A Complete Guide to the Best Cuts of Steak
When shopping for the perfect steak, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the ample options. As a serious steak lover myself, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these brilliant cuts of beef, but I’m going to take you through some of the best cuts to help you make your decision.
Different beef cuts come with different price tags, but what sets a ribeye apart from a sirloin? In this guide, we’ll break down the best cuts of steak, so you know what you’re eating, when to eat it, and how to make it. Soon enough, you’ll be cooking all types of steak like a pro.
Also known as filet mignon, the beef tenderloin cut extends from the short loin to the sirloin and is typically the most expensive steak cut. This cut is incredibly tender, small in size, and thicker than most cuts. The beef tenderloin cut is a boneless cut trimmed of fat before being sold, making it one of the leanest cuts. It’s also one of the most desirable beef cuts because it’s soft, buttery, and mild in flavour.
When to Eat: As a prized and expensive cut, beef tenderloin is often served on special occasions. This is the perfect cut for a fancy date night, birthday, anniversary, or Valentine’s Day dinner. If you’re looking for a cut of beef that is guaranteed to please, you can’t go wrong with beef tenderloin. It is also perfect to use to make beef wellington like Gordon Ramsay.
How to Make: Because the beef tenderloin is so tender, it doesn’t require long cooking times. It’s best cooked for a short time under high heat by grilling, broiling, or pan-searing. You can season it however you like, but all you really need is a little salt and pepper to impress your guests with this phenomenal cut..
The ribeye steak comes from the upper rib cage and has loads of gorgeous fat marbling throughout the cut. With more fat comes more flavour, so the ribeye cut is deeply flavorful. One of my personal favourites, the ribeye is incredibly juicy and beefy. When cooked properly, the flavour profile is nearly unbeatable. You have to watch out for flare-ups caused by fat dripping into the flames because of the high-fat content. Cook with care and this juicy cut is likely to be one of your favourites too.
When to Eat: If you’re a major meat lover, there’s never a bad time for a ribeye steak. They can be a bit pricier than other cuts, but if your top priority is quality, then you can enjoy a ribeye anytime. Whether you’re throwing a backyard barbecue, dinner party, or a romantic evening for two, the ribeye cut is a mouthwatering choice.
How to Make: The ribeye steak cut is best cooked on a screaming hot cast-iron skillet or on the grill where the smoky flavours can help the beef to really shine. Cook it over extremely high heat for just a minute or two on each side, until you get a nice sear, then reduce the temperature until your ribeye is cooked to your liking.
The sirloin is the section that runs from the backbone to the belly, close to the rear legs of the cow. Because of its close proximity to the leg, this cut of beef tends to be a bit tougher than others. This cut is further divided into two parts: the top sirloin and the bottom sirloin. The top sirloin steak is a prized cut, lean and tender with tons of flavour. Most often sold as a roast, the bottom sirloin steak is less tender than the top sirloin, but still flavorful and delicious when cooked the right way.
When to Eat: Top sirloin cuts are excellent for grilling, so they make a fantastic steak for backyard barbecues and family dinners. (You can read here how to light the perfect barbecue). If you’re a health-conscious eater looking for a less fatty option, the top sirloin is a great choice. Bottom sirloin cuts, typically a very affordable cut, are great for family dinners and large gatherings.
How to Make: If you’re cooking a top sirloin steak, your best bet is to cook it on the grill for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness. Because bottom sirloin cuts are less tender than top sirloin cuts, they do better when slow-cooked, like in a stew or a pot roast.
Also known as the bone-in ribeye, the tomahawk is essentially a ribeye cut with several inches of rib bone left intact. The bone is trimmed of meat and fat before it’s sold, resembling a handle. By leaving the bone in, the tomahawk cut gets its incredible signature flavour and looks like something a caveman would eat. This cut of beef is highly marbled, extremely tender, and beyond flavorful. Because the tomahawk cut is cut according to the rib bone thickness, it’s typically thicker than a traditional ribeye.
When to Eat: Carnivores, this one is for you! The tomahawk cut is large and unique in appearance, making it ideal for dinner parties when you’re looking to impress with your mad skills on the grill. Not hosting a dinner party? No problem. It’s also the perfect ‘treat yourself’ steak. The leftovers will make for an awesome steak sandwich or salad the next day.
How to Make: Cooking the tomahawk in the oven due to its large size may be the easiest way, but grilling it is widely agreed to be the best way to get the juiciest and flavorful tomahawk steak. Because it’s so thick, you’ll want to use a meat thermometer to make sure it’s cooked to your preference.
Which Cut to Choose
The beef tenderloin, ribeye steak, sirloin steak, and tomahawk cuts are all excellent cuts of beef. Some are better for romantic date nights, and others are perfect for backyard barbecues with the family. When you start with a great cut of beef from Biltong Chief, it doesn’t take much effort to wind up with mouthwatering results. No matter which of these cuts you decide to go with, you’re gonna end up with a juicy, flavorful masterpiece. Now, go forth and cook a killer steak!
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