A Simple Primer to Understanding Steak

A Simple Primer to Understanding Steak

What's your beef? Wagyu, Angus or Piedmontese? Porterhouse, prime rib or flatiron steak? These days, going to a steakhouse is much more complicated than years ago, when all you could choose from was a New York strip, ribeye and filet mignon. Whether you like your steak lean, marbled or flavorfully fatty, we took the bull by the horns to sort out all the terminology.

• Chateaubriand
A piece of the tenderloin (the pointed end of the short loin), sized to feed two or more people and traditionally roasted.

• Delmonico
A boneless cut from the rib section, named after the 19th century New York restaurant that popularized this dish. 

• Filet mignon
Think French! The name of this cut translates as tenderloin and it is the tapered, fork-tender end of the short loin.

• Flank steak
A lean cut of meat taken from the underbelly that grills quickly. This cut often is used for fajitas.

• Flatiron steak
Cut from the top blade, so named because it resembles a flatiron.

• Hanger steak
Also called the hanging tenderloin, this cut is part of the diaphragm that hangs between the ribs and the loin.

• London Broil
A large cut from the flank, often marinated to tenderize it, then broiled and served thinly sliced.

• New York strip
A steak by many other names such as shell steak, Kansas City strip or sirloin club steak: The marbled, larger end of the short loin.

• Porterhouse
Essentially the T-bone's big brother, combining two steaks in one, the New York and the filet.

• Prime rib
The bone-in rib steak, cut from ribs six through twelve, that often contains a bit of gristle but is full of flavor.

• Ribeye
A rib steak without the bone; prized among steak lovers for its marbling and flavor.

• Sirloin steak
Sitting between the short loin and the rump steak is the sirloin, less tender than the short loin but still full-flavored.

• T-bone
Similar cut as the Porterhouse, only the filet side is usually a bit smaller. Named for the T-shaped bone running down the center of the steak.

• Tri-tip
Also known as a culotte steak or triangle steak, the tri-tip is a triangular-shaped portion of top sirloin.

• Wagyu
Sourced from any of four Japanese cattle brands, Wagyu beef's distinct traits are its intense marbling and low ratio of unsaturated fat.

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