Steak is one of the most popular meats that people consume. In fact, according to the 2022-2023 Consumer Steak Report published by The Linz Shop, 70% stated that steak is among their favorite foods. Another 64% of those surveyed stated that their last meal would contain steak if it were their choice. However, most people can agree that not all steak is equal. Many factors will determine whether you are about to bite into the juiciest piece of meat you ever tasted, the type that will send birds overhead singing, or if you will get a mouthful of meat comparable to a leathery shoe. Knowing how to cook steak perfectly can do wonders for the meals you put on your dinner table.
Diving deep into the steak world can be helpful before exploring several different cooking methods. Where on the animal does each type of steak come from? How many different types of steak are there? Also, where does the level of doneness come into play?
Where Does Steak Come From?
Steak can come from a variety of animals. There are pork steaks, deer steaks, and even sheep steaks. However, this article is going to explore beef steak, which is a type of red meat. The methods of cooking steak will vary depending on the meat you choose. For example, pork steaks contain less fat than beef steaks, making them leaner. This in itself means they will cook differently than beef steaks.
The cattle steak contains plenty of fat, protein, iron. and zinc. However, since it is red meat, there are risk factors that come with consuming high amounts of this meat, including an increased chance of cancer and heart disease.
There are many different types of cuts of steak. These cuts will range in shape, size, tenderness, and flavor. Below are the types of steak and where they come from on the cow. This list is not exhaustive; there are around 15 or more different types of cuts of beef. However, it contains some of the most popular types of steaks.
This tender steak is considered one of the superior cuts. It has a rich flavor and texture that is soft and delicate. The filet mignon comes from the tenderloin.
Strip steak comes from the short loin. The bone-in strip steak provides plenty of flavor.
This type of steak is not always readily available; it has a rich flavor and comes from the rib part of the beef.
Flat Iron Steak
The flat iron steak cut comes from the shoulder of the cow, or the chuck shoulder primal. This cut is lean but full of flavor.
Top Sirloin Steak
The top sirloin steak is cut from the primal loin. They do not have the bottom muscles, tenderloin, or bone. It has less marbling than other cuts of steak but plenty of beef flavor.
The T-bone steak cut comes from the short loin subprimal. There are two different steaks included in this cut. They are the strip steak and the tenderloin. It is the perfect combination of beefy and bold flavor and tenderness.
Ribeye steak comes from the upper rib cage of the cow. The ribs this cut comes from are the sixth to the twelve rib. It has the longissimus dorsi muscle, along with complexus and spinalis. Ribeye steaks are popular cuts because they are packed with flavor and quite tender.
Hanger steak comes from the plate section of the cow. This type of steak is packed with a beefy flavor. Hanger steak has a faint V shape, and this cut “hangs” from the diaphragm, where the name hanger steak comes from.
The flank steak is cut from the abdominal muscles. These muscles go from the rib of the cow to the hip. It is not as tender as other cuts of steak but is very flavorful.
A skirt steak comes from the plate section of the cow, which lays right under the rib. It is a trim cut of steak that is cut from the diaphragm muscle.
The flap steak comes from the backend of the cow or the obliquus internus abdominis muscle. It is thin and full of flavor yet is less tender, making it great for fajitas and stir-fries.
The rump steak also comes from the back end of the cow, the tailbone, and the hip. This cut is delicious and full of flavor. However, it can be a bit tough.
What Are the Different Levels of Doneness For Steak?
Of course, one of the contributing factors to the perfect steak is the level of doneness. Everyone has their preference. Some prefer for their steaks to be cooked until there is absolutely no pink left or well done. Others consider this a disservice to the tender and juicy flavor of the meat. Below is a chart of the level of doneness for steak. The longer you cook steak, the tougher the meat will be to chew. A rare or medium-rare steak will be more tender and may achieve the melt-in-your-mouth effect many crave.
How to Cook Steak Perfectly
There are many different ways to cook a steak. The most popular method is throwing it on the grill. This cooking method is a faster way to produce a juicy, tender steak on the inside and a satisfying flavor and texture on the outside. Let's take a look below at several ways to cook steak perfectly!
