The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best – Analyzing the meat section of your local grocer or the shelves at your nearby butcher shop can be confusing. Steak comes in a wide variety of different cuts, tenderness, flavors, required cooking methods, and price points. We know red meat should be enjoyed in moderation, which is good news for both your dietary health and minimizing contributions to harmful environmental emissions. Also, the price of red meat has grown considerably over the past couple years because of imbalances in supply and demand, according to Forbes. Nowadays, you may be paying more for your next cut of steak, which is why you need to know what you’re looking for.

Steak can be an easily accessible option or more special once-in-a-while treat. There are steaks that are fit for one of those occasions and some that fit both. The important thing is, you end up getting a quality steak that is the best bang for your buck. This ranking will help you determine the best cut of steak for you, your purpose, and your wallet.

1. Round Steak

Round steak is taken from the upper rear of the cow. Round steaks can be sold as a top round cut, bottom round cut, or an eye of the round cut. According to The Spruce Eats, round steaks tend to have the least fat marbling, making them very tough and less flavorful than steaks coming from other parts of the cow.

Because this cut is 100% muscle, round steaks cannot be cooked quickly with high heat like their fattier counterparts. Instead, they must be cooked on a very low heat setting for an extended amount of time. Plus, most round steak recipes call for the addition of other moisture.

While it is true any steak seasoned and cooked properly will yield a tasty result, these characteristics make round steaks not fit for the grill at your next barbecue, a stove top skillet, or even a reverse sear roast in the oven (via Food Fire Friends). Subsequently, round steaks are also not a convenient option for a quick and easy weeknight dinner. Cooking round steaks well takes a lot of time and a more intensive effort.

Furthermore, any flavor of round steaks comes from foreign elements like seasonings or braising liquids, which makes them a poor choice when craving the hearty, meaty taste that most other cuts of steak can provide. While round steaks cost far less than more flavorful, less involved steak options, the monetary advantage does not supersede its many shortcomings.

2. Flank Steak

Flank steaks are another muscle-y, cost-efficient cut, but their versatility does help to balance out their toughness. Flank steaks come from the flank of the cow, which sits below the tenderloin and sirloin along the underbelly, according to Food Fire Friends. Because of this location on the abdomen, flank steaks are tougher because of their exercise whenever the steer walks or turns its body. The intensive work of the muscle can actually be seen on a cut of flank steak. Its long, thick muscle fibers and low fat content are a sign of its constant use. Although this cut sits in an area of the steer surrounded by fat, the flank itself remains very lean.

Flank steak’s toughness can be minimized depending on how it is cooked but slower braises will not break down the muscle fibers of the steak well enough, which will keep the cut chewy. Cooking a flank steak fast on high heat will help break down the fibers better by retaining more moisture. Slicing the flank steak thin, across the grain will also help break down these muscle fibers and yield a more tender, juicy, flavorful final product. Flank steak also takes very well to marinades. The longer the marinade, the better the steak.

Like round steaks, however, the flank steak requires a lot of additional components to meet its full potential. Flank steak can be a delicious, less expensive option, but the quality does not come with the steak alone. It comes with your own effort.

3. Tri-Tip

The tri-tip comes from the tri-tip roast, which is cut from the bottom, leaner portion of the sirloin, per Taste of Home. This triangular shaped cut is at its best when over high heat and to an internal temperature below medium. Although the bottom sirloin is generally tough and muscle-y, the tri-tip comes from the part of the bottom sirloin that usually includes specks of fat and marbling. The fat content is not high, however, so seasoning and cooking method is key (via Better Homes & Gardens).

The Most Popular Cuts Of Steak Ranked Worst To Best

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Tri-tips can be grilled, seared in a pan on the stovetop, oven-roasted or even broiled. Grilling is your best option, however, as the higher heat capability combined with the smokiness helps add another layer of flavor that makes up for this cut’s lack of fat.

Tri-tips are normally available as whole cuts or sliced and packaged into individual portions. Either way, the tri-tip is an inexpensive steak option that will satisfy your meat craving if prepared and cooked properly. More flavorful cuts within the same price range do, however, remain smarter, more delicious choices.

4. T-Bone

T-bone steak may be the most overrated cut there is. According to Omaha Steaks, T-bone steaks are cut as a cross-section of the short loin and therefore contain part of the tenderloin, or filet mignon, as well as the short loin, or NY Strip, each of which is separated and held together by the same bone.

There is, however, a common misunderstanding regarding the amount and the quality that exists in a T-bone cut. Many mistakenly believe porterhouses and T-bones are interchangeable but this is not the case, as Steak Revolution explains, and it’s certain porterhouses would take offense to that widely held belief.

