Whether you’re a connoisseur or just starting your steak adventure, we’re breaking down the various types of steak that will satisfy your cravings and elevate your dining experience. From rich marbling to mouthwatering tenderness, each cut offers a unique and delectable taste for the perfect steak recipe that will leave you craving more!
Table of Contents
- Girl Carnivore Pro Tips
- A Meat Lover’s Guide: Exploring Different Types of Steak
- Ribeye Steak, Tomahawk Steak, and Cowboy Ribeye
- Filet Mignon
- New York Strip Steak
- T-bone Steak
- Porterhouse Steak
- Chuck Eye Steak
- Ranch Steak
- Flat iron steak
- Sirloin Steak
- Top Sirloin Cap (Picanha)
- Tri-Tip (Bottom Sirloin)
- Flank Steak
- Skirt Steak
- Hanger Steak
- Our favorite Steak recipes
- Types of Steak (Infographic)
- Prime vs. Choice vs. Select Grades
- Wagyu vs. Kobe Beef
- More helpful cooking guides
Wandering through the meat department of the supermarket can be daunting. There are so many different cuts of beef to choose from that it can be difficult to know where to begin. But never fear because the meat nerds are here! This in-depth post will go over every type of steak, from flank steak to filet mignon. After digesting this guide (literally), we hope you’ll have everything you need to pick the best cut of steak so you can craft the perfect steak for any occasion.
Girl Carnivore Pro Tips
- No matter what steak you buy, cooking it to the proper steak doneness can make or break your enjoyment of it. Be sure to always use a digital meat thermometer for the most accurate results.
- When it comes to cooking the perfect steak, we rely on our well seasoned cast iron for the perfect edge-to-edge pan sear, particularly with the reverse sear method. Or a proper two-zone fire over a charcoal grill for the most robust flavor.
- And our secret to the best steakhouse flavor every time? We always finish our steaks in compound butter. It melts over the steak as the steak rests adding that extra layer of umami that takes your meal to a whole new level.
A Meat Lover’s Guide: Exploring Different Types of Steak
Whether you prefer your meat rare, medium-rare, or well-done, the world of steaks offers an array of cuts that cater to every palate. From the rich and tender filet mignon to the robust and marbled ribeye, each type of steak boasts its own distinctive characteristics that make it both unique and delectable.
Ribeye Steak, Tomahawk Steak, and Cowboy Ribeye
The Ribeye Steak is one of the most popular cuts of steak, and for a good reason – it’s incredibly tender and flavorful. This particular cut of steak gets its tenderness and name from its location – the center of the rib section. The ribs of a cow don’t receive much action, resulting in extremely tender steak. In addition, this flavorful steak is loaded with streaks of intramuscular fat which also contribute to the steak’s tender texture, making for a perfect pan-seared ribeye.
There are a few variations of this steak other than a simple ribeye. For example, we have the Tomahawk Steak, a piece of meat most notably known for its massive 8-12 inch bone still attached to the meat.
Another type of ribeye is known as the Cowboy Steak. This manly and rugged cut of meat is a type of bone-in ribeye steak, with around 3-4 inches of bone sticking out, similar to a Tomahawk steak. What better way to top off a cowboy steak than with some cowboy butter!
Filet mignon is one of the most delicious and tender cuts of beef you can find, hence why it’s one of the most expensive. It comes from a part of the cow called the tenderloin, a muscle that doesn’t do much work, making it incredibly tender and juicy. A steak lover’s dream.
The name “filet mignon” is French and means “small, dainty fillet” because it’s a smaller, more delicate cut compared to other boneless steaks. When you order it at a restaurant or cook it at home, you’ll get a thick, mouthwatering piece of beef that’s usually round or oval in shape. And you can even save some pennies with our guide on how to trim a beef tenderloin by slicing it at home.
What makes filet mignon extra special is its buttery texture and mild flavor. Since it’s so tender, you won’t find much fat or connective tissue in it, making it easy to cut and chew.
When cooking filet mignon, it’s usually best to keep it simple to let the natural flavors shine. You can make grilled filet mignon, pan-seared filet mignon with some brandy peppercorn sauce drizzled on top, or sous vide filet mignon, as each of these cooking methods will preserve the steak’s juices and flavor.
New York Strip Steak
A New York strip, also known as a “New York steak” or “strip steak,” is another fantastic cut of beef that’s popular among steak lovers. It’s a mouthwatering, juicy piece of meat that comes from the short loin of a cow.
The New York strip stands out because of its perfect balance of tenderness and flavor. It’s not as tender as filet mignon. However, it’s still quite tender and has a rich, beefy taste that many people absolutely adore.
The name “New York Strip” might make you think it’s specific to New York. However, it’s actually a popular cut you can find in steakhouses and supermarkets all over the US. In fact, you’ll find it on many steakhouse menus because of its deliciousness! And did you know the only difference between a New York Strip Steak and a Kansas City Strip Steak is that the KC steak comes with the bone?
