The Anatomy of Steak Cuts

There are many different cuts of meat when it comes to butchering a steer. However, they are not all equal. The cuts that are some of the best include the steak cuts. The steak cuts tend to be the more expensive part of the meat since they are flavorful and tender. The different cuts include T-Bone, Filet Mignon, Porter House, New York Strip, Delmonico, Ribeye, and Sirloin. The actual anatomy of steak cuts is quite interesting and explains the reason why those cuts taste and cook the way they do.

The Three Muscles
All steaks come from the same part of the steer, which are from three muscles called the Longissimus, Spinalis Dorsi, and Psoas Major. The Longissimus muscle runs along the spine and makes up the two large cuts of beef in which most steaks are made, the rib and short loin cuts. The short loin also contains the Psoas Major or tender loin, and the rib contains the Spinalis Dorsi. These areas yield the most tender and flavorful steaks. This is because the muscles contain sedentary tissues that function only when the animal turns.  The result is fibers that are finer than those found in motion muscle, hence why these cuts of meat are more tender.

Cowboy Steaks, Ribeyes, Delmonico, and the Tomahawk
The rib primal provides rib steaks sometimes called cowboy steaks. The bones vary in Ribeyes, which are often called a Delmonico, named after the famed New York City steakhouse. A rib steak with an extra-long bone is called a tomahawk, although the bone is cut short on occasion before serving.

New York Strip, Kansas City Strip, and Sirloin
The short loin yields strip loin steaks because the tender loin has been stripped away. These steaks are known as a New York Strip, a Kansas City Strip, or Sirloin. The Psoas Major, or tenderloin muscle, spans the strip loin.  The sirloin is separated by the longissiums by the finger bones that run perpendicular to the backbone and form a T shape.

T-Bones, and Porter Houses
When both muscles and bone are cut into steaks it provides T-Bones and Porter Houses. The Porter House has a larger tenderloin section than the T-Bone, and is further back on the short loin. Since the Porter House steaks tend to be larger, they tend to be listed on a menu for two or three people.

Filet Mignon, and Chateaubriand,
Finally we have the tenderloin, which is the most tender cut on the steer. The steak cuts for this portion of the steer are called Filet Mignon, or prepared for two people it is called Chateaubriand. This is where the most tender and flavorful steaks come from.

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