Ranking 15 Steak Cuts from Best to Worst
We all love a nice steak. Unless you are a vegan or vegetarian, a slice of beef, fried or grilled with some seasoning and served with potatoes or fries, sounds amazing. However, there is bad and great beefsteak with a difference in quality between them being more significant than most foods. Many different beef cuts can be cooked as steaks, with some being better than others. So, it’s simple to decide you want beefsteak for dinner, but deciding the best type can be challenging. Fortunately, we got you covered. Here is a ranking of the most popular beefsteak cuts. Tag along.
15. Round Steak
The round beefsteak comes from the upper rear of a cow. It is sold as a bottom round cut, an upper round cut, or an eye of the round cut. Round beefsteaks often have the least fat marbling, which makes them less flavorful and very tough than those from other cow parts. Because the beefsteak is 100% muscle, round steaks can’t be cooked fast with high heat like the fattier cut options. Instead, it is best to cook the steaks on a low heat setting for longer. Most of the round beefsteak recipes require additional moisture.
Such characteristics make it unsuitable for the grill, reverse sear roast in the oven, or a stovetop skillet. It’s also not suitable for an easy and fast weeknight banquet. Preparing round beefsteaks takes a longer time and more intensive effort. Additionally, any round beefsteaks flavor comes from foreign additions like braising liquids or seasonings, making it a poor choice when looking for a meaty, hearty taste that most steak cuts offer. So, while round beefsteaks are cheaper than the more flavorful options, the monetary advantage doesn’t surpass its many shortcomings.
14. Flank Steaks
Flank beefsteaks are cut from the cow’s flank below the sirloin and tenderloin along the underbelly. The flank meat cut contains many muscles that make it relatively tough. This is because of its location on the abdomen as it worked out anytime the steer turns its body or walks. It has thick, long fibers and low-fat content, which shows its regular use. However, it is versatile, which helps in balancing out the toughness. And although the flank beefsteak cut sits in an area surrounded by fat, it remains very lean.
You can minimize the Flank steak’s toughness based on how you cook it. According to FoodFireFriends, cooking the meat slice fast on high heat will help to break down the muscle fibers better by retaining more moisture. You can also slice the steak thinly across the grain to enhance a better breakdown of muscle fibers producing a more juicy, tender, and flavorful result. They also do well when marinated. Ultimately, flank meat cuts can be a delicious and less costly option, but the quality will require your effort.
13. Tri-tip Steak
Tri-tip meat cut is from the bottom, leaner region of the sirloin. While the bottom sirloin is tough and has lots of muscle, the tri-tip is derived from the bottom sirloin’s section, which normally has marbling and fat specks. However, the amount of fat is not very high, so the preparation and seasoning method is important. The cut is best cooked over high heat by grilling, searing in a pan, boiling, or oven roasting. Tri-tips are usually available as a whole cut or in smaller slices packed individually. Either way, this affordable steak will satisfy your craving when cooked correctly.
12. Bottom Sirloin
As stated earlier, the sirloin is divided into two parts; top and bottom. The bottom sirloin is the inferior meat cut regarding tenderness, flavor, and general quality. It is cut from the upper hip section and is perfect for roasting. Bottom sirloin is not ideal for turning into a steak unless you ensure to slice it thinly and marinate it. And even then, the beefsteak will still be a bit chewy than the top sirloin. So, while it might not be the worst meat cut you have eaten, bottom sirloin won’t be the best you will eat.
11. Denver Steak
Denver is among the latest meat cut to be discovered. Like the flat iron steak, it is cut from the chuck of a cow’s shoulder, below the blade. This chuck section undergoes less exercise than the top blade and has more fat marbling. The cut is rectangular and very thin; hence you should consider using the proper methods for the best results. Denver cuts are best cooked in low temperatures for an extended time, resulting in a tender, juicy, delicious steak. Generally, this meat cut is hard to find and more costly, but its unique flavor makes up for the extra dollars.
10. Skirt Steak
The skirt cut is relatively similar to flank steak. However, skirt beefsteak emerges as the winner for several reasons. According to The Kitchn, the skirt meat cut is derived from a cow’s abdomen but is cut from the diaphragm. This makes it another tougher and hyperactive steak. While skirt cut has a less beefy flavor than flank steak, skirt steak features more muscle fiber hence high heat; fast seasoning methods are the best for a tender result. The cut is also ideal for long marinades; you should slice them as thin as possible. Compared to flank steaks, skirt cuts normally have a higher fat content. The fat enables it to balance the stronger muscle fibers, giving it a meatier flavor. Try it out today to know how delicious it is.
9. Strip steak
Also referred to as the New York Strip, the strip loin steak, the club steak, the ambassador steak, the Omaha steak, the Kansas City strip, or any other name, the strip beefsteak is derived from the short loin found in the upper center of the steer’s body, in front of the sirloin. In other words, the strip cut is what remains after removing the tenderloin from the short loin. This meat cut is best if you love mild toughness and tenderness. It offers a little chew without becoming overly chewy. It is also great for moisture and flavor because of the marbling across the cut’s breadth. Unfortunately, the marbling means strip cuts can be expensive, which is debatable if the additional cost is worth it.
