Although there is much discussion on the health implications of eating too much red meat, steak varieties are packed with nutrients.
In this article, you will learn about the most popular types of steak. You will also find out about the nutritional value of these different beef cuts. At the end of the article, you will learn how to pick the best and leanest cut of steak.
Is Steak Healthy?
One of the most commonly asked questions about steak is: is eating a steak good for you?
Steak is quite nutritious and can be healthy when consumed in moderation.
So, choosing healthy cuts of beef or lean steaks can be part of a healthy diet. In fact, scientists say that, as part of a balanced diet, moderate consumption of lean red meat doesn’t increase your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Most Popular Types of Steak
Let’s look in more detail at the different cuts of steak available. In this list of popular beef steaks, you will also learn about the nutritional profile and tenderness of each steak cut.
Filet Mignon (Tenderloin)
Filet mignon, or tenderloin, is one of the most tender cuts of beef that you can buy. This cut of steak comes from the middle of the cow on either side of the spine.
Depending on the type of beef cut and the fat content, there may be more calories and fat. For example, a cut of 100 g tenderloin trimmed to 1/8” fat contains 324 calories and 24 g of fat.
Due to the low-fat content of lean tenderloin, it has a mild taste and is not as tasty as some other types of steak.
Steak tartare is a type of raw steak enjoyed by some people. This is not a cut of beef but finely chopped tenderloin that is mixed with other ingredients. Steak tartare is usually served raw with a raw egg yolk.
Ribeye (rib eye) beef cut is one of tastiest types of steak because it has fat marbling through the steak. Although not as tender as filet mignon, it ranks in the list of the top 10 tenderest steaks.
Ribeye steaks contain 303 calories for every 100 g of beef. This serving of steak also has 23.5 g of fat and 22 g of protein. So, a whole ribeye cut of steak (281 g) could have as much as 66 g of fat.
Sirloin Steak (Strip Steak)
Strip steak, also called sirloin steak or contre-filet, is one of the most famous cuts of beef you can buy.
Each 100 g portion of cooked sirloin steak contains 313 calories and 21 g of fat. As will all types of steak cuts, sirloin is a good source of vitamin B12, iron, zinc, and other nutrients.
This cut of beef is also referred to as New York Strip steak, Top Loin steak, or Kansas City steak.
Tri-Tip (Bottom Sirloin)
Because the tri-tip steak is part of the sirloin, it is a relatively tender steak and is a healthier choice of steak due to its lower fat content.
For example, 100 g of bottom sirloin only contains 179 calories and 7 g of fat. However, this cut of beef is a higher source of protein than some other types of steak.
T-bone steak is one of the largest cuts of steak and is basically two types of steak in one – the tenderloin and strip (sirloin) steak.
Compared to other types of steak, flank steak is a thin cut of beef and doesn’t rank high on the list of tender beef cuts.
Skirt steak is a a type of long flat steak that is one of the tastiest steaks you can buy. Similar to the flank cut of beef, skirt steaks are not very tender.
Skirt steaks are cuts of meat from the underside of the front belly.
Compared to flank cuts of beef, skirt steaks have a higher fat content with 12 g of fat. As with all the different cuts of steak, skirt steak is an excellent source of dietary protein, iron, and some B-group vitamins.
Due to their toughness, it is best to marinade skirt steaks before braising, grilling, or pan-frying them. Skirt steaks are also a delicious choice of beef if making fajitas or Chinese stir-fry.
Chuck Eye Steak
Chuck eye steaks are quite tender beef cuts and very similar to ribeye steak because they come from near the same part of a cow.
It is good to remember not to confuse chuck eye steak with “chuck” steak. Types of steak described as “chuck” are usually tough, not very tender cuts of meat that need long, slow cooking to tenderize them.
How to Choose the Best Type of Steak
First, knowing the names of different types of steak helps to decide which cut of meat to buy. Some tender types of steak are tenderloin (and, the most expensive), ribeye steak, and strip steak.
To be sure of buying a very tender piece of steak, ensure that the steak has been hung for a period of time. Aging steak in this way for 10-14 days helps produce more tender cuts of steak with a better taste.
Another factor to consider is how you plan to cook the steak. Prime cuts of beef such as T-bone steaks, sirloin, filet mignon, and ribeye steak are good for pan-frying or grilling. Less-tender types of steak such as skirt steak, flank steak, or round steak cook better when braised.
How to Cook the Perfect Steak
Many consider sirloin steak and ribeye steak as the best kinds of steak for grilling or pan-frying. Tender cuts of beef are best served medium-rare and beef filet can be served rare to medium rare. In general, the longer you cook steak for, the less tender it becomes.
To cook the perfect steak, the cut of beef should be at room temperature and the pan or skillet should be very hot. Season your steak and cook on high heat for the required time to cook your steak rare, medium-rare, or medium. Steaks should be left to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving.
One concern about cooking meat at high temperatures is the fact that toxins and carcinogens can develop. Some studies suggest that meat cooked at high temperatures can increase the risk of certain cancers.
Marinating steak is a way to prepare a steak for grilling or pan-frying that prevents toxins from forming. One study found that rosemary marinade may help to reduce the levels of harmful chemicals that develop during cooking.
It is good to remember that steak can be a good source of important nutrients when consumed in moderation.