With the July 4th holiday just around the corner, now is a good time to review which steak cuts you may want to serve up on your grill next week. with so many choices, you can’t go wrong, but you can select the flavor profile and costs of the cuts you select.
Here’s a quick guide to grassfed steaks to help you make the best choice for you and your family. Thanks to Shannon at the RadicalHomemaker for the input.
Filet Mignon (aka Tenderloin): This is the most expensive cut on the entire beef. That’s because it’s super tender, and because it makes up less than two percent of the carcass weight. It is very lean, but also very easy on the teeth. If tenderness is your number one priority when choosing a cut of meat, then pay the price and don’t look back. Grassfed tenderloin/filet mignon has the added benefit of being far more flavorful than a grain-fed steak, with all the great mouth feel.
That said, if flavor and heightened texture are more important to you, read on….
Porterhouse & T-bones: Porterhouse and T-bones are typically the next most expensive cuts on the animal. That’s because a piece of the filet is nestled in one corner, and another semi-precious cut, the top loin, is nestled in the other side of the big T bone that divides the steak. What makes a Porterhouse different from a T-bone, you ask? The size of that filet piece. If the filet portion is larger than a U.S. quarter, it is designated a Porterhouse. If it is the size of a quarter or smaller, it becomes a slightly less expensive T-bone. Both steaks give you a price break from the filet, and an added flavor boost. Both cuts are also lean and tender (although not as tender as the filet).
NY Strip: The NY strip is the same piece of meat that appears on the long portion of a porterhouse or T-bone. This top loin muscle is very lean and easily over-cooked, but when handled gently, will have great tenderness.
Delmonicos: If tenderness is a nice attribute, but flavor and marbling are more important, Delmonico Steaks are your better choice. They are usually judged and priced for their marbling. Yup. That means fat. If you complain to a farmer that his or her Delmonicos are “too fatty,” they’ll probably look at you like you’re crazy. Fat on a Rib Eye is a sign of the farmers’ skills at managing their livestock and pastures. And the grassfed flavor — that mineral-rich, sweet herbaceous flavor that people seek, shines through.
Sirloin: You value flavor, but you just can’t get into the fat thing. Maybe it’s a texture issue, or maybe the low-fat craze of the 1980s and 1990s really just got too ingrained in your psyche. But still, you like some flavor and juiciness.… But you’ve got a lot of mouths to feed. It’s time to look at the sirloin steak. Sirloin, which is often boneless, is a great please-all cut. With fat around the outside to add flavor, but plenty of tender lean muscle, it lets fat-lovers and lean-lovers sit down at the table together with a high-flavor cut that should fit into most budgets.
London Broil/Top Round Steak and the Sirloin Tip Steak: While the London Broil was once taken from the hanger (a cut that hangs from the diaphragm and is quite rare in dry-aged meats because it often disintegrates during the aging process), the London Broil is now usually cut from the top round, and the sirloin tip comes just ahead of it, closer to the sirloin. If you like flavor and don’t want a lot of fat or bone waste, these are good cuts. Better still, if you like to season your steaks with a marinade, these are your cuts. I never let a customer purchase a more expensive cut if they plan to marinate their steaks, as the more tender muscling gets mushy in the acid. Also, the Londons and Sirloin Tips stand up well with their own rich grassfed flavor. You can taste the marinade and that signature grassfed beefy flavor. And the price? Very affordable. We often recommend these steaks to families with lots of mouths to feed on a tighter budget.
Skirt, Flank, Flat Iron, Chuck Eye: Are you the sort of omnivore who delights in ripping into a cut of meat, savoring intense flavor and juice while you revel in the experience of chewing your food? Look no further. These are your cuts. These are the high-flavor, high-texture cuts. They can stand up to marinades, they have intra-muscular fat to keep them juicy, and they have the most intense beefy flavor. If you like to cut your beef with a butter knife, you will not be happy with these cuts. But if you come to your plate armed with a good steak knife and a set of canines eager to chew, you will be in steak heaven….And your wallet will thank you, as these are among the least expensive steaks on the animal.