- I’m a professional chef with experience picking the best cuts of meat for almost any steak dish.
- The filet mignon pairs well with many flavors, but it’s imperative to not overcook this cut of meat.
- The tri-tip sirloin and flank steak are perfect for grilling but should be cut against the grain.
Head into any grocery store, and the sheer number of steak options can be overwhelming, with a myriad of available cuts and a variety of price ranges to choose from.
When it comes to picking a steak, it’s important to remember that fat equals flavor. Some cuts have a lot of marbling, or fat woven throughout the piece of meat. A fat cap, which is a thick outer layer on the meat, also adds flavor to different cuts.
Here’s how I cook different cuts of meat for the best steak:
Filet mignon plays well with a multitude of flavors
Filet mignon is one of the most expensive cuts on the menu because it plays well with so many other flavors.
Sear this steak in oil with some salt and pepper, being careful not to cook above medium, and add any sauce you prefer.
Anything fat-forward, such as browned butter and sage, a béarnaise sauce, or a red-wine reduction with cold butter, would taste great. Wrapping the filet in bacon also adds flavor and fat.
The T-bone is two cuts in one
This cut is actually two steaks — the New-York strip and the filet mignon — separated by a bone.
With the combination of the full, meaty flavor of the strip and the tender filet, I recommend cooking this cut over high heat with just salt and pepper.
Any brown-butter or steak sauce would pair well and offset the flavor profile.
The Tomahawk can take longer to cook, but it’s worth it
With a fat cap and at least 5 inches of rib bone extending from the meat, the Tomahawk is actually a rib-eye or cote de boeuf.
The extra 5 inches of bone can be cleaned of excess meat, or frenched, and then cooked over medium-high heat.
This cut is often aged before selling and can take a bit longer to cook than its thinner counterparts, but I think the extra effort is worth it.
Flank steak is perfect for marinating
The two most important factors in making a great flank are marinading and not overcooking.
Cook the steak in a pan or on a grill to medium-rare to ensure the most tenderness and get those juices flowing.
You should let your steak rest for a few minutes before slicing against the grain, and if cooking in a skillet, use the marinade for a quick pan sauce.
The flat iron is very versatile
This newer cut, also known as blade steak or top blade, is found on the shoulder of a cow and is incredibly versatile.
The flat iron is one of the most tender cuts because of its great marbling and also boasts a bold flavor at a lower price point than other cuts.
You can treat this steak like a New-York strip and cook at high heat until the outside is seared and the inside is medium-rare to medium for best results. Season with salt and pepper or add a spice rub for a little kick.
Grill and slice the tri-tip sirloin steak against the grain
The trip-tip is cut from the bottom of the sirloin and is shaped like a triangle.
It’s perfect for marinating and grilling but needs to be cooked to medium and sliced against the grain to be truly enjoyed.