Are You A Steak Lover? Here’s How to Choose The Perfect Cut for Your Steak
Once you find out how many cuts of steaks there are, finding the right one can get pretty complicated. Each cut has a different tenderness, texture, and amount of fat, so you must take your pick carefully. It’s a common beginner’s mistake to choose the wrong cut of steak for a particular dish, resulting in an inappropriate texture, fat percentage, and tenderness. Your cravings and the amount of money you’re willing to spend also influence the decision.
Here is the ultimate guide to help you choose the perfect cut for your steak.
True to its name, rib-eye comes from the animal’s rib section, making for one of the most flavorful cuts of meat. This cut is pretty tender but not a part of the top tender cuts. It has plenty of marbling, which results in a burst of flavor due to the extra fat.
It’s also known as Scotch Fillet, which is cooked the same way as rib-eye, except that the bone is removed. Leaving the bone in gives the meat more flavor, fat, and moisture. So, rib-eye is the perfect cut for you if you’re craving a burst of flavor.
- Bone-In Rib Eye
Also from the animal’s rib section, the bone-in rib eye cut has at least five inches of rib bone left in it. This is a French culinary technique that is also used to shape a rack of lamb. In this technique, the fat and meat are trimmed so that the bone is left intact to resemble a handle.
It also resembles a Native American tomahawk axe, which earns it the name Tomahawk Steak. Since this cut’s muscles aren’t used as often as others, it offers some of the most tender and soft meat. This is the perfect cut for those looking for something expensive, tender, and exquisite.
The porterhouse cut comes from the animal’s hindquarter, resulting in a boneless, tender, juicy, lean, and flavorful cut. Some may even consider it the “Goldilocks” of steak cuts for various reasons.
This cut may not be as tender and flavorful as the rib-eye cuts. Due to the lack of marbling and chewy texture, the porterhouse is also cheaper. Surprisingly, these reasons also make it a more popular cut to order. So, opt for a porterhouse steak if you need something that doesn’t break the bank but still offers enough flavor.
The tenderloin cut comes from a muscle strip within the animal’s backbone, which does very little work, resulting in an incredibly tender cut. This is the most tender and expensive cut you can buy. It’s also worth noting tender meat cuts like filet mignon make up 8% of the cattle’s meat, leading to higher prices. Restaurants and butcher shops cut down tenderloin, produce waste, and add the waste trim to the cost of the steak.
Most people consider this the most desired cut due to its tender, buttery texture, even if it may not be the most flavorful. Since this cut is lean, it lacks any marbling and, thus, any flavor. That is why it’s essential to maintain the highest quality while purchasing a tenderloin cut. So, those looking for a “melt in the mouth” texture should opt for a tenderloin cut.
The hanger cut comes from the animal’s lower belly, hanging from its diaphragm. It’s also often called the “butcher’s cut” as butchers know this cut’s delicious value and prefer keeping it for themselves. However, the hanger cut has no aesthetic value until it’s trimmed.
This is the ideal cut for those that need a “secret” best cut that packs a flavorful punch despite its unassuming appearance.
- New York Strip Steak
The New York strip steak is a safe option, as you can never go wrong with it. It’s the perfect combination of lean and tender, tasting exceptional once cooked to perfection on a grill or stove. But, of course, it doesn’t have as much marbling as a rib-eye steak, so it’s typically more affordable. So, if you can’t figure out what you want but want to go easy on your pockets, opt for a New York strip steak for the perfectly safe, mid-week dinner.
- Rib Cap
Most consider the rib cap the best cut of the animal, coming from the rib-eye roll’s outer muscle. This is undoubtedly the most delicious, flavorful, and tender cut you can get, which will indeed cause a hole in your pocket.
Due to being incredibly marbled, this tender packs a delectable flavor and texture. Those that need an out-of-this-world eating experience and have the budget for such a luxurious meal should go for the rib cap. It’s the rarest cut you can try out.
True to its name, this triangle-shaped cut comes from the bottom tip of the animal’s sirloin. Since it’s leaner than cuts, this cut is a much healthier and more affordable option. This cut delivers a great flavor at the perfect price when cooked on the grill.
Its affordability makes this the ideal cut choice for BBQs, parties, and large gatherings. For moments when you’re craving a rich and meaty flavor on a budget, the trip-tip cut will never disappoint you.
Looking for the best of both worlds? The T-bone combines both the eye fillet and the sirloin. This t-shaped bone features the eye fillet on one side and the sirloin cut on the other. While the fillet offers a tender texture, the sirloin adds juiciness to the cut. It can be quite heavy on the pockets, but its irresistible taste and texture make it worth the investment.
The flank cut comes from the animal’s lower chest, where its abdominal muscles are. Due to the abundance of connective tissues, this cut is tougher than the rest, but it’s still pleasantly flavorful. Plus, it’s pretty affordable. Its toughness, flavor, and affordability make it a versatile cut, ideal for the marinade to tenderize the meat. It’s also great for thinner cuts like steak salad, tacos, fajitas, and more.
With the various steak cuts available, picking the right one for a certain occasion or craving can be a challenge. Now that you know how to choose the perfect cut, you can enjoy the steak of your dreams. Don’t forget to consider other factors like whether it’s wet-aged or dry-aged, frozen or thawed, etc.