When it comes to making steak, everyone believes that they’re the expert. But not many people are aware of the different cuts of steak that are available on the market. You may believe that they’re all the same and that it’s like that they’re going to taste the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. By definition, a steak is any choices of meat that can be complete any fast-cooking methods. There are many cuts that are becoming more popular in the market, such as the flatiron and skirt steak, but there are other cuts of steak that work just as well in being flavourful, as well as tender.
The tenderness of the steak being cooked is inversely related to the amount of work that it does during the lifetime of the animal: the more it’s used, the tougher it’s going to be. That’s why the cut of steak is very important. So what are the most popular and prime cuts of steak on the market?
The ribeye steak is also known as the scotch filet and the beauty steak and is taken from the front end of the steer, from the rib primal. The closer to the head the cut of meat is the more muscle that is available in the steak. Due to this cur, there is a large swath of fat along it, providing it with a very distinctive flavour. Ribeye steak is, therefore, one of the richest, beefiest cuts that you can get. The central “eye” of the meat tends to be of a smoother texture than, say, a strip streak. So what’s the best way to cook a ribeye steak? Due to the high-fat content, grilling can be a tricky process. A pan lid and tongs should always be on the ready for turning in order to avoid a flaming fireball of meat on your grill. However, pan-searing is another option if you want to avoid the grill.
Another popular steak is the sirloin steak, also known as the Kansas City strip or top sirloin. Cut from the rear end of the steer, it has a tight texture that makes it moderately tender. Sirloin steak is known for having a strong beef flavour that is not as robust as ribeye steak, but is without the large pockets of fat that make it difficult to cut. Due to the construction of the sirloin steak itself, it’s easy to cook and easy to eat and is less prone to burning. Sirloin steak can be cooked by grilling, broiling, or pan-frying, making it very versatile.
When it comes to a fillet steak, it’s regarded as one of the most prime cuts of steak there is on the market. They are quite tender and lean, but without practice, it can be quite easy to cook them wrong, ending up with a tough, rubbery piece of meat that isn’t very appetising. A good quality fillet steak is typically bright red and has little to no fat on it. Those who are daring can try aged fillet steak for something a little different in flavour. Fillet steaks are typically pan-seared because it’s much easier for them to reach higher temperatures in order for the sugars within the meat to become caramelised. This will certainly enhance the flavour of your meat once it’s finished cooking.
There are several other prime cuts of steak that are also popular, such as the tenderloin and the T-bone. The tenderloin is taken from the short loin of the steer and has an almost buttery texture to it. It is known for having low flavour due to its low-fat content. It has a bit more fat than a fillet steak, but because of the area of the steer that it’s cut from, it has less of a beefy flavour. Perfect for pan-frying or grilling as there isn’t the risk of dripping fat into the fire. It cooks much faster than other kinds of steak, but they are prone to drying out a lot faster. Typically, in order to keep in moisture, it can be basted with butter or roasted with Chateaubriand to provide a more robust flavour to the steak.
The T-Bone, on the other hand, is cut from the front end of the short loin, and includes a bone that splits the meat. It’s the combination of two kinds of steak: the strip steak and tenderloin. Pan-searing is extremely difficult with the size of the bone that’s included in the steak, so grilling is definitely a better choice. However, due to the combination of the two kinds of steak, the strip steak ends up taking longer to cook than the tenderloin. This can be remedied by placing the strip steak further away from the source of heat and the tenderloin much closer.
In addition to knowing the various cuts of steak, it also helps to know the grades of meat you’re purchasing. Grading is typically performed by a third-party organisation that takes into account the age of the animal and the marbling of the meat. Marbling is the streaky appearance that is caused by the fat content in the meat. A good grade of meat is likely to have thin streaks of fat to show that it’s flavourful as well as tender. There are three grades of meat: prime, choice and select. It can be very difficult to find prime cut steak in the market, even fillet steak, and are more likely to be exported or used in fine restaurants.
No matter the choice of steak you decide on, whether it’s sirloin steak or ribeye steak, having the skills to prepare it properly and to exercise the patience in cooking it properly will be its own reward once you’ve taken your first flavourful bite of steak. Even those who decide to cook their steaks well-done will come to understand the differences in the cuts of steak that exist in the market, and will become more selective about their cuts in the future.