The 4 Top Cuts of Steak
By Global Master Chef Karl Guggenmos
Growing up in Bavaria in Southern Germany, I never ever had a steak.
We did have Beef dishes such as Rouladen, Sauerbraten (a marinated Beef Roast) or poached Beef along with Ground Beef mixed with Pork and Veal made into Hackbraten (Meatloaf) or Fleischplanzerl (a type of Hamburger served).
The very first time I saw and had a steak was during my apprenticeship at age 15, but I did not grill a steak until I was 18.
The first time I had a real US steak was when I came to the US in 1974 and spent 3 months at a Home Economic teacher’s house. It was certainly a whole new experience and one that I will cherish forever.
Over the decades I learned much about the right and best cuts of beef for grilling and here are my top choices.
In my opinion there are 4 cuts of steak that make the best choice:
1) The Tenderloin
- Also called filet mignon
- Sold boneless as steaks or whole
- It’s the most expensive steak
- It’s the short loin from just under the rib
- Very buttery mild flavor and tender
- Best way to cook is to sear it and finish in a hot oven. Don’t cook it more than medium
- You can also broil the whole loin and slice nice pieces after it’s finished. Great for a carving station.
2) The New York Strip
- Also called just strip, top loin or top sirloin
- Sold boneless
- Medium expensive
- Fat layer on the outside with fine marbling. Marbling are the thin lines of fat found throughout the entire steak
- Still tender with good delicious beef flavor
- Best broiled or grilled quickly at high temperature.
- Most flavorful cooked to medium rare or medium
3) The Ribeye Steak: THIS MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE!
- Sold boneless or bone in
- Cut from the upper rib cage between rib # 6-12. It’s basically the prime rib cut into steaks
- Higher in price, would recommend buying a whole prime rib and cut the steaks yourself. This way you can control the thickness.
- Really great marbling with one large marble piece on the side
- The most beefy flavored of all steaks. Very juicy, tender and just plain delicious.
- Best broiled or grilled at high temperature with a nice caramelization on the outside.
4) The Flank Steak
It actually comes from the side “flank” of the cow. It’s very thin 1-1 ½ inches and rather wide
- Sold boneless
- Reasonable priced and one 2# Steak can feed up to 6 people
- Very little marbling
- Still be very juicy and flavorful if cooked right
- This is one steak that takes well to rubs or a marinade.
- Broil or grill at high temperature for a very short time
- Always cut against the grain into thin pieces
- Great for Fajitas
- One benefit is that since the steak is tapered you can have medium and well done pieces