by Jeff Hoyt
New Yorkers may think their metropolis is superior to Kansas City — both Kansas and Missouri — but there’s one place where they’re completely equal: inside a cow. Believe it or not, a New York strip steak is identical to a Kansas City strip steak. They’re both the marbled larger end of the short loin. That muscle, which is tender because it isn’t used much, is also called a striploin, shell steak, or sirloin club steak, although I’d imagine New York clubs are superior to Kansas City clubs!
Now keep that same strip steak on the bone, and add a piece of the nearby tenderloin, and you’ve got a T-bone steak. Unless you add a lot of the tenderloin, which gives you a Porterhouse. Confused? Check out our guide to beef cuts, which explains the difference between Rib-eye and Prime rib.
But, adding to the confusion, Prime rib may not be Prime meat. While the former refers to the cut of beef, the latter refers to the quality and amount of fat in the beef. While ground beef with less fat costs more, Prime beef — the highest grade — must contain no less than 8 percent intramuscular fat. We’ll walk you through all eight of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s beef grades.
You’ve heard the fast-food chains brag about their Angus beef, but that isn’t a grade or a cut, but a type of cattle. We’ll even explain the different kinds of cows. You may see Kobe beef, but you’ll never see a Kobe cow; that type of beef only comes from Wagyu cattle. We’ll teach you the difference between grass-fed and pasture-finished cattle, and, most importantly, we’ll even give you tips on how to make the perfect steak.