Celebrate Tennessee Beef Month: A Guide to Steak Cuts

Jul 09, 2024

July is Tennessee Beef Month, a perfect time to dive into the diversity of flavors and textures that steak has to offer. From your local producer’s freezer to your grocer’s meat section, you’ll find a variety of steak cuts that might seem overwhelming at first. But don’t worry — in this blog, we’ll break down six common steaks and share tips on how to cook them to juicy perfection.
Filet Mignon
         A staple in fine dining establishments, filet mignon is known for its tender, buttery texture. This cut comes from a muscle that does minimal work on the cow, resulting in its softness. However, it is almost devoid of fat, meaning it lacks the juicy flavor that some meat lovers crave. Filet mignon is often ideal for those who prioritize tenderness over flavor and don’t mind spending a bit more.
  • Also Known As: tender steak, beef tenderloin, tenderloin steak, filet de boeuf
  • Cooking Tips: Filet mignon is versatile and can be cooked using various methods, from pan-roasting to grilling. Since it lacks fat, sous vide is a safe bet to avoid overcooking.
         The ribeye is one of the most prized cuts, available boneless or with the rib bone attached (known as a cowboy steak). Its abundance of fat, both marbled within the meat and surrounding it, gives ribeye steaks an intense, beefy flavor. While not as tender as filets, ribeye steaks offer a satisfying chew and rich taste.
  • Also Known As: cowboy steak, tomahawk steak, Spencer steak, Delmonico steak
  • Cooking Tips: Ribeye steaks are excellent over charcoal flames, in a cast-iron pan, or under a broiler. The high fat content allows for cooking beyond medium without becoming tough.
New York Strip
         The New York strip is a solid all-around steak. It’s not as tender as a filet or as fatty as a ribeye, but it strikes a balance with a bit more chew and less marbling. This makes it a more affordable option, perfect for a midweek dinner pick-me-up.
  • Also Known As: shell steak, Kansas City steak, sirloin steak
  • Cooking Tips: New York strips can be cooked using any method. Some cuts may be leaner, so be careful not to overcook them.
         A porterhouse combines a New York strip and a filet mignon, separated by a T-shaped bone. It’s best suited for grilling or broiling due to its size and the different cooking times required for each side of the steak.
  • Also Known As: T-bone steak
  • Cooking Tips: Grill or broil to ensure the strip side is cooked through while the tenderloin side remains juicy.
         Once a butcher’s secret, hanger steak has gained popularity for its savory flavor and relative tenderness. It’s still a bargain compared to other cuts, though it may come with sinew and silver skin that needs trimming.
  • Also Known As: onglet, butcher’s steak, hanging tender
  • Cooking Tips: Hanger steaks soak up marinades and dry rubs especially well. Aim for medium rare to avoid toughness or dryness.
         Flank steak features long, hardworking muscle fibers, making it tougher if not prepared correctly. Cook to medium rare and slice thinly against the grain for best results. It’s idea for feeding a crowd and is especially known for its use in fajitas, making it a summer meal favorite.
  • Also Known As: fajita meat, Philadelphia steak
  • Cooking Tips: Use high heat to sear the outside while keeping the inside from overcooking.
By understanding these different steak cuts and how to cook them, you’ll be well on your way to mastering steak preparation. Your local Co-op is proud to be a supporter and partner of producers who work hard to get this meat from the farm to your forks, and we want to say a special ‘thank you’ for their efforts.
Find the nearest Co-op location here. For more content like this, check out the latest issue of The Cooperator.

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