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Steak 101 - PART II

The sirloin is divided into the top and bottom. The top sirloin is the most tender and is usually labeled ‘top sirloin’. The bottom sirloin is the tougher of the two and is usually labeled ‘sirloin’. It is not quite as tender as cuts from the rib and loin but has a robust flavor. It can be chewy if cooked past medium. This can be cut as a large steak to serve multiple persons. The famous Delmonico steak is a recipe and not a cut of meat. It consists of a sirloin cut to individual portions and grilled.

The flank steak comes from the underbelly of the cow. It is a wide, flat, rectangular piece of meat with a grainy texture, moderate beefy flavor, and lots of juice. It is a bit tough and should always be sliced thin across the grain for serving. It is an excellent steak for marinating.

The Tri-tip steak is low fat and has a mild beefy flavor similar to a round steak. It is a triangular cut from the bottom sirloin and is sometimes mislabeled sirloin tip. Because of the taper on one end it is ideal for a group where some want their meat more done and others less well done. Season it generously or serve with a sauce.

The Flatiron, or top blade, steak is cut with the grain from under the shoulder blade of the chuck. It is very flavorful and relatively tender. It has recently become a popular restaurant menu item. It has a layer of very tough connective tissue through its center that must be removed. This connective tissue is often removed prior to sale leaving two thinner steaks, but not always.

The Hanger steak is cut from the plate and hangs between the rib and short loin. It is a ‘flat’ steak along with the flank and skirt steaks. Because it is a support muscle and is not exercised as much as the other steaks it is more tender. If cooked more than medium rare it is tough. It has a coarse texture that is somewhat squishy if served rare. It is best marinated with an acid component such as citrus, vinegar, or wine, and grilled medium rare to medium.

The skirt is from the diaphragm and is divided into an inner and outer skirt. The inner is the preferred cut. This steak is one of the most flavorful cuts of beef with a distinct gameness. It is commonly used in fajitas or carne asada. Like the hanger it is best cooked to no more than medium and thinly sliced across the grain.

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