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The Most Tender Cuts of Steak: What You Need to Know

tender steak cuts

The most tender cuts of steak are filet mignon, t-bone, porterhouse, rib-eye, strip, top sirloin, and flat iron steaks. These steaks are at the top of the price range, but they’re worth every penny. These steaks have enough flavor and tenderness to be enjoyed without any sauce or marinades.

As a chef and steak lover, I like to season tender steak cuts with a generous amount of kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper. Overseasoning a t-bone steak (or any other tender cut) is probably not the best idea. It’s best to enjoy meat and its natural flavors without overpowering them with seasoning or marinades. And last but not least, please do not overcook the meat. So if you’re someone who enjoys eating steak, well done – try the medium-rare rib-eye steak. You’ll never want to eat steak anything more than medium.

Below you’ll find a list of the 7 most tender cuts of beef steak. Yes, these cuts are expensive but trust me, a mouthwatering flavor and tenderness are worth paying for.

Most Tender Cuts of Steak

Use kosher salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning, as I mentioned above. You can add cooking oil, butter, and some fresh herbs (thyme, fresh rosemary) depending on the steak cooking method.

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon

Filet mignon is a cut from the smaller end of the tenderloin (also known as tenderloin steak). It is known for its melt-in-your-mouth texture and tenderness. Although it is one of the more expensive cuts of steak, its rich flavor and delicate texture make it worth the splurge. The best way to cook filet mignon is by pan-searing it in a hot skillet with a little bit of oil or grilling it on a charcoal grill. Searing will help to create a nice crust on the outside of the steak while keeping the inside juicy and extremely tender.

T-bone Steak

T-bone Steak

T-bone steak is a cut of beef that contains a T-shaped bone with meat on both sides. This cut is taken from the short loin of the cow and includes both the strip steak and the tenderloin. The strip steak is a leaner, more flavorful cut of meat, while the tenderloin is more tender. So as you can see, you get the best of both cuts: tenderloin and strip steak. T-bone steaks are best cooked on a grill or cast-iron skillet. If cooking a thick cut – the reverse sear cooking method is excellent since it provides even cooking throughout.

Porterhouse Steak

Porterhouse Steak

Porterhouse steak is a cut of beef that is similar to the T-bone steak. The only difference is that the porterhouse contains a larger portion of the tenderloin. It makes the porterhouse a more expensive and slightly more tender cut of meat. The best way to cook porterhouse steak is to grill it or pan-sear it. Most porterhouse steaks are thick; therefore, the reverse sear cooking method is excellent since it provides even cooking throughout.

Ribeye Steak

Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steak is a cut of beef that comes from the cow’s rib section. It is well-marbled with fat, which gives it its rich flavor and tender texture. The best way to cook ribeye steak is to grill it or pan-sear it. When cooking rib-eye on a grill, fat is dripping down, creating flavorful smoke. If you like BBQ, it’s an excellent cut for it. It cooks fast, and it has an incredible flavor profile when cooked on a charcoal grill.

Strip Steak

Strip Steak

Strip steak is a cut of beef that comes from the short loin of the cow. It is a leaner, more flavorful cut of meat when compared to the likes of filet mignon. The best way to cook strip steak is to grill it or pan-sear it. Strip steak is best-cooked medium-rare or medium so that it remains juicy and tender. New York strip steak is a popular cut of strip steak that is named after the city in which it was first introduced (I thought you might find it interesting).

Top Sirloin Steak

Top Sirloin Steak

The top sirloin steak cut is taken from the hindquarter of the cow between the short loin and round. It is an extremely flavorful and tender cut of meat that is best cooked on a grill or pan-sear over high heat. The top sirloin steak is a versatile cut of meat that can be used for many different dishes such as steak fajitas, Philly cheesesteak, and more. As with any steak, avoid overcooking the meat since it will become tough and chewy.

Flat Iron Steak

Flat Iron Steak

The flat iron is a steak cut that comes from the chuck of the cow. It is well-marbled with fat, giving the steak a fantastic flavor and tenderness. The best way to cook a flat iron steak is to grill it, pan-sear it, or stir fry it. One thing to keep in mind is to remove the sinew (white stringy connective tissue) before cooking since it can make the steak tough.

Tips for Cooking Tender Steak Cut

Here’re a few steak cooking tips. To get the most out of the tender steak, use this guide as a checklist when buying and cooking a tender steak cut:

  • Quality beef. Make sure to buy quality beef from your local butcher shop or farmer’s market. Some specialized online stores sell good-quality steak. But what makes a good quality steak, and how to cook it? Grass-fed beef is leaner and has a more beefy flavor. It’s also packed with more nutrients compared to grain-fed beef. Grain-fed cattle is fattier and has less flavor because of its diet, but it’s more tender. Some steak lovers consider grain-fed steak too buttery. Price-wise, grass-fed beef is more expensive. But it’s worth the price for its flavor (a complex set of flavors) and nutritional value. Cooking both grass-fed and grain-fed is identical. Grain-fed has more fat, so you need to be more careful when grilling it;
  • Doneness level. When cooking tender steak cut, please do not overcook it. It’ll make the steak tough. The ideal doneness level for a tender steak is medium-rare or medium. This is when the steak is juicy and pink in the center. Here’s a steak temperature chart so that next time you cook steak, it’s perfect;
  • Cooking time. Do not leave tender steak unattended when cooking. It’ll overcook quickly. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steak. Also, avoid braising tender meat since it does not need the extra cooking time;
  • Seasoning. Most tender steak cuts have a lot of flavors and great texture; therefore, using too much seasoning can mask the taste of the meat. So go easy on the seasoning. Salt and pepper are fine, if not too much. If you want to experiment with other seasonings, use them sparingly;

Note: Boneless steak takes less time to cook compared to bone-in steaks. When slicing the steak, keep in mind that thin slices cool down way faster than thick ones.

FAQ

What cut of steak is the most tender?

The most tender cut of steak is the filet mignon. Because it’s an inactive muscle, it doesn’t get a lot of exercise and is very delicate. It’s also the most expensive cut of steak.

What’s the second most tender cut of steak?

The second most tender cut of the steak is the top loin steak. Located in the cow’s upper back, it’s a long and thick steak with good marbling. It’s also known as a strip steak or New York strip steak.

How do you tenderize steaks?

The best way to tenderize the steak is with a meat mallet. A meat mallet is a tool that has blunt spikes or knobs that are used to pound the steak. This action breaks down the muscle fibers, making them more tender. You can also use a sharp knife to cut through the steak’s grain for a quicker way to tenderize it. Or marinate it in acidic ingredients. However, the best and most straightforward method is dry brine steak. All you need is some kosher salt and ground black pepper. Season the steak with salt and pepper on both sides and let it sit for at least an hour before cooking. Salt will break down the muscle fibers and make the steak more tender.

How do you make steak juicy and tender?

The best way to make steak juicy and tender is to cook it to medium-rare or medium. This is when the steak is pink in the center and juicy. Alternatively, you can use marinades to add moisture and flavor to the steak.

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