Let’s face it, nothing beats the joy of tucking into a sizzling hot, thick juicy steak, oozing with a chargrilled smoky depth of flavor! Although, we have all had the misfortune of dealing with steaks that were as tough as leather. That’s why it is so essential to select the best cuts of steak.
The ten best cuts of steak you’ll want to sink your teeth into are ribeye, fillet mignon, tenderloin, T-bone, porterhouse, flat iron, or top blade. And top sirloin, strip steak (New York Strip), Florentine, hanger, and flank steaks. Most steaks contain marbling, which makes them tender and tasty.
While selecting a great cut of steak may seem relatively straightforward, that is sadly not always the case. And contrary to belief, the best cuts are not always the most expensive if you prepare them well. So, if you want to enjoy a mouth-wateringly delicious cut of steak – read on!
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The Top Ten Best Cuts of Steak
Before we delve into the best “melt in your mouth” cuts of steak. It’s essential to point out that they all have something in common. They are mostly sourced from the back section of the cow and far from the “horn and hoof” sections.
The best cuts of steak are tender as those parts are less active; they contain marbling that provides their depth of flavor and far fewer connective tissues. Then the muscle-bound shoulder and leg sections.
That is why hard-working, muscle-bound, tough cuts of steak like beef shanks and brisket must be braised and cooked for a long time as they are not tender. So now, without much further ado, here are the 10 most delicious cuts of steak.
This moreish, ultra-tender, and hearty cut of steak packs a punch in the flavor department!
Why, might you ask? Well, it’s all due to the amount of fat marbling that permeates through the round-shaped cut of juicy steak that may or may not contain a bone.
As the name suggests, Ribeye steaks are sourced from the cow’s ribs between its shoulder and loin.
So, it’s no wonder that most steak lovers believe that ribeye steaks should be at the top of this list due to their incredible depth of flavor, which only requires a bit of salt and pepper. And nothing else.
Fillet Mignon/Tenderloin Steaks
While leading chefs may argue that fillet mignon steaks, derived from tenderloin areas, are less flavorful than hearty ribeye and overrated.
The fact remains they are far more tender and delicious than any other cut of steak, especially when adorned in a rich flavorsome buttery sauce that guarantees “soul-satisfaction”!
And there’s no doubt that pricy fillet mignon or tenderloin steaks are worth paying more for as no other type of steak can compare with its succulent, tasty texture.
Good old-fashioned, large T-bone steaks are a crowd-pleaser as they cater to everyone’s unique tastes, particularly when they are seared to perfection.
These hearty T-bone-shaped steaks combine the best of both worlds with a tender fillet section and the rich flavor of a strip steak, all rolled up in one.
Commonly known as the “king of steaks,” thick and succulent porterhouse steaks are like T-bones as they contain strip steak sections, albeit with a larger tenderloin area and rich bone-enthused depth of chargrilled smoky flavor.
Even though most beef lovers have their own preferences, steak aficionados often consider porterhouse steaks as the best cuts of meat and far superior to delicate filet mignon.
Mainly because, like T-bone steaks, the addition of a bone that divides the strip steak and tenderloin areas adds a ton of unmatched flavor! So, it’s easy to see why they are so popular.
But what truly sets it apart from other cuts of steak is the amount of marbling that makes it far more tasty, juicy, and tender. And like with most great cuts of steak, all you need is a little seasoning, a delicious dry rub, or depending on your taste, a basic marinade.
Flat Iron/Top Blade Steak
These shoulder area cuts of a flat iron or top blade steaks are incredibly tender as they are marbled, so they remain juicy and moreish if they are not overcooked, which will make even the most tender steak tough and chewy.
Although, it’s essential to point out that they are typically encased with an inedible sinew which needs to be removed by a skilled butcher if you are looking for more affordable, albeit delicious, cuts of steak.
Top Sirloin Steak
Typical sirloin steaks derived from the animal’s hip region are deliciously juicy when seared! Mainly because they combine the tenderness of filet mignon with the robust beefy flavor of tasty ribeye steaks.
Although, top sirloin steaks are a great option if you prefer more tender sirloin steaks that are incredibly versatile.
And, like most great cuts of steak, the top sirloin is delicious with a sprinkle of seasoning. Still, it’s also great in kabobs, stir-fries, delicious fajitas, and healthy wraps. So, your options are endless with this cut of steak!
Strip Steak/New York/Kansas City Strips
Strip steak may also be known as Kansas City strips, although it might be interesting to note they were first introduced as “New York Strip” in the Big Apple. But, in some parts, these short loin-derived steaks are also known as strip loin or top loin steaks.
Although these predominantly boneless, rectangular-shaped cuts are less tender than most ribeye steaks, their abundant marbling amplifies their depth of delicious meaty flavor.
While there are numerous strip steak types, their tenderness level depends on how long they are cooked. So, it does not matter whether you prefer to cook them on an outdoor grill or in your kitchen as long as they are medium-rare.
If you are an inexperienced cook and feel nervous about experimenting with a pricey cut of steak like a fillet mignon, or a ribeye, lean Florentine steaks with their delicious hearty beef flavors are a great option!
