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Favorite beef cut and why?

My DH and I are taking my MIL out for a combo early Mother's Day and his recent birthday. The MIL likes her favorite steak house (so that's fine with me - she is set in her ways and has been visiting the same place for 50+ years). My question to you, dear CH's is what cut do you like and why? I usually either go for a fillet mignon or prime rib - both MR. But I am willing to go outside the box if you can tell me a better cut and why you like it. I am happy to try something different. They have pretty much everything starting with ground sirloin (which we are fortunate to buy in bulk from them and then break down into 1 lb. pks. and freeze - which is cheaper than the local butcher). I'd love to hear some suggestions. We are going tomorrow afternoon.

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  1. Give me a nice thick grilled medium rare ribeye any day. Flavorful, tender.

    8 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      +1. Ribeye is hands down my favorite steak/beef cut.

        1. re: mcf

          Yes, love me a ribeye. Best cut of the steer, imo.

          But for a roast, I love making a Tri tip. It may be unique to Cali, not sure, but normally you don't see this cut much in stores. It is a triangular piece cut from the bottom of the steer, below the flank. There is only one per animal. Most butchers take it home for themselves, but bbq in Santa Maria, CA is only done with this cut, slow roasted over oak wood. Why is it so prized? Beefy flavor, tender throughout, and absolutely no gristle or waste. It is usually just over 2 lbs, and roasts easily in about 45 mins at 425. Perfect size for us for dinner, and leftovers.

          1. re: Phurstluv

            Sure you don't mean hanger? There are two tri-tips on a carcass and they come from the sirloin.
            Hanger, though, yeah, I definitely find you have to ask for it specifically... sure isn't something you'll find in a grocery case or even a butcher, usually. I've never tried one but I'm dying to!

            1. re: Whats_For_Dinner

              My local grocery store has been selling them for $3.99 for the last few months, and they have it all the time. I bought some and put aside to grill this summer. Only other time I found it was at Whole Foods awhile back, but it was at least double that price.

              1. re: coll

                Southdown market in Huntington always has hanger steak. Not grass fed, though.

              2. re: Whats_For_Dinner

                No, it's definitely a tri tip roast - my info on where it is on the steer may be rusty, I guess the sirloin sounds about right. It's well marbled, but not necessarily a fatty cut. Does have a layer on one side, that I roast that side up and it melts into the meat.

                1. re: Phurstluv

                  Cowboy cut bone in Ribeye....esp if you can get it Prime. Best cut by far bar none. Hope you had a great meal boyzoma !

        2. We always go for porterhouse/T-bone, two steaks for the price of one ;-). Never have to worry about tenderness, which is paramount to my husband, and easy to keep on the rare side, as we like it.

          1 Reply
          1. re: coll

            Bone in ribeye for me.Tri tip roast for the bbq.reasonably priced great for a crowd.

          2. I guess a rib with a nice deckle. But if they had them on the menu and did them over the flame, I'd go for sweetbreads since they're not available very often. We had them in Argentina as part of parilladas and they were absolutely delicious.

            1 Reply
            1. re: junescook

              Out of all that's been mentioned.....the deckle is tops for me....but I like the way junescook thinks. We coulfd be tablemates anytime......unless you don't like to share:)


              During the winter, I may have to change my favorites to either Oxtails or Short Ribs though....

            2. I don't eat a ton of meat, but when I do my favorite thing is oxtails. So rich and tender, with all that gelatin... mm! The best.


              2 Replies
              1. re: operagirl

                Oxtails seem to be getting costly (at least around here), but I agree that my favorite cuts have ample connective tissue. I have found in my area that shank cuts are a good value. At the same cost per pound, I would now prefer a shank steak to oxtails. The meat is easier to get at, but has many of the same qualities after slow cooking.

                1. re: k.strang

                  I love shanks, too, and I find that the normal price at my Mexican grocer ($2 per lb.) equals the sale prices at my mainstay but somewhat upmarket, which often asks twice as much.

