Americans eat about 274 pounds of beef a year. So, almost everyone can agree that there's nothing like sitting down for a nice steak dinner.
The question is, what kind of steak? There are so many different cuts out there with various ways to prepare them.
You wouldn't cook a filet mignon the same way you would a brisket. While one is tender and doesn't call for marinade, the other is much tougher and requires time in a slow cooker.
That's only one example. Check out this guide to learn more about the different steak cuts and how to bring out the best in each one.
Filet mignon is a staple of steak houses anywhere. It's cut from a long cylindrical muscle in the cow that doesn't see a lot of work. The result is a tender piece of beef that you can cut with a spoon.
Since filet mignon is so soft, it doesn't require marinade (unless you just want it). Most cooks prepare it with butter.
This cut of beef is versatile. You can roast it in a pan or grill it. Something to keep in mind is that filet mignon has little to no fat content.
If you overcook the meat, it will dry out. Remove it from heat once it reaches a medium rare temperature.
Porterhouse and T-Bones
Porterhouses and t-bones are both served bone-in. This bone actually separates the cut into two different steaks. One side consists of a delicious strip, and the other, a delectable tenderloin.
The difference between porterhouse and t-bone steaks is that the porterhouse contains more tenderloin. This makes it a much larger cut of steak.
Cooking a porterhouse can be a bit complex. You'll need to grill it while making sure that the tenderloin portion of the meat is exposed to less heat than the strip portion.
The chuck is located right behind the cow's neck. If you're on a budget, chuck is one of the cheapest options. That doesn't mean it has to taste cheap.
Chuck can be tough if you don't prepare it the right way. When in doubt, throw it in the slow cooker.
You can grill it, but don't let it cook too long. If you have some tenderizer on hand, you can braise your chuck beef.
Ribeye is Chuck's fancier cousin. It's a thick piece of prime rib that you can get as a bone-in or boneless steak.
It packs a little more flavor than filet mignon, but it's a lot chewier because of the high-fat content. That doesn't make it a bad cut of beef.
While the fat can make it chewy, it also packs a lot of flavor. The fat is also what makes it so juicy.
The best way to cook it is to coat in a dry rub and throw it on your grill. Some choose to use a marinade over a dry rub because of the high amount of fat.
If you tend to like your beef cooked at a medium, you can accomplish that with ribeye without turning it into a hockey puck.
New York Strip
The New York strip has a little something for everyone. It doesn't have as much fatty marbling as ribeye, but it still has enough to be juicy.
If you cook it the right way, you can have a tender piece of steak without paying the high price tag that comes along with filet mignon.
You can cook your strip the same way you would a ribeye. Coat it in your favorite dry rub or marinade and put it on your grill.
A tomahawk is a cut of ribeye that has the entire bone still attached to it. It's often cut a bit bigger to accommodate the size of the bone. Most tomahawks are about two inches thick and can serve four or more people.
Due to the size of the steak, you've got to cook it a specific way. The most common way is to place it in the oven and bake it at low heat for a while before moving it to the stove to sear it until done.
The brisket is part of the lower stomach of the cow. Since it comes from such a well-exercised area, it can be a bit on the tougher side. It's for this reason that it's almost exclusively slow-cooked.
When looking for a cut of brisket, poke it with your finger. If it feels a bit stiff, it will be tough when you cook it. The best brisket has a generous layer of fat over the beef.
Coat it in a dry rub before throwing it in your slow cooker. Let it simmer until it's falling apart.
The sirloin comes from the rear of the cow. It's inexpensive and can be quite flavorful. When you're shopping around, look for a package that says "top sirloin" to get the best cut of meat.
Sirloin doesn't have a lot of fat, so you have to be careful not to overcook it. If you do, you'll be left with dry meat.
Cover it in a dry rub and cook it over high heat in a pan. You can also grill or broil it.
Understanding the Different Types of Steak Cuts
As you can see, there are many different steak cuts. Cooking them can be an interesting challenge. You'll need to coat them in a good dry rub or marinade and find the right temperature.
Some cuts can be finicky. If you cook them too long, they'll dry out. Others are best-served medium rather than medium rare.
You'll also need to buy the right cut of beef. Go here to check out all of our delicious options!