelves in the cooler. The best dry aging happens on these shelves.

Grass-fed vs. Grain-fed

Ribeye vs. Tenderloin

Grass fed means a cow was fed only plant matter and nothing but plant matter (hence the term “grass” fed) to avoid ingesting pesticides and chemicals, while grain fed means a cow was fed grains and most likely was given hormones and antibiotics.

Ribeye refers to the meat on one side of a steer’s rib cage (the side with the larger bones). Ribeyes are high in fat, making them a tender, flavorful cut.

Tenderloin refers to the meat on the opposite side of a steer’s rib cage, adjacent to the loin. The tenderloin is a thinner cut of beef than the ribeye, but the flavor is still quite good.

Some confusion exists around the terms ribeye, sirloin, and tenderloin because while the same muscle group exists on each steer, the meat is divided differently.

Where to buy steak

And the best cuts for grilling?

Since it was initially designed for the very active life of a nomadic people, beef steak is one of the most versatile ingredients in a recipe, and there are many cuts that can be prepared in different ways.

Luckily, today there are butcher shops in every city that can provide the best cuts of meat for you. But in some cases, you can also buy burgers and steaks in some supermarkets or grocery stores.

In any case, if you want to buy the best cuts, you need to look at the following factors.

You Should Know That

Ϣ- The best steaks come from the best cuts, and the best steaks are usually the most expensive cuts. If you are in doubt, don’t hesitate to ask the butcher to guide you into the best cuts to buy.

Ϣ- Grilled steaks are the best type of meats for grilling. In fact, they have a lot of flavor, they are tender, and, when they’re correctly cooked, they do not dry up or leave a lot of fat after being cooked.

Be a connoisseur of steaks is a pleasure, but for certain cuts of meat from certain breeds, some people just have a natural inclination.

Ask for tips from the butcher, and know what you like and whatsteak best suits your preferences.

From your butcher

Or supermarket, choose the cut of steak you want.

The most important thing about steak is choosing the right steak for your mouth.

Your personal taste, what you’re cooking, what your guests like and how you are going to cook it all play major roles in deciding the right cut of steak for your needs.

A perfect way to cut down your decision making work is to go one step up the chain.

Ask your butcher what the most popular cuts are with his customers and get his advice on how each cut is cooked. The butcher knows how each steak will cook and come out of the pan.

From the grocery store

And on through your dining room, the ultimate guide to steak ensures the perfect cut and the perfect meal.

The following cuts are arranged in descending order of the amount of cooking times. Remember, a steak is done when it’s cooked to your liking. All cooking times are based on steaks being 4 inches in thickness.

As soon as the recommended cooking time is over, remove the steak from the heat and let it rest, covered, for 5 minutes. This is an important final step that helps ensure that the juices will redistribute within the steak properly, making the steak more tender and tasty.

Remember: Always use a meat thermometer to determine doneness and take care of your steak, and you will have the perfect steak every time.

From an online supplier

But very informative if you are thinking of buying a piece of meat online.

Tips for cooking steak

It takes a lot of skill to cook a delicious steak. The taste of a steak is highly dependent on how well you cook it. It also involves a few simple preparations before you start the cooking process.

Pre-steak measuring. You need to consider pre-measuring the thickness of the meat. For example, if you are planning to cook a 1 inch thick steak, the right cooking time and temperature is different from a 3 inch thick steak.

Temperature. The best steak should be cooked at a temperature that is about 30 to 40 degrees lower than the actual minimum cooking temperature.

Temperature when served. It is recommended that you let the steak rest at room temperature after cooking it in order to let the inside temperature to reach the same level as the outside. This is to prevent further cooking of the meat as well as making it more tender.

Post-rest. It is also important that once the steak is already cooked and rested, you should reheat it at a temperature that is higher than the minimum cooking temperature. This final process will cook the steak fully from the inside out.

Use a few tricks or tricks. Whenever you are cooking steak at home, you can add a few tricks to make succulent, tasty, and tender meat. Here are a few:

Use the “reverse sear” method for steaks that are greater than 1 inch thick

If you’re cooking steak and you leave your pan on a high boil for a long time, you can actually cook the inside dry and tough.

Instead, you should use a reverse sear technique. This method works perfectly for thick steaks, like ribeye, or steak that has been aged or smoked over wood.

First, heat up the oven to 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

Then, season both sides of the steak with salt and pepper. Because the inside temperature of the steak will be hotter once the sear is applied, the meat will cook more quickly and evenly, and the salt and pepper won’t be sacrificed.

Put the steak in the refrigerator for a 30-minute rest, then season with salt and pepper again.

Heat a dry pan over a very high flame. When the pan is screaming hot, add a bit of oil to the pan and quickly place the steak in the oil.

Finish the steak in the pan, about 1 minute per side, then put the pan in the oven and bake until the desired doneness.

A reverse seared steak will have a nice crust, and because it sat in a room-temperature environment during the resting period, the inside will be about 10 degrees hotter than a regular pan seared steak.

