Red hot coals, smoking cast iron, and an audible sizzle are all things that foreshadow that indelible culinary delight: the beef steak. There are many ways to prepare a steak, and for beef-lovers the preparation and doneness can be a deeply personal preference. For many American diners and home-cooks a juicy beef steak is synonymous with luxury. So, with beef connoisseurs in mind, we turned to our sources to learn all about the top five best steaks recommended by butchers.
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In a poll of more than 1,000 adults across the U.S., commissioned by Meats by Linz, 70 percent consider themselves meat-lovers, with steak being one of their favorite foods. Three in four men love a good steak, compared to 65 percent of women. Americans love beef so much that 64 percent would request it as their final meal.
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There are many different cuts of beef that will yield vastly different dishes. From a caveman tomahawk ribeye to a delicate filet mignon, learning about the top five best steak cuts could lead readers to a new favorite meal. Let us know your favorite steaks in the comments below!
The List: Best Cuts of Steaks, According to Experts
The ribeye is considered king by many of our sources. It is a less-worked muscle and as such it has a fantastic tender texture though it is one of the fattiest cuts available. “Of all the many options that lay before you at the butcher or the supermarket, there is no cut that provides more value to your dollar than the ribeye… Plus, their flavor and simplicity make it far worth your while,” explains Tasting Table.
“All you need to do to gauge the quality of ribeye is take a gander at that marbling. These cuts are practically covered in it, and the flavor itself is, naturally, just as impressive. All that extra fat imbues the ribeye with an incredible amount of beefy flavor, making for one of the tastiest cuts on the cow. It also helps that they’re usually extremely juicy, wonderfully soft, and exactly as tender as you could ever want your steak to be. Unlike tenderloin cuts such as filet mignon, you’ve also got size on your side, as the ribeye steak should easily fill the belly of even the most ravenous steak-lover,” offers Mashed.
The neigh-unanimous consensus that rib eye is the best almost seems like bias, but people that have dined on the ribeye know that this cut lives up to the hype. “This steak makes our best cuts of steak list for an obvious reason: it is the best steak on the market. This steak is found on the rib of the cow, hence the name ribeye. The high amount of marbling on the ribeye is its distinguishing feature and makes the cut very tender, as you get a little salty bit of fat with each bite you take,” adds Steak Revolution.
2. Filet Tenderloin Steak
Most commonly known as filet mignon, steaks cut from the tenderloin are especially prized for their luxuriously tender texture. “So why is the Filet the best cut of beef (and most expensive?) That is typically because it comes from a part of the cow that is tucked in next to the backbone. Because of this location, the tenderloin muscle isn’t used much for animal activity and becomes a very tender cut,” explains The Grubwire.
“The tenderloin is cut from the short loin of the cow, which has little connective tissue and therefore makes for an extremely tender and flavorful cut of meat. The most upscale steakhouses serve tenderloin since it is one of the priciest meats available… It is incredibly soft because it is toward the end of the tenderloin. Being a wonderful carrier for other flavors and having a delicate flavor, it is a favorite cut among chefs,” praises Tex Grill.
“The most tender steak cut is, hands down, the tenderloin. No wonder it’s one of the most expensive steaks. The tenderloin is true to its name – it is as tender as butter and practically melts in your mouth whether you fry it in a pan or grill it. Make sure you coat your pan in plenty of butter, as the tenderloin doesn’t have much fat, and benefits from the added flavor. Or, top the tenderloin with compound butter after grilling,” details Cathead’s BBQ.
3. New York Strip
NY strip steaks are considered by some to be the beef lover’s pick because it is a beefy and tender steak that has a strip of easy to trim fat along one side. “The New York strip is a steakhouse staple that does equally well on the grill as it does in the pan. That’s due in large part to succulent fat marbling. As one of the best cuts of steak, the New York Strip has a very similar nutrition profile with the ribeye. It’s loaded in B vitamins, zinc, and selenium” writes Dr. Kiltz.
“You may have tried a strip steak without even knowing it. These are also known as Kansas City Strip steaks (with the bone), New York Strip steak (boneless), and a Top Sirloin steak. This strip comes from the short loin area of a cow. Head to any steakhouse and this will be one of their best-selling foods. This is down to its strong beefy flavor and a decent amount of marbling. The texture is quite tender but still chewy enough,” according to Restaurant Clicks.
“Also known as a Kansas City steak, a Hotel-Style steak, top loin, and at supermarkets, a shell steak, the strip is one of the most loved and most ordered at fine steakhouses. It has a robust, buttery flavor to it… With a flick of a knife, it can be a lean cut or fatty one. If you want to make it leaner, cut off the strip of fat on the edge,” claims Eat This, Not That!
4. Porterhouse Steak
This steak is often confused with the T-bone steak and features a similar cross section with both strip and tenderloin on the same cut. “The porterhouse steak is a true indulgence for steak lovers, as it features both the tender filet mignon and the flavorful strip steak separated by a T-shaped bone. This massive cut is perfect for sharing or for satisfying the heartiest of appetites. Grilling your porterhouse will bring out the best in its flavor and texture, ensuring a tender and juicy meal,” posits Wagyu We Trust.
“Although both the T-bone and porterhouse are cut from the same area of the cow, their ratio between the tenderloin and top loin they connect differs drastically. T-bones are cut in favor of the top loin, leaving a very insignificant amount of tenderloin on the bone. Porterhouses, on the other hand, are center cut, evenly inclusive to the rich, buttery NY Strip on one side of the bone, and a succulent, tender filet mignon on the other,” describes Tasting Table.
“Most porterhouses are 3 inches or more in thickness, making them massive cuts of meat. They are large and juicy and full of savory flavors. These cuts of meat are best cooked by experienced steak chefs on a cast-iron skillet for optimal control of heat and depth of flavor. You will want to get the perfect sear on this monster of a steak, or else you will end up with a raw center,” writes Steak Revolution.
5. Hanger Steak
This fantastic cut may be less well-known, but it is just as deserving of a spot on this list as the other steaks. “The hanger steak is cut from the short plate, on the underside of the cow, and is a neighbor of sorts to the skirt steak. And it’s got plenty going for it, too: it’s absolutely chock-full of flavor, and, because the muscle it comes from does little work, it’s incredibly tender… It’s usually pretty cheap, too, because so few people seek it out. In fact, hanger steak was actually once known as ‘butcher’s steak,’ because butchers used to keep it for themselves,” explains Mashed.
“You will often find this cut on menus at high-end steak houses, but you will rarely find it at the local Walmart, Publix or Kroger. The Hanger steak is a nice mix between the attributes of a Ribeye steak and tenderloin steak,” adds The Grub Wire.
“Hanger steak, also known as the butcher’s steak, is a flavorful and relatively tender cut that’s ideal for grilling or pan-searing. This lesser-known steak cut comes from the diaphragm area of the cow and is named because it ‘hangs’ between the rib and the loin. While it’s not as tender as some of the top cuts, it offers a great balance of flavor and tenderness at a lower price point,” explains Wagyu We Trust.
You might also be interested in:
- Tasting Table
- Steak Revolution
- The Grubwire
- Dr. Kiltz
- Tex Grill
- Cathead’s BBQ
- Restaurant Clicks
- Eat This, Not That!
- Wagyu We Trust
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations.