A Simple Primer to Understanding Steak
Diagram of Beef Cuts
Your Guide to the Many Different Cuts of Beef
Angus or Piedmontese beef? Porterhouse, shell or flatiron steak?
These days, going to a steakhouse is much more complicated than
in the days when you chose from a New York strip, rib eye or
leave it to the cattlemen and women to sort out which is the
best cut of steak. Meanwhile, we'll take the bull by the horns
and sort out all the terminology.
the side of the steer. Starting at the neck and working down
the backbone, you have the chuck, then the rib, followed by
the short loin and sirloin and ending with the rump. The side
section is the flank. Those areas produce the following steaks:
A piece of the tenderloin (the pointed end of the short loin),
sized to feed two or more people and traditionally roasted.
A boneless cut from the rib section, named after the 19th century
New York restaurant that popularized this dish.
mignon: Think French! The name of this cut translates as
tenderloin and it is the tapered, fork-tender end of the short
steak: A lean cut of meat taken from the underbelly that
grills quickly. This cut often is used for fajitas.
steak: Cut from the top blade, so named because it resembles
steak: Also called the hanging tenderloin, this cut is part
of the diaphragm that hangs between the ribs and the loin.
Broil: A large cut from the flank, often marinated to tenderize
it, then broiled and served thinly sliced.
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.
Essentially the T-bone's big brother, combining two steaks in
one, the New York and the filet.
rib: The bone-in rib steak, cut from ribs six through twelve,
that often contains a bit of gristle but is full of flavor.
A rib steak without the bone; prized among steak lovers for
its marbling and flavor.
steak: Sitting between the short loin and the rump steak
is the sirloin, less tender than the short loin but still full-flavored.
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.
Also known as a culotte steak or triangle steak, the tri-tip
is a triangular-shaped portion of top sirloin.
beef cut diagram from www.certifiedangusbeef.com; steak cuts from www.procutlery.com.
For more information, see also www.wagyu.org
Top 5 Tips for a Perfect Steak
Steakhouses Near You
10 Steakhouses in the U.S.