Tag Archives: tough and tender meat

Steak it to me

22 Jan

Lots of people ask me to explain the difference between steaks.  I get it – it’s confusing.  Some of that’s because names change over the years, and many cuts of meat have several different names (often tied to different geographical areas).

Basically, your typical “high end” steaks are the New York strip, the filet mignon and the rib-eye.  Then you drop down to the restaurant-style sirloin.

New York strip and filet mignon come from the loin of the animal… in fact, from the same piece of meat.  Difference is that the New York strip is cut from the top of the loin and the filet mignon from inside the loin.  Since the inside muscle is particularly inactive, that means that the filet mignon will be the most tender.  In fact, it’s the tenderest cut on the animal.  But the New York strip delivers better flavor.  It’s a matter of personal preference.

So, you ask…  if the filet mignon is the tenderest cut, what’s the second most tender?   Surprise – it’s not the NY strip or rib-eye.  It’s the flat iron steak, which comes from another inactive muscle at the front of the animal.  But keep in mind that it can be difficult to find flat iron steaks, because there are only four on each animal.

Rule of thumb when ordering:  anything from the animal’s loin and ribs will be a tender piece of meat because these muscles work the least.



Will my meat be tender? or tough?

8 Dec

Simply put, tender or tough depends on what part of the animal the meat comes from.

The  closer to the feet and head, the tougher the meat, because those are the areas that work the hardest to support the animal.  Doesn’t mean the meat won’t taste great – it simply means that those cuts are more suited for braising or slow moisture cooking.

The parts that are further from the feet and the head are more suited for dry cooking:  grilling or roasting uncovered, etc.

Why?  Because they don’t have to work as hard to carry the animal around.

So… forget “the closer to the bone, the sweeter the meat”.

Instead remember… Idler is Better!