              2. These days my favorite is a nicely marbled flat-iron steak grilled to perfection. They taste great, no waste, and are usually under $5 per pound. If somebody else is buying, I'll go with the porterhouse.

                1. Well, I'm a stew man when it comes to beef - so shin is my preferred cut.

                  But for a steak, then it has to be skirt/onglet.

                  Reason for both - taste, taste and taste.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Harters

                    Am having a love affair with veal ongle just now.
                    Perfect fat-lean balance. So tasty.

                    1. re: Parigi

                      O horreur, I didn't mean ongle (finger nail). I meant onglet of course.

                      1. re: Parigi

                        O horreur, est juste, that took me back for a moment, until I read your second post!

                  2. I happen to love hanger steak; super beefy, not too fatty -- I tend to find ribeyes too greasy, crazy, I know! Unfortunately it's getting popular (like flank steak did a few years ago) and the price is on the rise :(

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: mateo21

                      NY strip steak, prime and dry aged. If I see a bone in filet mignon I'll try that, but it's not common.

                    2. I'm not much of a steak person and don't order it when I go out. If I do have a steak at all, I prefer prime rib medium to med. well (can't stand bleeding meat). I like other cuts of beef much better like a chuck roast, skirt steak for fajitas, and ox tails.

                      1. Skirt, b/c it's so flavorful.

                        If they don't have skirt, then a NY strip.

                        1. Top sirloin: fairly tender, but with a little chew, and strong beefy flavor. Like many other folks, a strip is my second choice.

                          1. The prime rib-eyes at Costco for $11.00/lb is a deal and tasty. Another vote for tri-tip for bbq. They're almost fool proof . Excellent over mesquite. Skirt steak is great. I get marinated stuff from the Mexican market for like $4.50/lb. Perfect for camping.

                            1. The OP asked about eating out in a steakhouse. We almost always get porterhouse out. At home is different, while we still like porterhouse, I also change it up with flank, hanger, sirloin, PSMO, ribeye if on sale and so on. But probably wouldn't get those at a restaurant. Ribeye is never cooked to my liking around here, although when I lived upstate they knew how to do it.

                              1. A good old NY strip, medium/medium-rare, with a bit of salt and pepper and a disc of lemon/thyme compound butter. A bottle of zinfandel with which to wash it down. Candle light and some Sinatra or Bobby Darin or Julie London or Lena Horne in the background.

                                  1. In a restaurant, ribeye or t-bone. At home, chuck works for me.

                                    1. We have been on a top Sirloin kick lately, I love going to the butcher on a Friday after work having him cut me a 1.5 -2 inch steak and going home kicking back with a dirty martini and a perfectly grilled Sirloin. The flavor is deep and the meat is tender with just enough chew...med rare by the way!!

                                      1. For steakhouses, either ribeye or strip...if it's a prime dry aged steak I prefer strip, otherwise ribeye. Prime ribeyes can get almost TOO fatty...

                                        If I'm buying the meat and cooking at home I really like flap meat or sirloin. Great flavor and half the cost of the expensive cuts.

                                        1. All your replies have been great! I'm finding out great things about steak. I am going to have to try each one to see what suits my tastes. Keep the info coming. And - feel free to share how you season your steaks - depending if you cook them on the stove or on the grill. My DH bought some T-bones yesterday on sale. We figured out the breakdown of the cost of a meal at home with these. They had a healthy fillet side by the way. We figured out it would cost about $6 each to feed us including baked potato and even sauteed mushrooms. In the restaurant we went to, it was $29 pp for the same meal! So I know we will be doing some T-bones soon (I vacuum seal them and freeze for later use). I will keep my eye out for some of the other cuts you all have recommended.

                                          16 Replies
                                          1. re: boyzoma

                                            A meat buyer I used to work with used to say "God played a trick on us when he invented Tbones and Porterhouse. Porterhouse has the larger tenderloin, but the sirloin has a vein through it: Tbone has a tiny tenderloin with a beautiful sirloin on the side". For what it's worth, I always think of him when deciding, not that it's a big deal. I think they don't always label them correctly anyway, esp in supermarkets nowadays.

