A Steak Primer

This steak isn’t a comprehensive resource about meat. It’s about steak. It’s for people who want to be somewhat knowledgeable about the meal of meals.

First some basics.

  • Steak is a cut of beef cut perpendicular to the muscle fibers.

  • Steaks can be grilled, pan-fried, or broiled.

  • The tenderness of a particular cut of steak is inversely proportional to how much work that muscle has done in its life.

  • Steak is technically any fast-cooking meat part of the animal, meaning those lacking a lot of connective tissue that takes hours to cook.

One of the most important components of a good steak is its cut, meaning which part of the animal it is from.

  • The RibeyeThe Ribeye is cut from the from the rib primal of the animal, at the front end of the longissimus dorsi. It’s a highly marbled (fatty) cut, giving it lots of flavor. It’s also sold as a Delmonico.

  • The StripOften sold as a New York Strip or Top Sirloin (unrelated to that part of the animal), it’s cut from the back part of the animal’s ribs. It has a tight texture with a bit of chew to it. Leaner than the Ribeye.

  • The TenderloinCommonly known as the filet, fllet mingnon, this comes from the short loin on the animal. It’s extremely tender with an almost buttery texture and significantly less flavor than other top cuts.

  • The T-BoneAlso sold as a porterhouse, the T-Bone is a piece of tenderloin and piece of strip separated by the t-shaped bone.

Now that we know a bit about the cuts, let’s talk about how to get maximum results.

  1. Cook Time is debatable topic for many, but for those who truly love steak the answer is definitely medium or below. Most connoisseurs like it medium rare or rare, and the reason is simple: If you like the taste of the meat, you shouldn’t remove it by overcooking.

  2. Sauces are also a sensitive subject for the same reasons. The truth is that as you move into higher and higher level steaks, the added sauces and spices and such will become increasingly subtle. So on one side you have well-done steak smothered with A1, and on the other you have rare steak with more subtle additives—likely added during cooking, not after.


Hopefully this has been informative. Contact me below if you think anything should be added or adjusted.

  1. This article is focused on American steak.

  2. The Wikipedia article on steak.

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