There are many different steak types, so it’s normal if you only know a few of the big names. Each one’s unique – think size, tenderness, flavor, marbling, price, and even the way it’s cut. That’s what makes each steak special in its way.
Here’s a rundown of 16 different types of steak available across the United States.
1. Strip Steak
Strip steak, also known as the new york strip or kansas city strip, comes from the short loin of a cow. It’s got a great beefy taste and is usually pretty tender, but a lot depends on the steak’s grade and how much marbling it’s got. What’s cool is that a strip steak can be either lean or have more fat, depending on the grade. Strip steak is great for grilling and pan-searing, plus it’s also super easy to cook, which makes it perfect for beginners.
2. Ribeye Steak
Ribeye steak, also known as rib eye, comes from the rib section of a cow. It’s got a really rich flavor, and it’s super tender. It’s also one of the fattiest cuts, which is why it tastes so good, but that also makes it one of the more expensive options. Regarding cooking, pan-searing is fantastic for bringing out its best. It gives you that awesome crust and keeps the inside juicy. Grilling is cool, too, but watch out for those flare-ups because of all the fat. Try reverse searing on the grill if your steak is about 1.75 to 2 inches thick. It’s a game-changer for cooking ribeye on the grill.
3. Flat Iron Steak
Flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of the cow, specifically from the chuck primal. Flat iron steak is a part of the top blade roast, which sits right above the shoulder blade. This steak is very tender and has a great beefy flavor. Flat iron steak is one of the most tender cuts of steak you can find. What’s cool about it is that it stays tender and juicy even if you cook it to medium doneness or more. Plus, flat iron steak is awesome for pan-searing and grilling.
4. Top Blade Steak
Top blade steak comes from the chuck primal, right from the shoulder top blade roast. It’s got a great beefy taste and a very tender texture. It’s the same muscle you find in flat iron steak, but here’s the thing – they’re butchered differently. The top blade has this big, tough sinew right in the middle that runs through the entire cut. Meanwhile, the flat iron steak doesn’t have that sinew, making it a better choice.
5. Outside Skirt Steak
Outside skirt steak comes from the diaphragm muscle, part of the cow’s plate primal. It’s different from the inside skirt steak; it’s longer, wider, thicker, and has more fat. This skirt steak has a rich, beefy flavor and gets really tender if you slice it against the grain. An outside skirt steak is just a better version of a skirt steak. Since it’s pretty thin, cooking it fast on high heat works best. Grilling is ideal to get that nice crust, especially if you’re aiming for medium-rare.
6. Inside Skirt Steak
Inside skirt steak comes from the plate primal of the cow, specifically the transversus abdominis muscle. It’s got a really good beefy taste and is pretty tender if you slice it against the grain, but it’s not quite as amazing as the outside skirt steak. Inside skirt steak cut is super versatile – you can cook it just like a regular steak or slice it thin for various recipes. Because it’s so thin, the best way to cook it is using direct and indirect heat on the grill, especially if you’re marinating it. You can also pan-sear it, but be careful – it’s easy to overcook it because it’s so thin.
7. Tenderloin Steak (Filet Mignon)
Tenderloin steak, also known as filet mignon, comes from the middle of the psoas major muscle in the loin area of the cow. It’s extremely tender but has a mild taste. It’s not just the most tender cut of the cow but also the most expensive. About 1.5 to 2 inches thick filet mignon is perfect for grilling or pan-searing, like ribeye or strip steak.
8. Hanger Steak
The hanger steak comes from the short plate primal of the cow, right at the front of the belly. It gets its name because it hangs from the cow’s diaphragm. It’s a big piece of meat, lean yet tender and full of strong beefy flavor, especially when cooked and sliced correctly. Remember to cut the hanger steak against the grain after cooking to make it as tender as possible. Hanger steak has a nice, grainy texture that works well with marinades. It’s perfect for pan-searing or grilling, but grilling is the way to go if you’re marinating it.