These tasty steaks are produced from a cow’s shoulder blade. Although they do contain a chewy sinew line in the center of the steak. Including an inedible silvery skin that needs to be removed by an experienced butcher. And it’s not a job for inexperienced cooks.
Because these steaks tend to be thin and lean, they are tender and delicious if marinated in advance. And all you need to do is to give them a quick sear on both sides, and dinner is served!
Commonly referred to as hanging tenderloin or “butcher’s steak,” these delicious cuts of beef are highly sought after for their outstanding flavor. And some would argue they are a best-kept secret!
Hanger steaks are cut from the animal’s upper belly or “plate” section. They were traditionally not sold to the public as butchers would keep them for themselves as they were considered superior to most other affordable cuts of steak.
While most considered hanger steaks low-quality cuts in the past, and they were looked down upon, hanger steaks are incredibly tender (and delicious)! And thankfully, you no longer have to be a butcher to enjoy these juicy sizzling steaks!
Even though you can’t compare a tender fillet mignon with a muscular and tough flank steak. This list of the 10 best cuts of steak would be incomplete without mentioning this humble yet uber-delicious cut of beef!
Lean flank steaks, which should not be confused with skirt steaks, are derived from a cow’s fibrous abdomen.
Although they need meticulous preparation and are best served on the rare side. It’s worth it if you are looking for a more affordable yet delicious cut of steak with a rich meaty satisfying flavor to feed a large crowd.
Unlike their pricier cousins, flank steaks need to be tenderized and preferably pan-grilled, although they can be marinated and cooked on an outdoor grill; otherwise, they will be as tough as boots!
So, like with most cuts of steak, it’s best to let them rest at room temperature for at least a half hour. Then cut away any fibrous connective tissue and poke them with a small knife tip. Before they are briefly seared in a sizzling hot pan.
Pro-tip: don’t worry about the juices flowing out, as they will be reduced in the pan. Just make sure that your kitchen window is open, as cooking flank steaks can be a smoky affair!
Frequently Asked Questions
Now that you know which cuts of steak are the best and provide excellent value for money. Like a gourmet chef, let’s address any lingering questions about cooking succulent steaks in a matter of minutes.
Which Cuts Of Steak Are The Best?
- Prime beef cuts are considered far superior to other types of steak as they have a lot of marbling and are sourced from well-nourished, young cattle. As a result, they are predominantly served in high-end restaurants.
- Choice beef cuts are also considered high-quality steaks, although they have less marbling than prime cuts.
- Select beef cuts are far leaner than the previously mentioned grades. Therefore, while they are relatively tender, they contain the least marbling and are far less juicy.
Pro-tip: alternatively, look out for USDA Certified Tender or Very Tender meat labels that verify how soft and juicy your steaks are likely to be.
Which Steak Cut Is The Most Tender?
Although most melt-in-your-mouth steak cuts are indeed derived from the animal’s back, they are also a lot more expensive.
And even though all steak lovers will have their own views about cuts of steak, the most tender fillet mignon, or tenderloin steak, is hands down the winner!
However, other beef cuts like strip steaks (New York Strip), ribeye, T-bone, and porterhouse steaks are close contenders, especially if they are tenderized and not overcooked, which is a big no-no!
Other cooking best practices include ensuring that your steaks are not cold and that the barbeque, pan, or skillet is piping hot to create a caramelized tasty crust.
Most importantly, turn your chosen cut of steak every minute to ensure that it is evenly cooked, and aim for a medium to a rare piece of steak to ensure that your steak is juicy and tender.
Then let it rest, and brush on a little extra virgin olive oil or quality butter to make it extra juicy and flavorsome.
After all, it’s no use spending a lot of money on pricy steaks if they are not cooked with a bit of well-deserved, tender loving care.
What Is The Most High-Quality Steak?
Superior-quality steaks like Japanese Kobe and Wagyu are more costly as they are reared on restricted strict, tailor-made diets that result in outstandingly tender, marbled juicy steaks with an abundance of delicious rich meaty flavor.
So, it’s no wonder that these outstanding Japanese cuts of steak are so sought after and expensive!
Although American Wagyu, beef tenderloin, and filet mignon are also considered world-class quality cuts of steak and are highly coveted for their delicious texture and depth of meaty flavor. And besides, buying local is not only great for the planet but also for farmers.
What Are The Top 5 Most Tender Cuts Of Steak?”
Even though most tender steaks are pricey, they are worth it, mainly because they don’t need any fancy marinades or sauces to amplify their delicious taste.
So, if you want a steak that will wow your guests, consider an ultra-soft filet mignon, strip, ribeye, porterhouse, or top sirloin steak with heaps of flavor.
The 10 best cuts of steak are typically marbled or lined with thin layers of intermittent fat that produce juicy yet tender slices of moreish beef per excellence.
Even though most high-quality cuts of steak only need a little seasoning to “make them shine”, cheaper cuts may need a little bit more prep work, but they are worth it!