The Most Tender Cut of Steak (7 Types & Best Cooking Tips)

Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: June 21, 2024

Prepare to salivate today because we're talking about the holy grail of steak aficionados—tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef cuts that elevate your grilling game to legendary status. If you're like me, every sizzle on the grill is a siren song and every steak is a work of art.

From the butcher's block to my dinner plate, I've experimented with virtually every cut under the sun. Believe me, they're not all created equal when it comes to tenderness. But worry not, meat worshippers! I've done the chewing and reviewing so you don't have to.

My personal go-to source for the most tender, juicy, and high-quality steak is ButcherBox. It's the most affordable and reliable meat source I’ve come across.

In this meat-packed article, we're carving into the Top 7 Elite Cuts of Beef that have passed the ultimate tenderness test and made it to my ‘All-Star Meat Lineup.’

So grab your favorite seasoning, summon your inner grillmaster, and let’s sink our teeth into this carnivorous quest!

Quick Summary

  • Filet mignon, from the tenderloin, is the most tender cut of steak.
  • The tenderloin steak portion in a porterhouse steak must be 1.25″ wide compared to 0.5” in a t-bone steak.
  • Ribeye and flat Iron steak are highly valued since they're finely marbled.

7 Most Tender Cuts Of Steak

Here are the seven most tender steaks that you’ll love adding to your recipes.

1. Filet Mignon

A filet mignon on a plate with fork and other vegetables

Leading the list is the "filet mignon," a French term translating to small and pretty because a small portion of the animal is used to make filet mignon.

Roughly a pound of this steak is obtained per cow, which is why it's the most expensive and tender cut.

This type of tenderloin steak is located on the cow's ribcage [1]. These steaks are naturally round since they originate from the tube-shaped end of a muscle.

This boneless steak is frequently sold and chopped into more manageable pieces.

Filet mignon is also excellent for broiling, roasting, grilling, and pan-frying. I recommend not cooking this tender cut beyond medium rare as a longer cooking time makes it drier and less tender.

Tip: Remember to remove the white strip of cartilage or the silverskin while cooking filet mignon since it can be a little difficult to chew.

2. T-bone Steak

The t-bone is a two-for-one deal type steak since it combines tenderloin and strip loin. It includes a T-shaped bone section from the spinal column of the cow.

The best part about this tender steak is that it comes from close to the center of the ribs rather than directly on top of them, so it has a good measure of fat, which keeps it juicy while remaining tender enough to eat regularly.

Cooking this thick, meaty beef steak can be enjoyable. However, you must exercise caution because one part of the steak may become overcooked while the other remains undone.

3. Porterhouse Steak

A top view of perfectly cooked porterhouse steak

Porterhouse steaks are beef cuts that are similar to t-bone steaks. The only thing different is the porterhouse's significant portion of tenderloin, which raises the price of the porterhouse and makes it slightly more tender.

As per USDA specifications, this beef tenderloin must be 1.25 inches thick to be classified as a porterhouse and only 0.5 inches thick as a t-bone steak [2].

Porterhouse steak is ideal for large gatherings and can be cooked in a broiler, oven, or stovetop. To enhance the natural flavor of this steak, cook it over high, dry heat to medium rare, as you would skirt steak.

Tip: I recommend always keeping an eye on the temperature of this steak to achieve restaurant-quality doneness.

4. Ribeye Steak

Ribeye steak is a beef cut derived from the cow's rib section. If you want to determine the quality of ribeye, look at the marbling. These cuts are covered in it, and the flavor is equally impressive.

All that extra fat adds a significant amount of beefy taste to the ribeye, making it one of the most delicious cuts of the cow.

It also doesn't hurt that they're generally perfectly juicy, soft, and as tender as you could like your steak to be.

Although boneless ribeyes are more common, bone-in ribeyes are also commercially available. Bone-in ribeyes can be challenging to stir fry even though the bone adds flavor and moisture.

Grilling or pan-searing ribeye steak is the simplest way to prepare it. When grilling ribeye, fat drips down, producing flavorful smoke.

If you enjoy barbecuing, this is an excellent cut for you. It cooks quickly and has a smoky flavor, especially on a charcoal grill.

5. Strip Steak

Cooking New York strip steak on a pan

This boneless top loin steak has different names depending on where it comes from. It's widely known as the New York strip, a Kansas City strip, and Omaha steak, just to name a few.

This York strip steak is typically cut from a cow's short loin behind the rib area. Steak lovers have popularized it by preparing it in short rather than long strips like pepperoni or bacon.

Strip steak has a little more fat than a skirt, making it tender and flavorful. It's the most reasonably priced tender steak and is a great option when you need something that is both affordable and wholesome.

"Strip steak should be cooked until it turns pink on both sides over medium-high heat, or else it will turn out tough and chewy rather than tender and juicy."
- Curtis Stone, Chef

6. Top Sirloin Steak

The top sirloin steak is a lean cut of beef with a rich flavor and less fat than other cuts. This cut is made from the hip area near the round primal of a cow.

As a result, compared to other steak cuts such as flank steak or ribeye, top loin steak is leaner and less marbled. But, it compensates for what it lacks in tenderness with a rich beefy taste.

Sirloin steak is an excellent choice for steak lovers looking for a low-cost steak cut. It tastes similar to the more pricey filet mignon. I love it for its versatility.

It tastes great, but its tender texture makes it ideal for stir-fries or fajitas.

7. Flat Iron Steak

This steak comes from the cow's shoulder and is well-marbled, indicating a high-fat content.

It's full of flavor and texture, so you can enjoy each bite without feeling too chewy. Since flank steak is so lean, it may become tough or overcooked if cooked at high temperatures.

Flat iron steak is typically surrounded by unappealing sinew, so find a butcher who can remove it and provide you with tender cuts.

Like the flank steak or skirt steak, the flat iron steak isn't that popular, but it's only a matter of time before it catches on.

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Tips For Cooking a Tender Steak Cut

Putting a cooked tender cut of steak on top of a wooden board to rest

Here are a few tips that might be helpful when you're cooking these tender cuts:

  • Let the steak rest: Cold steaks don't uniformly cook because it takes longer for the heat to reach the center. Allow the steaks to sit for at least half an hour before cooking.
  • Season generously: It's better to allow your steaks a generous pat down with salt and black pepper. Do this before allowing the steaks to rest so the seasoning can penetrate deep into the meat.
  • Sear hot: A hot cooking surface is essential for caramelizing the outside of the steak and sealing in the juices and flavor. High heat also produces the textural variety in steakhouse top-notch steaks: crispy on the outside, moist, and tender on the inside. 
  • Use a meat thermometer: Insert a meat thermometer to ensure your steak's internal temperature ranges from 130 to 145°F [3]. Remember that after you remove the steaks from the heat source, the internal temperature will rise by 3-5 degrees.
  • Add toppings: A slab of garlic-infused butter is the tastiest topping you can put on a hot steak. The butter melts over the steak, combining with the meat juices to form its rich gravy.

Also Read: How Long to Let Meat Rest?


Which Is The Most Important Steak Cut From The Tenderloin?

The most important steak cut is filet mignon from the tenderloin since it's cut from the tip of the filet.

Why Is The Beef Tenderloin So Tender?

Beef tenderloin is so tender due to its location. The tenderloin is within a rarely used muscle and has no support function. It also has an average fat constant of 25g/100g, so it's very lean.


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About the author

Arianna Foster
Nutritionist/Editorial Director
Arianna Foster is the editorial director and senior reviewer at Carnivore Style. She loves sharing her passion for nutrition, diverse cooking techniques, and the many health benefits of a meat diet with readers.
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