35 Best Cuts of Beef, Ranked by Deliciousness
When it comes to beef, it's difficult to say which cut is the best. It's mostly a matter of personal preference. Some people like roasts more than steaks, while others prefer a quality rack of ribs smothered in barbecue sauce. It also depends on what the beef will be used for and which cooking process best enhances its flavor. Lean, marbled, tender or tough — each cut serves a particular purpose in beef recipes.
And some are more budget-friendly than others. For example, the premium Japanese A5 Wagyu Kobi beef is one of the best quality meats you can buy, but it costs anywhere from $13 to $30 per ounce! If you're looking for something more in line with your weekly grocery budget that is still tasty, you might prefer a flat-iron steak, chuck roast or tri-tip.
Based on personal preference, here are 35 different cuts of beef, ranked according to quality.
Originally, oxtail only came from the tails of male steers, but it can also come from females. Most Caribbean restaurants offer oxtail on the menu and serve it braised or in stews. It's usually available in grocery stores but can also be found at both Asian and Caribbean markets.
Since the tail is bony with a lot of connective tissue, it tends to be slow-cooked and is eaten the same way you eat short ribs.
Oxtail Recipe to Make at Home
This Jamaican oxtail stew is the perfect amount of spice and can be made on the stovetop in a slow cooker or even in an Instant Pot.
Try this recipe from A Spicy Perspective
34. Beef Tallow
Although not exactly a cut of meat, beef tallow is an important byproduct of other beef cuts that come from the steer's fat. Tallow is rendered from suet, the firm, waxy fat surrounding the kidneys.
Heated for a long time at low temperatures, the tallow makes a delicious cooking fat for frying meat or searing steaks. It may be difficult to locate beef tallow in a regular grocery store, so check with your local health food store or online.
Beef Tallow Recipe to Make at Home
Beef tallow and chocolate? Yes, we know you're skeptical, but this beef tallow chocolate tortes recipe not only features beef tallow, but it also has a bourbon-salted caramel sauce for those who enjoy a good salty-sweet combo.
Try this recipe from Beef It's What for Dinner
33. Beef Shank
Beef shanks come from the upper portions of a steer's legs. It's lean meat that is often tough and requires a slow-cooking method to prevent chewiness. This particular cut is best used in soups and stews.
Flavor-wise, it can be used in place of a standard chuck roast in recipes. Available at your local grocery store, beef shanks are tasty when browned with seasoning, then simmered in a crockpot with vegetables.
Beef Shank Recipe to Make at Home
We can't help but think of the Italian osso bucco dish when we think of beef shank, and this one is oh so tender.
Try this recipe from The Kitchen Magpie
32. Beef Tongue
The beef tongue is exactly what it says — it's the tongue of the steer. One of the fattiest cuts of beef, this meat is rather tough and needs to be simmered for several hours until it's tender. After that, remove the skin, slice the meat thin, cut it into cubes and fry it.
The beef tongue works well in tacos or sliced as cold cuts for sandwiches. Nearly every grocery store carries it, so it shouldn't be too difficult to find.
Beef Tongue Recipe to Make at Home
In Mexican cuisine, lengua (or beef tongue) is often slow-cooked and served up in tacos for a delicious treat.
Try this recipe from All Recipes
31. Beef Heart
From the heart of the steer, the beef here is similar to a flank steak in taste (unlike other organ meat such as the liver or kidneys). Since it's a working muscle, it's a bit chewy and will need tenderizing.
The best way to prepare a beef heart is by removing the external fat, the inner valves and the veins. Pound the meat fat, season with salt and pepper, then dredge it in flour before frying it like a chicken-fried steak. This economical cut of beef can be found in most grocery stores.
Beef Heart Recipe to Make at Home
Beef heart is typically braised or stewed, but it can also be grilled for a smoky flavor.
Try this recipe from The Healthy Foodie
30. Cube Steak
Cube steak earned its name more as a cooking method rather than as a specific cut of meat. Mostly, this beef comes from the back hip of the steer (the top round muscle) and is very tough.
