Cuts Of Steak Guide

Cuts Of Steak Guide

We at Tom Hixson have prepared a comprehensive guide to every cut of steak available, and some essential recipes that would complete any meal. Order online today.

Cuts Of Steak Guide

Just the word ‘steak’ is enough to get any meat lover’s mouth watering. Steak holds an iconic status amongst professional chefs and home cooks alike due to its versatile nature and undeniable flavour and texture. 

Steak is arguably the most popular dish in the world, but not many people know the difference between each cut and where that cut comes from. So what is the difference exactly? The difference between cuts of steak is most noticeable in the texture, marbling and fat content of the tissue from where the cut was taken. This is due to the cow’s muscles growing in different ways depending on the use and location within the animal’s body. This creates different muscle fibres, which go on to create different types of steak.

The experts at Tom Hixon of Smithfields have created a handy guide to the most popular cuts of steak commonly available here in the UK, with details into how each varies from cut to cut. 

What is ‘Steak’ Exactly?

‘Steak’, as opposed to other cuts, is taken from the less hard-working ribs and back of the cow. Steak is the highest quality of meat available from a cow and is suitable for frying or grilling. Steaks are also cut from larger plates of tissue fibres, so they are often referred to as ‘beef cuts’. 

Poorer quality cuts of beef are often cubed and used for stews or pies, these are known as ‘braising steak’. Whilst braising steak is tasty and useful in its own right, we will be looking into cuts taken from the strong tissue fibres located near the hindquarters and back of the animal as that’s where ‘primal’ cuts are found. 

Steak is a pricey choice both at home and when ordered in a restaurant. Lacking the knowledge of a well-trained chef to decide when it is ‘done’ can make the whole process quite scary (especially with an expensive cut). So let’s assess each cut to see where each is taken from and how they can be best prepared. 

Steak Cuts: A Comprehensive Guide

Ribeye Steak

The Ribeye Steak is perhaps the most popular steak cut in the world. It is cut from the Longissimus Dorsi muscle which runs along the cow’s spine. This cut is infamous for having excellent texture due to high levels of marbling around the ‘eye’, from where the rib bone is removed. If this bone isn’t removed, we refer to the steak as a ‘Tomahawk steak’ due to its similar appearance to a Native American tomahawk. 

Ribeye steaks sold in the UK usually are cut from between the 6th and 8th rib of the cow, with the short loin and chuck cuts being taken from each end of the same muscle.

Price: £££££

How To Cook Ribeye

The best method for cooking a ribeye is to properly heat your steak throughout, rendering the marbling contained within the muscle. This means that you want to heat your steak evenly at first, only to sear the steak in the closing minute or two that the steak is over the heat. See our Smokey Ribeye Recipe here

Serving Suggestions: Thick-cut chips or wedges and salad with a creamy sauce. 

Suggested Doneness: Medium/Rare

Ribeye Steaks From Tom Hixson

A5 Japanese Wagyu Ribeye Steak

Irish Ribeye Steaks

Diamond Grade Halal Prussian Black Ribeye

Uruguayan Beef Ribeye Steaks

Hereford Beef Ribeye

Tom Hixson Wagyu Ribeye Steak

Filet Mignon (Fillet Steak)

The Filet Mignon is taken from the tip of the tenderloin and is one of the most prized cuts of steak available. Being from a rarely used psoas major muscle, is much leaner and tender than other cuts of steak, making it suitable for more delicate occasions such as special celebrations and romantic anniversaries. The higher price tag is filet mignon  due to the exceptional texture of the cut and the fact that a cow only has around 500g of the muscle that creates filet mignon. 

Price: £££££  

How To Cook Filet Mignon and Fillet Steak

A quick dry rub with good salt and pepper an hour before cooking should be perfect for Filet Mignon. Just remember to allow the steak to rest in between the fridge and stove (and between stove and plate). 

Heat an oiled pan until it is piping hot, then add butter. Your steak should take between 3 and 5 minutes to sear on each side. Once you are happy with the colour, take your pan and put it into an oven at 210 Celsius for a further 5 minutes. 

Serving Suggestions: Serve with boiled new potatoes and cruciferous greens with a rich Diane Sauce. 

Suggested Doneness: Medium

Filet Mignon and Fillet Steak with Tom Hixson

USDA Choice Fillet 

Prussian Black Fillet (Diamond Grade)

Halal Prussian Black Fillet (Diamond Grade)

Jack’s Creek Black Angus Fillet BMS 3

Argentine Grass Fed Fillet

Sirloin Steak

The Sirloin Steak is an iconic cut of meat. This steak cut is taken from the back of the cow, below the tenderloin and between the short loin and rump.  Often seen on menus across the globe, sirloin is popular for its juicy texture and thickness. However, this texture and thickness come with some special requirements when cooking. 

