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.


What Are the Best Cuts of Steak?

What Are the Best Cuts of Steak?

What Are the Best Cuts of Steak? – There’s really nothing quite like a well-cooked steak. It pairs perfectly with just about anything, it’s extremely versatile, and it’s great for any occasion and in any setting.

While the cooking method and surface you use are certainly important, a great steak actually starts with a great cut of meat. You can have the best seasoning, the best grill, and the best cooking tricks up your sleeve, but if you’re starting out with a mediocre cut of steak, the steak will be, well, mediocre.

You’ve probably noticed there are a lot of different types of steaks, whether you’re browsing the meat department at the grocery store or checking out a restaurant menu. How do you know which ones are any good? Do you have to shell out big bucks to get a decent steak? Hint: not necessarily. To make steaks slightly less mysterious, we’ve put together this guide to the top five cuts.


Serious carnivores usually have a special fondness for t-bone steaks. That’s because they’re extremely unique in that they have a buttery tenderloin on one side of the bone and a bold, beefy New York strip on the other. You are essentially getting two different steaks in one cut. As the name suggests, t-bone steaks are always bone-in, and they come from a cross-section of the cow’s short loin, closer to the stomach than the rear. T-bones are absolutely delicious, but they can be a bit tricky to cook since you’re working with two completely different types of meat. The tenderloin side cooks quite a bit faster, so it can help to cook with indirect heat or to position the steak so that the strip side is closer to the heat.


If you’ve ever seen a porterhouse steak next to a T-bone, you may have thought they were the same. The two are, in fact, nearly identical, because they’re cut from the exact same section of a cow. Porterhouse steaks are simply larger cuts. In fact, to classify as a porterhouse, the USDA requires that the steaks be cut to a thickness of at least 1.25 inches, and you will often find them cut to 3 inches or more. These steaks have fantastic flavor and don’t generally need much seasoning, but just like T-bones, they can be difficult to cook perfectly. Many porterhouse devotees swear by a simple method of cooking in a cast-iron pan to get a great sear, then moving it off of the direct heat to finish.

What Are the Best Cuts of Steak?

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For the ultimate juicy, beefy flavor, a ribeye is a great choice. These ultra-flavorful steaks are essentially individually cut prime rib roasts, and they come from the cow’s upper rib area. Ribeyes are super fatty, which allows them to retain their juiciness even when cooked over very high heat. When shopping for a ribeye, look for a thicker cut and one that has evenly-dispersed marbling. You’ll find both bone-in and boneless cuts, but it just comes down to personal preference; the two have identical flavor profiles and can be cooked in the same way.

Filet Mignon

Sometimes referred to as a tenderloin or just as a filet, filet mignon is always boneless and is cut from underneath a cow’s ribs. Filet mignon is incredibly tender and has a mild flavor and fine grain, and it is also generally the most expensive cut of steak. This steak is cut in small circular portions that are typically two to three inches thick. Filets cook very well on the grill or in a cast-iron pan on the stove, and you can use seasonings or bacon to add depth to their flavor profile.

New York Strip

New York strip steaks, also called top sirloin or top loin, come from the short loin, the area just behind the ribs toward the rear end. They aren’t quite as tender as ribeyes or tenderloins, but they do offer a fantastic, bold beef flavor and an ideal blend of lean meat and fat. When you’re shopping for New York strips, look for pieces that have even marbling throughout and larger chunks of fat around the edges. Because top sirloin is cut from a very muscular area, it can quickly become tough if overcooked even slightly. For best results, aim for a medium-rare cook on the grill.

Come By Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in OKC

It can be overwhelming to choose a steak, but as with most things, practice makes perfect. In this case, “practice” means trying a variety of steaks to help you learn their unique qualities and differences (lucky you!). Cattlemen’s Steakhouse in Oklahoma City has every one of the steaks mentioned on its dinner menu, plus a number of other entrees, kids’ items, and a well-edited selection of wine and beer. Call us at (405) 236-0416, contact us online, or just come in! We’ll see you soon!