Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cuts of Steak and How to Cook Them

By K.C. Kudra

Many of us have trouble determining which steak is the right one for you, especially if we mostly see steak on our plate in a restaurant. This can make it seem pretty intimidating for those of us who would like to start cooking our own steaks at home. Let us take a look at some of the steaks we can buy, and the best way to prepare them.

Rib Eye - A good cut for beginners and popular all round choice in restaurants, this fatty steak is flavorful and juicy, and works well in most cooking situations, whether broiled, grilled, or pan-fried.

New York Strip - Also, this versatile and tender cut is relatively flavorful. It is best prepared by pan frying or grilling, not broiling. The fat can be trimmed, but do it only after cooking - the fat is what adds the flavor to this great steak.

Tenderloin - This is one of the most expensive cuts of steak on the market, and is extremely tender and lean. That has why many decide to pan sear it in butter, or cook it in a wrapping of bacon. Due to its price, most people only cook tenderloin as a special treat.

T-Bone - We have all heard of the t-bone, a combination tenderloin and New York Strip. Porterhouse steaks are a kind of large, tender t-bone steak that is cut further up the loin. They can be pretty tricky to cook, since the bone makes it hard to cook evenly throughout. This is not a steak for those who prefer their meat well done, and it does not sear or pan fry well. Try broiling or grilling a t-bone for best results.

Flank Steak - Long and thin, this is a cut of meat used traditionally in London Broil, but that is not the only option. Consider flank steak on the grill when you are serving a lot of people. Remember that although it is more flavorful than many high-end steaks, it is also pretty expensive. That means you should marinate your flank steak and cook it whole, slicing across the grain on a diagonal to serve.

Skirt Steak - This cut is a lot like flank steak in flavor and toughness, and is an old cowboy favorite that has a number of different cooking options. This is a great choice, whether you are cooking steak indoors or outside. Use it in fajitas, or stuff and braise it.

Top Sirloin - This popular steak is affordable, and more tender than flank and skirt steaks. It is tougher than the fanciest cuts, however, and is very lean. Pound and marinate it for cooking on the grill, or use it in kebabs.

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