The British sirloin is similar to the American short loin, while the American sirloin is often called the ‘rump’.

Price: £££££

Suggested Doneness: Medium/Rare

How To Cook a Sirloin Steak

Dry brine for up to an hour before you start to cook your steaks with salt and pepper. However, due to its thickness and ability to hold onto its juices, sirloin steak needs to rest before and after it goes into the pan to keep temperatures throughout the cut consistent.

  1. Preheat your oven to 180 Celsius and preheat a thick-based pan until your neutral oil begins to smoke. Then add your steaks, being careful not to overcrowd the pan and keep the temperature high. 
  2. After 20 seconds or so, add a knob of butter and begin to baste the steak with a spoon keeping a keen eye on the heat. Taking the pan off the heat can increase cooking times and make your steak more ‘done’ than seared, which reduces those lovely Maillard flavours in the sear. 
  3. When basting, remember to add a sprig of thyme and some whole cloves of garlic. 
  4. Once seared on each side (2-3 minutes), allow the steaks 5 minutes to rest and serve. 

Check out our recipe for the Perfect Sirloin Steak Recipe here.

Serving Suggestions: Serve with fries and a herbaceous chimichurri 

Sirloin Steaks with Tom Hixson

Irish Sirloin Steaks

Aberdeen Angus Sirloin

A5 Japanese Wagyu Sirloin Steak 

Black Label Argentine Sirloin (Rioplatense)

T-Bone Steak

The T-bone Steak is named for the large t-shaped lumbar bone in the middle. This cut contains both sirloin and fillet, packed with mouth-watering flavour. Larger than most other cuts, this steak is synonymous with American dining culture and excess, containing two excellent cuts of meat worthy of any high-end restaurant. 

The T-Bone is taken from the ‘saddle’ section of the cow, also known as the short loin, which is situated behind the ribs. In fact, if the cut is taken from the short loin specifically, then it is comprised of a sirloin and a tenderloin and is commonly known as a ‘Porterhouse’ steak.

Price: £££££

How To Cook a T-Bone

Cooking a T-bone steak is trickier than cooking most other steaks as the cut consists of 2 steaks with a bone in the centre. Maintaining consistent temperatures for each of these steaks is key. 

  1. First, remove your steaks from the fridge and pat dry. Allow your steaks to reach room temperature.
  2. Allow your thick-based pan to reach a temperature where the oil begins to smoke, then add your steak. Remember, most frying pans may only be large enough for one T-bone steak, so don’t overcrowd your pan. 
  3. Fry for 3 minutes on one side until a golden crust forms, then flip and repeat on the other side (you may need to reduce the heat for the final minute on the second side). 
  4. Remove from the pan and allow to rest for around 5 minutes, allowing the juices of the steak the time to migrate back outward from the centre. 

Our rich and tangy Steak Sauce would work amazingly well with either steak found on a T-bone cut. 

Serving Suggestions: Serve with fries and a garden salad with oven-roasted tomatoes and balsamic vinaigrette.

Suggested Doneness: Medium

T-Bone Steak with Tom Hixson

Tom Hixson’s Wagyu T-Bone Steak

Salt Moss Aged T-Bone Steak

Skirt Steak 

Skirt Steak is taken from either of the two separate muscles from the chest and abdominal cavities of a cow. This area below the ribs is a section of the animal known as the ‘beef plate primal cut’. The outside skirt contains the muscle that controls the diaphragm of the cow, it is thicker and more tender. The inside skirt contains the transversus muscle and is a smaller and more irregular cut than the outside skirt. 

The skirt is generally a long and thin cut of steak that is tougher than other cuts but highly flavoursome. The long tissue fibres that comprise a quality cut of skirt steak make it ideal for marinating, as ingredients are able to work their way in between these tissue fibres, replacing the natural water content of the steak. This makes the skirt a favourite for pairing with strong flavours and ideal for street food-inspired dishes.

Price: £££££

How To Cook Skirt Steak 

A skirt steak takes to wet brines and rubs well as it is incredibly absorbent. We recommend brining or rubbing for no more than an hour before cooking and resting this cut as more could negatively affect the texture. 

Cooking a skirt steak is perfect for barbecue and grilling due to the fibrous nature of the meat needing to be rendered down over a longer period of time than with a sear/fry technique. 

  1. Heat your grill to 230 degrees Celsius and allow your cut to reach room temperature. 
  2. Apply heat to the steak until both sides are darker than golden-brown or directly onto the coals if you are barbecuing the meat. 
  3. Once the outer layer of the steak is cooked, take it away from the heat and rest for 5-10 minutes. Always slice a skirt steak against the grain. 

