The Ultimate Guide to Choosing A Steak: How To Pick The Best Cut Of Beef Everytime

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing A Steak: How To Pick The Best Cut Of Beef Everytime

Jun 16, 2024That Fat Cow

Selecting the perfect steak starts with knowledge about cuts of beef, particularly from areas like the short loin, tenderloin, and ribs, which are known for their tenderness and marbling. In part 1 of this series, we explore the prime areas to offer insight into why certain popular cuts, including ribeye and sirloin steak, command higher prices due to their superior quality and rarity. This guide unlocks the secrets to navigating cuts of beef steak, from filet mignon to tomahawk, ensuring you always choose the best cuts of beef for every meal. In part 2, we delve into what are often referred to as 'Butcher's Cuts' - these cuts, often less well known and not seen on supermarket shelves or restaurant menus, tend to be cheaper yet just as flavoursome and offer a great dining experience.

Understanding Steak Cuts

Key Factors in Steak Selection

Marbling and Grade

  1. Marbling: Essential for flavour and tenderness, marbling refers to the white flecks of fat within the muscle. Higher marbling often equates to a juicier and more flavourful steak. Wagyu steaks have a handy marbling grading system of BMS (Beef Marbling Score) ranging from BMS 3 to 9+. The higher the BMS, the rarer the steak and come at a much higher price point. Our British Grass Fed steaks have an equivalent BMS on average of 3-4, whilst our Wagyu range from 6+
  2. USDA Grade: The USDA grades beef based on marbling and overall quality. The top grade, Prime, is followed by Choice and Select. Prime grade steaks, with the most marbling, are the most tender and flavourful. We only stock USDA Prime with an equivalent BMS of 5.

Popular Steak Cuts

  • Ribeye: Known for its rich marbling, which enhances both flavour and texture.
  • Filet Mignon: Highly prized for its tenderness, derived from the minimally used muscles along the spine.
  • Sirloin: Offers a good balance of flavour and tenderness, less marbled than Ribeye.
  • T-Bone and Porterhouse: Feature a T-shaped bone with meat on either side, combining the texture of a sirloin and the tenderness of a filet mignon.
  • Tomahawk: A bone-in ribeye with the entire rib bone intact, often large and impressive in presentation.

 Considerations for Thickness and Aging

  • Thickness: A thicker cut, ideally at least 1-inch, allows for better control of cooking, ensuring a well-seared exterior without overcooking the interior.
  • Aging: Aged steaks have enhanced flavour and tenderness. Aging can be dry or wet, with dry aging resulting in a more concentrated flavour due to moisture loss. Our Dry Aged steaks have been aged for 28 days in our Himalayan Salt chambers which we believe to be an optimum time for a great depth of flavour. Wet aging, in our opinion, adds nothing to the flavour of the steak and is more of a marketing gimmick.

Optimal Cooking Methods for Distinct Cuts

Steak Cut

Cooking Method


Best seared on high heat to render the fat

Filet Mignon

Sear on high heat, then finish in the oven


Start with high heat sear, finish in the oven


Similar to T-Bone, with careful attention to not overcook the tenderloin side


Best cooked on high heat, suitable for grilling


Sear, then roast to allow heat to penetrate the thick cut

Understanding these factors helps in selecting the right steak that meets personal preferences for flavour, tenderness, and cooking style.

Selecting the Right Steak

Consider Your Cooking Method and Dish

When selecting the right cut of beef, consider the cooking method and the dish you intend to prepare. Each cut has unique characteristics that match specific culinary techniques and recipes.

Quality and Source

Always opt for high-quality meat from trusted sources, especially when preparing steaks at rare to medium-rare temperatures. This ensures both safety and superior taste. All our steaks are sourced from high welfare farms and are fully trace-able.

Evaluate Steak Characteristics

  • Thickness: Choose steaks that are at least 1-inch thick to allow for a well-seared exterior and a juicy interior without overcooking.
  • Marbling: Look for good marbling as it enhances flavour and tenderness.
  • Colour: Fresh beef should have a deep red colour; avoid meat with a dull or overly bright pink hue. All our steaks come vacuum packed so initially they have a dark colour (due to oxygen being removed). Once they have been removed from their packaging and let the oxygen be re-absorbed into the meat, they will exude a naturally red-ish brown colour.
  • Bone-in vs. Bone-out: Bone-in steaks tend to have more flavour but are pricier and contain less meat per pound.

Personal Preference Matters

Finally, consider your personal preference for texture and flavour. Whether you enjoy a tender, buttery bite or a robust, meaty chew, there's a perfect steak cut for every palate.