                                            Here's how I season my steak (which I almost always grill, in the winter we just eat something else)....take out a few hours before. Splash some bourbon or scotch over, then if it's a cheaper steak, Adolphs tenderizer too. Salt pepper and garlic powder, the pepper must be coarse ground. When cooking you can drizzle or brush some butter or nice oil (extra virgin DOC or truffle is what I would use). That's all, the less the better.

                                            1. re: coll

                                              Adolfs tenderizer AND garlic powder, on top of Scotch or Bourbon? Yikes! How will you taste the meat?

                                              1. re: johnlockedema

                                                My steaks are usually 2 or 3 inches. And the seasonings are just a hint, not overload. Since it's only an hour or so, it's not like a marinade.

                                                1. re: coll

                                                  I love Scotch with a steak . . . . but they shouldn't meet until they find themselves together in my belly!

                                                  Back to the point, though, what about some big meaty beef ribs slowly barbecued. That there is a fine cut of beef and typically can be found at no great expense.

                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                    Agreed on both points. And down here in beef country, beef ribs are rapidly going the way of the 8-track tape. So sad.

                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                      PK - Oh no! I love some good beef ribs! And am always looking for good recipe ideas. I'm thinking of doing some within the next week or so.

                                                        1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                          I'm not sure, but I think beef ribs are a bit more expensive, they're somewhat fattier, and they're just falling out of favor with the public. Even in Texas. The beef rib is becoming a specialty cut.

                                                          1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                            Funny. In NJ, I will find packs of 2 or 3 ribs. They are usually pretty cheap - sold as soup meat, the offcasts from the butcher department at chain supermarkets. Sometimes I can get 3, 4, even 5 packs as needed. Othertimes I get the 1 or 2 I see and freeze them for a week or 2 until more are available.

                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                              I agree that beef ribs are not often seen in recent years. I barbecued some last year and thought they were the best ribs I've ever made (I usually do pork, like most people). I think one problem might be lack of uniformity in how they're packaged. People can get confused when beef ribs come in at least three different cuts, around here.

                                                              1. re: Bada Bing

                                                                The ribs I am talking about are what I call "Dad's Ribs" ('cause they're his favorite barbecue item). They are the ribs that are cut away from the meat of the prime rib. I tend to see their availability rise when the supermarkets have prime rib specials. I assume that some fool has the butcher trim the ribs off their roast and the butcher repacls and sells for $1.99 - $2.49 a pound. On one ocassion I was lucky enough to get the buthcer to wrap them for me before cutting the ribs apart - leaving me, for all intents and purposes, a "rack."

                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                  The beef ribs I'm talking about look just like spare ribs only quite a bit larger. Not sure if they are the same thing as Dad's Ribs or not.

                                                                  1. re: MGZ

                                                                    I do see the beef ribs in the market pretty often and tend to lust after them even knowing that they've been scraped pretty clean on the side you can't see. Any suggestions for cooking them nice and tender other than outdoors with long and slow BBQ?

                                                              2. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                I've noticed the disappearing ribs, too. I went to Minnesota for Christmas and thought I'd make them Korean-style one night and they didn't have them at Cub. I was shocked.

                                                                1. re: bushwickgirl

                                                                  If the packers leave the meat on the beef back ribs they get
                                                                  $2.00 / lb. If they leave the meat on the boneless rib eye they
                                                                  get $6.00 / lb. That is why GOOD, MEATY beef back ribs are
                                                                  becoming non existent.

                                                                  1. re: Angusbeefman

                                                                    Must agree.

                                                                    How can we helpless almost hapless consumers find a way to message to the cutters that it would be nice to get some meat and some fat upon the bone?

                                                                    There were ribs, I mean really nice long beef ribs, in my childhood, that were right out of the feasting rib scene in "Dances with Wolves:" Let us please bring them back. We want them meaty.

