Learn about our steaks
Chuck’s a value steak, but that doesn’t mean it’s not delicious when you get the right slab and prepare it properly. The chuck eye is like the rib eye’s less well-to-do brother. The top blade’s what you’re getting with a flat-iron steak. Pot roast is all chuck. The rest goes into burgers. You’re a hell of a diverse guy, Chuck! But be wary at the supermarket: Chuck’s often generically labeled, so definitely look for the one without a ridiculous amount of fat on it… otherwise, you’re grilling up something that belongs in a slow-cooker.
Essentially, this is a steak that was destined to become prime rib before it got hacked off to be grilled. The eye refers to being cut from the center of the rib. As with prime rib, the layer of fat gives it an extra-awesome juiciness. Get it boneless, or be a total badass and get a tomahawk chop with the full rib sticking out. Just Make sure it’s bright red, with white strips of fat running throughout. They’ll melt right in.
Short loin is the American name for a cut of beef that comes from the back of the cattle. It contains part of the spine and includes the top loin and the tenderloin. This cut yields types of steak including porterhouse, strip steak (Kansas City Strip, New York Strip), and T-bone (a cut also containing partial meat from the tenderloin).
The sirloin steak is cut from the back of the animal.
In a common U.S. butchery, the steak is cut from the rear back portion of the animal, continuing off the short loin from which T-bone, porterhouse, and club steaks are cut. The sirloin is actually divided into several types of steak. The top sirloin is the most prized of these and is specifically marked for sale under that name. The bottom sirloin, which is less tender and much larger, is typically marked for sale simply as “sirloin steak”. The bottom sirloin in turn connects to the sirloin tip roast.
In a common British, South African, and Australian butchery, the word sirloin refers to cuts of meat from the upper middle of the animal, similar to the American short loin, while the American sirloin is called the rump. Because of this difference in terminology, in these countries, the T-bone steak is regarded as a cut of the sirloin.
Top round has minimal marbling and a distinct pinkness, which means it’s one of the the toughest cuts on the cow (bovines NEVER skip leg day at the gym). As a result, this stuff it super popular among jerky makers. It’s also great for stew.
Most popularly used for the ultra-rare London broil and cut in chunks for stir-fry and carne asada, the flank’s like the skirt’s tougher brother, and typically requires either a super-slow or super-fast cook in order to become chewable. Because it’s a long cut, look for one with consistent girth (tee hee): getting one that’s fat on one end and skinny on the other means you’re likely going to overcook one end, undercook one end, or, tragically do both.
In U.S. butchery, the plate of beef (also known as the short plate) is a forequarter cut from the belly of the cow, just below the rib cut. It is typically a cheap, tough, and fatty meat. In U.K. butchery, this cut is considered part of the brisket.
It is used for two kinds of steak: skirt steak, used for fajitas, and hanger steak. It may also be cured, smoked, and thinly sliced to make beef bacon.
The beef navel is the ventral part of the plate, and it is commonly used to make pastrami.
The remainder is usually used for ground beef.
For a while, this hunk of bottom sirloin was typically used for burgers. Then, in the ’50s, some dude in Cali decided that it would be better off as a grilled or smoked steak. He was right, and thus was born the Santa Maria steak. Now, the gigantic heart-shaped cut is everywhere, from specialty butchers to Costco, which sells a pre-marinated version die-hards swear by. If you can, try to find one with a moderate amount of fat: Given the size, they need to spend some time on the grill, which can dry them out if they’re too lean.
One of the most universally loved cuts around the world, it’s a mainstay in pho and extremely popular on the Korean BBQ menu. In Texas, it’s pretty much the state animal, despite just being a part of an animal. When shopping for the perfect brisket, look for a nice layer of fat. Also, give it a poke: if it’s super-stiff, it’ll remain that way when you cook it. If it’s soft, you’re gonna have something that melts in your mouth.