Steak and beef all come from the same animal, but there are many differences in the two, partly because of where the meat comes from on the cow. The same can be said about the different types of steaks. Each cut can offer a different flavor, even a different texture, and most certainly a different level of tenderness. Depending on how well-versed in the world of steaks you are, you may be familiar with several cuts, and you may only know of the more common ones. We will go in-depth on the different types of steaks, and what makes them different. Next time you go to a steakhouse or are ordering several steaks for an upcoming celebration or event, you'll never have to wonder about the difference between a ribeye and sirloin.
Different Types of Steaks
Let's start with one of the most common cuts of steak, filet mignon. This is one that most everyone is familiar with, even if they don't enjoy it all the time. A filet mignon cut is a steak cut from beef tenderloin, which is a muscle that runs along the spine. This is an extremely tender cut of meat, so tender in fact it can be cut with a fork. This is also especially good because they don't need a marinade or any extra flavoring.
Ribeye. A ribeye steak is incredibly juicy and features the most marbling color. It comes from the center rib section of a cow, and it can come with a bone or without a bone. Because of all the marbling, which is fat, the steak is slightly chewier than that of a filet mignon, though the flavor is a bit stronger. It also won't need any extra seasonings or marinade while cooking, as it is so flavorful on its own. Even when slightly more well-done, the juiciness will remain, making this a great option for those learning how best to prepare steaks.
New York Strip. This is also just called a strip steak. It is cut from the short loin of the cow, and has less fat than a ribeye, though there will be marbling in this cut of meat. You will not often find this one available with a bone, as it is often sold boneless. It has a bit more flavor than a tenderloin steak and is best prepared medium-rare to medium. Anything more and it will lose some of its juicy flavor. Again, thanks to the stronger flavor, this steak doesn't need a lot of marinating or anything extra added to it.
Sirloin. The sirloin is a common cut that you may prepare for a nice weeknight dinner. These steaks come from the sirloin section, near the rear of the animal, and they sometimes get a bad reputation for lacking flavor. Sirloins always come boneless due to where the cut comes from. These are much less expensive than some other cuts of steak, and they offer a good taste, making them a good choice when you want a steak, but can't afford to go eat a filet mignon. These are best accentuated with some flavoring like a dry rub. There is not much fat on these, so they are a very lean choice.
London broil. This is not technically a cut of steak, but stores sell it this way, so in case you stumble upon this, it is a top round steak cut from the hindquarters of the beef. You may also see flank steak labeled as a London broil. This type of meat is usually tougher, so you'll want to marinate to help break down some of the tougher muscle fibers. Make sure not to overcook, as this steak could become very chewy.
T-bone. This is another favorite because you actually get two steaks in one. A T-bone steak features the strip and tenderloin. They are always sold with the bone-in and are cut from the short loin. These are usually thicker cuts of steak, so you can get a hearty meal from it. These are also known as porterhouse steaks.
Skirt steak. This is a longer cut of steak from the plate section of the belly. It is often a much tougher cut as it has plenty of connective tissue, so it is highly recommended this be marinated for at least 30 minutes before cooking. This type of steak is also commonly used in crockpots with potatoes and carrots, as the longer time spent in the marinade and heat allows it to soften and cook up nicely.
Round steak. This is also called a rump steak, and it's an alternative to ribeye that is a little more affordable. It comes from the hindquarters of the cow so it's lean like a sirloin. However, it is also a bit less tender because of the work these muscles went through. This one you'll want to marinate for a few hours before preparing to help it get a bit more tender.
Cube steak. Another affordable option, this is a steak that will cook very quickly. It is a thin cut from the round section of the hindquarters. This particular cut is tenderized with a meat mallet, so it will cook very quickly, but don't expect to enjoy it medium-rare. These are best prepared with a flavorful gravy or sauce, as they can be a little bit dry due to the thinness.
Now that you have a general idea of the different types of steak, you can select the best fit for your occasion, budget, and needs. Each one offers a slightly different flavor, and of course, more can always be added during the preparation process.