We’re looking for hot and fast treatment when cooking a New York Strip, like grilling or this pan-seared New York Strip. Or, if you want to get really fancy, you can even do a reverse-seared New York Strip. This helps to lock in all those yummy juices and create a nice crust on the outside while keeping it tender on the inside.
Here’s an ode to one of the most mouthwatering steaks out there – the T-bone steak! It’s a real treat for all meat lovers, especially this Grilled T-bone Steak, or even try something fancy like an Espresso Grilled T-bone Steak!
The T-bone steak is a big, juicy cut of beef that’s known for its distinctive t-shaped bone in the middle, which divides two delicious sections of meat. On one side, you get the tender and milder-tasting filet mignon; on the other, you have the New York strip, full of rich, beefy flavor. It’s like getting the best of both worlds in one steak!
When cooking a t-bone steak, you’ll usually fire up the grill to get that perfect sear on the outside while keeping the inside tender and juicy. The bone in the middle adds extra flavor and helps distribute the heat evenly, giving you a deliciously cooked piece of meat every time.
The Porterhouse Steak is like the big brother of T-bone steak! When you want a real feast of flavors, this is the steak you go for!
The porterhouse steak is a massive, mouthwatering cut of beef that’s perfect for big appetites and special occasions. It’s similar to the T-bone steak, but the porterhouse has an even bigger portion of the tender filet mignon on one side and a generous New York strip on the other. It’s like the ultimate combo of tenderness and rich, beefy taste, all in one glorious steak!
When you make a pan-seared porterhouse steak, you’ll get that beautiful caramelized crust on the outside while locking in all the juicy goodness on the inside. It’s a fantastic way to cook it if you’re in the mood for some indoor cooking and want to enjoy that delightful seared flavor.
If you’re thinking about having a barbecue or simply adore the taste of grilled meat, try a grilled porterhouse steak! The sizzling heat of the grill works its magic, infusing the steak with a mouthwatering smokiness and a delectable charred flavor.
Chuck Eye Steak
This budget-friendly cut comes from the shoulder of the cow, just slightly further up from where ribeyes are cut. Because of this cut of steak’s proximity to the ribeye, it has some marbled fat that lends to its beefy flavor. It’s like a ribeye but without the price tag!
One thing to note about chuck eye steak is that it shouldn’t be cooked past medium, as it can get tough the longer it cooks. This cut of beef does best with a little pan-sear or grill, allowing its natural flavors to come out.
This cut of beef is affordable, lean, and versatile, with a robust beefy flavor, making it a great steak for any occasion. It comes from the chuck primal roast of the cow, which means it can be cooked slowly for stew or hot and fast in a pan or grill like this pan-seared ranch steak.
Similar to a flat iron or flank steak, ranch steak can become tough if cooked past medium, so it’s important to marinate it or cook it slowly to ensure maximum flavor and tenderness.
Flat iron steak
The flat iron steak comes from the shoulder area of the cow. It’s known for its incredible tenderness and juicy, bold, beefy flavor.
Its unique shape sets the flat iron steak apart – a little rectangular piece resembling an old-fashioned flat iron. Hence the name!
One thing that makes the flat iron steak so special is that it used to be considered a less desirable cut. But, some brilliant chefs discovered its potential, and now it’s a real favorite among foodies and meat lovers.
Here’s a pro tip – when cooking flat iron steak, it’s best to keep it to medium-rare or medium doneness. Overcooking it might make it a bit tough, and you don’t want to miss out on that fantastic tenderness. One of our favorite cooking methods to prevent overcooking is sous vide, like in our Sous Vide Flat Iron Steak. Using the sous vide method provides a more restaurant-like quality of doneness every time without overcooking. Grilled flat iron is also great cooked hot and fast on the grill.
Sirloin steak comes from the back of the cow, behind the ribs, known for its great balance of flavor and tenderness. It’s not as fancy as some other steaks, but it’s definitely not lacking in deliciousness! It’s a versatile cut of meat, perfect for use in a variety of steak recipes.
When you’re in the mood for some juicy and savory goodness, Grilled Top Sirloin Steaks are a fantastic choice. Just throw them on the grill, and you’ll get that perfect char on the outside, keeping the inside tender and full of flavor. Or dress things up by pairing a pan-seared top sirloin filet with a red wine steak sauce.
Top Sirloin Cap (Picanha)
Known as the prime choice of Brazilian steakhouses, the top sirloin cap, aka ‘picanha,’ comes from the top part of the sirloin. This type of steak has a thick layer of fat on top, lending to a rich, tender taste, making it a favorite among steak lovers.
Although the top sirloin cap is a desirable cut of meat for many, it isn’t found at most grocery stores. Instead, this cut of beef would need to be purchased at your local butcher.
As for preparing this cut of meat, you have a couple of options, like pan-searing and grilling. This cut has a strong beef flavor. We love it smoked on a gas grill or over charcoal as a Rotisserie Grilled Picanha to infuse wood smoke into it.
Tri-Tip (Bottom Sirloin)
This triangle-shaped steak comes from the tri-tip roast, part of the bottom sirloin. Although this cut of beef is on the leaner side, it still has some fat around it, which lends to its buttery, beefy flavor.