There are between six and seven T-bone cuts available from one cow, and only two or three porterhouses (via Omaha Steaks). Plus, many T-bone steaks are cut where the NY Strip collides with the top sirloin, resulting in an inedible piece of sinew. While the NY Strip is a delicious and low maintenance cut of steak, the idea that the T-bone grants you two cuts in one is not exactly the case. When you pick out a T-bone, you end up paying more for less.

5. Skirt Steak

Skirt steak and flank steak are very similar, but skirt steak does come out on top for a variety of reasons. According to The Kitchn, skirt steak also comes from the abdomen of the cow, but skirt steak actually comes from the diaphragm, which makes it another hyperactive, tougher cut. Skirt steak does have a more beefy flavor than flank steak, but it does have more muscle fiber, so high heat, quick cooking methods are also the best for optimal tenderness. Skirt steak is also perfect for long marinades and should be sliced as thinly as possible across the grain.

Skirt steak usually has a higher fat content, which is what sets skirt steak above flank, according to Cooking Light. This extra fat helps balance out the stronger muscle fibers and a proper rendering of that fat contributes to the more meaty flavor. If you’ve ever had Mexican fajitas, you’ve probably had skirt steak, so you know how delicious it could be.


10 Types Of Steak Every Cook Should Know

10 Types Of Steak Every Cook Should Know

10 Types Of Steak Every Cook Should Know – Steaks come in all different cuts and sizes. They can range in tenderness, marbling, and price range, with each cut somehow managing to have its own distinct flavor and qualities. Some are better prepared on the grill while others thrive on the stovetop, but when cooked properly, each cut has something delicious to offer. Here, a guide to 10 popular cuts.


Our all-time favorite cut. Ribeyes come from the center of the rib section and usually has the most marbling (aka fat aka flavor). It’s tender and juicy and can be sold either boneless or bone-in. The ribeye is usually thicker, making it tough to overcook. They always look beautiful when being served and have a ton of flavor, so they really only require salt and pepper; no marinade necessary.

Ribeyes are great on the grill or cooked on the stovetop.

Filet Mignon

One of the most delicate, tender cuts you can prepare. Filet mignon is cut from the very tip of the tenderloin, which makes this steak extremely tender. Eating a filet mignon is like eating butter—the flavor is exceptional—which is why it comes with a hefty price tag.

Filet mignon doesn’t do great on the grill. We recommend the broiler or the stovetop, or a combo of both.

Hanger Steak

This cut comes from the belly section and literally hangs (hence the name) from the diaphragm between the ribs and the loin. It’s an underrated cut: It’s not too expensive, but still has lots of flavor. Think of it as a more tender version of a skirt or flank steak.

Hanger steaks will benefit from a marinade to boost their flavor and help them tenderize. They’re best grilled quickly over high heat to keep from getting too tough.

Flank Steak

My personal favorite, this steak comes as one large flat piece, making it great for sharing family-style. Cut from the back portion of the abdominal muscles, it’s a tougher cut, but when prepared correctly can still be incredibly tender. This cut is great for pairing with bold sauces, like chimichurri.

Flank steak should be marinated for more flavor and is best when grilled over high heat. We recommend serving it medium-rare.

Skirt Steak

Similar to the flank steak, this cut also comes from the abdominal muscles. It’s less tender than flank, but similar in flavor. Often used in tacos or fajitas, skirt steaks benefit from a marinade much like flank and hanger steaks, and cook well over the grill or in quick stir-fry recipes.

10 Types Of Steak Every Cook Should Know

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New York Strip

Your classic, can-never-go-wrong cut. From the top part of the short loin, just behind the ribs, this cut is almost always sold boneless and has a solid ratio of marbling. It’s so tender and flavorful that it doesn’t need a marinade. It’s typically an expensive cut, but slightly cheaper than a ribeye.

NY strips cook well on the grill, on the stove, or in the oven.


Also know as the T-bone, this is an epic—and huge!—cut of steak well loved for having the meaty strip and soft, buttery tenderloin. It’s comprised of both the NY strip and the tenderloin, and has a solid amount of filet mignon.

Porterhouses are typically cooked under the broiler or using a combo of the stovetop and oven.

Flat Iron

You can also find this steak sold as butler’s steak or oyster blade. It’s a super affordable cut that’s surprisingly tender and flavorful for it’s budget price point. The flat iron is cut from the chuck section or the shoulder and is a slightly newer cut of steak.

Flat iron steaks are great grilled. While a marinade isn’t totally necessary, we recommend one.


Possibly our most used cut here at Delish. Unsurprisingly, it’s cut from the sirloin section and is another affordable cut of steak. The sirloin is nicely tender—if not cooked past medium. After that, this cut tends to get tough.

Sirloins can be grilled or seared for quick stir fries, like this beef and broccoli.

