Steak cuts explained

The world of steak is a beautiful, delicious mess when it comes to steak cuts. 

Steak Cuts explained

Are you cut up on steak cuts? It can be confusing. There are a number of steak cuts and they vary in taste, texture and even name (the British Sirloin is an American strip steak, while the American sirloin is British rump steak).

This article tidies things up. You can click on the interactable cow or scroll through this article to get an explanation of each cut of steak as well as variations in the name. If you’re reading this on a mobile device then our interactable cow works best on landscape mode.

The key steak cuts

The following steaks cuts are the most popular cuts. You’ll see these in supermarkets or restaurants.

Fillet (UK) 

Tenderloin (US), Eye Fillet (AUS/NZ)

The ace of steaks; the fillet is the most premium and tender of all cuts and a properly prepared and cooked fillet steak will melt in your mouth.  Fillets steak will usually be more expensive and smaller than other cuts and what they gain in tenderness over cuts like Sirloin, they lose in taste.

Rib Eye 

A large, tasty and tender steak from the rib section of the cow. Usually has a high degree of marbling (a desirable dispersion of fat throughout the steak resulting in a more juicy and flavorful steak). Can be served with bone (bone in rib eye) or without. Most steakhouses will offer Rib Eye and it will typically be at the premium end of their menu.

Rump Steak (UK/AUS/NZ)

Sirloin/Scotch Fillet (US)

A tasty and lean steak from the lower back area of the cow. Tasty, lean and relatively tender you’ll find Rump steak in most steakhouses. Typically you’ll get a larger amount of Rump steak at a lower cost compared to cuts like Rib Eye.

Watch out: In the United States this is a Sirloin steak.

Sirloin (UK)

Strip/Porterhouse (US), Porterhouse (AUS/NZ)

A very tasty and fatty steak from the back area of the cow. The sirloin steak is a famous and common steak known by many names including New York Strip, Kansas City Strip Steak as well as Porterhouse.

Sirloin steaks with more marble (fat throughout the steak) are likely to be tasty succulent. The Sirloin steak can also be enjoyed as a larger T-Bone steak. The Sirloin is attached to one side of the thoracic vertebrae “T-Bone”, while the Fillet/Tenderloin is on the other.

T-Bone

A very large and tasty steak made up of two cuts of steak separated by the thoracic vertebrae bone. This steak offers the best of both worlds: The taste of the sirloin and the tenderness of the fillet. The difference between the T-bone steak and Porterhouse is that the T-Bone is cut from the centre back of the cow resulting in a smaller fillet while the porterhouse is cut from the lower back resulting in larger cut of fillet. 

We have a special feature on the T-Bone Tour of London, where Steak Boner is attempting to find out which London Butcher has the best T-Bone steak. Check it out here.

Other steak cuts

You may come across the following steak cuts from time to time (especially the Butler’s steak/Flat Iron if you’re a fan of the Flat Iron restaurants in London).

Brisket

A tasty economical cut of beef from the breast area of the cow. Similar to Shank, Skirt and Flank in tenderness and recommended to slow cook to get the most tenderness

Flat Iron (US/UK)

Oyster Steak (Aus/NZ)

A tasty and fashionable steak from the ‘feather’ muscle in the shoulder area of the cow. This steak is marbled and succulent. It’s also sold cheaply which makes it excellent value. This is the cut of choice at London’s popular Flat Iron restaurants.

Flank (UK/AUS/NZ)

London Broil (US)

A tasty steak taken from the lower chest of the cow. Very similar to skirt steak, this steak also favours taste over tenderness.

Shank (UK/US/AUS/NZ)

Taken from the leg of the cow, Shank is lean but very tough and would make poor steak. Instead cuts of shank should be ground or slow cooked to maximize tenderness

Skirt (UK/AUS/NZ)

Hanger (US)

A tasty steak taken from the belly of the cow. Very similar to flank steak, this steak also comprises tenderness for taste.

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