Walking through the meat department of the grocery store and seeing all the names for the cuts of beef, have you ever been curious as to which part of the cow they come from, which one is a better cut than another? Well this list should help with this. The most tender cuts of beef, like the rib and tenderloin, are the ones farthest from the horn and hoof. The toughest areas of the animal are the shoulder and leg muscles because they are worked the most.
#10 CUBE STEAK
Cube steak refers to a thin cut from the round section in the hindquarters. They are tenderized using a meat mallet and are sometimes scored with little cuts. This helps them cook very quickly, but it’s almost impossible to cook them to any temperature other than well-done. These steaks are best-suited for chicken-fried steak with gravy to cover up any dry texture.
#9 RUMP STEAK
Rump steak (sometimes called round steak) is an inexpensive alternative to ribeye. It comes from the hindquarters of the cow. Because these muscles see more work, the rump is less tender than most of the cuts on this list. It’s definitely best to marinate a rump steak for a least four hours.
#8 SKIRT STEAK
The skirt steak is a long, thin muscle cut from the plate section of the belly. It’s a very tough cut with a lot of connective tissue, but it turns out juicy and tender if cooked correctly. It’s best to marinate a skirt steak in an acidic marinade like this for at least 30 minutes before cooking it. Then, flash sear it over high heat and serve it medium-rare to medium. It’s important to cut the skirt against the grain to avoid chewy bite
#7 FLANK STEAK
Flank steak is similar to skirt but the flank section is further back towards the beef’s rear. It’s thicker and wider than the skirt, and it cooks up slightly more tender. It is best to use a flavorful marinade and cook flank at a high heat. It can become tough over a medium heat. Thinly slice flank against the grain.
#6 T-BONE / PORTERHOUSE
These “T-shaped” steaks are a favorite of meat lovers because they actually contain two steaks: the strip and the tenderloin. They’re cut from the short loin and are always sold on the bone. The major difference between a T-bone and a porterhouse is that the latter is generally cut from the back of the loin, and it contains a larger portion of filet mignon. Cook these steaks over dry heat.
#5 LONDON BROIL
London broil is a cooking method, not a cut of beef, but many grocery stores sell steaks by this name. It’s usually a top round steak cut from the hindquarters of the beef, but you might want to double-check with the butcher because sometimes flank steak is sold under this name. It’s best to marinate these steaks with an acidic ingredient to help break down the tough muscle fibers. Then, flash-sear them in a hot pan or on the grill. Overcooked London broil can be tough and chewy. This cut is a great choice for homemade beef jerky.
Sometimes called top sirloin, these boneless steaks come from near the rear of the animal. Sirloin steaks have a very pleasant beef-forward flavor, and their inexpensive price tag makes them affordable. Because the sirloin doesn’t have much fat or intermuscular marbling, you’ll want to take care not to overcook it. Any temperature over medium will taste dry. These steaks tastes good dressed up with a dry rub.
#3 New York Strip
New York strip is cut from the short loin. It has less fat than a ribeye but more flavor than a tenderloin, and is almost always sold as a boneless steak. Prepare a strip steak seasoned with salt or a dry rub, and cooked over dry heat. These steaks taste best in the medium-rare to medium range.
The ribeye is the juiciest, most marbled steak. It’s cut from the center of the rib section and sold as bone-in or boneless steak. Ribeye has more flavor than a filet mignon, but it’s also slightly chewier. This is a pretty forgiving steak to cook because it has so much intermuscular fat; overcook it slightly, and it will still taste juicy. You won’t need to marinate this steak because of its fat content. Cook ribeye over dry heat—like a grill or a cast-iron pan.
#1 Filet Mignon
Filet mignon is the name of the steak cut from the beef tenderloin, a long, cylindrical muscle that runs along the spine. It’s one of the most expensive cuts of beef because the muscle doesn’t get much work, and it’s so tender you could cut through it with a fork. The steaks have almost no fat content, so you definitely don’t want to overcook them, or they will dry out. Because they’re already tender, they don’t require a marinade. Simply dress the filet up with salt, pepper and any herbs you like. Then, cook it in a hot cast-iron skillet until it reaches a rare or medium-rare temperature.