is here and that means many grillers are stepping up
to the heat and putting a big steak on the fire. One
option to cook is the flat iron.
weather’s cooperating, the coals are lit — and you’ve
got your mind on a juicy steak with perfect grill marks.
what type of steak should you buy? Well, rib-eye remains the
favorite across the United States — and the bigger the
better. But the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, an
industry group, lists some 28 steak or fillet cuts you can
choose from. They come in a range of flavor, texture,
tenderness, fat content and price.
six most popular? Karli Millspaugh, an association
spokeswoman, says they are: Boneless rib-eye, boneless strip
steak, top sirloin steak, bone-in rib-eye, bone-in strip
steak and T-bone steak. All are familiar and delicious; you
can’t go wrong with them.
route, particularly if your dad thinks of himself as an
edgy, lone-wolf type, is to serve one of the new beef cuts
entering the market. These new steaks are tender muscles
gleaned from hard-working areas of the animal like the
shoulder (chuck) or hind leg (round), sections usually
relegated to low, slow braising or roasting.
are diamonds in the rough. … The big example is the flat
iron," says Craig A. Morris, deputy administrator of
the Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing
the steak cut is, be it an old favorite or something new,
there are certain factors you should consider in choosing a
the amount of fat distributed within the meat, is the most
important indicator of quality for consumers, says Randy
Waidner, corporate executive chef for Chicago-based Gibsons
Restaurant Group. "There’s more flavor, more
tenderness," he says.
USDA grades beef quality and labels cuts accordingly, and
marbling is a major factor in determining the rating.
"Prime" has long been considered the best,
followed by "Choice" and "Select."
challenge is, as Morris notes, that there may be some Choice
or Select cuts that are as tender as Prime but at a lower
price. To help consumers find those cuts and make wiser
choices, the USDA has launched a new program to tag cuts as
"USDA Certified Tender" or "USDA Certified
Very Tender" based on specific, objective criteria.
can make a difference too. Scott Fader, general manager of
Petty’s Meats in Longwood, Fla., likes a porterhouse steak
more than its sibling, the T-bone, because the porterhouse
has a larger piece of tenderloin, or filet mignon, on one
side of the bone.
filet mignon is tender but lacks a bit of flavor. The bone
gives flavor; it’s a game-changer," he says.
cuts, like hanger and skirt steaks, can make for delicious
eating if tenderized in a marinade for a few hours or
overnight, says Frody Volgger, butcher at Tony Caputo’s
Market & Deli in Salt Lake City. Try a teriyaki or ponzu
sauce, perhaps accented with mustard and black pepper, he
you’ll be cooking for dad or he’ll be grilling up a
steak himself, we’ve got the details (with photos so you
know what you’re looking for) on nine of the best cuts for
the grill. Each should be seared over direct heat, then
finished in a cooler part of the grill. Thinner cuts (flank,
skirt, hanger) should cook with just the searing.
top blade steak.) Boneless and cut from the shoulder clod
top blade roast, each steak averages 8 ounces, with a
thickness varying from 3/4 to 1 1/4 inch. Section: chuck
known as Delmonico or cowboy steak). Sold bone-in or
boneless. Section: rib
bone divides the meat into two sections, the large strip, or
top loin, and the smaller tenderloin. Section: short loin
T-bone’s neighbor. Sports a much larger tenderloin
attached to the central bone. Section: short loin
York strip, Kansas City strip, top loin, Delmonico, shell
steak.) Sold bone-in or boneless. Section: short loin
butt steak.) Boneless; a continuation of the top loin muscle
of the short loin. Section: sirloin
broil, jiffy steak.) Boneless. Marinate before cooking;
slice across the grain for tenderness. Section: flank
diaphragm muscle. Boneless. Marinate before grilling; slice
across the grain for tenderness. Section: short plate
steak, hanging tender.) Boneless. Marinate before grilling;
slice across the grain for tenderness. Section: short plate
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; The New Food Lover’s