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best cut of steak? (from former non-meat eater)

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I've eaten very little meat most of my adult life. some years strict vegetarian, some not but still very little meat (and what I do eat is usually consumed in restaurants)

Just read "Why we get fat" by Gary Taubs and so am trying to change diet--low carb, more protein.

I'm so ignorant about beef--what cuts of beef should I look for? I'm thinking of trying to pan-fry in cast iron smallish amounts for lunch a few times a week.

Sirloin? Skirt? I stand there in meat dept and have no idea. Flavorful and not too fatty?

many thanks!

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  1. There are several threads you should search for. One very big variable will be: How do you want it done, as in, what temp? "Flavorfull and not too fatty" screams top sirloin to me, but if you want it cooked past medium, it tends to get leathery (since it's lean.) Are you a rare or well done person??

    3 Replies
    1. re: gordeaux

      thanks gordeaux--rare to med-rare i think, cooked either on charcoal grill outside or inside in cast iron skillet,

      1. re: lenorelenore

        If you want rare to med rare - full flavor, less fatty, I think a choice grade top sirloin is a great starting point and also usually a decent value cut.
        You'll also want to learn about beef grades.

        1. re: lenorelenore

          Try them all. The main cuts for what you're looking for are sirloin, strip loin, ribeye, and tenderloin (filet mignon). A good initiation might be to cook yourself a T Bone. I personally prefer strip and ribeye.

      2. ah, now i see a list of discussions about this subject running below my question, so i'll read through --great!

        1. Being a past vegetarian, I'm sure you've mastered seasoning things for flavor. If you're still very fat conscious, but want meat for the protein, may I suggest buffalo or bison meat. It's pricey and it's about 99% fate free. due to the lack of fat, seasoning is very important and the steaks play well with reductions and sauces.

          If you want to stick with beef that's low fat and you think you'd like to keep it on the rare side, then I suggest a filet mignon. One of the leaner cuts.

          1. There are two ways to judge fat, the thick white strips on the outside, and the thin white trips inside the cut. The ones outside are easy to trim away. The ones inside (marbling) is what gives the cut the flavor. A good filet has little marbling, so it will be lean, but I don't care for the flavor. A cut like a New York or a rib eye will have more marbling, so there is a lot more flavor in my opinion.

            I don't worry too much about the fat content of the marbling as long as you trim the bigger chunks off the outside. A little fat is not going to hurt you. The key is portion size, 4-6 ounces. That is a lot easier with a filet, which can still be cut thick at that size, than other cuts which will be a lot thinner at that weight.