Who doesn’t love steak? Okay, maybe vegetarians and vegans don’t!
But if you are a meat lover, we are sure just a whiff of a juicy steak dish will send you drooling to paradise. However, not every non-vegetarian foodie knows how to cook different types of steak.
Considering the temperature and flavor control it requires, cooking a steak is no joke. And the most difficult part is distinguishing between the various types of meat cuts, each of which offers a different flavor and texture.
Hence, we have compiled an all-in-one guide of 16 types of steak everyone should know. From the high-end ribeye to the budget-friendly flap steak- we’ve got it all! To top it off, we have mentioned some expert tips on cooking the steak according to its natural taste.
So, without further ado, let’s get cooking!
Types of Steak
A Brief Guide To Steak
A beef steak is a piece of meat chopped from the fatty parts of a cow. Some people cut pork, chicken, and even vegetables in the shape of a steak.
Most types of steak are procured from the tenderloin, short loin, and ribs. Since these body parts do not carry much movement, they are high on fats and low on connective tissues, resulting in a juicy taste and soft texture.
In comparison to other beef cuts, a steak cooks much faster. You can simply brown the outsides and keep the insides as rare as you would like. Plus, the marbling on such meat cuts adds to the flavor and ease of cooking.
Also known as Delmonico steak, ribeyes are the juiciest steaks out there, thanks to the intense amount of fats (marbling) in them. Almost everyone’s favorite meal, it is tender, delicious, and looks the best on the platter.
You can choose between boneless and bone-in, both of which taste equally great. Since the meat is thick and contains high intermuscular fat, it will taste just as good even if you end up overcooking a bit.
We recommend sticking to simple salt and pepper for dressing. You’d want to enjoy the original, beefy flavor, so avoid any other seasoning or sauces.
Long and thin, the skirt steak is a tough cut as it is connected to the plate section of the stomach. But when cooked correctly, it can make a hearty meal for any meat lover out there. With all of that fat content, it feels tender and tastes immaculate!
The skirt steak is great for marinating, and you can try out different cooking styles with it. Grilling and pan-searing are two foolproof ways to cook and enjoy this steak. However, you must ensure that it’s cut against the grain if you don’t want to end up with a hard and chewy texture.
Also known as the round steak, this cut meat is another affordable pick that promises as much flavor as the ribeye (if cooked properly). This type of steak is picked from the hindquarters, which indulge in a lot of physical activity, resulting in its lean and tough texture.
Consequently, it is advised to marinate rump steaks for at least 4-5 hours before cooking. This will ensure that the seasoning and sauce have been incorporated well into the meat, making it soft and chewy. Additionally, a cast-iron skillet is ideal for searing this meat over high heat until medium cooked.
Large and hearty, the porterhouse steak consists of two pieces- tenderloin and strip. Usually sold bone-in, this type of steak is challenging to cook because of the difference in fat content in the two parts mentioned above.
Hence, we suggest using a meat thermometer to ensure precise heating throughout. If cooked properly, the steak will taste rich and buttery, with a melt-in-the-mouth feel!
This one is another favorite among the non-vegetarian masses! In fact, the popular filet mignon is included in this category.
Its shape is long and cylindrical, and thanks to its tender and lean texture, it is easy to dig in with a fork. Additionally, you do not require any marinade since it is juicy enough by itself. However, keep in mind that the tenderloin steak does not contain much fats, so you must be careful not to overcook.
We suggest using a cast-iron skillet and searing each side quickly over high heat. Or, to be on the safer side, you can cook it slowly over medium-rare heat.
Sometimes known as the oyster blade or butler’s steak, this affordable meat cut is tender and soft. One bite, and your taste buds are enveloped with a burst of flavors!
You can enjoy this type of steak with or without a marinade. However, we do recommend grilling the meat for the best results.
Highly marbled, this type of steak is full of flavor and fats. It is thick and fleshy, but you can always ask the butcher to cut it thinly for easy cooking. Also, this variant is quite cheap, so it’s the ideal pick for days when you are on a budget but still crave a fancy meal at home!
Short ribs must be cut against the grain and cooked over high (but not blazing) heat. You can grill it with a dash of salt and pepper, and serve it with chimichurri sauce for a lip-smacking dish.
Another favorite among home chefs, the strip steak flaunts decent marbling, which lends a fatty flavor to it. Also, it is easy to cook, and you can stick to just salt and pepper for seasoning.
Its boneless variant is known as the New York Strip, whereas the bone-in meat is called Kansas City Strip. However, the majority opt for the boneless version.
A pro tip would be to maintain a medium-rare to medium heat while cooking the strip since it contains relatively lower fat content, making it prone to overcooking.
