To begin, you need to understand the basics of the different cuts of beef and how to choose the right one. From there, we’ll get into how to cook it to your desired level of done-ness.
Choosing a Steak
Examining the butcher shop cases can be overwhelming. There are so many different cuts available—big steaks, skinny steaks, huge roasts, small roasts, and more. If your goal is to cook a good steak at home, I recommend sticking with the ribeye, T-bone, New York strip, or filet mignon. These are the most expensive cuts, but in steaks you get what you pay for and these are the most tender when grilled or pan fried. The differences in tenderness come from the cow having stability muscles (think the lower back), which are less powerful and thus tender, and load-bearing muscles, which are tough. Price is directly correlated to these qualities. A tender steak will cost a lot more than a tough steak (though with the right treatment, you can successfully turn a tough cut like brisket into a tender, flavorful meal).
If the sheer volume of beef cuts still overwhelms you, check out our easy-to-read guide to steaks and their tenderness, price, and ideal preparation.
The seasoning requirements differ based on the cut. A tougher steak requires more seasoning because your eating experience is mostly about tasting the seasoning, rather than enjoying the tenderness of the cut. For example, you can get away with simple salt and pepper on a perfectly cooked filet mignon, while a flank steak used for fajitas should have some sort of spicy rub all over.
Thanks to the folks at eReplacementParts.com and John Thomas for sharing these tips and tricks!
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