If you wish to call yourself a foodie, then learning the basic types of steak is your first lesson. You can’t go into a restaurant and order beef with no explanation.
Knowing different steak cuts is crucial to understanding when and how to consume each one. So, don’t be another guest that doesn’t know their way around a piece of red meat, and learn your facts.
Luckily, we’ve created a list of all the beef steaks that you should know. Make sure to go through it before your next visit to the butcher shop or the restaurant.
You’ll know how to amaze your company with food knowledge by listening to our advice.
How to Recognize Quality Types of Steak
The fat gives your beef steaks their recognizable flavor, and marbling is the lines of fat that you can see on the cut. More marbling usually equals better quality, denser flavor, and a higher price.
It would be best to find long lines of fat that go throughout the cut, which will melt in the heat.
However, knowing how to prepare highly marbled cuts isn’t a job for beginners. Without a proper preparation method, these types of steak can turn out tough. So you’ll end up wasting a lot of money on a not-so-tasty piece of meat.
On the other hand, different steaks are equally attractive but with barely any marbling. For example, the filet mignon isn’t known for its fat content but is very tender, which most meat-eaters enjoy.
Your safest bet is to pick steaks with some marbling, but not too much. This way, you’ll get some flavor but nothing you will be overwhelmed with when cooking.
You’ve most likely seen food items USDA graded-something but never knew what those grades meant. When it comes to beef steaks, marbling is usually the determining factor, and there are four possible options.
Going from highest to lowest in quality, those options are:
This rule is relatively straightforward. Don’t buy steaks that are less than 1-inch thick.
Thin cuts are difficult to cook and easier to ruin. If you leave them on the heat for even a minute too long, the entire dinner might go to waste.
By shopping for thicker steak cuts, you’ll have a bit more freedom when cooking. You’ll have more time to figure everything out and not ruin the meat.
Usually, more marbling means the steak will be more expensive. However, you shouldn’t shop just based on the price. Every piece of meat is a meal for itself, and that’s how you should look at the offer.
Different steak cuts will have an unusual flavor that you weren’t expecting because you didn’t notice the thick connective tissue or some other flaw on the piece.
Even ribeyes and t-bones can have imperfections that will make them less tasty. Price isn’t a quality guarantee, so judge every piece individually and pick the best possible option.
Distinguishable Steak Cuts Bring Unique Taste
People often underestimate how different steaks can taste opposite from another piece of meat from the same category. Well, not only do they don’t taste alike, the texture, shape, and preparation process can be completely different.
If you’re shopping for a steak, your safest bet is to go with something soft to the touch. Some marbling should be present as well, depending on your preferences.
What you wish to avoid are pieces with connective tissue. These cuts are suited for slow cooking, but the result may not be as appealing if you intend to cook them as a steak.
The meat will most likely turn out too tough to eat.
The beef tenderloin is a long muscle that goes along the spine of the cows. This is the part of the cow from which the filet mignon comes.
This cut is known for its softness that most foodies can’t resist. Unfortunately, it’s also known for its price. However, if you can cut your steak with a knife, it’s most likely worth it.
A cut of this tenderness doesn’t require a marinade, and pairing it with a flavorful sauce is enough for a perfect dinner.
If you prefer marbled steak cuts and flavorful pieces of meat, ribeye is the best option for you. Out of all the different steaks, this one is the juiciest.
It has significantly more flavor than a filet mignon, but the texture is different, so a ribeye requires more chewing.
And, it’s perfect for beginner cooks.
Since the entire cut is covered in marbling, overcooking this steak isn’t easy. Even if you leave it in the heat for a bit too long, it won’t be too much of a catastrophe.
New York Strip
New York strip steak is a piece of beef that comes from the short loin part of the cow.
It’s something in between a ribeye and a tenderloin. Though it does have less fat than a ribeye, it compensates by having more flavor than a filet mignon.
It’s not that difficult to prepare either. So, if you aren’t sure which type of steak to go for, this is the middle ground.
Many people order this steak for its visual appeal. However, it also has a lot to offer in the taste department.
The unique part of this cut is that it’s always sold with the (T-shaped) bone. And, it is actually two steaks served as one. So when you order a T-bone, you get a NY strip and a tenderloin.
This is quite a large steak, so make sure you have an appetite if you’re ordering a T-bone. It requires some time to prepare, so you’ll get hungry in the meantime.
This is what you’ve seen in a lot of cartoons. Tomahawk steaks look attractive, so their popularity has grown in the past years. However, this cut is simply a ribeye served with the bone.
Because of the rib bone that it comes with, a Tomahawk is usually a thicker cut. They look pretty intimidating and can generally feed the entire family.
Cooking it only on the stovetop won’t do justice to this enormous piece of meat. Because of its thickness, searing it will be your safest bet.
This may not be most people’s first choice, but, if cooked correctly, a skirt steak can be quite a tasty dinner.
This cut comes from the plate section of the belly and has a lot of connective tissue. So, to get the best result, our advice is to marinade this piece of beef for at least 30 minutes.
Flank steaks are relatively similar to a skirt, with a few different characteristics. It’s located a bit further towards the rear of the cow and comes out a bit wider and usually thicker.
Same as with the skirt, marinating a flank steak will give you the best result.
Grab a Steak With Us
If you’re feeling hungry in Miami, visit us at Public Square restaurant. We’ll serve you the best steaks Florida has to offer.