8. Bavette steak
The Bavette is often known as the butcher’s cut as butchers regularly keep it for themselves. The meat slice is a flat cut from the lower chest area of the cow close to the top of the abdomen with intense beef flavor. This exercised, but fatty cow part makes Bavette versatile and delicious. According to Steak Revolution, the significant amount of fat on the Bavette makes it versatile to be enjoyed in several forms, from slicing thinly, cooking whole, or seasoning. While Bavette and flank cuts are relatively similar, Bavette is more flavorful, fatty, and tender.
7. Top Sirloin
The sirloin is divided into two sections; top sirloins and bottom sirloin, with two cuts found above and below the tenderloin. Sirloin is cut from the section of a cow between the hip bone and the last rib. The top-sirloin is the leader, providing a more tender cut that yields a juicy beefsteak when cooked to a medium-rare temperature. The best thing about top-sirloin steak is that it offers great value for money. Therefore, this is a perfect choice if you are operating on a budget.
6. Flat-iron steak
Next on the list of the cut rankings is the Flat-iron steak. According to The Spruce Eats, also referred to as boneless top-hunk or butler’s steak, is a relatively modern beef cut derived from the upper blade or shoulder region of a cow. The meat cut consists of juicy marbling and is remarkably tender but had been considered unusable because of a tough ligament that normally runs through this animal section. Research conducted to determine how to use the piece of meat revealed that if the meat is sliced off at both sides of the tough ligament, it leaves a flavorful and affordable cut, ideal for pan-frying, broiling, or grilling.
Most chefs consider the texture and flavor of flat iron cuts similar to more pricey and popular cuts such as the filet mignon. But remember that flat-iron beefsteak is a smaller beef piece; hence might not be perfect for an evening weekend feast. However, it is perfect for a cheaper mid-week dinner, whether eating them straight from the cast-iron skillet or grill or slicing for a fajita or stir-fry. Due to the plenty of marbling, it’s recommended to cook the flat iron meat cuts to medium heat and seasoned with fresh black pepper and coarse sea salt.
5. T-Bone Steak
Similar to the porterhouse steak, T-bone beef cut comes with two flavor profiles. It is cut from the forward region of the short loin. One portion of the T-bone beefsteak is a good big piece of the tenderloin, and the other features a strip of top-loin also referred to as a strip steak. Here, you have an exceptional combination of the flavor and texture of the two cuts in one nicely-sized piece of beef.
The tenderloin has excellent tenderness, and the strip steak comes with all the great flavor. With the T-bone steak, you can experience both these elements at once. However, T-bone beef cuts have two downsides. To start with, it is normally crazy costly partly because it combines two highly valued beef cuts and is gaining tremendous popularity in high-end hotels and restaurants. The other drawback is that the T-bone cut has not had some of the versatility of tenderloin alone. These shortcomings are, however, not very significant and will offer a great old-fashioned hunk of steak.
4. Porterhouse Steak
The Porterhouse is a pretty similar beef cut as the T-bone steak. The only difference is that the porterhouse beef cut is thicker and has more of the tenderloin cut. It doesn’t qualify as a Porterhouse beefsteak if the tenderloin filet doesn’t measure 1.25 inches from bone to edge. The only reason why it is more preferred than T-bone meat cut is that it’s much bigger and thicker. We are speaking about beefsteak here, so bigger is always better. Some people even refer to it as the ‘King of T-bones’ to show the difference between them.
3. Hanger steak
Ranking third on the beef cut list is the Hanger Steak. According to Tasting Table, Hanger beefsteak provides a perfect mix between the Ribeye and Tenderloin steaks’ attributes. The Hanger meat cut is obtained from the diaphragm close to the lower stomach. This cut also does very little exercise, which makes it relatively tender. The Hanger beefsteak has some marbling like the ribeye and a consistent sweet melt in your mouth that feels like a filet. However, Hanger meat cut is often found on menus at high-end restaurants, but you will rarely find it at the local Publix, Walmart, or Kroger. This is because most shoppers are unfamiliar with this cut and many butchers tend to hold this meat cut back. So, good luck finding a hanger steak in the local market. But if you are fortunate to get one, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Tenderloin steak
The Tenderloin is the second-best beef cut. It is from the cow’s short loin, which has very few connective tissues. This makes the beefsteak incredibly tender and one of the finest steaks. A good example of the Tenderloin meat cut is the filet mignon. The beef slice is cut from the end of the tenderloin and is claimed to be one of the best meat cuts on a cow. It’s very tender, and while it lacks a little flavor compared to ribeye, it’s ideal for all preparation methods and pairings, such as bacon. Tenderloin is highly versatile in preparing several dishes, resulting in something delicious and special.
1. Ribeye Steak
The ribeye is the best steak cut and has the most marbling. Ribeye is obtained from the rib area of the cow. According to TfRecipes, the lack of moving muscles in the rib area and its proximity to the rib bones makes the ribeye the most tender cut among all steaks. Research studies show that the plentiful amounts of fat on the rib cage offer a depth of flavor unparalleled by any other meat cut. The fat melts down, opening up the ribeye fibers and enabling them to absorb all the flavor. While ribeye cuts are expensive compared to most beefsteak types, the simplicity and flavor make it worth the cash. Ultimately, the experience of eating ribeye will make you forget the money you have spent.
These are the exclusive rankings of the 15 meat cuts best to worst. With this in mind, we hope it will help you determine the best cuts to buy or order for your next dinner based on your preference and budget. It’s important to keep in mind that you might need a few roasting tweaks to get the best beefsteak based on the type of cut, cut thickness, and temperature preferences.