Right from the get-go we need to choose the best possible steak. You’ve got no chance at all of cooking The Perfect Steak if you start with the wrong type of beef or the wrong cut of meat. Lets take a moment to review our cuts of beef so we know what to select.
It’s interesting to note that the names and descriptions of cuts of beef differ between countries. The UK for instance classifies cuts of beef differently from the US and Australia. Here we’re not going to get too technical and a simple chart will suffice as to the approximate regions that the different cuts are taken from.
A carcass of beef is divided into what is called ‘Primal Cuts’. These are the basic sections from which the cuts are taken. For example the overall rump section can be divided into the primal cuts of Rump, Round and Topside.
To cook The Perfect Steak we need to be very selective in the cuts of beef we buy from our butcher. It helps to remember that the muscles of the animal which do the most work, that is the legs and neck are the ones which typically will be the toughest.
If we’re going to cook a great steak we need to start by selecting from the best cuts of the beast. Here are the best cuts for grilling:
The most tender and expensive cut of meat on the animal. It is the strip of muscle which runs along the sides of the spine. Fillet steak is typically very lean (when trimmed correctly) with some marbling throughout the body of the meat. Although small in size it is considered to be the premium cut of beef and the most tender although not necessarily the most flavoursome.
Rib Eye steaks are cut from the small end of the rib roast. These cuts are well marbled, tender and full of flavour. When grilling on high heat, the marbling melts into the beef enhancing the overall flavour.
For BBQing on the grill, it doesn’t get any better.
Rib Eye steak has the bone removed, however, some people prefer steak with a bone. In the United States, Rib Eye with a bone is commonly called a “Cowboy Steak” or “Cowboy Rib”.
In Australia Rib-Eye is also known as the Scotch Fillet. A very tasty, moist and tender cut of beef. Look for marbling throughout the middle of the cut for fuller flavor.
Rump steak has a mixed reputation. Certainly it is one of the more flavorsome cuts but at times it can be tough. It is recommended to check (where possible) the age of the animal when buying rump steak. Steers younger than 30 months are usually fine but anything over this age is risky.
A Porterhouse is a bone-in steak similar to a T-bone steak but has a significantly larger fillet portion.
The ever popular T-Bone steak is a classic although it can be a little trickier to grill than some other cuts.. The central T shaped bone brings into a single cut meat from the strip loin (large side) on one side and the tender loin (small side) on the other.
Think of a New York Cut as the strip loin portion of a T-bone or Porterhouse. They are boneless and usually cut quite thick (two inches or so).