Flank steak comes from the belly of the cow, and it’s known for its bold, beefy flavor, and very similar to a bavette steak. It’s a bit leaner than some other steaks but still, super juicy and tender if you cook it just right, especially if you use a flank steak marinade.
Flank steak is used in a variety of dishes, from a traditional Grilled Flank Steak to an appetizer like Flank Steak Pinwheels. You can also get creative with marinades and rubs since this cut of meat isn’t as flavorful as other cuts of meat. For example, you can use coffee to make a Coffee Crusted Flank Steak! Flank steak is also the preferred cut of meat for Steak Fajitas because it cooks quickly and is affordable!
Skirt steak comes from the cow’s diaphragm muscle, and it’s known for its super rich and beefy flavor. It’s got this lovely texture that’s a bit loose, but when you cook it just right, it becomes incredibly tender and juicy.
This cut of beef is super versatile. You can cook it up in all sorts of delicious ways! One classic way to enjoy it is by making some mouthwatering Steak Tacos. Another great way to serve up a skirt steak is by grilling it and topping it with a bright chimichurri sauce, a smoky sauce full of herbaceous, zesty flavors!
One thing to keep in mind is that skirt steak is best when cooked to medium-rare or medium. It can get a bit tough if you overcook it, so be mindful of the cooking time.
Hanger steak is this incredible cut of beef that’s a hidden gem in the culinary world! Hanger steak comes from the cow’s diaphragm, and it’s got this unique and beefy flavor that’s out of this world.
Hanger steak is known for its coarse grain that’s super juicy and tender when you cook it just right, like in this Steak Frites recipe. It’s like a melt-in-your-mouth experience!
One thing to know about hanger steak is that it used to be known as the “butcher’s cut” because butchers would often keep it for themselves. But since this cut of beef has risen in popularity over the years, we get to enjoy it now too!
When it comes to cooking hanger steak, you’ve got a few options. Grilling is a classic choice that brings out its robust flavors and gives it that lovely char on the outside. But you can also pan-sear it or broil it in the oven – either way; you’re in for a real treat.
One thing to keep in mind is that hanger steak has thick connective tissue running through the center. So when you’re preparing it, remove that tough membrane to make it even more tender. You can also use a steak marinade to help tenderize the fibers too.
Types of Steak (Infographic)
Prime vs. Choice vs. Select Grades
Prime grade is the highest quality with abundant marbling. You can typically find this type of steak in restaurants and hotels because of its tender flavor and buttery texture. This beef cut only makes up around 2-3% of beef available, raising its price point.
Choice grade is high-quality meat with less marbling than prime yet still tender and juicy. This type of beef cut makes up around 50% of the beef available, making it a great option for those who want to enjoy quality beef on a budget.
Select grade is leaner with minimal marbling, making it less juicy but tender. This type of beef cut is perfect for marinating to ensure maximum juiciness and flavor. In addition, you’ll most likely find this beef in ground form.
Wagyu vs. Kobe Beef
It used to be that an Angus steak was what you found at top-tier restaurants, and that is still a quality steak. But with new options popping up, it’s good to know what each means.
The term ‘wagyu‘ refers to a Japanese cow, where the meat comes from. It’s a luxury cut of beef most notably known for its intense marbling, which lends to its rich flavor profile that practically melts in your mouth. However, this type of marbling isn’t like your typical ribeye. It has intense intramuscular marbling weaving throughout the inside of the muscle, providing a hearty and rich flavor experience and a high price point, as high as $200 per pound.
Kobe beef is a specific type of Wagyu (Japanese black cow) from the Kobe region. Similar to Wagyu beef, it has tons of intramuscular marbling. However, this beef is held to an even higher standard than wagyu, such as how much the cows weigh and the breed of cow. Because of the high standards and rarity of the cow, this cut of beef can run as much as $300 per pound!
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Chuck, flank, and skirt steak tend to be the toughest cuts of steak because they come from the most used parts of the cow. However, a quick steak marinade can really amp up the flavor and tenderize these cuts. When cooked properly, they are some of our favorite steaks!
It depends on what you’re looking for. Ribeyes tend to be more tender due to their heavy marbling. On the other hand, sirloins are more flavorful but not as tender. We love both but choose top sirloin filets when we want a lean beefy steak and ribeyes when we want mouthwateringly tender bites and aren’t against a few extra pennies.
Filet mignon, ribeye, and sirloin are some of the most popular types of steak cuts.
Top sirloin filets
Red wine is the best wine to pair with steak. One rule of thumb to follow is that lighter wines pair better with leaner cuts of beef, and more robust wines pair better with fattier cuts of beef.
The best steaks for grilling are the ribeye, New York strip, filet mignon, t-bone, and porterhouse steak.
The cheapest cuts of meat for grilling are the top sirloin, chuck, skirt, flank, and hanger steak.
Check out this guide for ordering meat online! We get our everyday beef from Porter Road and our specialty steaks from a variety of online purveyors.