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Beef Cuts

A Simple Primer to Understanding Steak

Ribeye (image by Ernesto Andrade)

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 chose 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.

A diagram displaying the different cuts of beef (courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com) Diagram of Beef Cuts



STEAK CUTS

Picture 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:

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 (image by cookbookman17)

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.


T-Bone (image by Alan Levine)


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.


Related Content:

Beef Grades
Cattle Types
Deconstructing Organic Beef

Top 5 Tips for a Perfect Steak



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