Navigate BBQ Season With This Beef Steak Cuts Guide

26th May 2020

Barbecue season is upon us, and what’s better to sizzle on the grill than a beautiful cut of pasture-fed, dry-aged steak? The question is: which cut of beef to go for? From rib eye to flat iron, there are so many choices to consider. Farmdrop Recipe Developer, Alice King, shares her quick guide on each beef steak cut and how to cook your steak to perfection. 


How to cook steak: Alice’s top tips

There are a few rules on cooking steak that apply to all the cuts. Firstly, bring the steak up to room temperature before you cook it. This will ensure even cooking throughout and a beautifully tender steak; cooking your meat from fridge to pan will make it seize up, which could make it tough.

Season your steak well before cooking to optimise the flavour. Just use salt at this point, and add pepper after cooking; the pepper will burn if you fry it.

Always rest your steak for as long as you have cooked it for. The resting juices will have a chance to run back into the meat, which will make it extra succulent.

How to cook steak: here’s your guide to each cut


beef steak cuts guide fillet steak

Photography: Natalé Towell

This is a cut from the tenderloin of beef that runs along the back of the cow, next to the sirloin and rump. This muscle does very little work, which makes it the most tender part of the cow. It also has almost no fat to it, which means that the flavour is mild.

How to cook fillet steak: this cut is suited to those who value tenderness above flavour with their meat. It will take on flavours well and is versatile in how it can be cooked. Pan-frying in butter will give it a good flavour as the butter will provide the fatty goodness.

Rib Eye

beef steak cuts guide rib eye steak

Considered to be the butcher’s choice of steak. This is the trimmed fillet from the fore-rib of the cow, which has a generous amount of fat marbled throughout – making the rib eye cut juicy and full of flavour.

How to cook rib eye steak: the ‘eye’ of fat, which gives this cut its name, needs to be rendered down during cooking. This means that this cut is best served medium, to give the fat time to melt. The rib eye is a great piece of meat to barbecue; the charcoal flames work wonders with the flavourful fat. This Rib Eye Steak with Chimichurri Sauce recipe is a lovely one for a barbie.


beef steak cuts guide sirloin steak

Sirloin has the best of both worlds, in terms of tenderness and flavour. It comes from in between the rib and the fillet and should be cooked in the same way as rib eye.

How to cook sirloin steak: it helps during cooking to baste the meat with the melting fat as it cooks to get as much juiciness and flavour back into it. A classic way of serving steak is with Bearnaise sauce: a rich, buttery sauce flavoured with tarragon. You can find a simplified recipe for this classic here.


beef steak cuts guide rump steak

A classic cut that is from the backside of the cow, which makes it tougher than other cuts but full of flavour.

How to cook rump steak: sear this steak in a hot pan, then finish in the oven. This way you can be sure to evenly cook your steak to perfection. Just remember to rest well after cooking, to make the meat as succulent as possible.

Flat Iron

beef steak cuts guide flat iron steak

This is a really tender cut of beef that’s well marbled with fat and flavourful. It’s also one of the most inexpensive steak cuts, trending in restaurants at the moment. It’s cut from the muscle called the top blade that sits in the shoulder of the cow.

How to cook flat iron steak: try this steak pan-fried. What better way to celebrate flat iron steak than in a sandwich with buttery onions, mustardy mayo and peppery watercress. Here’s the ultimate steak sandwich recipe.


beef steak cuts guide bavette steak

Also known as flank steak, this cut is from the underbelly of the cow. It is long and slender with a loose texture and a good flavour.

How to cook bavette steak: this is a perfect barbecue cut as it benefits from a quick griddle over hot coals, for flavour and to keep it nice and rare. It’s is also a great cut for soaking up marinades. Just rest and slice thickly, before serving. Try this bavette steak recipe for inspiration on what to serve it with.


beef steak cuts guide Tomahawk steak

For a real crowd pleaser, try the tomahawk steak. An on-the-bone rib eye steak, cut from the fore-rib with the entire rib bone still intact. The long bone is french-trimmed, which makes this steak quite the looker.

How to cook tomahawk steak: this is best seared for flavour on either the hot coals of the barbecue, or on the hob, then finished in either the cooler part of the barbie or in the oven. There’s a large amount of inter-muscular fat in this cut, which gives it a fantastic flavour when cooked, as well as the added benefit of flavour imparted from the bone.


beef steak cuts guide t bone steak

This is not for the faint hearted. A cut taken from the entire sirloin; one side of the bone is a tender fillet steak, whilst the other side is the meatier sirloin. Seriously juicy and tender, this is a steak lover’s steak.

How to cook T-bone steak: pan fry or grill for 8 minutes for medium-rare.


beef steak cuts guide minute steak

This cut can be taken from a variety of muscles of the cow, but is often from the thick flank.

How to cook minute steak: this cut is about 1cm thick, so cooks quickly. It’s very lean and best when marinated; this tenderises the meat and allows it to soak up flavour. Beef can take on Asian flavours well; this fresh and zingy Thai Beef Salad is a summer favourite.


beef steak cuts guide stewing steak

If time is on your side, then this steak is for you. A little patience is required, as this cut benefits from long and slow cooking. Stewing steak is normally cut from the brisket, blade or neck of the cow; parts of the animal that work hard, which makes them tougher.

How to cook stewing steak: if left to slowly cook over a long period of time, the fat will melt to create flavour and tenderness and the meat will break down, resulting in a stew that is melt-in-the-mouth and full of flavour.


beef steak cuts guide braising steak

Similar to stewing steak, but with less fat running through it. This is a general term used for several cuts of beef that benefit from long and slow cooking, including the chuck, skirt, leg and flank parts of the cow. These are all hard working muscles, which makes them tough.

How to cook braising steak: Slow cooking is needed to tenderise this tough cut. Your patience will be rewarded with a dish that is rich and full in flavour, like this Slow-Cooked Beef, Tamarind and Coconut Curry.

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Find our lamb cuts guide here or check out our guide to goat cuts.  

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