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The Best Marbled Steak Cuts: How to Find the Prime Piece of Beef

well-marbled steak cut

There’s nothing quite like a juicy and tender piece of steak. Yes, I’m talking about premium cuts – ribeye, t-bone. Ones that contain a lot of marbling. And we all know marbling equals – a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

So what are the best-marbled steak cuts? Ribeye, porterhouse, skirt, t-bone, filet mignon, tomahawk, and flat iron steaks are among the best-marbled piece of beef cuts you can buy.

As a chef, I’m very well familiar with expensive steak cuts. However, there’s a reason why these cuts are so expensive in comparison to the others (rump, top round steak, etc.) – they contain more intramuscular fat, aka marbling. This type of fat makes the steak so succulent, juicy, and flavorful.

In this article, you’ll find the 8 best fatty steak cuts. I’ve included tips for cooking well-marbled meat. After all, you do not want to waste your money on a steak that is overcooked and tough.

The 8 Best Marbled Steak Cuts

First and foremost, what is beef marbling? Beef marbling is the intermuscular fat found in premium cuts of beef. This fat makes the steak so succulent, juicy, and incredibly flavorful.

Before starting with the list below, I want to mention wagyu beef. Wagyu beef is technically not a steak cut, but it is in a class of its own when it comes to marbling. This Japanese beef is prized for its intense marbling and buttery flavor.

You’ll find 8 steak cuts (in no particular order) containing much marbling in the list below.

Here’s a list of other steak cuts you may want to try. Click on one of the links below to learn more:

Ribeye Steak (Prime Rib and Rib Roast)

ribeye steak

Rib-eye steak is a beef cut from the rib section of the cow. Thanks to its abundant marbling, it’s one of the most popular and flavorful cuts of steak. The rib-eye steak is usually cut from the center part of the rib primal, between the sixth and twelfth ribs. Prime rib and rib roast are two other popular cuts of beef from the rib section. They also contain a lot of marbling. The best way to cook ribeye steak is by grilling, pan-frying, or roasting. Since it’s a highly flavorful piece of meat, it’s best not to overdo it with seasoning. Enjoy the flavor of the beef in combination with a charcoal-grilled taste (if you’re grilling it) or butter if you choose to pan-fry.

Porterhouse Steak

porterhouse steak

Porterhouse steak is a cut of beef from the short loin section of the cow behind the ribs. It contains two different cuts- the strip steak and the tenderloin. Worth mentioning that it’s one of the more expensive cuts of steak. Not only it’s a large piece of meat (it can weigh up to 24 oz), but it also contains a lot of marbling. The best way to cook porterhouse steak is by grilling and pan-frying. Many home cooks and chefs like to broil porterhouse steak (because it’s a big piece of meat). A broiler is essentially an upside-down grill, so you can still cook your steak this way if you don’t have a grill.

Skirt Steak

skirt steak

Skirt steak is a beef cut from the plate primal of the cow. It’s a long and flat piece of meat that’s well-marbled. It’s also one of the more flavorful cuts of beef. When cooked properly, it’s incredibly tender with a complex set of flavors. It’s a popular choice for fajitas, stir-fries, and sandwiches. The best way to cook skirt steak is by grilling, pan-frying, or stir-frying. It’s important not to overcook this steak because it can quickly become tough. Medium-rare or medium is the best way to cook skirt steak.

T-Bone Steak

t-bone steak

T-bone steak is an extremely juicy and tender cut of beef that comes from the short loin section. The name comes from a T-shaped bone that separates the strip steak from the tenderloin. It is very similar to the porterhouse steak. In fact, some may find it difficult to distinguish t-bone from the porterhouse steak. The only difference is that the tenderloin in a t-bone steak is smaller. When it comes to marbling, t-bone steak has more than enough fat content to provide fantastic flavor and tenderness to the meat. The best cooking method for this expensive cut of beef is grilling and pan-frying. Since it’s a very flavorful piece of meat, it’s best not to overdo it with seasoning. Enjoy the flavor of the meat by using only some kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and some fresh herbs with butter.

New York Strip Steak

new york strip steak

New York strip steak is a cut from the short loin section of the cow. It’s a boneless piece of meat that’s well-marbled and extremely flavorful. The best way to cook New York strip steak is by grilling, pan-frying, or broiling. When it comes to seasoning this steak – less is more. Overdoing seasoning will only mask the fantastic flavor of the meat. A simple combination of kosher salt freshly ground black pepper, and some butter will do the job.

Filet Mignon (Tenderloin or Chateaubriand)

filet mignon

Filet mignon is a cut that comes from the tenderloin section of the cow. It’s a small and highly tender piece of meat that’s also one of the most expensive cuts of steak. It does have some marbling, although not as much as other cuts of beef on this list; nevertheless, it’s enough to provide fantastic flavor to the steak. The best way to cook filet mignon is by grilling or pan-frying. Since it’s such a tender piece of meat, it doesn’t require special treatment. Just season it with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and you’re good to go.

Tomahawk Steak

tomahawk steak

Tomahawk steak is a big cut of meat that comes from the rib primal of the cow. It’s a bone-in steak that has a lot of marbling. If you haven’t seen the size of the meat – you’ll be surprised. It’s an extremely thick steak (comes at around 2 inches thick) It’s expensive but worth every penny. It’s big, flavorful, and incredibly tender, especially when cooked properly. And speaking of appropriately cooked, the best way to cook tomahawk steak is by grilling or pan-frying it. Often I like to broil tomahawk steak because it’s a massive piece of meat. It’s very flavorful, so it doesn’t require any special treatment for seasoning. Just some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper will do the job.

Flat Iron Steak

flat iron steak

Flat iron steak is a cut that comes from the chuck primal of the cow. It’s a boneless and relatively thin piece of meat that’s very flavorful, well-marbled, and extremely tender. Though it’s not as marbled as a rib-eye or porterhouse steak, it still has enough fat content. The best way to cook this steak is by grilling or cooking in a cast-iron pan. Season it with some kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and you’re good to go.

Tips For Cooking Well-Marbled Steak

Here’re a few tips on how to cook a well-marbled steak. When you spend a lot of money on premium steak cuts, you do not want to mess it up.

  • Bring steak to room temperature before cooking. Bringing steak to room temperature will help you achieve even cooking. Take the steak out of the fridge about 30-60 minutes before cooking;
  • Do not overthink the seasoning. Seasoning is essential, but you do not want to overdo it. Premium steak cuts are packed with flavors. A simple combination of kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, some fresh herbs, and butter will do the job;
  • Sear. Preheat a pan or a grill. It’s essential to get it nice and hot before adding the steak. Sear the steak for about 90 seconds per side. Remember to add a few tablespoons of light olive oil to the pan. It’ll help you achieve that nice crust on the outside while keeping the inside juicy and tender;
  • Do not overcook your steak. Achieving medium-rare or medium level of doneness for a premium steak is best. Some even prefer when a steak is cooked to rare or, in some cases, even blue. Cook it any more than medium, and you’ll risk drying out the meat. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak;
  • Rest your steak. Once you take it off the grill or pan, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes before cutting into it. It’ll help all those juices redistribute evenly throughout the steak.

FAQ

What steak cut has the best marbling?

Rib-eye steak is a beef cut that has the best marbling.

What is the most flavorful cut of steak?

Since ribeye steak has the most marbling, it’s also the most flavorful cut of steak. However, you need to consider how the beef was fed. If the beef were grain-fed, it’d have a different flavor than grass-fed.

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