If you’re planning a luxurious meal, steak may well be on the menu, and in that case, you might be wondering about the cuts that have the best melt-in-the-mouth properties, and which to buy. Fat is the key property here, because it gives steak that buttery, rich texture, so let’s explore which steaks are the fattiest and most tender.
What is the fattiest cut of steak? Rib eye is generally the fattiest steak cut out there, and it is among the most popular options. This steak is cut from the rib area, where there is little muscle, making it tender and delicious. It’s closely followed by New York strip, T-Bone steak, and filet mignon, which are all juicy, fatty cuts with marbled surfaces.
What is Rib Eye Steak?
Rib eye steak is meat cut from the ribcage of the cow, and it’s the most calorie-rich, fatty steak cut that you can get. It has a central eye of fine grains and consistent marbling and pockets of fat throughout the cut. It tends to be among the most expensive options, but it is known for being delicious.
This steak will take on a rich, golden brown color when cooked, and it is usually seared at high temperatures in the pan to seal in the juices. If you’re eating at a fancy steakhouse, this cut of meat is likely to be one of the priciest on the menu!
It’s also supremely tender, with melt-in-the-mouth properties. Because it comes from a part of the animal with very little muscle, which does little to no work during the cow’s life, there’s no stringiness or toughness – you can just enjoy juicy, soft meat.
What is New York Strip Steak?
New York Strip is among the top cuts, although it is not usually as fatty as rib eye. Like rib eye, it is seared at a high heat in a pan to seal in the juices and make the most of the tender meat.
New York strip tends to have more of a balance between fat and meat, so some people prefer this option, and it’s certainly one of the most popular cuts. It is sometimes known as top sirloin or top loin, and it comes from just behind the rib cage.
It’s also a boneless meat (usually), which makes it preferable for some people. If you’re going to try New York Strip, make sure you cook it for just long enough to make the most of its tenderness; it is probably the softest cut there is.
What is T-Bone Steak?
T-bone steak is next on the list of succulent steaks. It’s taken from below the porterhouse, and because of its high fat content, you can be sure of a juicy, tender meal. It is sometimes called porterhouse steak, and it is essential two steaks in one, because it’s cut from a cross-section on the cow’s short loin.
This means that one side of the steak is New York strip, and the other side is tenderloin. This offers a great combination, and both sides have plenty of marbled fat throughout to keep them juicy.
However, this kind of steak requires careful cooking, because the tenderloin part must be cooked at a lower temperature if it is not to dry out, and the New York strip side needs to be cooked at a high temperature to ensure it gets hot enough. This steak is therefore usually grilled.
What is Filet Mignon?
If rib eye isn’t the most expensive on the menu, it’s bound to be filet mignon; this is both the smallest and priciest of the steaks. It has a great flavor, and is usually cut thickly, so it tends to be seared in a pan and then finished off in the oven to ensure it is fully cooked.
Filet mignon is a sure way to impress, although it is a bit less fatty than some of the other cuts. It has a fine grain texture, and it’s flavorful and juicy, but contains less marbling. For some people, this makes it less enjoyable, while others prefer this balance.
Filet mignon is usually small, which is partly what makes it expensive (because there is only a small amount of meat to be got per cow killed). It comes from the sirloin and short loin of the cow. Make sure you aren’t over-cooking this meat, as doing so will destroy its tenderness.
Why Does Fat Make Steak Taste So Good?
Most people try to steer clear of fat in their food, but fat is a necessary part of a great steak, because it’s what gives the meat its flavor and texture. Fat makes the meat rich, especially when it is marbled throughout the cut, rather than forming a ring around it.
When cooked, the fat in a steak should take on a crispy, delicious flavor that creates pockets within the meat and keeps it juicy and soft. In a well-cooked steak, the fat provides succulence, and it is often considered the best part.
Should You Cut Fat Out of Your Steak?
In general, you should leave fat in the steak, as it is supposed to be enjoyable, and cutting it out can be fiddly. However, if the steak has a ring of fat on the outside, some people remove this and enjoy their steak without.
It’s up to you whether to consume or leave the fat in your steak, although if you find you dislike fat in general, try choosing leaner steaks so you don’t spend ages trimming off bits of fat. This will cause the rest of the meat to go cold, and can lead to a very unsatisfying meal.
However, if you enjoy the fat, there’s no reason to get rid of it; it’s often “the best bit!”
The fattiest cut of steak is usually rib eye steak, although there are some other contenders, such as filet mignon, T-bone, and New York strip.
Don’t forget to think about flavor as well as fat when choosing your steak; you may find you prefer filet mignon to rib eye even though it contains less fat overall.