For some recipes inspired by Skirt Steak, why not check out our Carne Asada Recipe, which would be perfect for long summer nights with friends or for special family occasions? 

Serving Suggestions: Serve as Carne Asada Tacos or fajitas. It would also be perfect with a citrus-forward fennel salad. Slice against the grain to allow easy chewability. 

Suggested Doneness: Medium/Rare

Skirt Steak with Tom Hixson

Hereford Beef Skirt 

Flank Steak (Bavette)

The Flank Steak, sometimes known as a Bavette, is a cut from the lower, abdominal section of the cow, behind the plate. It is common in many different cuisines around the world, as this versatile cut of meat can be pan-fried, grilled, broiled, or braised, making it the perfect choice for many varieties of delicious dishes.

Flank Steaks sometimes get a bad reputation, as they can be tough if cooked incorrectly. Fortunately, here at Tom Hixson, we have some great ideas to help you marinade and cook your flank steak, making this cheaper option suitable for any classy occasion. 

Price: £££££

How To Cook Flank Steak

Cooking Flank Steaks quickly at a high temperature is the best way to offset the potential toughness of the cut. For a medium/rare finish, we recommend pan frying or grilling between 5 and 6 minutes per side. 

  1. Remove your flank steaks from the fridge and pat dry any marinade or brine 
  2. Allow for the steaks to reach room temperature. Cooking flank steaks from chilled can lead to uneven heat distribution when cooking, and may cause excess juices. 
  3. Add oil to a red hot pan and wait until the oil starts to smoke.
  4. Add your steaks to the pan individually.
  5. Once your steak starts to heat up, add a knob of butter and fresh garlic to the pan and baste.
  6. Once you have reached your desired doneness, allow a short period of time for the steaks to rest. 
  7. For well-done steaks, remove from direct heat and add to a hot oven for 4 minutes on each side to cook through. 

Serving Suggestions: Due to the potential toughness of flank steak, it is sometimes worth adding the steaks to a citrus brine no more than 3 hours before cooking. This helps tenderise the outer surface of the steak, giving it a better mouth feel once cooked. This can be simply achieved by squeezing the juice of 1 lemon, lime or grapefruit over the surface of the steak prior to cooking. Perfect for a Warm and Easy Steak Salad or Carne Asada Tacos

Suggested Doneness: Medium/Rare

Available from Tom Hixson of Smithfield:

British Beef Bavette

Miguel Vergara Aberdeen Angus Bavette

Tom Hixson Wagyu Flank Steak

Tom Hixson Wagyu Flank Steak (Halal) 

Rump Steak 

Rump steak is one of the most popular steak cuts in the UK and for all the right reasons. This inexpensive cut is popular in eateries across the UK due to its price point and incredible meaty flavour and minerality. 

As the name suggests, rump steak is taken from the hard-working, rear muscle of the animal, which has contributed towards the steak's reputation as being slightly more tough than other cuts. However, rump steak boasts flavours often unseen in a cut of meat in this price range, as it offers a good tissue-to-fat ratio per steak.

Price: £££££

How To Cook Rump Steak

Cooking a great Rump Steak should be easy. However, as the meat tends to be rounder than other similar cuts, make sure to occasionally check the surface contact of the steak to make sure each side is getting seared evenly. 

  1. Bring your Steaks up to room temperature 
  2. Heat up a small amount of oil in a thick-bottomed frying pan until it begins to smoke
  3. Add your steaks to the oil, flattest side (or fattiest) first, and add a small knob of butter. 
  4. Allow one side to sear for around 3-4 minutes and flip once, sear for another 3-4 minutes, basting each side in butter as you do so. 
  5. Once your steaks have reached your required level of doneness, make sure to allow them to rest for up to 10 minutes before serving. 

Serving Suggestions: This cut is very versatile, however, why not try it with our delicious Rump Steak Sauce recipe? 

Suggested Doneness: Medium/Rare

Rump Steak from Tom Hixson

Black Label Argentine Beef Rump Heart (Rioplatense)

Jack's Creek Black Angus Rump Heart BMS 2

Steaks from Tom Hixson

Tom Hixson has over 100 steaks to choose from, from Irish to Australian and Argentinian beef, to some of the most prized Wagyu steaks available in the UK - our high-quality beef cuts can be delivered straight to your door, ready for you to impress and wow your guests. 

For true meat lovers, our Steak Club offers a monthly subscription that brings you a new steak to sample each month, hand-selected by our experts and prestigious farming partners.

Shop with Tom Hixson to get rare and beautiful steaks delivered to your door. Available now for delivery across the UK. 

See our delivery information here.

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