It's usually sold in thin slices that have been through a tenderizer and look similar to ground beef. Cube steak can be found anywhere and is best served breaded, fried and smothered in gravy.
Cube Steak Recipe to Make at Home
Cube steak is one of the ultimate comfort foods, especially when served with mashed potatoes and cornbread.
Try this recipe from The Cozy Cook
Beef cubes for kabobs can be cut from any part of the steer, but they're typically seen as a more low-cost grilling cut.
Kabobs are typically placed on skewers alongside other meats and veggies that are then cooked over a grill.
Kabob Recipe to Make at Home
This Indian dish really brings out the beef flavor with all of the diverse seasonings.
Try this recipe from Beef It's What's for Dinner
Brisket comes from the lower chest of the animal and is considered a working muscle. For that reason, it's not great if cooked like a traditional steak since it is pretty chewy. Cuts from the thicker, fattier side are more moist than the lean and thinner flat cut.
It's best to cook this meat at a slower rate, either braised (2-4 hours) or smoked (up to 12 hours) to make it tender and perfect for barbecue. Sold as "brisket flat" or brisket point," purchase the whole brisket at Costco or any warehouse club to save money.
Brisket Recipe to Make at Home
If anyone has watched "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," then you know how popular brisket is in Jewish households. This delicious meat is often prepared for Jewish holidays, braised and served with carrots and onions.
Try this recipe from Serious Eats
A tri-tip cut comes from the bottom of the sirloin and is a triangular shape. It's not as tender as a ribeye or filet mignon and tastes similar to a top sirloin or round roast. The tri-tip is not as flavorful either, but it's delicious with a rub or marinade when grilled.
However, do not cook this meat beyond medium-rare (130 degrees Fahrenheit, tops) or else it can be dry and chewy. This cut of beef is easily found all over California but is more difficult to locate the further east you live. Some large store chains such as Costco carry tri-tip beef.
Tri-Tip Recipe to Make at Home
The key to a delicious tri-tip is the rub, and this recipe uses several spices to make the perfect blend. Pro tip: Use brown sugar to get it just right.
Try this recipe from The Food Charlatan
26. Marrow Bones
This is the meat from the marrow bone of a steer's femur. The marrow is simple to cook — cut it lengthwise or in rounds, salt and season the pieces, then pop it in the oven for about 20 minutes. The tender meat is easily scooped out of the bone once it's cooked and ready to eat.
Unfortunately, you can rarely find marrow bones in grocery stores. You're better off getting it from a butcher shop or your local farmer's market.
Marrow Bones Recipe to Make at Home
Beef marrow bones cut lengthwise, known as the canoe cut, are especially good for roasting.
Try this recipe from Craft Beering
25. Ground Beef
Probably the most popular cut of meat (inexpensive, versatile and delicious), ground beef can be purchased just about anywhere. Used for burgers, casseroles, meat sauces, tacos and all sorts of meat creations, ground beef comes from the whole steer. The leftover trimmings from other cuts are ground up together and usually have 25 to 35 percent fat.
Ground beef is super easy to cook — just throw it in a skillet and cook until it's browned. If you want the freshest burgers ever, purchase several pounds of different beef cuts and grind them together at home in a meat grinder.
Ground Beef Recipe to Make at Home
This Thai basil beef recipe really highlights the versatility of ground beef, and it packs a flavorful punch that you can make as spicy as you want.
Try this recipe from The Modern Proper
24. Beef Ribs
Also known as short-plate ribs, beef ribs come from the short plate of the steer, right below the rib primal (where you get ribeye and prime rib). You can order beef ribs from farther up near the spine, too.
Some rib cuts have more meat between the bones, while others have more tender meat on top of the bones. Not all grocery stores carry them, so you may need to visit a butcher shop to get the right cut. Beef ribs are best when seasoned with a rub and cooked in a smoker, slathered with some delicious barbecue sauce.
Beef Ribs Recipe to Make at Home
While we love a day of barbecuing ribs over a grill, these oven-baked ribs can be made any time of year and are as easy to make as they are delicious.
