What Are the Top 5 Cuts of Beef? Depends on Who’s Asking.

Not all cuts of beef are created equal, and not all steaks are going to provide you with the exact same experience—not even all Diablos. If you’re looking for the best piece of steak, though—perhaps a list of the top 5 cuts of beef—you may be out of luck. There’s no one answer to that question, no one cut of beef that we can all agree is superior to the rest. It’s simply a matter of personal taste and preference. Your top 5 may not be the same as your neighbor’s top 5—and that’s okay.

What we really recommend is that, rather than try to pinpoint the one piece of beef you need to try, you instead explore. Discover. See how the different cuts compare, and which one offers the most satisfying steak experience.

As you do so, you’ll surely begin to understand how the different cuts resemble each other, and how they differ. You may even begin constructing your own top 5 list; or, simply feeling out which cuts are the most appropriate for certain groups or certain occasions.

If you really want to know which five cuts of beef you should try first—well, fine. See which of these selections best fits your taste:

  • If your top priority is tenderness, then start with a filet mignon, or a tenderloin, as it’s sometimes called. The flavor is a little subtler, so if what you’re after is that robust, beefy taste, this may not be the one to start with. If we were ranking the cuts just by how easy they are to cut into and enjoy, however, this one would surely top them all.
  • On the other end of the spectrum is the Ribeye—a fan favorite, known for being highly marbled and pretty fatty. It even has kernels of fat within the beef itself, not just around the edges, so those who aren’t up for indulging in quite so much fatty content may prefer to stick with the tenderloin. Then again, all that marbling makes this cut incredibly flavorful—a succulent piece of beef that really satisfies avid steak lovers.
  • The strip loin (or New York Strip) almost falls between these two poles, offering a nice blend of tenderness/eatability and good, beefy flavor.
  • If you’re looking for sheer, sprawling size, the Porterhouse is the most generous offering—basically two steaks in one, and an excellent choice if you’re grilling for a cozy dinner for two.
  • Finally, if your aim is to put something really impressive and captivating on the table—if you’re looking not only for flavor but for that wow factor—get a Tomahawk.

Are these the top 5 cuts of beef? Maybe they are and maybe they aren’t; your mileage may vary. But try a few. See what you like best. Come up with your own top 5 list—and share it with us!

Matt MacQuarrie
Matt MacQuarrie


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