Out of the pleasures of this life, there are not many things that can trump a perfectly cooked steak. A deliciously juicy piece of meat, seasoned just right and grilled to perfection is any food lover’s dream come true. Even the thought of such a meal, paired with a flavorful glass of wine, makes our mouth water like a tap has been opened!
Steaks are the ideal food for every occasion. Whether you are celebrating a promotion, on a date with your significant other, or simply kicking back and relaxing at home on your own - you can never go wrong with a steak. That is, of course, as long as you know how to make the best steak cut and of course, get the flavors right.
How to get the most heavenly steak every time?
One way to do this would be to simply order a meal from your favorite restaurant. Something that you have tried before and loved immensely. But playing it safe takes all the fun out of the process. And this is why I prefer to cook my steaks myself - according to my own preferences, and experimenting with different techniques and recipes.
So, when you’re putting it all together from scratch, what does it take to get that tantalizing, delectable steak dinner?
Of course, a good recipe is integral to cooking up a delightful, yummy meal. What you put in your food and how you season your meat is going to make a huge difference as to what the final product will taste like. The cooking technique is also incredibly important - even the same recipe can give you largely varying results depending on your use of a regular grilling pan over your stove or a professional grill oven. But remember one thing; the secret that can totally change the game is the cut of your steak.
So, without further ado, let’s learn about the best steak cut that can take your meal to the next level.
Why is choosing the right steak cut so important?
You must’ve heard that the best ingredients make the best meal. This saying fits perfectly when it comes to cooking a steak. You cannot possibly expect a Gordon Ramsey style meal from using a stale piece of meat that you picked up from the sale rack. If you want a scrumptious, mouthwatering, juicy steak that would make the chef of any Michelin Star restaurant green with envy, you have got to start with the right quality ingredients.
While ensuring quality, there is one important point to keep in mind. Even though most fine steak cuts are on the pricier side, not all expensive steaks will leave you satisfied. . There are plenty of steak cuts which are inexpensive but will make an excellent meal. Similarly, many pricey steak cuts do not hold as much flavor as their cheaper counterparts and do not guarantee a delicious dinner. This is why you need to look beyond the price point when choosing the best steak cuts.
In addition to this, the cooking time, technique, and even the right recipe greatly depend on the steak cut you choose to work with. Some cuts tenderize super quickly, while others take quite a while to cook through. A good chef knows his steak cuts inside out so that he can make the right modifications in the recipe and technique that are required to cook up a perfect storm.
What are the best steak cuts - all across the board?
So, which steak cuts make the best meals? Let’s look at some of the most popular options among chefs and food lovers from all over the globe.
The rib-eye steak
The rib-eye steak is one of the most sought after steak cuts in all parts of the world. As the name suggests, this piece of meat comes from the rib area of the cow. It is available as both - a boneless slice and a bone-in version, and you can choose from the two according to your preference.
Combining luxurious tenderness and a burst of flavor in one, it is one of the most popular choices among steak lovers. It is easy to cook, less likely to dry up, and makes a damn good dinner any night of the week.
The New York strip steak
Next on our list, we have the famous New York strip steak. Also known as the strip loin or top loin steak, the New York strip steak is cut from the top part of the short loin just behind the ribs. In terms of popularity, it rivals the rib-eye cut and is full of intense flavor.
However, this intense flavor does come at a price - the New York strip is not nearly as tender as the rib-eye. However, this can easily be resolved with a few hits of the Checkered Chef Meat Tenderizer.
This perfectly weight balanced mallet flattens the meat and breaks up the fibrous tissue in it to make the cooking process easier. Without using a tenderizer, you would be very likely to dry out your New York strip steak while attempting to cook it throughout.
The tenderloin steak
The tenderloin steak is one of the most desired steak thanks to its tenderness. This is because it is obtained from a non weight-bearing muscle of the cow, and so, contains very little connective tissue.
The tenderloin steak cut is what makes the filet mignon. Although this cut is super tender, it is one of the tricky ones when it comes to cooking. It is not as flavorful as the cuts discussed above, so the recipe has to have quite a zing for it to be impressive. Overcooking this steak cut is also common - especially if you are an amateur, which can make it pretty dry and unappetizing.
The porterhouse steak
The porterhouse literally gives you the best of both worlds. This deliciously juicy steak cut has both, the tenderloin steak and the New York strip steak. It gives you the freedom to enjoy two steak cuts in one dinner if you are ever unable to make up your mind between the two.
Understandably, this unique steak cut comes at a high price. After all, how many of these can you get from one cow?! This steak cut is a favorite with serious meat lovers, who want all the flavors they can have.
The t-bone steak
Another similar steak cut is the t-bone steak. Just like the porterhouse, one part of this steak cut is made up of the tenderloin and the other part is from the short loin of a cow. The only difference between these two steak cuts is that the t-bone is taken further from the rump, and has little to no ribeye piece.
The skirt steak
The skirt steak is a truly magnificent cut of beef if you know how to cook it properly. It comes from beneath the ribs of the cow, from the diaphragm muscle. This super-affordable boneless steak cut is fit to satisfy all your meat cravings when you are on a budget.
The skirt steak is traversed all through with dense connective tissue, making the texture quite chewy. For this reason, it is important that you have a good set of steak knives and a quality cutting board to slice up the piece before you get cooking. If you are looking for these utensils, I would recommend the Home Hero Steak Knives Set of 8 and the Extra Large Organic Bamboo Cutting Board with Juice Groove for the job.
