Top-Ranked Steak Cuts
- Ribeye Steak
The ribeye steak is one of the most priced beef cuts in the market today because of its high level of tenderness and marbling.
- Filet Tenderloin Steak
The filet mignon is extracted from the furthest end of the tenderloin. It features prime cuts because it originates from a part of the cow that is next to the backbone. The tenderloin muscle becomes a very tender cut because it is not used much for animal activity. That is why the filet mignon or tenderloin steak “melts in your mouth” every time you take a bite. Unlike the ribeye, it lacks fat or marbling which could add extra flavor.
- Porterhouse Steak
A porterhouse steak can easily be distinguished by its large size. It is generally made up of two steaks separated by a single bone. You get a tenderloin steak on one side of the bone and a New York strip or top loin on the other side of the bone. What makes porterhouse steak a tender, flavorful and lean cut of beef is that it is extracted from the hindquarter of the cow.
Bottom-Ranked Steak Cuts
- Flank Steak
Flank steak originates from the bottom side of the cow. Although it packs slightly more flavor compared to its tougher counterparts it still lacks tenderness. We would not recommend flank steak as a traditional steak but if you decide to have it for dinner, you need to up your game when it comes to seasoning. It is also important to cut against the grain of the steak before serving to help loosen the muscle fibers further.
- Skirt Steak
This steak cut also comes from the bottom side of the cow. It tends to be very lean, given its locations, and contains tough muscle fibers. Since skirt steak is not a great beef cut for special occasions, you need to give it a lot of care when cooking. Cooking to medium-rare can help with the results but you can also add it into soup, stew, or stir-fry. Skirt steak is not useless since it is sometimes used in fajitas.
- Round Steak
Round steak is the exact opposite of prime steaks like ribeye and tenderloin. It comes from an active part of the animal, which makes it tougher than it looks. When a beef cut is extracted from a part of a cow that is used so much then you will struggle a lot to make it tender. A few things that will make a difference in how the round steak will turn out on your dinner table include the cooking method used, slicing against the grain, and having a good marinade and sauces as stars of the dish.
Major Differences between the Best and Worst Steaks
Looking at the top and bottom-ranked steaks we have discussed above, one thing that seems to differentiate the best from the worst is where the beef cut originated from. The most tender cuts come from areas of the cow that have little or no movement. Tougher cuts rank bottom because they are extracted from parts of an animal that are in constant use. Most tender beef cuts such as the ribeye do not require a lot of seasoning to bring them to tenderness while tougher cuts rely more on marinades and good sauces to make a difference.
You can still enjoy your beef cut whether you end up with the best or worst-ranked steak cut on your grill or frying pan. It all comes down to your cooking method and the way you present your meat on the table. Regardless, it is important to understand what makes the best and worst cuts of beef so you get to choose wisely the next time you go shopping at your favorite steakhouse.