]Have you ever been stumped reading a restaurant menu and were unsure of what all the different cuts of steak were? Today, we want to shed some light on the topic.
Here at Wiseguys, we’re going to deliver a great, flavorful steak….but do you love a beefy ribeye or a tender filet mignon? Over the years, we have seen that many diners are not familiar with the variety of steak cuts. Ordering a steak can be an intimidating experience if you don’t know which cut of meat to choose or how you like it cooked. Of course our experienced, well-versed waitstaff are always there to guide you, but we thought a simple guide to different meat cuts (what flavors and textures they’re known for) would allow you to order with confidence and enhance your dining experience.
What is a Filet Mignon?
The fillet mignon is cut from the tenderloin. This highly prized cut only represents 2-3% of the total animal. That’s why it is so rare, and why it tends to be more expensive than other steaks.
The filet is an elegant steak with fork-tender texture and mild flavor.
The secret of the filet mignon’s tenderness is due to its location on the animal. The tenderloin is a non-weight bearing muscle and remains relatively unused. Inactivity keeps the muscle from growing too tough through repetitive movement.
The mild flavor and low marbling of the filet make it a great platform for seasonings or sauces (our Cabernet Demi Glace or Bearnaise), and is best cooked rare to medium rare. Choose this cut if you prefer soft, tender meat over robust flavor.
What is a New York Strip?
The strip steak is known by many names: New York, Kansas City, ambassador steak, club steak or the Omaha strip….but most people call it the New York strip. So why did “New York” stick? Simple. That’s where it all began, in the great steakhouses of New York City.
The New York strip is cut from the beef short loin, right behind the rib area. It has an intense flavor, with bold, beefy notes. It’s not the most tender steak, but people love it for its great bite and solid chew. The rich marbling in this steak creates the robust flavor and delicious eating experience.
Order a strip steak for a consistently reliable cut of meat. No matter how you have it cooked, its marbling melts into the meat to infuse it with the boldest flavors among popular steak cuts.
What is a Flat Iron Steak?
Have you heard of a flat iron steak? It’s the second most tender steak (next to the filet mignon) with a big, bold, beefy flavor like the New York Strip. This innovative cut is “new” in the last few decades but is loved for its amazing marbling and texture.
The flat iron is cut from the top muscle blade. For many years, this area of the animal was considered an unusable cut of meat due to connective tissue and sinew that ran through it. In a joint project between the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida, researchers devised a way to trim the connective tissue from the meat resulting in a tender delicious new steak cut, the flat iron.
The location on the animal gives the flat iron steak fantastic marbling for wonderful flavor, like New York Strip, but careful carving results in a tender texture, like a filet mignon.
So if you want the best of two worlds the flat iron is the way to go. The inherent marbling will cook into the steak creating a juicy, flavorful dish, especially when cooked to medium rare perfection. For a special taste treat try our signature Tri-Pepper Crusted flat iron steak.
What is a Ribeye?
Steak lovers love ribeye. The ribeye is known for its rich, buttery flavor and tender texture. It delivers mouthwatering juiciness and flavor in every bite.
The ribeye is carved from a section called the beef rib. This section of the animal collects more intramuscular fat, creating the marvelous marbling unique to the ribeye.
Ribeye are not as meltingly soft as filets, but they have just enough of a chew and so much flavor that (as many beef lovers believe) they provide the best beef eating experience. They are at home in our Montague Broiler and the high fat content means that if you want it medium it will not diminish the juiciness.
Rib eyes are also known as a cowboy steak, beauty steak, Spencer, Scotch fillet, or Delmonico. Ours is named for the historic Delmonico restaurant where the rib eye gained its fame.
What is Hanger Steak?
Hanger steak is also known as butcher’s steak because butchers would often keep it for themselves rather than offer it for sale.
The Hanger steak comes from the lower belly of the animal and it consists of a pair of muscles that make a sort of a V-shape. The hanger steak is also the tenderest cut of meat.
Historically popular in Europe, especially in the bistros of France, the cut gets its name from the fact that it ‘hangs down’ between the tenderloin and the rib. The cut has been growing in popularity and there is only one hanger steak per cow so it’s also a pricier cut.
A hanger steak has great flavor and a nice amount of marbling which means there’s a decent amount of fat to provide rich flavor and make the steak juicy and tender. There is a sweet spot when cooking this cut: too rare and it remains toothsome, too overdone and it will dry out. Don’t worry about the sweet spot; we hit it every time with our signature Pastrami Spiced Hanger Steak. Pastrami, the popular New York City deli item, probably came to us via the Romanians, but after trying our rendition you might think it was originally created in Hilton Head Island.
What is a Porterhouse Steak?
A porterhouse steak is a New York strip and a delicate filet mignon separated by a T-shaped bone. It’s considered by many to be the undisputed ruler of the steakhouse. By combining the tender filet with the beefy New York strip it eliminates decision making for many diners.
The porterhouse is a composite steak that is derived from the place where the tenderloin and top loin meet. As you might expect, the porterhouse gives you both the taste of the filet and the short loin, with the less flavorful filet earning admiration for tenderness and the strip steak scoring points for flavor.
A porterhouse is basically the same cut as a T-bone steak, but the porterhouse is cut thicker and must contain more of the filet than the T-bone. The USDA specifies that a porterhouse must be at least 1.25 inches thick measured from the widest point of the filet and a T-bone must be 0.5 inches thick. Therefore, every porterhouse is a T-bone but not every T-bone is a porterhouse.
If you want a special steak experience, nothing can match our Porterhouse for two. It’s a full 32 ounces to satisfy any appetite.
Guests come to Wiseguys for more than great food, they come for a truly memorable restaurant experience. You can count on us to make your dining experience one to remember. So don’t be surprised when we call you by name or remember your favorite bottle of wine, just settle in, relax, and enjoy your meal.
]We’re proud to serve only the best USDA prime beef, and we’re just as proud of how we serve it. Hope you find the guide helpful, and if you’re ever unsure of what to order or how it’s best prepared, be sure to ask!