Better, Cheaper, Easier, Beefier

I know the steak you want: Filet Mignon, New York Strip, Porterhouse. Those are the steaks I order when I go out to dinner, too.

But at home, I want something different out of beef. Namely, I want it to taste amazing and not completely freak me out when it's time to pay. So, it's time to turn to some less-used cuts of meat to get all the beefy bang-for-your-buck you can handle.

The Flat Iron

Asian Flat Iron Steak
Photo by Deb C

Also called a top blade or butler's steak, this is #1 on my list for a reason—it's the most traditional-tasting cut for the best price. Though sometimes a little on the small side, the flavor is still superb, with an ultra-tender texture. Don't believe me? This Flat Iron with Blue Cheese-Chive Butter will change your mind.

Flank Steak and Skirt Steak

Tuscan Flank Steak
Photo by KGora

Ok, flank and skirt aren't the same cut of beef, but they've got a plenty in common—namely the distinctly directional "grain" of the muscle fibers and an ultra-beefy taste.

They're super-flavorful and easy to find, so why are they underused? Because they're tough to serve correctly. The muscle fibers run in distinct strings or grains, so they absolutely have to be cooked and sliced the right way, unless you want to wind up with dental floss made out of beef.

What's the right way? Cook them to medium or medium rare, (tough cuts get even tougher at higher temps) and slice them thinly across the grain. Bonus: they really hold up to strong flavors, like this Marinated Flank Steak. Another option with the smaller skirt steak is to stuff and roll it, like an Italian Saltimbocca.


Tri Tip Google Resized
Ready-to-slice Tri-Tip Steak

A full tri-tip is the perfect chance to practice your butchery skills, since it's just crying out for you to break it down into steak-sized pieces. Slice it against the grain, into 2 inch thick slices, and then cook them like any other steak.

Want to cook it whole? Don't worry—it's simply amazing sliced (again, against the grain) into strips after it's been grilled or roasted.

The classic tri-tip recipe is Santa Maria Tri-Tip Steak, with its strong and spicy seasoning. Wondering what's so great about it? Let Chef John show you:


More steak recipes.