Man Skills: How to pick the perfect steak for you
Do you know which cut of beef is the juiciest? Or which is the most flavoursome? Here’s everything you need to know to become a steak aficionado.Peter Iantorno January 19, 2015
Some people are of the staunch opinion that steak should always be served rare, and anybody who says otherwise is a philistine who knows nothing about food.
However, as anybody who really knows their steaks will tell you, (and we've got form in that area, having tried and tested all the best steakhouses in Dubai for our definitive guide) each different cut of meat actually needs to be treated completely differently to get the best results.
Sure, some cuts are absolutely at their best served rare, with blood pouring out as you slice into them with the knife, but others require a little more care and attention. Here's all you need to know about picking the perfect steak for your taste:
With the average cow producing just six kilograms of fillet, there's no wonder it's the most expensive cut by far. It's the most tender cut because it does not bear any of the animal’s weight, but it also has very little fat, which means that although it's very lean, it has less flavour than many other cuts.
Other names: Tenderloin.
Where it is: Runs along both sides of the animal’s spine.
How to cook it: Rare.
Cost: Around AED 120 per kilogram.
Best for: If you like super-lean and super tender meat and don't mind paying for the privilege, this is the cut for you.
Often dubbed "the perfect cut" due to its shape, which stays the same however thick the meat is cut, this steak is slightly less tender than the fillet, but gets an injection of flavour from the strip of fat running down its side.
Other names: Striploin, New York strip.
Where it is: Top of the animal, just before the rump.
How to cook it: Medium rare.
Cost: Around AED 75 per kilogram.
Best for: A good all-rounder, for those who like a bit more of a beefy flavour but still want a lean cut.
Taken from the under-exercised rib section of the cow, the rib-eye steak is tender yet highly marbled, making it the most flavoursome premium cut. However, don't be tempted to eat it rare, as the high fat content needs to be rendered down to get the best from this steak.
Other names: Delmonico, scotch fillet, prime rib (if left on the bone).
Where it is: Rib section of the animal.
How to cook it: No lower than medium.
Cost: Around AED 80 per kilogram.
Best for: Tender, juicy and with a deep, beefy flavour, this is best for those who value pure beef flavour over all else.
The rump steak isn't the tenderest of cuts due to its position on the animal, but what it lacks in tenderness it makes up more in flavour.
Other names: Top sirloin, round (if you're in America).
Where it is: Where do you think?
How to cook it: Medium rare.
Cost: Around AED 60 per kilogram.
Best for: A flavoursome steak that's best eaten when it's still blushing inside, the rump is ideal for those with a large appetite and a slightly tighter budget.
So called due to its prominent T-shaped bone, this steak gives you the best of both worlds, as it is cut to include a portion tender fillet and a flavoursome sirloin.
Other names: Porterhouse.
Where it is: The front end of the short loin, where the fillet and sirloin are.
How to cook it: Medium.
Cost: Around AED 110 per kilogram.
Best for: The bone means some on-plate butchery is required, but what it lacks in finesse it more than makes up for in size and flavour. Best for those with a big appetite and a fat wallet.