Steaks 101: Not Sure What Kind of Steak to Order?

Steaks 101: Not Sure What Kind of Steak to Order?


ON APRIL 16, 2014

If you’re a total noob at eating steaks, knowing what type of steak to order at fancy restaurants can be overwhelming or intimidating. Let’s beef up your knowledge so you’ll know how to order the perfect steak.

Meat quality is primarily based on two factors: the cut of the beef and the grade of the beef.

The first step to being able to order a steak is to know the cuts. (Knowing the different grades of beef will be covered in the next article.)

There are many types of steaks and you should at least become familiar with the popular ones.

A steak is a piece of muscle cut from different areas of the cow. Tenderness is affected by location of a particular cut. A general rule is that the less used a cow’s muscle is, the more tender that piece of meat is when cooked. Muscles located furthest from the neck, legs and rear will be more tender. The more tender the cut, the higher the price.

The type of steak cut you choose will determine the level of flavor and tenderness of steak, amount of marbling (streaks of fat within the meat), as well as the price you’ll pay.

Filet Mignon

Also known as: Tenderloin Steak

Description: The most tender beef cut. And the smallest. And the most expensive. Mild steak taste. Buttery texture. Not the most flavorful. The cut should be thick (1.5 to 2 inches). Very little fat so it’s a good option for those watching their weight or fat intake.

Fat content: Low

Strip Steak

Also known as: Kansas City Steak, New York Strip, Strip Loin Steak, Shell Steak

Description: Juicy “steak” flavor. Available boneless and bone-in. Lean, moderately tender with strong beefy flavor.

The filet mignon might be the most tender cut, but what good is tenderness if there’s no flavor? With a strip steak, you sacrifice some tenderness but get a lot more flavor.
Fat content: Medium

T-bone Steak



Description: If you can’t decide between the filet mignon and strip steak, why not get both? A T-bone steak combines the two steaks. T-bone steak = tenderloin + strip steak connected by a T-shaped bone. If the width of the tenderloin is smaller than a golf ball (between ½ and 1.5 inches wide), it’s usually considered a T-bone.

Fat content: Medium
Porterhouse Steak


Description: A bigger version of the T-bone steak. If the width of the tenderloin is larger than a golf ball (at least 1.5 inches wide), it’s generally considered a Porterhouse. Hai Chix and Mamou are good places to give this cut a try.

Fat content: Medium

Ribeye Steak

Also known as: Delmonico steak, Scotch fillet, Entrecôte

Description: The best all-around cut. The default choice of steak connoisseurs. Fine-grained steak. Rich, beefy flavorful. Considered the most juicy and flavorful of all steaks. The ribeye has more texture (not as tender) than the tenderloin. Price is usually more expensive than a strip steak, but cheaper than a filet mignon (when based on price/oz). Elbert’s Steak RoomMamouPrime 101 andStockton Place are known to serve some delicious ribeyes.

Fat content: Very High

Bone in Meat vs Boneless Meat

Bones make cooked meat taste better. If you’ve eaten sinigang or bulalo, you know the meat between the bones is special. Same goes for steaks. When you cook meat on the bone, the marrow and other substances from the bones flavor the meat, adding succulence and a depth of taste that just does not exist with a boneless cut. The bones also help keep the meat moist, and help conduct heat throughout the meat so it cooks more evenly.

Tomahawk Steak

Also known as: Tomahawk Chop, Bone-In Ribeye, Cote du Boeuf (pronounced COAT duh BERF)

Description: The Tomahawk Steak is a bone-in ribeye steak cut with the entire rib bone intact. This long bone is frenched (trimmed of meat and fat), leaving a handle with the meat that looks like a Native American’s tomahawk.

This thing is a beauty when placed on the table and deserves its own selfie on Instagram. The Tomahawk has the largest amount of marbling, making it the most flavorful cut. It is cut based on the thickness of the bone and is typically two inches thick, weighing in between 30 and 45 ounces! Usually made for sharing due to its size. Places like l’entrecote and Chops Chicago Steakhouse offer this cut.

If you want to bond with your cavewoman (or caveman) on a date, share this piece of meat.
Fat content: Very High

Cowboy Steak

Also known as: Tomahawk, Bone-In Ribeye

Description: Sometimes also called a Tomahawk Steak since it’s basically the same thing. It might weigh a little less, usually around 32 ounces. The biggest difference is that a Cowboy Steak is meant to be eaten alone. Like a hungry cowboy.

The bone serves as a handle, so a cowboy can hold and eat this gigantic piece of meat without a plate or utensils.