Preparation Techniques for Steak

Essential Preparation Tips

  1. Seasoning and Oil Use:
    • Rub the steak with a high-quality low smoke point oil (like avocado oil) , coarse sea salt, and freshly ground black pepper to enhance flavour.
    • For added taste, consider using garlic, thyme and a knob of butter during the final minutes of cooking to baste the steak.
  2. Heating the Cookware:
    • Ensure your skillet (cast iron or heavy bottomed pan is best) or grill is extremely hot before cooking to achieve a perfect sear that locks in flavours.
  3. Cooking Techniques:
    • Grilling: Ideal for cuts like flank steak and sirloin, grilling uses the steak's natural fats for flavour.
    • Pan-Frying: Excellent for achieving a crusty exterior. Cook each side precisely based on desired doneness.
    • Sous Vide: Perfect for even cooking and precise temperature control, though it requires more time and special equipment.
    • Sear-Roasting: Start with a pan sear to form a crust, then finish in the oven for evenly cooked steak.

Cooking Times and Doneness

Doneness Level

Cooking Time per Side


3 minutes

Medium Rare

4 minutes

Medium Well

5-6 minutes

Well Done

8 minutes

Post-Cooking Tips

  • Resting: Often overlooked, allow the steak to rest for 5 minutes after cooking. This helps redistribute the juices, making the steak more tender and flavourful.
  • Slicing: Always slice against the grain to ensure each bite is as tender as possible.

Advanced Flavouring Techniques

  • Basting: Use butter, garlic, and herbs like thyme during the last few minutes of cooking to infuse the steak with rich flavours and achieve that nice crust.
  • Dry Meat Rub: Add different layers of complex flavours to your steak and achieve a deeper crust to enhance the dining experience by using one of our amazing selection of dry rubs.
  • Adding Sauces or Butter: Serve with classic sauces like béarnaise, peppercorn sauce or one of our compound butters to enhance the dining experience.

By following these preparation techniques, you can ensure every steak is cooked to perfection, whether in a home kitchen or a professional setting.


Mastering the art of selecting and preparing the perfect steak is an essential skill for any culinary enthusiast. From understanding the intricacies of marbling and USDA grades to choosing the right cooking method for each cut, this guide has illuminated the path towards achieving a top-tier dining experience. Whether you're drawn to the rich flavors of a Ribeye, the tenderness of a Filet Mignon, or the robustness of a Sirloin, the key is to select high-quality meat, consider the cut's characteristics, and employ the appropriate cooking technique to highlight its unique qualities.

As we've explored the various facets of steak selection and preparation, it's clear that personal preference plays a pivotal role in creating the ultimate steak experience. By incorporating these insights and tips, you're well-equipped to navigate the world of steaks, ensuring a delectable result that caters to your taste and culinary aspirations. The journey from selecting the ideal cut to savoring that perfectly cooked steak is both an art and a science, one that enriches our appreciation for this beloved culinary delight and invites further exploration and mastery.


What are the key factors to consider when selecting a high-quality steak? When choosing a steak, look for distinct features:

  1. Marbling: Opt for steaks with a coarse, milky white fat marbling throughout. Avoid steaks with minimal marbling or fat that appears brown or yellow, as this indicates the meat may be old and dry.
  2. Colour: The meat should exhibit a rich red-ish pink or light cherry colour.
  3. Aging: Dry Aging enhances the beefy flavour of any steak. Opt for Dry Aged when looking at steaks other than Wagyu.

What is the most tender beef cut suitable for steak? The most tender beef cut for steak is the Black Angus filet mignon. This cut is sourced from the smaller end of the tenderloin and is characterized by good marbling. It is ideal for grilling or skillet cooking and is best enjoyed blue rare or rare, a style increasingly favored by meat enthusiasts.

What guidelines should I follow when choosing a beef cut? When selecting a beef cut, consider the following:

  • Loin cuts: These include tenderloin and Porterhouse steaks, known for their tenderness and flavour, often found in fine dining establishments.
  • Brisket: This cut comes from the cow's breast and is typically tougher, requiring longer cooking times to achieve tenderness.

How can I determine which steak cut to order based on my preferences? Consider cooking method and both texture and flavour. Experiment with a well marbled grain fed Ribeye or sirloin  (like the brazilian sirloin) and a Dry Aged Fillet to understand both ends of the spectrum.

  • Texture: Well marbled cuts like ribeye and top sirloin offer a chewier buttery texture, while filet mignon and Porterhouse are more tender.
  • Flavour: Steak cuts can vary from mild to strong beef flavours, so select based on whether you prefer a subtler taste or a robust beefy flavour.

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