Have you ever struggled to order the perfect dish at your favorite American steakhouse? Perhaps you wonder, what’s the difference between a filet mignon and a New York strip? At the Original Great American Land & Cattle Co., the cuts we place on your plate are the finest. We cut the steak in-house and every piece of Sterling grass-fed beef is prepared daily. So when we say we know steak, we mean it! Here are a few fun facts about different cuts.
First Come the Primal Cuts
The type of steak you order and its tenderness all depend on the cut and what portion of the cow that it came from. The meat in the neck and legs are the toughest because those are the muscles that work the most. Typically, the farther away from these cuts the meat gets more tender. The animal is first cut into what are called primal cuts. This is different than prime cut, which means higher quality cuts.
American Beef Cuts
Every culture has different cuts of beef and names for them. At an American steakhouse, your meat will come from one of eight primal cuts. From each portion you have flavor and tenderness distinctions. Tenderness depends on, again, how far it is from the most active parts of the cow. For instance, the tenderloin is below the spine from muscles that hardly move. But the shake comes from the leg, and is typically only used for soup. This is because it is so tough. Flavor depends on the amount of marbling from fat within the muscles.
Forequarter Primal Cut
The forequarter cut, which is the chuck, is the front portion of the cow from the shoulder to the 5th rib. It includes bone-in steak, chuck steaks, and roasts. This is also the portion used for most ground beef. The rib cut is from rib 6 to 12. It contains ribs and prime rib. The prime rib portion is a big favorite at any American steakhouse. It is from the upper ribcage and has lots of marbling. It’s very thick and juicy.
Hindquarter Primal Cut
The hindquarter is as the word explains, the hind back portion. It includes the short loin, which runs from the rib 13 to the hip. It is extremely tender due to little motion. It includes t-bone, strip steaks, top and bottom sirloins. The tenderloin is a separate subprimal and is cut into filet mignons. The filet mignon is known for its tenderness and mild flavor. It is extremely thick, but a smaller cut. It is best when trimmed of all fat and gristle.
The t-bone, which is also called the porterhouse, is a thick meaty steak. This portion also has a lot of marbling. When you order this steak you will get a very tender, buttery flavor. The New York strip is the best of both worlds. It is found in the loin, but right behind the ribs. It has a layer of fat around the edge, but with little marbling. It has a fine texture and medium fat content. The New York strip is tender, with a rich beefy flavor. Another favorite, the sirloin, comes from the hip portion. It is usually a bit more tough but full of flavor.
The Value at an American Steakhouse
These premium cuts are only a small portion of the whole primal cut, which explains the higher value placed on these portions on your plate. The whole cow yields plenty of meat, but few steak portions. So when you sit down with your family at Original Great American Land & Cattle Co., your favorite American steakhouse, your feast consists of high demand beef. Be sure to savor every bite!