Strip, Delmonico, T-Bone, Skirt, there seem to be endless ways to cut a steak, and while many recipes will work regardless of the cut (our favorite Grilled Steak Tacos for example works with a few different cuts), it’s important to understand where the steak comes from and how to prepare it for optimal flavor and texture. This guide works to breakdown and demystify some of Local Roots favorite and most common cuts. We’ll go over the basics of taste, dip into preparation and even offer recipes, so let’s get started!
Delmonico Steak: This marbled cut is known for it’s rich flavor and juiciness. Named after the infamous Delmonico’s SteakHouse in New York City, this is the cut you think of when you think of a “special occasion” steak. It’s cut from the fore-rib of the cow, making it flavorful and tender. Delmonico Steak is great for grilling or searing in a skillet. The cut is perfect on it’s own for dinner, or can be sliced up for a steak sandwich or protein for salad. Try our Mushroom Rubbed Delmonico Steak if you’re feeling fancy.
London Broil: Despite its deceiving name, the London Broil is your classic, everyday American steak. It’s name actually comes from the way it’s often prepared — marinated for hours, broiled and served. Cut from the Round, it’s lean and tender, which makes it great for absorbing the flavor of your marinade. Make it for dinner and you’ll be bringing the steakhouse into your kitchen.
Eye & Bottom Round: This cut comes from the back-end of the cow, making it a tender lean meat. This boneless cut is extremely versatile. You can braise it with bold flavors (like this Asian Braised Beef recipe), or cook it low and slow on the skillet for a delicious piece of steak. This “everyday” cut is a good choice for experimenting in the kitchen— try it over the grill or straight in the skillet. In addition to a delicious lean steak dinner, Round cuts are good in a stir fry.
Sirloin Steak: Sirloin Steak is your quintessential “steak night” choice. This cut tends to have a bold beefy flavor, so it stands well on its own. Cut from the lower back of the cow, the Sirloin is naturally lean but firm, which makes it an excellent choice for grilling. Add some roasted veggies or a seasonal slaw and your meal is complete.
Chip Steak: This thinly sliced beef cut from the Round of the cow is used for American favorites like Philly Cheesesteak, but it’s potential reaches far beyond a cheesy sandwich. This cut is ridiculously easy to cook. Just add some salt and pepper, drain the excess fat, and you have a delicious steak addition to your morning eggs, lunchtime salads or sandwiches.
Flank Steak: This cut lends to a mild, but beefy flavor with tight, strong grains. Cut from the belly muscle of the cow, it’s perfect for marinating and if often a nice thickness for slicing. Though it can be on the leaner side, it’s beefy flavor can be brought out on the grill or in a skillet cooked to medium-well. The easy to slice factor also makes it great for stir fry, kabob and fajitas. Or, it can hold its own with a marinade flavor boost like the one from this Grilled Flank Steak with Cherry Tomato Vinaigrette. Pro tip: be sure to cut against the grains to prevent tough, chewy bites.
Tri-Tip Steak: This popular cut comes from the bottom corner of the Sirloin primal, AKA the back, which is why it’s called a tri-tip (it’s the little triangle on the bottom of this part). It’s lean with a mild flavor, but tends to be juicy in the best way. It can have nice marbling and is great for high-heat cooking projects, but can overcook and become tough quickly (try to stick to medium-rare for this one). It’s great in tacos, sandwiches, on the grill or rubbed and smoked for some extra flavor. Due to the shape, the top can be overcooked quickly, for best practice, keep the tip of the triangle farthest away from your heat.
Skirt Steak: This cut is deliciously rich and buttery, with lots of fat and a loose, grained texture. Cut from the belly of the cow, Skirt Steak is usually thin, which means that although it’s fatty, it’s easy to get a nice char over high-heat. The thickness also lends well to marination (see this Grilled Simple Chimichurri Marinated Skirt Steak recipe to try it yourself.) It’s great for grilling or pan-searing over high heat, and works excellently in fajitas, for breakfast with eggs or in tacos. Remember, always cut against the grain to avoid tough meat.
Bavette Steak: Bavette is French for bib, named after the long, flat shape of this cut. Similar to Skirt steak, this cut comes from the belly of the cow and is rich in flavor and texture. Often reserved as one of the best cuts, and commonly known as the butchers choice, the fatiness of this cut brings out the rich flavors. Cooks similarly to the Skirt — best quick and over high heat to about medium-rare.
While we love steak however you cut it, what makes the Local Roots beef so flavorful is what the cows are eating before we eat them. Grass-fed, grass-finished cows make for more flavorful, nutrient rich meats, and animals who are freely allowed to graze are often healthier, producing more delicious product. You can taste it in the pasture-raised beef from Acabonac Farms in Long Island. The cattle graze freely, eating antibiotic and pesticide-free grass for their entire lives. In the winter they eat high-quality hay, rounding out a healthy diet. This is not only good for the cows (and the taste of their steaks), but also the land.
Article by Local Roots Content Volunteer Sylvie Florman
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