Tri Tip

Also known as the California cut, tri trip is our Bay Area-native co-workers’ obsession. It’s a triangular piece of meat that comes from the bottom of the sirloin. It has excellent flavor and marbling and is tender and inexpensive. What’s not to love? It’s a large roast and great for sharing.

A marinade is recommend for tri tip, but this cut does well on the grill or in the oven.

8 Different Types of Steak and How to Cook Them

8 Different Types of Steak and How to Cook Them

8 Different Types of Steak and How to Cook Them – Ribeye, T-bone, tenderloin? Before you can cook the perfect steak, you need to match the cut of meat with the correct cooking method.

The perfect steak starts with the right cut. But trying to pick out a steak at your grocery store’s butcher counter can be all sorts of intimidating. Let’s change that. Here you’ll learn about eight different types of steak cuts and how to cook them correctly.

The High-End Steakhouse Cuts

Let’s start with some high-end steakhouse cuts. They’re some of the best steaks for grilling. These tender steaks are pricey. For the most part, they need very little adornment. Some salt and a hot grill, and these steaks are melt-in-the-mouth scrumptious.

1. Ribeye (aka Delmonico, Spencer, Entrecote)

Either bone-in or boneless, a ribeye is essentially a thick slice of prime rib served as a steak. Lots of flavorful marbling with a very meaty flavor, the ribeye is a prime candidate for quick, high-heat cooking on the grill or skillet.

  • Salt and Pepper Ribeye Steak: The key to this recipe is to salt the ribeyes generously and let them “brine” for two days in the fridge. Then bring them to room temperature before searing in a hot cast-iron skillet. “Salting the steaks for two days brines the steak, helps tenderize them, and adds rich flavor,” states the recipe page.
  • Italian Ribeye: This recipe calls for boneless ribeyes. The steaks marinate for an hour in a wet rub made with Italian herbs, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil. Then it’s off to the hot grill.
  • More Ribeye Steak Recipes

2. New York Strip (aka Top Loin, Strip Steak, Kansas City Strip)

Shaped vaguely like Manhattan, the strip is a boneless steak with some fat marbling and typically a strip of fat along one long edge. Tender with good meaty flavor, the New York Strip is one of the best steaks for the high heat of the grill or a high-heat sear-to-broiler method.

  • Manhattan Filet with Pan Sauce Bordelaise: “This simple technique not only provides you with a NY strip steak that eats like a filet mignon, but the trimmings are used to make a world-class pan sauce,” says Chef John. “The overnight ‘dry-aging’ step is optional, but does add a little something extra to the final product.”
  • Thyme-Rubbed Steaks with Sautéed Mushrooms: New York strip steaks are pan-fried and served with a rich mushroom, shallot, and wine sauce.
  • More Strip Steak Recipes

3. Filet Mignon (aka Tenderloin, Chateaubriand)

Filet mignon is a lean, boneless steak from the smaller end of the tenderloin – the small, more adorable end, apparently, because “mignon” means “cute” in French. Chateaubriand is from the thicker end of the tapering tenderloin. In many cases, chateaubriand refers to the whole tenderloin cooked as a roast, whereas the filet mignon is the tenderloin cut into individual steaks. Any way you slice it, these steaks are very tender and, because they don’t have much fat marbling, mild in flavor. A nice thick filet mignon is a great candidate for stovetop-to-oven cooking.

  • Filet Mignon with Mushroom-Cabernet Gravy: “I love pan-searing because it gives the filet mignon steaks that beautiful color and crust on the outside and leaves them so tender inside!” says the recipe submitter. “And because of the influence of my husband’s French grandmother, I love to cook anything with wine!”
  • Filet Mignon with Rich Balsamic Glaze: Quickly sear the steaks in a hot skillet, then sizzle the pan with equal parts of balsamic vinegar and red wine, cover, and braise briefly to create a wonderful glaze.
  • More Filet Mignon Recipes

4. T-Bone or Porterhouse

The Big Fella. This bone-in steak includes both the strip and tenderloin parts of the steak. Technically, it’s called a porterhouse if the tenderloin is at least 1 1/4-inches wide. If it’s at least 1/2-inch wide (but less than 1 1/4-inches), it’s a T-bone. Either way, T-bones and porterhouse steaks are essentially two steaks in one, so they require some care in cooking. If you can work it, cook the strip part directly over the flames with the tenderloin portion extending into a less hot part of the grill.

  • Bistecca alla Fiorentina (Tuscan Porterhouse): This flagship, Tuscan steak is made from the region’s Chianina breed of cattle which are prized for their tenderness and flavor. In typical Italian style, simplicity rules the day; little more than olive oil, rosemary, and salt are needed to highlight the rich flavor of the grilled meat.
  • Rock’s T-Bone Steaks: This T-bone gets a quick rubdown before spending some time on the hot grill. “This seasoning makes any steak awesome. It doesn’t overpower the steak,” says the recipe submitter.
  • Chef John’s Chimichurri Sauce: Here it is, the famous Argentinean sauce for grilled steaks. Herbs and garlic are whirled in a blender with olive oil and white wine vinegar to create a tangy, spicy, decidedly green-colored condiment.

