Steak Glossary

Find out more about all the different types and cuts of steak, the most popular cut of beef.



7-Bone Steak:

Definition: Named for the "7" shaped cross section bone that runs through this cut. The 7-Bone Steak comes from the shoulder primal and is generally too tough to do anything but braise. If you do grill this one it needs a long time in a strong marinade.

Arm Steak (Swiss Steak):

Definition: This steak is cut from the bottom of the round. This is generally a tough steak that should typically be braised and not grilled. While you can soften this cut up with a marinade, this is a steak that should be used for stews or other dishes where it will be cut up before being served.

Boneless Chuck Shoulder Steak:

Definition: Cut from the larger of the chuck shoulder roast, this steak is usually no more than an inch in thickness. Typically weighing in around 10 ounces this steak usually has very little fat. Like other steaks of the chuck primal, this steak has loads of flavor, but tends to be tough. This is an excellent steak for braising, but is equally great on the grill if it has been marinated and isn't cooked much beyond medium. The center cut of this steak is known as a ranch steak.

Boneless Top Loin Steak:

Definition: This might just be the most famous steak, if it weren't called by so many different names, more commonly called a New York Strip Steak. As the name implies the Top Loin Steak comes from the top of the short loin primal. This is a tender, flavorful is certainly a favorite and is one of the most versatile steaks.

Because of the balance of tenderness and flavor, this steak can be cooking virtually any way you want as long as it is hot and fast. Great grilled, this steak is also perfect for the pan, as in a very hot cast iron pan.

Chuck Eye Steak:

Definition: The Chuck Eye Steak is cut from the chuck eye roast (Chuck Primal), lower down from the rib primal. This means that this steak is a similar cousin to a Rib-Eye Steak, but isn't as tender or flavorful. This steak is a good low cost alternative but will dry out quicker than a rib eye.

The Chuck Eye Steak is best braised to keep it moist, but is also good grilled or broiled, provided care is taken not to over cook it. This steak is best served Medium Rare. Anything above medium will need a sauce or steak topper.

Also Known As: Boneless Chuck Fillet Steak, Boneless Chuck Slices, Flank Steak:

Definition: The flank steak is technically not a steak, but has become so popular in the last few decades that it can't be ignored. The flank is the belly muscle of the cow and is typically cut into small pieces. The flank is very flavorful but contains almost no fat and will be tough pretty much no matter how you cook it.

The flank steak became very popular with mainstream introduction of fajitas. Traditionally, however, this is actually the steak known for the dish London Broil.

Hanger Steak:

Definition: The Hanger Steak is one of the Flat Steaks and is a thick strip of meat from the underside of the beef cow. It hangs (hence the name) between the rib and the loin. It is part of the diaphragm and, like a skirt steak is full of flavor but can be tough if not prepared correctly. The hanger steak has a grainy texture which is great for many dishes like fajitas or bulgogi. While you can use most any method to prepare the hanger steak it does have a tendency to dry out and get tough when exposed to dry heat. When grilling or broiling you need to use a marinade first to keep it moist. This is a very tasty steak and you will really enjoy it as long as you prepare it correctly Mock Tender Steak

This steak obviously got it's name from an advertising executive since it isn't actually anything like tender. This tough little steak comes from point of the chuck primal next to the Top Blade.

Mock Tender Steak:

Definition: This steak obviously got it's name from an advertising executive since it isn't actually anything like tender. This tough little steak comes from point of the chuck primal next to the Top Blade.

While generally a flavorful little steak this cut definitely needs a good marinade if you intend to grill it. This steak is best braised. Also Known As: Chuck Fillet Steak, Chuck Clod Tender, Shoulder Tender, Petite Fillet, Fish Steak, Chuck Tender Steak, Tender Medallions, Shoulder Petite Tender

Porterhouse Steak:

Definition: The Porterhouse is kind of a composite steak coming from the point where the tenderloin and top loin meet. Basically an over-sized T-Bone steak the porterhouse is thicker cut and has much more of the tenderloin relative to the loin portion. If you remove the bone and cut out the two steaks that basically make up this steak you will get a tenderloin steak and a top loin (or New York Strip Steak). So if you are ordering a Porterhouse, I hope you're hungry.

Rib Steak:

Definition: This steak is the same as the Rib-Eye Steak with the bone still on. Excellent grilled, this is truly the best steak in the world. Also Known As: Bone-in Rib-Eye Steak.

