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Old 03-02-2011, 12:04 AM   #1
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Question for Steak experts (T-Bone)

Recently, I've been getting more acquainted with steak cuts. I'll always be a burger-and-fries guy, but there's something about the simplicity of a nice chunk of steak.

So far, I've tries three cuts - top sirloin, ribeye, and NY strip steak.

The top sirloin was very tough and chewy, even when cooked to medium. I think I'm gonna reserve this cut for burgers in the future. It was $2 a pound.

I read that NY strip steak was a class above the top sirloin, but they were pretty identical to me. Tough and chewy, and even the fat was like rubber. It was $3 a pound.

The ribeye was very soft, and it was easily the best tasting cut of the three. I understand that ribeye has a lot of marbling, so it's soft, but even the meat alone seemed soft on it's own. It was $4 a pound.

With all that outta the way, I decided to try out the t-bone steak tomorrow. It's $4 per pound, like the ribeye. Not sure if that's a good price, but it's supposed to be on sale, so I'll give it a shot.

My questions...

1. How does it stack up against the ribeye? 'Cause they cost the same...

2. I read that the t-bone is composed of the tenderloin and short loin. What kinda cuts are these? Are they softer than top sirloin and NY strip? I also read the NY strip is cut acquired from the short loin, so maybe it's the same thing...

3. What's the difference between tenderloin and short loin? Not so much the anatomical differences, but the texture and taste...

Thanks, as always!

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Old 03-02-2011, 12:40 AM   #2
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I can't answer some of those questions but with my experience you need to find a place with the best quality, only taste will tell the difference.

Today I only buy steak for stirfry or those special dinners. When I do it is generally ribeye, Prime grade. I have bought the Prime ribeye at a number of places and there is a HUGE difference (at least in my area). Those prices seems VERY cheap to me, it seems as though NY or Ribeye (Choice grade) goes for about $8-10/lb, when I buy Prime grade it is $17/lb

Taste will vary GREATLY on the quality of the meat, so find different places in your area and see which has the best. I do most my grocery shopping at a local place but I never buy meat there, I have found a good place and will go out of my way for it.
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Old 03-02-2011, 12:42 AM   #3
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Wow, where are you buying your meat? In my neck of the woods sirloins are around $5 per pound, with New Yorks running in the $6.50/lb range. Ribeyes generally cost around $7-8.50/lb! And beef you're getting at those prices probably will be pretty tough, unless you're in some part of the planet where the economics of things is very different.

There are many grades of beef. The lowest you generally find in stores is Commercial or the somewhat better Select. This is certainly edible but generally lacks marbling and isn't as flavorful as better grades. Anything below Select will generally be a poor choice for steaks unless you're going to tenderize it or braise it. Choice beef is considerably better and usually the best you'll find in a typical supermarket. This is what most restaurants will use. Prime beef is superb but very expensive; very little beef is graded Prime. It will be well marbled and generally very tender.

There are several cuts that are all considered Sirloins. In your average grocery the coulette steak will be left on the loin and cut as part of the sirloin. Other times it will be removed and cut separately. A good sirloin shouldn't be tough, although it's not as tender as a ribeye.

A New York shouldn't be tough, either. Overall the Ribeye is cut from a part of the animal that does less work, so it's even more tender. If all you're concerned about is tenderness, the filet is the most tender. As you mention, a T-bone basically has a filet eye on one side and a NY strip on the other. It's a terrific cut of meat but expensive, and there's a bit of waste from all the bone. The texture of all those steaks will vary depending on where they're cut. For instance, the loin a ribeye is cut from has two ends. On end where the Delmonico is cut from has less fat and is a bit more chewy. The other end is more marbled, more tender and (IMOHO) has better flavor.

Sometimes a marinate can improve the texture. Also, you can get a multi-bladed tenderizer called a Jaccard that does a very good job of tenderizing tougher cuts. Many restaurants use them. They sever some of the fibres, making the meat more tender. And perhaps counterintuitively, since those fibres constrict less, less moisture is forces out and the meat remains more juicy.

