The Dry Creek Ranch
Offering specialty steaks since 2004
How to Identify Steak Cuts
If you’ve ever been to a steakhouse, you may have asked yourself, “How do I know I’m getting my money’s worth?” At the Dry Creek Ranch, we believe that knowing how to identify a steak cut empowers our customers and is good business, too! Below, we’ve created a steak cuts guide to give you some tips for assessing and buying quality steaks.
Know the Quality of Your Beef
You may have heard of USDA-grade beef, but do you know what the different grades mean? Knowing the quality of your beef is an important step in learning how to identify a steak cut. Having the quality of a producer’s meat graded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a voluntary process. This means each steak cut that The Dry Creek Ranch sources is deliberately offered up for inspection, which is paid for by the beef producer. The USDA assesses beef in two different ways: quality grades and yield grades. A quality grade looks at three factors—the juiciness, tenderness, and flavor of the beef. Meanwhile, a yield grade assesses how much useable, "lean" meat is available on the beef. Usually, yield grades are given a numerical rating from 1-5. The grades or "stamps of quality" that most of our customers are familiar with are the quality grades including USDA Prime beef, USDA Choice beef, and USDA Select beef. All steaks ordered from The Dry Creek Ranch are USDA Prime or USDA Choice cuts of beef. What this means for you is that when you purchase beef from The Dry Creek Ranch, you are purchasing beef that has been officially inspected and confirmed to be high-quality, juicy, flavorful, and tender.
Most Common Steak Cuts
What good would a steak cut guide be if it didn’t teach you the differences between the most common cuts of steak? When you look at different steak cuts, you'll notice that the part of the cow and the cow's muscle that they come from affects the texture and flavor of the cut. Several of the most popular cuts you’ll see include filet mignon, ribeye, and New York strip steak cuts. You can find each of these cuts in our online shop here.
Filet mignon is one of the most tender steak cuts and comes from the tenderloin portion of the cow. Filet mignon may be prepared and served rarer than other cuts of steak due to its tenderness. In addition, filet mignon often has little to no fat.
As its name suggests, the ribeye steak’s meat comes from the area around the cow’s ribs. A ribeye can come with or without the bone. In many regions, ribeye is known to refer to a boneless rib steak. Throughout the U.S. however, the term ribeye is used interchangeably to refer to boneless and bone-in rib steaks. Dry Creek Ranch sells Texas-raised USDA Prime and USDA Choice ribeye steak cuts. The boneless ribeye comes with significantly more fat than a filet mignon cut and, as a result, it has a tougher texture, making it a chewier cut of steak.
New York Strip Steak
The New York strip steak comes from a part of the back of a cow called the short loin. Compared to other cuts, the New York strip steak is a bit of a chameleon, as it may have multiple names, such as Top Loin and Ambassador Steak. If you’re wondering how to identify this steak cut, you’ll want to look at the portion size as well as the steak’s texture. In terms of texture, New York strip steaks are a middle-of-the-road option between ribeye and filet cuts, featuring a mild tenderness. Because they come from a large muscle, New York Strip steaks are usually served in larger portions than filets.
Do you have additional questions about how to identify a steak cut? Want to know about a type of beef we haven’t covered in our steak cuts guide? Reach out to us at email@example.com or call 877-527-0444.