Beef Steaks and How to Cook Them From Skirt to Cowboy

From Skirt Steak to Cowboy Steak

Whether you cook steak at home or save it for a special occasion out, it's important to know your steaks.

Learn more about these 5 types of steaks and how to cook them - from skirt steak to cowboy steak.

  • 01 of 05

    Skirt Steak

    Raw skirt steak on parchment paper on wood
    Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images

    Skirt steak is the diaphragm muscle of the beef cow, located between the abdomen and the chest. It is a long, flat cut with heavy marbling and connective tissue, which give the meat tremendous flavor and juiciness, but it is tougher than other cuts. Skirt steak should be marinated and then very quickly grilled at high heat to medium-rare and always sliced against the grain. Skirt steak is also cut into strips and sautéed or broiled for the popular Mexican dish, fajitas.

  • 02 of 05

    Strip Steak

    Raw steaks on wooden table
    Manny Rodriguez / Getty Images

    The Strip Steak (also known as New York Strip Steak and Kansas City Strip Steak) is cut from the short loin, located behind the ribs of the steer or heifer. The short loin is bisected by the tenderloin, and because this muscle is not heavily exercised by the cow, the strip steak is exceedingly tender and marbled with flavorful fat, making it a favorite choice of steak-lovers. The strip steak can be boneless or bone-in, ideally cut between 1-1/2- and 2-inches thick, and can be grilled, broiled or pan-seared. There is some recorded rivalry between New York and Kansas City as to the origins and differences between their versions of the strip steak, but the cut itself is exactly the same.

  • 03 of 05

    Top Sirloin Cap

    Top Sirloin Cap
    © Sebastian Cortez

    The top sirloin cap is a flat, triangular-shaped muscle that lies above the top sirloin. The cap has no connective tissue or gristle and can be cut into steaks (called Culotte Steak) and grilled or roasted whole on a rotisserie (called picanha in Brazil), and sliced off the spit. The top sirloin cap benefits from a tenderizing marinade or dry rub and should be sliced against the grain when served.

  • 04 of 05

    T-Bone Steak

    Close-Up Of Meat On Cutting Board
    Barry Ramkissoon / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The T-Bone is a bone-in steak cut from the forward end of the short loin of the beef steer or heifer. Its distinctive T-shaped-bone cut from the spine bisects portions of both the top loin (strip steak) and tenderloin (filet mignon). As defined by the USDA, the T-Bone must be cut with at least 1/2-inch thick of tenderloin (compared to the Porterhouse’s much larger 1-1/4 inches of tenderloin). Robustly flavored, buttery, beefy,  juicy and super-tender, the T-Bone can be grilled, broiled or pan-seared.

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Cowboy Steak

    Raw Tomahawk Steak
    LauriPatterson / Getty Images

    The Cowboy Steak is said to have originated on cattle drives along the Rio Grande in Texas when cowboys flavored their steaks with Mexican spices. It is a bone-in ribeye steak cut from between the 6th and 12th ribs of the beef cow and usually weighs between 30 and 45 ounces. Like other rib-eye steaks, the Cowboy Steak is well-marbled with fat, tender and flavorful. Although the Cowboy Steak requires little seasoning, in keeping with its history, a traditional dry rub of salt, chile, cumin and other Mexican spices is applied before grilling or pan-searing the steak.