9. Tri-Tip Steak
Tri-Tip steak, also known as newport steak, comes from the bottom sirloin part of the cow. It’s a lean cut, but don’t let that fool you – it’s pretty tender if cooked correctly and has a good, strong, beefy flavor. The best way to cook Tri-Tip is to grill or pan-sear it, then slice it against the grain to keep it as tender as possible.
10. Coulotte Steak (Picanha)
Coulotte steak, also known as picanha steak, comes from the top sirloin butt subprimal in the sirloin primal area of the cow. This steak has a strong beefy taste and is tender if you cook and slice it right. Coulotte steak turns out awesome whether you grill it, pan-sear, roast it in the oven, do it sous-vide, or even smoke it.
11. Flap Steak (Bavette Steak)
Flap steak, also known as bavette steak, comes from the bottom sirloin butt. It’s a pretty big cut of beef famous for its beefy flavor, moderate fat content, and quite tender texture if you slice it the right way – against the grain. It’s such a long piece of meat that you’ll probably need to cut it in half or even into smaller pieces for pan cooking. But honestly, the best way to cook this bavette steak is on the grill. It just brings out the best in it.
12. Porterhouse Steak
The porterhouse steak is a two-in-one cut from the rear part of the cow’s short loin primal. Porterhouse steak is like getting two steaks in one. Why two in one? Because you get a filet mignon and a strip steak in one steak. What’s great about the porterhouse steak is how it combines the super tender filet with the rich, beefy taste of the strip. Its impressive appearance on a plate makes it a favorite in steakhouses. Due to its unique shape and bone, cooking it evenly in a pan is tricky. That’s why grilling is the way to go for a porterhouse.
13. T-Bone Steak
The T-Bone Steak is a two-in-one cut from the front part of the cow’s short loin primal. It’s pretty much like the porterhouse steak. The only difference between them is the width of the filet mignon portion. Since the T-bone comes from the front of the short loin, it ends up with a smaller filet mignon than the porterhouse, which comes from the rear part of the short loin. According to the USDA, the filet mignon part must be less than 1.25 inches wide for a steak to be considered a T-bone. If it’s wider than 1.25 inches, then it’s a porterhouse steak.
14. Cowboy Steak
A Cowboy Steak is a ribeye but with a twist. It’s got a bone that is up to 5 inches long. Believe it or not, it tastes just like a boneless ribeye because the bone doesn’t change the flavor. What sets the Cowboy steak apart, though, is that it’s usually a bit thicker than your usual boneless ribeye. Plus, it’s got this cool look, thanks to the slightly longer bone sticking out.
15. Tomahawk Steak
Tomahawk steak is a ribeye with a long bone, longer than you see on a cowboy steak. It’s one of the best-looking steaks, and that’s a big reason why it’s popular in steakhouses, especially for special dinners. Tomahawk steak tastes like any other ribeye, but it’s usually a bigger cut, so you must cook it differently. Grilling it with the reverse searing method is the way to go. It cooks the steak evenly and brings out all those great flavors.
16. Rib Steak
Rib steak, also known as Cote de Boeuf, is a ribeye with the bone still in. Taste-wise, it’s like any boneless ribeye. The only difference is that the bone gives it a different look. Remember that the meat near the bone cooks slower than the rest, but this doesn’t change the overall flavor of the steak. During cooking, the meat shrinks on a pan, so the bone can sometimes prevent the steak from having full contact with the pan surface. Because of that, it’s better to cook the rib steak on a grill if you want to achieve evenly cooked rib steak with a great crust.
What is Steak?
Steak, specifically beef steak, is a cut of meat that comes from the muscles of a cow. Usually, steak is a thick cut of beef sliced across the muscle fibers. Depending on the steak cut, it is available in a bone-in or boneless version. There are as many as dozens of different types of steak, which differ in fat content, flavor, tenderness, juiciness, and size. And when it comes to cooking steak, you’ve got options: skillet, grill, oven, sous-vide, or even a smoker.