If you want to impress your cavewoman (or caveman) on a date, completely finish this steak. Then order a filet mignon for dessert.
Fat content: Very High

Flat Iron

Also known as: Book Steak. Butler Steak, Lifter Steak, Petite Steak, Top Blade Steak

Description: Well-marbled, tender and juicy. Second in tenderness only to tenderloin and usually about half the cost. A boneless steak that has excellent beef flavor.

Fat content: High

Prime Rib

Also known as: Standing Rib Roast. Ribeye Roast

Description: Prime rib is a classic roast beef made from the rib cut, usually roasted with the bone in and served with its natural juices (au jus). Rich flavor, juicy, tender, with generous marbling throughout. Prince Albert Rotisserie is known to have a mean prime rib.

Fat content: High

Ground Beef

Also known as: Minced meat, Hamburger

Description: It’s not a steak cut but used to make burger patties. A combination of cuts from the chuck, round and sirloin chopped by a meat grinder.

Fat content: Low-Medium

Other Cuts

This wonderful infographic from the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association from the United States contains everything you need to know about all the beef cuts and how they should be cooked.


Published by

Robert Chaen

Global CEO-Founder of ChangeU and Movsha Movers & Shakers, Hero-CEO Whisperer, Writer, The #1 Alpha Change Expert, Father of Asian FireWalking Robert Chaen is an International Keynote Speaker, writer, researcher, and corp games designer. He is famously known to be the “Hero-CEO Whisperer”, 1-on1 coaching with many CEOs and Celebrities for corporate strategies, staff & office political issues, personal branding, and even public figure OSHA safety drilling called Drager Defense. He has transformed CEOs and managers in Coca-Cola China, TVB Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Airport Services, VADS, TM, Public Bank, Auditor General's Office Maldives, etc. He is the prolific creator and online Author of innovative management tools such as DragonCEO, Diamond Leader, Papillon Personal Effectiveness, OSHA Drager Defense, KPI Bank, etc. He is also the Founder of Movsha, an international networking with monthly mingles with MOVers & SHAkers, Angels, Entrepreneurs, CEOs, Celebrities, HR-PR-CSR, HODs, and the Most Influential IDEA people. ​Chaen is widely considered as one of the top International Platform Keynote Speakers for Resorts World Genting Senior Management Conference (Manila), 7-Eleven HK, Samsung, Coca-Cola China Mini-MBA @Tsing Hua University, Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong Jockey Club, The Story Conference where he interviewed Datuk Kamarudin (Chairman of AirAsia) and Siti Nurhaliza. He has been widely featured in TVB, AWSJ, CNBC, SCMP, The Star, and Sin Chew. As “The Father of Asian FireWalking”, he coached TVB celebrities (Ekin Cheng Yee-Kin) to walk on 650°C fire; and raised HK$68M in the world’s 1st and only live TV Charity FireWalk (TVB Tung Wah Charity Show), before Tony Robbins even came to Asia. If Robert can get you to walk on 650⁰C fire, he can inspire you to be THE BEST. He champions CN-HK-EU-US Tycoons to be philanthropic, and to be angel investors to support the next generation of Jack Mas, Steve Jobs, Richard Bransons, Steven Spielbergs, or Barrack Obamas. With some slick motivational speakers with fake doctorates out there, graduates often describe Robert to be "the most credible, empowering, truthful Coach" who believe in his graduates to believe in themselves. ​However, clients have described Robert as "The #1 Cool Badass Alpha Change Expert". He has the coolest first class stature, rapport and trust from clients. He will not hesitate to tell the badass truth ever so gently because clients are paying him big bucks to reveal the truth, find solutions, persuade the hostile HODs, and align cross-teams within the organization. Originally based in Hong Kong for 20+ years, he had worked with top Branding/Ad agencies at J Walter Thompson and Leo Burnett, and was a certified FranklinCovey (7 Habits) in USA, and NLP MasterCoach (USA). His warmth is known to soften the most hardened, resistant sceptics. He will inspire your team to Go for Top 1, or to be a Dragon CEO. With boundless energies, Robert owns 15+ successful business Joint-Ventures, and created unique products under his global VC network called Chaen's Angels VC. He is deeply passionate about ChangeUTH Youth CSR, Science-Based Medicine (vs. quackery), short films and Reality TV. Touched by a personal tragedy through the loss of his HK-born Portuguese wife, co-coach and business partner, Brenda José of 18 years, Robert explores the many ways in which the spirit world is communicating with the living with real scientific studies and evidence. He gives inspiring conferences on The Secret Afterlife.

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