                                                                    And beneath the meatiness, there is the beauty of the mouthfeel of peeling the perineum membrane from the bone...after the meat is gone, using your teeth to pull that chewy sheet from its clinging home. Pork ribs sorta show us this, but Beef ribs really give us this,.. and it's heaven to peel that membrane from that long-ribbed bone.

                                                                    Deep ritual. Satisfaction.

                                                                    As Clara asked: in her classic hamburger commertcial... "Where's the beeff?"

                                                    2. T-bone or porterhouse, usually, though a proper giant Spencer steak (ribeye) will always be welcome (late pa-in-law would grill three of these, give himself and me one each and carve up the other one for Mrs. O and her mom. Chauvinist pig, oui!). For the most part I'll get a top sirloin when dining out, or a flatiron, which is also what I mostly cook at home, in all cases because these are usually the cheapest yet reliably good, and money's important these days.

                                                      My first real steak was a T-bone, though, and that will always mean "steak" to me.

                                                      1. Porterhouse or prime rib rare

                                                        1. Ribeye. Also have to throw in shank just because given enough stew time, it makes for amazing NRM.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: taiwanesesmalleats

                                                            NRM? Nice really meaty? New rice maker? Needling relative mother-in-law?

                                                            1. re: runwestierun

                                                              NRM= nou rou mein or Taiwanese beef noodle soup

                                                              1. re: runwestierun

                                                                Ha, great attempts at the acronym. But as Humbucker pointed out, NRM is niou rou mien, or beef noodle soup.

                                                            2. I almost never order beef when out, because around here it's hard to find beef from antibiotic-free, humanely raised sources (forget even trying to find "organic" or "grass fed" in a restaurant setting) and since we have bought such beef for years, by the side, the meat we get at home is thus far superior. HOWEVER, that said, there's one thing that I make and exception for, because it's just so damned good: BBQ brisket! That's what I order when I'm ordering beef. :-)

                                                              1. Last Friday night, we grilled up two prime bone-in ribeyes to rare/medium rare (i prefer it rarer than my wife does). There's nothing better in the beef world for me.

                                                                1. Favorite bargain steaks:
                                                                  1. Outer Skirt
                                                                  2. Top Sirloin

                                                                  Favorite pricier steak:
                                                                  1. Bone in Ribeye
                                                                  2. NY Strip

                                                                  Favorite slow cook pieces:
                                                                  ALL of them! I love them all.

                                                                  1. I enjoy the beefier cuts. No idea why a filet mignon is the favorite, to me it is tasteless and the texture is bordering on mushy.

                                                                    My three favorites:

                                                                    At a top tier steakhouse that serves dry aged steaks, I will 99% of the time order a ribeye - bone in, medium rare. Very tender and beefy flavored. Love the cap on the end. and am ecstatic when I get a ribeye that is 50% cap and 50% eye. It is a bit fattier which turns people off. but i did successfully convert my wife from a filet to a ribeye eater after she kept trying mine.

                                                                    When i'm not at a steakhouse i'll get, or cook, either a:

                                                                    Skirt steak - thin and accordion like but also good beefy flavor. Cut across the grain and it is very tender too.


                                                                    Hanger steak - a little chewier but very flavorful. Can stand up to things like chimichurri and red wine reductions.

                                                                    As far as seasoning if i'm cooking at home, just kosher salt, lots of it.

                                                                    1. I am in the UK and like rump steak. It makes a good sandwich and good hamburger. We get succulent well hung beef here (28 days) and in my opinion the Aberdeen Angus is the tastiest. The cows are grass fed. I was reading up on US beef and most of it seems to be raised on feed lots. Is that correct? Where do you all buy your beef from?

                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cathodetube

                                                                        sorry I can't resist - we get the beef from cows. There are large grocery chains and all of them have their own sources. Small butcher shops are few and far inbetween. However, if you cultivate your supermarket butcher, take interest in their handiwork, call ahead, I have found you can get excellent prices on weekly specials with meat cut to your standards. Not everyone takes the time to do that, however.

