It’s All Beef to Me

When walking down the frigid meat aisles at the grocery store, there is usually an enormous section dedicated solely to beef. After a hard day’s work you just want a nice, juicy steak, not a chuck roast or brisket or rump roast. But what is the best cut of steak? Filet? Sirloin? Strip?

There are 12 parts of the cow from where we get meat, but the different cuts of steak come from about half of those. Steaks vary in texture, taste and cooking style, and it is all personal preference on what you deem to be the best cut. Before divulging in some different cuts, here are a few steak hints: a marbling of fat gives more flavor; thickness of meat determines cooking time; and let the steak rest for a little bit after cooking before digging in.

The Ribeye steak is considered by some steak aficionados to be the best all-around cut. It has the highest fat content of all steaks, which makes it flavorful, tender and juicy.

Top Sirloin steaks are lean, moderately tender cuts of beef with no bones. They are conveniently priced while boasting a good flavor, and are often cut into cubes to use for kabobs.

Filets, also known as filet mignon, are cut from the loin and are the most tender steak available. They have a melt in your mouth texture and the buttery flavor makes it appealing to many carnivores. Because it is such a lean piece of meat, some chefs wrap filets in bacon to prevent them from drying out while cooking.

Strip steaks or New York Strips are known for their good amount of fat marbling, their tenderness and their flavor. Strips have a light texture and a tender grain that makes it easy to cut.

The T-Bone is essentially two steaks in one: a T-shaped bone separates the strip from the tenderloin. The tenderloin is much smaller than the strip and the steak as a whole is a well-marbled cut.

And finally, the Porterhouse steak. The “king” of steaks is a thick New York strip and a large filet. While almost identical to the T-Bone, a Porterhouse is cut from the rear end of the short loin, which makes it a much larger cut of steak.

There are other types of steak, like the hanger and flank, but these six are most commonly served in restaurants. Each type of steak is prepared and dressed at the discretion of the restaurant’s chef.

Merrill and Houston’s Executive Chef, Chef Bobby, has a favorite cut of steak: Ribeye. Other chefs may have a different favorite, but now that you know the different characteristics of each steak, you can decide for yourself. So you can go back to the store and buy every kind of steak and man the grill yourself… Or you can stop into your favorite steak joint and let them do the cooking *wink wink*

You’ve worked hard. You deserve it.


By Betsy Lizer