The Cliff Notes version:

1) Generally filet is the most tender. It's also about $9.50 a pound, and most steak connoisseurs don't consider it all that flavorful.

2) Ribeye is about the next most tender and has better flavor. It's tough to beat a ribeye. IMO probably the very best part of the cow comes from the ribeye and is called the spinalis dorsi. It's sometimes called the cap. It's wonderfully marbled, very tender and supremely flavorful. If you don't like spinalis you don't like beef!
3) A good New York is on par with about any steak you can get. But you're wise to pick one that doesn't contain an "scar" and that's well marbled.

4) A good T-bone is also sublime.

5) Your opinion of sirloin will likely change when you try a good one.



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Old 03-02-2011, 01:00 AM   #4
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Nice post Rob!

Here is another link with MORE info than you may want. Beef - Large index of beef processing tips, facts and guides for the consumer. Food safety information, beef cooking hints, and meat buying guide, beef freezer storage chart and more.
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:50 AM   #5
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Over here T Bone is about the same price as rib eye because of the inedible bone.
My take on steak is it must be hung for a min of 30 days, reared within 20 miles of the abattoir, if you cannot find or afford this don't buy cheap steak, buy a different cheaper cut like shin or skirt and cook it appropriately you cant make a silk purse out of a sows ear.
Fillet if properly aged is full flavoured but lacks texture due to the fact it is a non working muscle.
Before PC arrived in the UK Fillet was known as a womans steak
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Old 03-02-2011, 01:51 AM   #6
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I happen to be a slave to a proper fillet of migon nowadays, but,...for dicucssion purposes, I simply die for the smaller side of a t-bone, &, lay "claim" to the bone as well...(those bits are 97% of the time undercooked...yums for me! )LOL
Sirloin, well, if you take proper care of it prior to cooking (meaning a good mirinade that consists of numerous different ways to get the cut to "break down" or ""soften" will help by leaps & bounds. Beer, brine, acidicity, carbonation, sugars, & salts just to name a few will help in breaking down a sirloins "beefy" texture.
As for a strip, well, I really don't ever buy nor cook them. I do know however, that, that particular cut has quite a following.
Myself, I am a ribeye gal all around. Sometimes even, I go w/a cheaper cut of chuck-eye. They both aim to please ME, &...I have thus far had around 95% satisfaction in my preferred cuts.
Steak is steak...just really kiinda boils down on how you cook it, &, what you have done to it before cooking has commenced. It's fun when you get it "right"!!, &,..I wish you gobs of luck! :)
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Old 03-02-2011, 02:29 AM   #7
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Merl, I am lucky, I buy a "Choice Cut" ( rump,sirloin and fillet on the bone) from my local abattoir, I like the Welsh Black breed, it is smaller and takes longer to reach slaughter weight, the piece is then hung for 36 to 40 days, I then take the meat of the bone(the trimmings make excellent burgers the bones I use for stock, I dont have the ability to cut T bones)I break down the sirlion into two cuts, steaks and the trad UK cut for roasting rolled sirlion (the fatty rib flap wraps the center steak) both cuts eat well with good flavour and texture.

Tip I roast the bones make the stock then reduce it down to a whipping cream thickness and freeze in an ice cube tray, I also use the American Foodsaver Vacpac machine to keep my meat in prime condition in the freezer
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post
Wow, where are you buying your meat? In my neck of the woods sirloins are around $5 per pound, with New Yorks running in the $6.50/lb range. Ribeyes generally cost around $7-8.50/lb! And beef you're getting at those prices probably will be pretty tough, unless you're in some part of the planet where the economics of things is very different.
You're probably purchasing USDA Choice.

The steaks I get are not from some fancy shmancy butcher. It's either from Vons or Ralphs. Vons (Safeway) carries Ranchers Reserve steaks. That's where I got the top sirloin for $2/lb, and ribeye for $4/lb. Ribeye actually turned out pretty good.