                                                                        1. re: Diane in Bexley

                                                                          Sorry, I couldn't resist either! Beef actually come from steers, or cattle. Milk comes from cows!!

                                                                          And most supermarkets these days do not have butchers. They have unionized, hourly employees. Some happen to know how to cut meat, and some do not. It is worth it to seek out smaller sized grocery stores, for their quality and employees may be better, in regards to ordering special cuts.

                                                                          Also, many, many Americans also deal directly with farmers and co-ops to order their cuts of beef, even before the slaughter. It really just depends on where you live. :)

                                                                          1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                            Well you can get cow meat if that's what you want, but I don't think you'd want to ;-) Certain types of restaurants seek it out. It's old, dried out cows, is what it is, and cheap as hell. Otherwise, almost all beef in the US comes from 2 different producers. All subprimal cuts, so no need for experienced butchering. Sad but true.

                                                                        2. re: cathodetube

                                                                          Forgot to post - best steak is ribeye with the bone in. Lots of marbling, fat = flavor. Cut 1 1/2 - 2 in thick, grilled over hot, hot fire charred on outside, lovely med rare on inside.

                                                                          1. re: cathodetube

                                                                            I guess "well hung" may mean something different in the UK. :-)

                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                              Obviously. Believe it or not there is an actual butcher's called Well Hung Meat. The have a web site and do mail order. What would you call meat that is hung for a long time, say beyond 21 days?

                                                                                1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                  I see it promoted as "dry aged X number of days" or some such.

                                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                                    Think the word aged sounds quite unappealing. For cheese ok but not meat. Well hung is more amusing. Do you residents of the US aim to get the well hung (dry) (why dry as opposed to wet? - that sounds more like biltong) aged stuff or not? Do number of days matter to you all?

                                                                                    1. re: cathodetube

                                                                                      No, to me price trumps all right now. I buy cheap grocery store steaks on sale and tenderize for a few hours before cooking. If I was having company I'd be a little more particular. When I used to go to a butcher, I would just trust him to have the meat aged properly. A month or two, whatever he thought was right, that's his job. Now that means hanging in a freezer uncovered, as opposed to wet, which any one can do. Wet aged means you just buy cryovaced meat and leave it in the fridge for the same amount of time: if you make a little hole in the bag it speeds the process up. But it's not like "well hung" meat. Never thought about where that saying came from before ;-) Love it!

                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                        Just noticed I said freezer, I meant in the special walk in. Guess it was a little too early for me.

                                                                                      2. re: cathodetube

                                                                                        I can't speak for the population of the U.S. about what matters most to them, only to the language I've seen. :-) For me, grass fed, grass finished trumps all.

                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                          I'm looking forward to the day that I can afford to eat sustainable meat. As it is, I only eat beef once or twice a month anymore. We're getting close to retirement, at this rate we may have to become vegetarians and grow our own garden.
                                                                                          Because I could never kill an animal myself.....what a hypocrite, I know!

                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                            I hear ya. Choices, compromise, lack of choice, compromise... I'm looking forward to the day that everyone can afford to eat food that doesn't hurt their personal health or the environment.

                                                                                            And I don't think not killing your food animals makes you a hypcocrite. Aren't there a lot of things you pay others to do because you're not skilled or disposed to do them in other ways? It's a paid job for someone else.

                                                                                      3. re: mcf

                                                                                        But it's not necessarily dry aged, if the meat is just hung in the window, for example, of a shop, like many do in Europe.

                                                                                        Dry aged has to have exact temperature and humidity controls, and the store's front window would not maintain that.

                                                                                        1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                                          You know, it's possible to over think this stuff. I just shared local descriptors vs. "well hung" which I thought was funny. :-)

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            I was really just trying to get our friend, who's obviously from the other side of the pond, to understand that dry aging is a separate process from just being "well hung". I know there's a joke in there, somewhere ;))

                                                                                            1. re: Phurstluv

                                                                                              That's what I've been sayinzall. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                You guys are a riot. It's been a while since I checked this tread out.