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.