Try this recipe from Divas Can Cook
23. Top Round
Round roasts come from the back hip muscle of the steer, and specifically, the top round comes from inside the hip.
For the best results in cooking this meat, rub it with salt, then let it sit a day before roasting it in the oven. It's great when sliced for roast beef sandwiches or for a French dip.
Top Round Recipe to Make at Home
A delicious marinade can really enhance the flavor of a top-round steak, and this one's use of Worcestershire is particularly mouthwatering.
Try this recipe at The Spruce Eats
22. Bottom Round
Another round roast, the bottom round comes from the outer muscle of the hind leg
One way to cook it is by using a mallet to tenderize it, then bread it and fry it to serve it like chicken fried steak. You'll have no problem locating this cut of beef — it's available in most grocery stores.
Bottom Round Recipe to Make at Home
All you need is a little garlic and herbs to make the bottom round really shine.
Try this recipe from The Kitchen Magpie
21. Eye of Round
Of the three parts of a round cut of beef, the eye of round is the most tender.
In comparison to its top and bottom round counterparts, the eye of round is found in the center of both. It's a particularly lean, flavorful cut of beef.
Eye of Round Recipe to Make at Home
Because eye of round is so lean, it cooks faster than most roasts.
Try this recipe from Chef Alli
20. Sirloin Flap
The sirloin flap is from the bottom sirloin near the flank and the short loin. It's a thin steak similar to the hangar or skirt steak and is often used as a replacement for recipes that call for that cut of beef.
However, not all grocery stores carry it, so you might need to check with your butcher for this unique cut. Sirloin flap marinates well and should be cut thin against the grain. Cook it on the grill for the best results and serve it medium to medium-rare.
Sirloin Flap Recipe to Make at Home
Chimichurri sauce is delicious on anything, but its especially delicious on steak for a little Southwestern flavor.
Try this recipe from Kevin Is Cooking
19. Chuck Roast
The chuck roast comes from the front shoulder of the steer and can be purchased bone-in or boneless. Avoid cooking it quickly as it will become too chewy. The connective tissue and collagen need time to break down through a slow-cooking process to get the beef juicy and tender.
Available at pretty much every grocery store, this cut of beef is perfect for a pot roast. Serve it up with potatoes, carrots and onions, and you'll have a delicious meal reminiscent of Sunday dinner.
Chuck Roast Recipe to Make at Home
Chuck roast is the perfect piece of meat for a fall-apart pot roast that will have you going back for seconds.
Try this recipe from Sunday Supper Movement
18. Skirt Steak
The skirt steak is located in the middle of the steer and is a long, flat muscle in the diaphragm area. It's a quality piece of meat that works well when grilled with a rub.
Many people prefer to use it for fajitas or in gyros. The skirt steak is also easily found at your local grocery store, butcher shop or food warehouse chain.
Skirt Steak Recipe to Make at Home
We've seen steak cooked a lot of ways but never before have we seen it braided. We also like the idea of cooking directly on the coals.
Try this recipe from Over the Fire Cooking
17. Flank Steak
The flank steak comes from the belly of the steer and is a very versatile piece of meat. Most grocery stores carry it, so it should be easy to find. Once cooked, always cut your flank steak across the grain before serving it so that it remains tender on the inside.
This budget-friendly meat should also be grilled or broiled, cooked no more than medium-rare. It's delicious when served in fajitas or Asain stir-fry dishes.
Flank Steak Recipe to Make at Home
One of the best things about flank steak is how lean it is. A simple marinade and 10 minutes on the grill is all you need to make this cut of beef extra delicious.
Try this recipe from All Recipes
16. Flat-Iron Steak
Like a hangar steak (more on it later), the flat iron comes from the front shoulder, right under the animal's shoulder blade. It is a surprisingly tender cut of beef with a more robust beef flavor than tenderloin. But skip the fancy seasonings — all this meat needs is some salt and pepper.
It's usually sold in thin cuts, so don't overcook the steak. Instead, keep it at medium heat to create a nice sear on the outside (leaving it juicy and pink on the inside). Since flat-iron steaks have become increasingly popular, they're readily available at most grocery stores.
