Have you ever found yourself looking at a menu or at a grocery store meat counter wondering, "What's the difference between all these meats? What makes one better than the other? Man, I'm hungry..." Well, we may not be able to help you with that last part, but we can certainly help you understand the differences in cuts of meat and explain what makes one better than the other.
What Makes One Steak Better Than The Others?
The quality of the cut of steak comes down to where it came from in the cow; the more overworked the muscle is, the less tender the meat will be. So, meat that comes closer to the legs will be tougher than muscle that's in, say, the cow's lower back, which is hardly worked at all. Let's explore how that translates into different cuts...
The Differences in Cuts of Beef
Filet and/or Tenderloin
Filet is the best of the best when it comes to beef. This exceptionally tender cut comes from the tenderloin area (hence the name) which near the cow's lower back, an area that never gets over-worked. While cows are fairly large animals, the area where we get the tenderloin from isn't very big which means these cuts are served in smaller portions and are more expensive (but, in our opinion, totally worth the money).
T-Bone and/or Porterhouse
Both t-bone and porterhouse cuts (traditionally served bone-in) are a combination of tenderloin and sirloin meat, but porterhouse steaks contain more meat from the tenderloin area while t-bone steaks are slightly more sirloin (but more on that in a second).
There are two types of sirloin: regular (just called sirloin) and top serloin. Interestingly enough, the sirloin is located on top of the tenderloin while top sirloin is under the tenderloin. Sirloin is another tender, lean cut, but the muscle is used a little more often which knocks it down a peg. Sirloin is covered with a fat cap which, if cooked properly, kind of melts over the meat which not only gives it a ton of flavor, but it keeps it from drying out.
Rib Eye Steak
Can you guess where rib eyes come from? That's right — near the ribs! The ribs are right in the cow's core, so the muscles the rib eye comes from are worked more than anything in the tenderloin and sirloin areas. This means that, while not as tender, this cut has a great, beefy taste and is marbled with fat which keeps the meat nice and juicy and contributes to it's distinct flavor.
Rump steak comes from the — ahem — rump. This meat comes from one of the cow's most worked muscle groups, and while it's still pretty lean, it's far more tough than any of the cuts we've mentioned in this article thus far. Fortunately the toughness means that it's the most affordable and can be easily combated by marinating, tenderizing, or cooking slowly on low heat (think stew).
Regardless, no meat is any good unless you know how to prepare it and have the perfect grill to throw it on! Take your steak game to the next level with a custom outdoor kitchen built by your local contractors at Unlimited Outdoor Kitchen! Give us a call (888) 747-4554 or contact us online to lean more about how we can help you build your outdoor lifestyle. Already know exactly what you want? Go ahead and request your free estimate!