Some may often confuse it with the skirt steak, but the flank is thicker and wider. Procured from the rear-end of the belly, this meat type features clean-cut edges, giving it a tender texture.
You can either grill or pan-sear the flank steak until it reaches medium doneness. Originally mild in taste, you can experiment with different types of marinade on this variant.
Cut from the bottom sirloin, the tri-tip is a fatty and flavorful steak, boasting an extensive marble effect. It tastes juicy and savory, yet is easy on the pocket! Grilling the meat over high heat and serving when it is medium cooked will ensure the best taste and texture.
Affordable and versatile, the flap steak is cut from the bottom of the sirloin, close to the flank. The texture is similar to the skirt steak, making it suitable for rich seasoning and marinating. Just make sure to slice it thinly against the grain and grill it over high to medium heat for the best results.
Top Sirloin Steak
Tender and lean, it is a surprise that this steak variant does not feature a high price tag. However, you must ensure not to overcook and dry it out since it does not contain a lot of fat. We recommend staying within the rare-medium temperature range.
Also, we think top sirloin steak tastes best with herbs, so don’t forget to sprinkle some in for that extra burst of flavor.
The tomahawk steak is simply a ribeye with a bone attached to it. Highly marbled and flavorful, most pieces of this category are large enough to feed a family. Cooking it is also relatively easy and forgiving, similar to that of a ribeye.
Commonly used in Mexican delicacies, the hanger is your best bet if you’re into the high-fat beefy flavor. Plus, it is fairly inexpensive, so if you’re not sure about your cooking skills, opt for this type of steak.
A strong acidic marinade like lime juice or vinegar is recommended while cooking the hanger steak. We think it tastes best when cooked in medium heat.
The cube steak is a round steak or a top sirloin that has been pounded with a tenderizer. This type of steak works well with bread crumbs or flour for deep frying. Since it does not contain much fat, it hardly takes any time to cook.
Cut from the shoulder (eye of the chuck), the Denver has only been in the industry for a decade but is slowly becoming a favorite among non-vegetarians. It is surprisingly taken from the least active part of the shoulder, making it rich in fats, and thus, a delicacy!
Despite the marbling, the Denver cooks tender, even over very high heat. So, make sure you grill, pan-sear, or broil it over a blazing fire to get evenly cooked meat.
Factors To Keep In Mind While Cooking Steak
Although we have already shared some tips for cooking different types of steak, there are some expert mantras you should know to nail the art of cooking steak! Let’s take a look
Get The Right Steak
The different sizes of steak are not just for show. Each meat cut brings something new to the table- be it taste, texture, and even the vibe!
For instance, if you’ve got a ton of hungry stomachs to fill, opt for an affordable option like the flap, the rump, or the flat iron. On the other hand, if you wish to go all out on a date night at home, we suggest the ribeye or the porterhouse.
Seasoning Is Key
Since most types of steaks are jam-packed with fats, you can hardly ever go wrong with flavor. However, you must know the amount of seasoning each piece requires, according to its thickness, texture, and more.
While thinner strips like the flank steak can be prepared quickly with a swipe of marinade, thicker meat cuts require overnight marinating. This ensures that the different flavors from the marinade seep deep into the nooks and crannies of the meat, making it taste sinfully delicious!
Buy A Meat Thermometer
You’ve already bought one of the most expensive varieties of meat, so you might as well buy a thermometer to ensure uniform heating. Since different types of steak boast varying fat content, the cooking time and technique vary drastically. Hence, a meat thermometer is a must-have to prevent overcooking and drying.
Most traditional recipes recommend taking the steak off the flame to rest and serve after a while. However, with continuous trials and errors, we think steak tastes best when served hot and sizzling. Plus, warm steak is much tender and juicier than a steak that’s served after a while.
You must also keep in mind that the steak should always be sliced against the grain. This implies that the visible fibers should be cut into smaller halves for a soft, chewy experience.
Do Not Cook Refrigerated Steak
The steak should be at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before you start cooking. If you’re in a rush, just scrap the plan and look for a different meal. A steak is a delicacy that most people enjoy on special occasions, so cooking involves prior planning and preparation.
Moreover, if you simply toss a refrigerated meatloaf into a hot pan, it will likely result in uneven cooking.
Although cooking a steak is no rocket science, getting the right texture requires some practice and patience. Thus, we encourage you to try these recipes, especially if you follow a keto, carnivore, or any high-protein diet. Or, you can splurge at a high-end restaurant and flaunt your extensive knowledge of different types of steaks. Whatever floats your boat!
However, if you are willing to try these recipes at home and still require some guidance, we suggest talking to your butcher. No 5-star Michelin can beat their practical expertise.
With that, we come to the end of this detailed and delectable guide. We’ll be back with more soon.
Until then, bon appetit!
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