Steakhouse: Steakipedia Intro
There are over 30 different cuts of steak. We don’t serve them all, and for good reason. So, let’s talk about what we do serve, and why.
Age and Grade
Why Beef is Aged, and How:
Beef must be aged to allow natural enzymes to break down fibrous connective tissue that holds the muscle together. Dry aging is the most expensive and time consuming. The beef is stored in temperature- and humidity-controlled coolers for up to six weeks. Moisture evaporates, improving texture and concentrating flavor.
The Grades of Meat: Prime, Choice, Select.
Prime: It’s what you want. Typically found only at fine butcher shops, and the best steakhouses. Its interlacing network of intramuscular fat assures tenderness, juiciness, and flavor.
The Rib Steak
Also Sold As: Spencer Steak, Scotch Filet, Entrecôte
Where It’s Cut From: The front end of the Longissimus dorsi, from the Rib primal of the steer. The further towards the head of the steer you get, the more of the Spinalis muscle you’ll find in your steak—that’s the cap of meat that wraps around the fatter end of the steak.
What It Tastes Like: The central eye of meat tends to be smooth textured with a finer grain than a strip steak, while the Spinalis section will have a looser grain and more fat. Many people consider the Spinalis to be the absolute tastiest steak, making the Ribeye one of the richest, beefiest cuts available.
The Strip Steak
Also Sold As: New York Strip, Kansas City Strip, Top Sirloin Top Loin, Shell Steak (when sold bone-in), Contre-filet
Where It’s Cut From: The Longissimus dorsi muscle in the Short loin primal (that’s the primal just behind the ribs).
What It Tastes Like: Tight texture with a definite grain means strip steaks are moderately tender, but still have a bit of chew. Good marbling and a strong beefy flavor. Not as robust as ribeye, but much easier to trim with no large pockets of fat, making it a perfect-to-cook and a peerless-to-eat cut. A steakhouse favorite.
Also Sold As: Filet, Filet mignon, Fillet, Châteaubriand (when cut as a large, center-cut roast feeding two or more)
Where It’s Cut From: The central section of the Psoas major muscle in the Short loin primal of the steer.
What It Tastes Like: Extremely tender with an almost buttery texture. Very low in fat, while satisfying in beef flavor.