A Cut Above the Rest: Which Piece of Beef is Best for You?

It’s an open secret of the culinary world that not all pieces of meat are created equal. We’re not just talking about the fact that a Diablo is better than anything you’d get at the grocery store—though it is—and we’re not even talking about the grade of the meat. Even something as basic as the cut can have a huge impact on your steak experience.

You already know this, to some extent; if you’ve ever been to a steakhouse then you know a Filet Mignon is not quite the same as a Ribeye or a Strip Loin. What you might not know is exactly how they differ, or what options are really available to you when it comes to your steak selection.

The best way to learn about steak, of course, is just to eat it: To order some different cuts and to savor the experience, thoughtfully and deliberately. If you want to know where to begin, though—which steaks might best whet your appetite—we’ll give you a quick rundown.

  • Filet Mignon. You may also see this one referred to as a tenderloin, which is fair enough: It comes from the center of the tenderloin section of the animal. This is the most expensive cut of beef, by weight, and not without reason: Many casual and enthusiastic steak-eaters alike will call this their favorite, as it is the most tender cut of steak there is. The tradeoff here is that the flavor is a bit subtler, and you may wish to use a rub or sauce to bring out the beefiness. If tenderness is your top priority, though, this is the cut for you.
  • Strip Loin. This one also comes with some aliases; you may see it referenced as a New York Strip or a Kansas City Strip. This is cut from the short loin of the animal, and it’s a great steak that offers a good balance of flavor and tenderness. Its fat content is middling, too—more than what you’d get with the Filet Mignon, less than what you’d get with a Ribeye.
  • Speaking of which, this cut comes from the rib section, and is both flavorful and tender. In fact, it is simply the most flavorful piece of steak there is—period. If taste is your goal then Ribeye is your destination, but know this: It’s a highly marbled piece of beef. If you’re on a diet, this one likely isn’t for you.
  • Another one that’s cut from the short loin, a porterhouse is not unlike a T-Bone steak, but it’s a complete tenderloin, whereas a T-Bone is just a partial tenderloin. The Porterhouse, then, is essentially two steaks in one, separated by a bone but offering more meat than a T-Bone. Have a big appetite, and want to snag the most beef for your buck? Try a Porterhouse.
  • More exotic cuts, like the Tomahawk. The options listed above are simply some of the most commonly-found cuts of beef—but of course, Fuego Diablo has some more exotic options, only available in a very few, select places. The Tomahawk is just one example.

Which cut is the best? There’s no right or wrong answer to that question. Fully enjoying your steak requires you to know it, to savor the things that make each cut distinct—and to appreciate the qualities that make a Diablo a Diablo.

Matthew MacQuarrie
Matthew MacQuarrie


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