8 Different Types of Steak and How to Cook Them

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The Cheaper Cuts

Now for the dirty little secret about steaks. The “tougher” cuts are often more flavorful. By comparison, think of it like the dark meat of chicken. The dark meat comes from muscles that worked for a living (thighs, drumsticks); as a result, the darker meat develops more flavor than the white breast meat of a flightless bird.

Likewise, these cuts of steak are from parts of the steer that saw some action. True, they’re not as tender as the high-end steaks, which had a comparatively cushy existence, but the tougher cuts make up for it in flavor and economy.

5. Hanger Steak (aka Butcher’s Steak)

This lean steak is very flavorful. A great steak for marinating or wet-rubbing and then grilling over high heat. Note: wipe off oily marinades before grilling – or else it’s inferno time.

  • Grilled Hanger Steak with a Roasted Shallot Port Demi Sauce: Grill the steaks until the meat starts to firm up, about 2 minutes per side. They should be reddish-pink and juicy in the center.
  • Parisian-Style Steak Frites: A classic bistro-style steak. “Known as steak-frites,” explains the recipe submitter “thin slices of hanger steak are covered in the most addictive herb butter sauce.”
  • Jang Jorim with Hard-Boiled Eggs (Korean Soy Beef Strips): In this Korean preparation, hanger steak is simmered, along with peeled hard-boiled eggs, in a broth of soy sauce, water, green chile peppers, onions, garlic, rice wine, and red chile pepper.

6. Tri-Tip Steak (aka Santa Maria Steak)

Another very lean cut with a flavor that’s milder than the hanger steak. Rub ‘em down with seasonings and toss on the grill.

  • Easy Grilled Tri-Tip: “A great way to quickly grill large cuts of tri-tip beef,” states this recipe. “You can even make it on a busy weeknight. I’ve also made this for BBQ parties. It’s better than buying a bunch of steaks!”
  • Carne Asada Sandwich: Thin slices of tri-tip steak are seasoned with chile peppers and spices and cooked in a Dutch oven with onions and bell peppers. Top these Mexican-inspired sandwiches with melted cheese, avocado, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro.
  • Santa Maria Grilled Tri-Tip Beef: Tri-tip is a great cut for this kind of high-heat grilling. The meat gets a simple dry rubbing; as it cooks, it’s basted with a garlic, mustard, vegetable oil, and red wine vinegar sauce.

VIDEO: How To Grill a Tri-Tip Steak

Watch Chef John prep and grill a California classic, the Santa Maria tri-tip. The trick to grilling the tri-tip is getting the signature caramelized crust. The outside is charred almost black, while the inside cooks to a beautiful pink.

7. Skirt Steak (aka Fajita Steak)

A long, thin, very flavorful cut that cooks very fast over a high flame. Skirt steak’s loose-rope structure creates lots of nooks and crannies for marinades. It’s the traditional cut for fajitas, of course, either grilled, broiled, or sauteed. You can also stir-fry with skirt steak; thin strips of skirt steak are done in seconds. If you can’t find true skirt steak, flank steak is a popular substitution.

  • Sizzlin’ Fajitas: Cut the skirt steak across the grain into 1/4-inch strips. Then cook the marinated steak over high heat in a large skillet. “If you do not have the time to marinate the meat for 2 or more hours, just leave it out at room temperature, keeping the bag zipped tightly for about 20 to 30 minutes,” says the recipe submitter.
  • Grilled Coffee and Cola Skirt Steak: “Two great drinks equal one fantastic marinade for skirt steak, the juiciest and most flavorful piece of meat you can put on a grill,” says Chef John here. “It’s smoky and subtly sweet. The flavors are balanced perfectly with the bitterness of the coffee in the grill marks.”
  • More Skirt Steak Recipes

8. Flank Steak

Like skirt steak, flank steak comes in long, thin strips. Flank steaks are thicker than skirt steaks and tighter in structure – meaning the grains hold closer together. Treat flank steak as you would skirt steak. Give them a bath in a marinade and some time on the grill. Or slice them into strips and stir-fry over high heat.

  • Bracciole (Flank Steak Rolls): An authentic Italian recipe for flank-steak rolls stuffed with garlic, parsley, and Parmesan cheese and braised on the stovetop in a tomato sauce.
  • Maria’s Pepper Steak: Here, thin strips of flank steak are treated to a quick blast in a hot skillet, bathing alongside a tangy, slightly sweet soy, vinegar, and honey sauce.
  • More Flank Steak Recipes