How to Grill A Steak Perfectly
Grilling a steak will deliver a perfectly juicy inside and a charred outside. Of course, your steak's flavor and texture will also depend on the cut you choose. A ribeye steak or filet mignon provides juicy and tender meat and delicious flavor. Grilling is one of the top methods used to cook steak perfectly.
To grill your steak perfectly, start by taking your steaks from the refrigerator and allowing them to sit at room temperature. Do this for around 20 minutes. During this time, prep the grill on high.
After the steaks have been sitting for around 20 minutes, prep them with olive oil and seasoning of your preference.
Next, it is time to cook the steaks. Put them on the grill and cook on one side for at least four minutes. The outer side will start to turn brown. Then, flip the steaks and continue to grill them for at least three minutes.
The steaks will begin to char and turn brown. The amount of time you grill your steaks will be determined by what level of doneness you prefer. If you like your steaks medium rare, cook until they have an internal temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you prefer your steaks to be well done, cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 160 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
When the steaks reach the level of doneness you like, remove them from the heat and allow them to rest for at least five minutes. Tenting with foil will keep moisture in and allow them to stay warm.
How to Oven Bake a Steak Perfectly
While oven-baking a steak is not always the preferred method, it can still deliver juicy and tender meat for dinner.
Start by removing your steaks from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for at least 20 minutes. During this time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
You will want to pan-sear your steaks before placing them in the oven. Pan-searing them quickly traps moisture and produces juicy and tender meat. Therefore, heat your skillet on medium-high.
Rub olive oil over the steaks on both sides and then season. Now, sear each steak on both sides for two minutes.
Put the steaks into the baking pan and place them in the oven.
Bake the steaks for at least ten minutes, then check the level of doneness. Continue to cook until your steaks have reached the level of doneness you prefer. A meat thermometer will help you determine when the internal temperature is right.
Remove from the oven and rest for at least five minutes. Then top with butter and any sauce that you want. Enjoy while hot!
How to Pan-Sear a Steak Perfectly
Pan-searing a steak can be an easy and quick way to put dinner on the table.
First, allow your steaks to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes. Then, pat them dry and prepare them with your preferred seasoning.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat- you will want it to be very hot. Then add olive oil. You will know the steaks are ready to be added when the oil moves around the pan.
Then, place the steaks into the pans. To keep the oil from popping on you, do this slowly and release the steaks away from you.
Now, allow the steaks to cook without moving for at least three minutes. You will know they are ready to flip when they release from the bottom easily. The sides should be golden brown. Cook the other side for at least three minutes as well.
Cook the steaks until your level of doneness has been reached. The time varies for each level. If you are cooking for well-done, this will be around six minutes on each side. Add butter to the skillet for flavor when the steaks are almost finished.
Remove from heat, and allow to rest for at least five minutes; tenting will keep heat in. Then enjoy while hot!
Amazingly Tasty Steak Recipes
- How to Cook Bacon-Wrapped Sirloin with 3 Mouth-Watering Recipes
- Steak with Mashed ‘Potatoes' Recipe
- 4 Ways to Cook Bacon-Wrapped Filet Mignon with Recipes
- Firecracker Steaks Recipe
- Swiss Steak Recipe
Types of Steak Posts
- Kobe vs. Wagyu Beef: Taste, Price & Cooking Differences
- USDA Choice vs. Prime: How They're Different & Is it Worth Paying More?
- Prime Rib vs. Steak: What Is the Difference?
- Ribeye vs. T-Bone Steak: Differences in Appearance, Nutrition, and Cooking Methods
- Steak vs. Chicken: Side By Side Nutrition Comparison
- Sirloin vs. Strip Steak: What's the Difference?
One Last Note
Steak is a prevalent type of meat. The flavor and tenderness of steak depends on several things, from the cut of meat and how each one is cooked. The level of doneness will also determine how tender your steak is. These top methods will guide you on how to cook steak perfectly. No matter which cut of steak you prefer, or whether you like it medium rare or well done, one thing is for sure: it can be hard to beat a juicy and tender steak for dinner!
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Natalia Lisovskaya/Shutterstock.com.