Learn about the variety of beef steaks and how to cook them, from sirloin to hanger steak.
01 of 07
Hanger steak is cut from a hanging muscle that supports the diaphragm of the beef cow and is not connected to any bone (hence its nickname “hanging tender”). Similar in appearance and texture to flank steak, the hanger steak also needs to be marinated, then quickly cooked–most often on a grill or barbecue–and thinly sliced against the grain. Hanger steak is very flavorful and recently prized by restaurants, which makes it almost impossible to find at a supermarket. Once known as the “butcher’s choice,” because butchers kept it for themselves, hanger steak can be requested at most butchers.
02 of 07
Although London Broil is labeled and sold as a cut of beef in supermarkets, it is actually a cooking method used for flank steak. Adding to the confusion is that supermarket butchers also sell top round steaks or roasts as London Broil. Because of its tough, fibrous texture, the flank steak used for London Broil is marinated for several hours and then broiled or grilled to rare or medium-rare and sliced against the grain. Despite its name, this method for cooking flank steak did not, in fact, originate in London but in North America.
03 of 07
04 of 07
The porterhouse is a bone-in steak cut from the rear of the short loin of the beef cow. The T-shaped-bone cut from the spine bisects portions of both the top loin (strip steak) and tenderloin (filet mignon). The porterhouse has a larger portion of tenderloin—at least 1 1/4 inches thick as defined by the USDA—than the similarly cut T-bone steak and can weigh between 2 and 2 1/2 pounds. The origins of its name and cut are particularly contentious; however, the Oxford English Dictionary supports the argument that it was first served by the proprietor of a 19th-century Manhattan porter (ale) house. The porterhouse needs little seasoning and is best enjoyed grilled, broiled, or pan-seared.Continue to 5 of 7 below.
05 of 07
The rib steak is a bone-in cut from the rib roast. The rib steak is known in France as entrecote (translates to “between the ribs”) and is a staple of bistro-style fare. Grilling and pan-searing are the most common methods of cooking rib steak or entrecote.
06 of 07
The rib-eye (also known as a Delmonico or Spencer steak) is a boneless cut from the center of the beef cow’s ribs. The steak is marbled with fat and is one of the juiciest cuts. The rib-eye has more texture (that is, not as tender) than the tenderloin, but steak aficionados love the slight chewiness since the beef is exceptionally flavored. As with many well-marbled steaks, the rib-eye needs only a liberal seasoning of salt and pepper, although dry rubs of herbs and spices are also popular. The rib-eye should be quickly cooked over high, dry heat to medium-rare.
07 of 07
- The bottom sirloin is located just above the rear flank and shank and is a less desirable cut. The bottom sirloin has good flavor, but it is far less tender than the top sirloin just above it. Generally, the steaks labeled and sold as “sirloin” in supermarkets are bottom sirloin.
- The top sirloin is located beneath the tenderloin, and it, too, has a robust flavor, but boneless steaks cut from the top sirloin have a chewy texture and benefit from marinades. Top sirloin is less expensive than rib-eye and is a popular steak for grilling.