I got the NY strip steak ($3) from Ralphs, which carries USDA Select.

And I'll be purchasing USDA Select T-bones later today...

I know that the quality is lacking in these grades, but this is as upscale as it gets for me. At this point, it's hard to justify spending $8-20/lb on Choice/Prime meats, when I can get 30 Foster Farm drumsticks for $8 at Costco.

Then again, that's probably why my experience with top sirloin/NY strip has been lousy. I didn't know quality steaks had such a high price.
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:12 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Babcock View Post

There are many grades of beef. The lowest you generally find in stores is Commercial or the somewhat better Select. This is certainly edible but generally lacks marbling and isn't as flavorful as better grades. Anything below Select will generally be a poor choice for steaks unless you're going to tenderize it or braise it. Choice beef is considerably better and usually the best you'll find in a typical supermarket. This is what most restaurants will use. Prime beef is superb but very expensive; very little beef is graded Prime. It will be well marbled and generally very tender.

There are several cuts that are all considered Sirloins. In your average grocery the coulette steak will be left on the loin and cut as part of the sirloin. Other times it will be removed and cut separately. A good sirloin shouldn't be tough, although it's not as tender as a ribeye.

A New York shouldn't be tough, either. Overall the Ribeye is cut from a part of the animal that does less work, so it's even more tender. If all you're concerned about is tenderness, the filet is the most tender. As you mention, a T-bone basically has a filet eye on one side and a NY strip on the other. It's a terrific cut of meat but expensive, and there's a bit of waste from all the bone. The texture of all those steaks will vary depending on where they're cut. For instance, the loin a ribeye is cut from has two ends. On end where the Delmonico is cut from has less fat and is a bit more chewy. The other end is more marbled, more tender and (IMOHO) has better flavor.

Sometimes a marinate can improve the texture. Also, you can get a multi-bladed tenderizer called a Jaccard that does a very good job of tenderizing tougher cuts. Many restaurants use them. They sever some of the fibres, making the meat more tender. And perhaps counterintuitively, since those fibres constrict less, less moisture is forces out and the meat remains more juicy.

The Cliff Notes version:

1) Generally filet is the most tender. It's also about $9.50 a pound, and most steak connoisseurs don't consider it all that flavorful.

2) Ribeye is about the next most tender and has better flavor. It's tough to beat a ribeye. IMO probably the very best part of the cow comes from the ribeye and is called the spinalis dorsi. It's sometimes called the cap. It's wonderfully marbled, very tender and supremely flavorful. If you don't like spinalis you don't like beef!
3) A good New York is on par with about any steak you can get. But you're wise to pick one that doesn't contain an "scar" and that's well marbled.

4) A good T-bone is also sublime.

5) Your opinion of sirloin will likely change when you try a good one.


Wow, you certainly know your cattle.

Very knowledgeable post. Thanks a lot!

Question: What is the "filet eye?" Is that the same as a filet mignon?
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Old 03-02-2011, 06:16 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by NAchef View Post
I can't answer some of those questions but with my experience you need to find a place with the best quality, only taste will tell the difference.

Today I only buy steak for stirfry or those special dinners. When I do it is generally ribeye, Prime grade. I have bought the Prime ribeye at a number of places and there is a HUGE difference (at least in my area). Those prices seems VERY cheap to me, it seems as though NY or Ribeye (Choice grade) goes for about $8-10/lb, when I buy Prime grade it is $17/lb

Taste will vary GREATLY on the quality of the meat, so find different places in your area and see which has the best. I do most my grocery shopping at a local place but I never buy meat there, I have found a good place and will go out of my way for it.
Thanks, all of my steaks have been mediocre Select or Ranchers Reserve.

I don't think any of the markets near me, even bother carrying Choice, let alone Prime.

Costco carries Prime grade, but it's way above my pay grade. I guess I'll have to return to burgers, once my steak excursion ends.
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