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America's Most Popular Steaks at a Glance

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This list counts down and compares six of America's most popular cuts of steak. They all have their strong points, and if cooked properly, you can't go wrong with any of them. These comparisons may help you choose the perfect cut the next time you're planning a steak dinner.

We've also linked in a serving suggestion for each of these steaks. Enjoy!

1. Rib Eye Steak

Rib-eye steak smothered in mushrooms sauteed in sherry and butter with crispy french fries.
Tim Hawley/Photodisc/Getty Images
We put this in the number one spot since most steak aficionados consider this the best all-around cut. The rib eye has the most fat compared to the other cuts, which is why it's such a tender, juicy, and flavorful piece of beef. It can be grilled, broiled, or pan-fried with equally delicious results. These steaks are actually cut from the same piece of meat used for the famous roast prime rib of beef.

2. New York Strip Steak

Photo © Flickr user Neeta Lind
This steakhouse classic is perfect for the grill, but also does well pan-fried. It is very well marbled, tender, and full flavored. In some parts of the country this cut is referred to as a "Kansas City" cut, but no matter what it's called it's a great steak for all occasions. The New York strip steak is usually sold with a half-inch of fat running along one side. It is recommended to trim this off after cooking to take advantage of the flavor and richness it adds.

3. Beef Tenderloin

Photo © Flickr user scottfeldstein
This cut is also known in restaurants as a filet mignon. It is lightly marbled with fat, and has the mildest flavor of all these cuts. This area of the animal doesn’t do much work, so the meat is extremely tender - in fact, it's the tenderest cut available. The buttery texture is what makes this cut so desirable.

This is considered a special occasion steak, and is the most expensive cut listed here. Because it's a relatively lean cut, it is often wrapped with bacon in steakhouses before it's grilled.

4. T-Bone Steak

Photo © Flickr user thebusybrain
The T-bone steak is really two steaks in one. The T-shaped bone divides a New York strip steak and a tenderloin filet. This steak is best cooked on a grill, or broiled, since the bone can make it difficult to sear the meat when pan-fried. When choosing this cut, keep in mind that meat next to the bone will be more rare than the rest of the steak. This steak is not a good choice if you like your meat well done, since by the time the meat is cooked near the bone, the other parts will be dry.

A porterhouse steak is the same thing as a T-bone steak, except it is cut further up the loin which makes it larger, with a bigger portion of tenderloin.

5. Flank Steak

John Mitzewich
This delicious cut is not technically a steak, but it makes the list because of its popularity, especially during grilling season. Its larger size makes it perfect for entertaining, as you can get between 4 and 6 portions per flank steak. This cut is the only one on the list that comes from the lower half of the animal. Because of this it has more connective tissue, which gives it a great flavor, but also makes it less tender than the other steaks. Flank steak is always served cut across the grain in thin slices.

6. Top Sirloin Steak

Photo © Flickr user Schlusselbein2007
This steak is the most affordable cut on the list. While very flavorful, it is a bit less tender than all the other cuts, except for the flank steak. It's a relatively lean cut, without a lot of marbling. Top sirloin is often marinated, or pounded to help tenderize it. Like the rib eye steak, it can be cooked in any manner. It's also a good choice for cutting in cubes, and skewering with vegetables for grilling.
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