The top sirloin steak
If you’re not keen on splurging on your steak but still want something tasty, the top sirloin steak cut is a good option. It is taken from the rump, between the short loin and round, and from directly underneath the tenderloin. Although it is not as tender as tenderloin, still, it’s succulent enough to taste delicious after a good grill.
This steak cut is one of the less fancier ones, and requires a bit of practice to cook just right. However, once you have nailed the technique, it becomes one of the yummiest steak cuts at a fraction of the price of a fine steak cut.
The flank steak
Next up, we have the flank steak which comes from the abdominal muscles or lower belly of the cow. Though challenging to prepare, this cut is full of potential and extremely flavorful.
Since abdominal muscles have a lot of connective tissue, the flank steak tends to be quite chewy. It is best grilled over high heat for a short while to ensure that it does not overcook and dry out. When eating, remember to slice the steak knife against the grain to make the texture less rubbery and more succulent.
The chuck eye steak
Last but definitely not the least, we will wrap up our discussion of the best steak cuts with the chuck eye steak. Also called the “poor man’s ribeye”, the chuck eye steak rivals the flavor of the ribeye at a fraction of the price. If you are organizing a budget dinner party for one, the chuck eye steak is a great option to go for.
The chuck eye is sliced from the upper shoulder of the cow, right above the ribeye region. This steak cut be substituted for the most expensive ribeye in almost every recipe, and still turn out delectable.
The many ways to fix yourself the perfect, juicy steak
Once you have acquired the best steak cut, it is time to get cooking. Like I mentioned earlier, there are multiple ways to go about it, and each one will result in a unique food experience. Here, we will discuss a few of the most popular techniques of fixing yourself the perfect, juicy steak.
1. Go pro with an outdoor steak grill
If you are craving that five-star steakhouse experience, the best way is to go pro with an outdoor steak grill. Having one of these bad boys can really be a gamechanger for your backyard barbecue parties. In addition to that, they are often made to be portable and are easier to store. This allows you to take them from your backyard to a friend’s house, to a campsite whenever you want!
While open, flaming grills are the more conventional option, you can also go for the modern professional grilling ovens to make the task easier. One such fantastic steak grill is the GASPRO 1500℉ Quick Cooking Propane Infrared Steak Grill.
This infrared cooking system reaches a high of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit to thoroughly cook your steak in a record-breaking four minutes. With its 6 notches for the grill rack, you can vary the meat’s proximity to the infrared heat source for greater control of the cooking process. The front panel can be closed to keep the grill clean and safe when not in use.
2. Grill it in a cast iron pan - the foolproof traditional way to cook a delicious steak at home
If you are not looking to invest in a proper professional steak grill, don’t worry. You can still get amazing results by using utensils already available in your kitchen, like a cast iron pan.
As long as you have a good grilling pan, you can very closely reproduce the results that you would have gotten if you were cooking your steak on an open-flame grill. For this, I always recommend the Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Grill Pan With Assist Handle.
This foundry seasoned, ready to use grilling pan can be used in a number of different scenarios. You can use it to cook food on the stove, grill your steak over an open fire, or even pop it into the oven for a quick bake. In addition to the perfect, juicy steak, this multipurpose iron grill pan with an assist handle will aid you in following tons of different recipes. With the correct utensils at your disposal, you will be able to unlock your true potential in the kitchen.
3. Get air frying for a healthy and fulfilling meal
Yes! You read this right! You really can toss your steak in an air fryer for a unique, scrumptious taste.
A steak dinner can be quite heavy on your metabolism. If consuming thousands of calories in oil makes you lose your appetite, try out your air fryer the next time you are craving for a steak. Air frying your steak will turn a fattening, a high caloric meal into a healthy and fulfilling one - and all the while, not compromising on the deliciousness of it all.
When I want quick, fried meat, I like to use the COSORI Air Fryer Max XL. This award-winning air fryer has 13 one-touch cooking functions and rapid 360° air circulation that provide crispy results using less oil. With 5.8 quart square baskets, you can easily fit a whole 5-pound chicken in the air fryer without breaking a sweat. The BPA free and PFOA free baskets are nonstick, removable, and dishwasher safe, so you are guaranteed convenience and ease of use along with the best health.
4. Enjoy steak on the go with a portable precision cooker
When you are a hardcore meat lover, it’s difficult to stay away from the steak for more than a week. So when you are out traveling and exploring the parts of the world where great steaks are not so easily available, the craving can drive you crazy. For these occasions and more, I recommend that you invest in a portable precision cooker as well.
My number one choice among all the precision cookers available today is the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Sous Vide Precision Cooker. These cookers help me prepare my favorite meals on the go, without having to worry about having a proper kitchen. It is especially of great use when I go hiking, camping, or backpacking.
With the Anova Culinary AN500-US00 Vide Precision Cooker, I am able to cook my steak just right every single time. Because it attaches to your smartphone and allows you to monitor the cooking process, you can easily get the results you are looking for, with zero risk of undercooking or burning your food. And the best part? I do not have to limit my dinners to steak! This suave gadget can attach to a pot of any size to cook anything at all.
Wrapping it up
When it comes to fixing yourself a steak dinner, there is so much you can do! From choosing from dozens of steak cuts to cooking the meat, the opportunities to experiment are virtually endless.
While it’s good to have one foolproof recipe to stick to, I always advise people to get creative in the kitchen and really enjoy the experience. You never know when a little modification ( the best steak cut to be precise) in the recipe can lead to a delectable, fulfilling dinner and a deliciously happy accident.
So, what are your favourite ways to cook a steak?