Cuts of Steak Explained and Which are the Best

Updated on March 16, 2016

Where does your steak come from?

What cut of steak?

A lot of people have trouble with meat. They like the idea of a great steak, and they have a general notion that the more expensive the steak, the better it is…but more than that…who knows?!

I didn’t either until fairly recently when I decided to really get to know the different cuts of meat, where they came from on the cow, and what they each had to offer.

Imagine a cow…

If you imagine a cow, the front section from about just behind the shoulders up to the neck and all the way down, is home to some very tasty and very ornery cuts of meat. From the shoulder area comes your beef chuck, and down south a bit your brisket. Cuts of meat full of connective tissue that melts into flavorful heaven when braised, but makes for an awfully chewy steak.

Most steaks come a bit further back on the cow, and the best known steaks start at the upper mid section, and proceed back to the hind quarters.

RIB

Just back from the shoulder is the rib section, and this is the home of the prime rib roast, and not surprisingly, the rib steak and the rib eye. Very well marbled and flavorful, the rib section is about the tastiest of all the steaks, and is tender and succulent enough for a quick treatment on the grill.

Some common cuts of the rib are:

Rib steak, which if you can imagine is just a slice with the bone of a prime rib,

Rib eye steak, which is just the boneless interior of the rib steak

LOIN

Directly behind the rib section is the loin, and the loin meat is the tenderest section of beef. Although not as well flavored or marbled as the rib, the loin accounts for the most expensive and tender of all the cuts of steak. Some common cuts of the loin are:

The tenderloin, the tenderest cut, the most expensive, and some say less flavorful.

T-Bone, A bit of everything, the T bone has a T shaped bone which sub divides a small section of tenderloin, with a larger section of strip steak.

Porterhouse, similar to the T-bone, but with a larger section of tenderloin.

Strip loin (NY steak), a rectangular strip of very flavorful steak, like a T-bone without the bone or tenderloin!

SIRLOIN

Directly behind the loin is the sirloin. Less tender and cheaper than the loin, sirloin steaks are very tasty. Try to pick sirloin steaks as cut close to the loin if possible (if the bone is flat that means close to the loin, and round means farther back).

ROUND

The round section is the hind leg of the cow, and although some of these can be very flavorful, all are less tender than even the sirloin.

Some common cuts from the round are:

Top roundis an acceptable steak for the grill, inexpensive and flavorful.

Bottom round is OK for the grill, but you should probably marinate well as it can be a bit chewy.

Eye of round is too tough for quick cooking methods.

Buy the right steak

If money is no object, go for the rib eye, the tenderloin, the Porterhouse/T-bone or the strip; but if you're looking for value for money tri a flat boned sirloin for a great beefy flavor, or even cheaper, a top round steak.

Cook it well (hot and fast) and enjoy!

Watch a butcher explain the different cuts of steak

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • profile image

        Sue 

        14 months ago

        When in Jamaica we were served fabulous "supine" steak from a skewer at a rodizio restaurant. What is supine steak?

      • MJ Martin profile image

        MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 

        3 years ago from Washington State

        This is great for knowing about which steaks are best for broiling, or grilling. Very helpful, thanks.

      • profile image

        carrazzee 

        6 years ago

        This was the only one I looked at about cuts of beef just enough for what I needed..Thanks

      • profile image

        Don 

        6 years ago

        The store I shop at advertised Angus Grilling Steaks, What is a grilling steak and how does it compare to other cuts?

      • profile image

        BertieMac 

        6 years ago

        Informative article but according to the picture, I think your 'cow' is a bull.

      • profile image

        yes 

        6 years ago

        chuck chuck chuck!!!

      • profile image

        brewer the beef man 

        6 years ago

        we raise our on beef nothing better than t-bone for me

      • profile image

        Hatim Hijazi 

        6 years ago

        Its relly good explanation. Thanks

      • profile image

        pankaj  

        7 years ago

        thanx for good information...

      • profile image

        what 

        7 years ago

        honestly richi... what???

      • profile image

        sheri 

        8 years ago

        This has been the most helpul, informative and interesting explanation of beef I have ever seen or heard. I love steak but have never taken the time to really understand different kinds of steak. Now I feel when I go to a restaurant or buy steak, I feel empowered to know exactly what I want and what I will get when I buy steak. Thank you so much! for this insightful and excellent video to watch.

      • profile image

        Owen 

        8 years ago

        I have become a big fan of porterhouse and rib eye through my visits to most of the New York steak houses. I find the best preperation is the least preperation. Medium rare maintains the true taste of the meat and some of the dry aged taste. Nothing more the a salt and pepper rub and some butter. If you want to put cheese and such on your food get a hamburger, chicken, or pasta.

      • profile image

        Patty 

        9 years ago

        Wow. Thank YOU!!! I watch the video and out of all the other reasearches..This was the best. A simple and easy video on the beef part to understand. I am suppose to call in my order on what I want out of a half of a cow tomorrow. This really help out. PS don't get any farmers sausage made out of the cow on a half it's cheaper just going through the meat market. Again THANK YOU so much!

      • lrohner profile image

        lrohner 

        9 years ago from USA

        My favorite steaks are ribeye and, of course, filet mignon. I like my ribeyes topped with gorgonzola or bleu cheese and popped under the broiler until the cheese starts to melt. The ribeyes need nothing other than salt and pepper. YUM!

      • Apepperson profile image

        Apepperson 

        9 years ago from Texas

        Thanks for this Hub. It answers a lot of questions I've had about where different cuts of meat come from! I'm bookmarking it for future references!

      • denise mohan profile image

        denise mohan 

        9 years ago from California

        thnx for all the good info

      • johnr54 profile image

        Joanie Ruppel 

        9 years ago from Texas

        When I was a kid my folks used to buy a whole quarter or half of a cow from the slaughterhouse and put it in the freezer. So we would get some pretty nice cuts of meat, but as kids we wanted the whole thing ground up as hamburger!

        I wish we had the freezer space to do that now.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, delishably.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://delishably.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)