What is the best steak for me? A guide to choosing steak
If you think about steak selection like you do ordering pizza, you can see that there are really no wrong options — especially when it comes to American Wagyu Gold Grade steaks, which all grade above USDA Prime. But just as with pizza toppings, you’re probably going to like some choices better than others. (We’re looking at you, pineapple and anchovies.)
At Snake River Farms, we’ve been evaluating and assessing high-quality beef for over 50 years. That breadth of involvement has given us insight into what makes the cut when it comes to a reliably fabulous steak. Take advantage of our expertise to simplify how to choose the best steak for any occasion.
Start with our Big Three — the three most popular and reliable cuts for a juicy, flavorful, memorable meal.
A ribeye is a steak to the nth degree. It’s cut from the front end of the rib primal, located at the top of the animal between the sixth and 12th ribs. Other premium cuts like the Tomahawk come from this area, which is referred to as the “middle meat” for its central location. The entire carcass is graded according to the rib primal, as its marbling and overall quality is expected to carry through the rest of it. Four muscles make up the ribeye: longissimus dorsi, spinalis dorsi and complexus. Because these muscles are lightly used, they develop superior marbling yet remain tender for an exceptionally juicy, flavorful steak. Note that a cap of ribeye is cut from the outer rim of the ribeye to deliver intense flavor. Opt for the reverse sear method to perfectly cook thick-cut ribeyes.
New York Strip
The name gives this steak a cosmopolitan, high-class sound. And one bite backs that reputation up with satisfying texture and amazing flavor. The New York strip is cut from the same longissimus dorsi muscle as the ribeye but at the end closer to the animal’s tail, in the loin primal. The word “longissimus” gives you a clue that this muscle runs the full length of a steer’s back. That place of origin makes New York strips a bit firmer and more uniform in texture while retaining the gloriously rich, beefy flavor American Wagyu beef is renowned for. Cook this cut perfectly with the steakhouse method preferred by chefs like Hugh Acheson.
This steak is synonymous with special occasions and posh restaurants. Cut from the tenderloin primal — which has ‘tender’ right there in the name — a filet mignon features the buttery texture many equate with a great dining experience. The flavor is pure and light because this cut has less marbling than others, which means it’s lower in fat. But it’ll melt in your mouth like the proverbial stick of butter! This incredibly tender steak is great for direct grilling or cooking in an iron skillet with the steakhouse method.