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The Different Cuts of Steaks and How To Choose One

If you always eagerly anticipate dinner at a steak restaurant but find yourself stymied by the various cuts of meat on the menu, you may be relieved to find out that most steaks can be easily divvied into just a few easy-to-remember categories. Read on to learn more about the different cuts available in American cuisine and what to consider when choosing the best centerpiece for your meal.

Short loin cuts

  • T-bone
    The T-bone steak is cut from the front end of the short loin (adjacent to the tenderloin), and is a hearty cut of meat. The bone in the T-bone retains heat well and continues to cook the steak even after it's removed from the heat source, so you may want to order it prepared a bit more rare than usual.
  • Porterhouse
    The Porterhouse steak comes from the back part of the short loin, and differs from a T-bone primarily by the larger amount of filet it contains. Porterhouses don't have much fat for flavoring purposes but are an incredibly juicy steak that can provide the bulk of a meal or even be split between two or more diners.

Sirloin cuts

  • Top sirloin
    As the name implies, this cut is from the top part of the sirloin, located between the round (rump) and short loin (closer to the center). Top sirloin is a great low-fat choice and can be grilled or broiled.
  • Bottom sirloin
    The bottom sirloin includes steaks like the tri-tip—ultra-lean and often too chewy if under- or overcooked. You may want to have these cuts marinated and pan-fried for the best results.

Tenderloin cuts

  • Filet mignon
    A favorite of caterers for its photogenic presentation and luxurious mouth feel, the filet mignon is the choicest cut of steak. It's important not to overcook this tender piece of meat, so you'll want to order it medium or rarer.
  • Tenderloin steak
    These steaks are also quite tender and may appear on the menu as Chateaubriand or Beef Wellington. Because of their sometimes irregular shape and size, they're great for dishes that require smaller pieces of meat.

Of course, to maximize the full potential of any of these cuts, you'll want to be sure you're working with some quality beef. For a piece of meat you can count on to be fresh and high grade, make a reservation at Rusty's Ranch Cafe, in Lewiston ID.

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