Rib-Eye Steak:

Definition: The Rib-Eye is cut from the roast that sits at the top of the rib primal. As a roast is known as a standing rib roast or, more commonly, Prime Rib (though technically only if it is prime grade beef). The Rib-Eye is a boneless cut. When the bone is attached it is called a Rib Steak.

Because of excellent marbling in the meat of this cut it is loaded with flavor and remains tender during cooking. This steak is best grilled (ask anyone) and will remain tender up to medium, though it is still good at medium well.

Round Steak:

Definition: Typically this is a thin steak from the middle of the top round roast, which is from the round primal. Usually there is a large circular bone on one end of this steak. The round steak can be grilled or broiled but will need to be marinated. This is going to be a tough steak and ideally is braised.

Round Tip Steak:

Definition: Cut from the tip of the round primal, the round tip steak is typically untrimmed (still has fat along the end). If trimmed it can be called a trimmed tip steak of ball tip steak. Because this steak is cut from near the tenderloin it is very tender, and much more tender than other round steaks. This means that this can be a very economical steak.

This is an excellent steak grilled or broiled, but can dry out if overcooked. You would do best to marinate the steak before cooking, or at the very least brush it lightly with olive oil to prevent drying.

Also Known As: Breakfast Steak, Knuckle Steak, Round Knuckle Peeled, Sirloin Tip Steak, Tip Center Steak

Skirt Steak:

Definition: One of the flat steaks the Skirt Steak, sometimes called a Philadelphia Steak, is tough but wonderfully delicious. If you live in the U.S. (or someplace that learned to butcher from Americans) then the Skirt Steak comes from the plate primal. If you live in the U.K. then it comes from the flank. Either way it has a lot of marbling and connective tissue. This makes it flavorful, but tough.

Skirt steak is perfect for grilling as long as you marinate it first, then grill it good and hot. Skirt steak is perfect for Fajitas.

T-bone Steak:

Definition: The T-Bone Steak is crosscut from just below the porterhouse and like that giant steak has a section of the top loin and tenderloin (though just a little bit) separated by a t-shaped bone.

The t-bone is build for grilling. The generous amounts of fat keep it moist while its tenderloin heart stays tender and flavorful. Stereotypically this is the steak on any backyard grill and often a favorite of the outdoor chef. Season lightly and grill.

Tenderloin Steak:

Definition: This steak is cut from the beef tenderloin, part of the short loin primal. It is greatly desired for being the most tender but of beef. Several steaks are actually cut from this region, the Filet Mignon, Chateaubriand, and Tournedos. The extreme tenderness of these steaks comes at the cost of the flavor (though still very good).

Tenderloin steaks are best cooked hot and fast and benefit from their time on the grill. Marinades are not required as long as you don't over cook the meat. You might want to add a little additional flavor in the form of a spice rub however.

Top Blade Steak - Flat Iron Steak:

Definition: Probably one of the must under appreciated steaks, the Top Blade Steak may be more commonly called the "Flat Iron Steak". This tender and flavorful little steak is cut from the top blade roast and comes from the chuck primal.

Perfect for the grill (or broiling) this steak has such a great flavor that it requires no real seasoning. Tender enough to cook through medium without a marinade (though I would if I were force to cook this beyond medium). This is a perfect steak on it's own.

Tri-Tip Steak:

Definition: This one steak brings more questions than any other. Originally a California cut, this steak (and roast) has become increasingly popular because of the superior flavor and because it is a steak built for grilling. The tri-tip steak is cut from the tri-tip roast. The tri-tip roast is a triangular section of the sirloin primal and comes from the point where the sirloin meets the round and flank primals (tell your butcher this if he doesn't know what a tri-tip is).

The tri-tip is an excellent steak for several reasons. First it is far less expensive than other equally flavorful steaks (i.e. Rib-Eye). The tri-tip is full of flavor because of excellent marbling and very tender as long as you don't over cook it. If you are going to take this steak beyond medium then you should probably marinate it.

Under Blade Steak:

Definition: Cut from the under the shoulder blade, the under blade steak is similar to the 7-bone steak and the top blade steak though not as tender as either. Typically this cut is left as a roast, but can be cut into steaks. When cut as steaks it is usually cut very thin. This cut is not good for grilling or broiling and should only be braised.

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