Flip frequently

Nothing ruins a juicy steak quicker than overcooking it. To prevent this, you will want to flip your meat many times while grilling.

If you are grilling a steak that has a bone in it, first the bone must be removed. Do this by cutting straight through the center to cut through the spine and rib bones. Then, cut along both sides.

Cutting through the spine exposes each bone, and you can then pull it out. You can use a boning knife or a regular sturdy knife for this. The boning knife is better because it cuts through bone easier.

I’m personally not a fan of cutting the bone out because it is time-consuming. I prefer to remove the bone after cooking the steak, but it’s up to you.

Once you’ve got the bone out, you will want to trim the excess fat around the meat. Also, trim away any excess or flabby meat from the edges.

Your next step is to actually cook the steak.

Salt ahead of time

Cutting the salt out of your diet has become a growing trend in recent years, but if you look at the USDA nutritional guidelines, we only have around 2,300 mg of sodium per day. On average, Americans consume around 4,500 mg of sodium per day.

Which means that most of us are actually eating about two to three times our recommended intake of salt. This excess salt can lead to unnecessary bloating and water retention.

So, in order to limit your salt intake, stop adding it to your cooking. Salt your food right before you eat it. This way, you know that you are adding the right amount of salt to each dish.

Also, if you choose to cook with salt, choose a high-end, kosher salt. Kosher salt has a very even texture, so you don’t need to add it in portioned amounts when cooking. If you use processed table salt, you’ll need to add the salt in smaller increments.

The other benefit of kosher salt is that it has a larger granule size. This makes it easier to pick up with your fingers, so you don’t have to make contact with the salty granules.

Don’t worry about resting steak

It does not need it!

Note: For all of the cook times, internal temperatures are not listed because they are going to vary from piece to piece and person to person. Some cuts can get rarer than others with the same finish temperature, and you can always finish a thick piece of meat on the grill or sear it until it reaches your desired doneness.

Also, please note that these times are for the oven. Most people associate them with the grill, but I find that the grill is generally more forgiving and I tend to cook my steak for a shorter amount of time on it.

That being said, I think it is easier to get a better sear on a cast iron skillet over a grill, but you can certainly go either way.

Your best bet is to use a meat thermometer to know for sure when your steak is done.

The next section gives you the times for rare, medium rare, medium, medium well and well. Feel free to adjust these times up or down depending on how you prefer your steak.

Use a meat thermometer

If you’re buying steak, it can actually be a good idea to spend a little time in the local butcher shop every once in a while.

You may find that the steak that you’re frequenting is slightly less than what you expected. Because most of the time, the price is right, and the meat is decent. And there’s no reason to change where you shop.

Your next option is to go online and start shopping for specialty steaks. You might want to get some extra advice before ordering so you don’t end up accidentally putting in a smaller order than you intended.

And the final option is to get a meat thermometer. This way you can be sure what you’re getting is as fresh as you want it, and you can also be sure that you’re getting exactly what you want to be getting out of your steak experience.

When you go to an online steak shop, you can be fairly certain that you’re going to get decent steak. The only problem with this is that if you want something specific or a certain way you might not be able to get it easily.

Steak Doneness Guide

When it comes to grilling or smoking steaks, the most important thing is to choose the right cut of meat. Whether you have made your own or bought it from a market, you can use the same measuring techniques to gauge the appropriate temperature to cook your steak at.

To cook a good steak, grill or smoke at the right temperature, you need to know how to determine the doneness of steak.

You can end up with a dry and tough piece of meat if you cook it at a lower temperature than it needs to be. So, once you have learned how to grill steak, you have to consider the method and the temperature for cooking.

Now, to help you out even more, we have created a table for the doneness in five steps.

Do you want to know more about this topic?

The most important thing about cooking steak is to make sure that you are using the right type of meat.

The top sirloin steak, in particular, is the perfect cut.

This method is also very efficient to prepare lots of people at once, which if you have friends or family who are coming to dinner will make the experience much better.

So the next time you are thinking of a way to cook steak, try steaming or grilling it.

Porter Road Meat Delivery Review

Are you looking for the best steak delivery in town? Porter Road Meat Delivery is the latest to join the newest steakhouse chains in Houston.

Porter Road Meat offers USDA Prime and Choice steaks and dry aged beef from Allen Brothers.

You can have your USDA Prime or Choice steaks delivered on dry ice to your doorstep. All you have to do is order online for free delivery in within 10 miles of the store.

However, you can also have the Porter Road Meat staff choose the best cuts of beef from Allen Brothers for you and drop it off with your friends.

Porter Road prides itself on quality and service.

The Porter Road Meat staff cut steaks to serve as well as you would expect to find at a high end steakhouse, without the full on service you would get in one.

Porter Road dry aged steaks can be purchased at the retail counter or at their website.

Porter Road Steakhouse Menu

You can take a sneak peek at their online menu here.