Flat-Iron Steak Recipe to Make at Home
A pan-seared, flat-iron steak can be incredibly flavorful, especially when marinated in wine.
Try this recipe from Bake It With Love
15. Shoulder Petite Tender
Like the flat-iron steak, the shoulder petite tender comes from the shoulder area. This particular cut of beef is shaped like a tenderloin, which makes it juicy and tender, but it's also more affordable than other similar cuts on this list.
Because it takes more time and skill to cut, you'll have better luck finding it at a butcher.
Shoulder Petite Tender Recipe to Make at Home
A quick marinade is all this delicious cut of meat needs.
Try this recipe from Small Town Woman
14. Top Sirloin
Top sirloin is a reasonably inexpensive, super tasty steak readily available in almost every grocery store. It comes from the back half of the steer — the loin primal, which is the same area tenderloin and New York strip steaks come from.
Although top sirloin is not as tender as some other steaks, it's very flavorful and easy to prepare. Cook it at a high heat on the grill (or in a cast-iron skillet). Be careful, though, not to overcook the steak (not beyond medium-rare) or else it will become chewy.
Top Sirloin Recipe to Make at Home
Sometimes, it's what you add to the steak after it's cooked that takes the cut of beef to the next level. In this case, we're talking about garlic herb butter sauce.
Try this recipe from Creme de la Crumb
13. T-Bone Steak
The t-bone has a reputation of being a small, inferior Porterhouse steak, but the amount of tenderloin in the cut is really the only difference between the two. The t-bone comes from the short loin where the tenderloin is narrower.
This particular cut has both a tenderloin side and a New York strip side, making it more challenging to cook correctly because both types of meat require different cooking temperatures. Most people find the perfect balance by cooking this meat on a grill. Almost all grocery stores carry t-bone steaks, but they're often sold too thin. For a better cut, try your local butcher shop.
T-Bone Steak Recipe to Make at Home
All this steak needs is a little olive oil, salt and pepper on both sides. Cook it on the grill over high heat, for four minutes on each side and — voila! — dinner is ready and absolutely delicious.
Try this recipe from Chef Billy Parisi
12. Coulotte Steak
Also known as the top sirloin cap steak, this cut of beef is essentially the best part of the top sirloin, and it is particularly lean.
It has a lot of marbling that makes it extra juicy and savory — perfect for grilling or pan searing.
Coulotte Steak Recipe to Make at Home
To get this steak extra juicy and tender, try cast-iron searing.
Try this recipe from Sip Bite Go
11. Short Ribs
Beef short ribs can come from the chuck, rib or plate primal area on a steer. However, the level of tenderness varies for each one. Chuck short ribs are the meatiest but a bit tough. Short ribs from the rib primal bones are very tender but have little meat. Plate short ribs are delicious but also the fattiest.
Ribs with a thinner cut (Flanken style) are best on the grill, while the thicker, standard cut tastes better braised. Although short ribs are easy to find at the meat counter of any grocery store, you might want to visit a butcher to get the exact cut you prefer — chuck, plate or rib.
Short Ribs Recipe to Make at Home
Short ribs are especially delicious when they're slow-cooked in a flavorful broth to the point when they'll fall off the bone.
Try this recipe from The Stay at Home Chef
10. New York or Kansas City Strip
One of the most popular steaks consumed, the New York and Kanas City strips are basically one and the same, although some claim the New York version tends to be thicker. The key variation between the two is where the steaks are served (along the East Coast or in the Midwest).
The strip steak cut comes from the short loin of the steer and is a very flavorful piece of beef. The marbling in the meat gives it a great taste and juicy texture. Rub the raw meat with sea salt before putting it on the grill at a low temperature. Flip the steaks several times while cooking and sear the outside before serving.
If you're buying strips from the grocery store, they may not have the desired marbling that makes them so tender. You're better off buying the whole strip loin and cutting your own steaks from it. These cuts will also freeze well for future dinners.
Kansas City Strip Recipe to Make at Home
Coarse salt and black pepper can really do wonders for a strip steak.
Try this recipe from Just a Pinch
9. Tomahawk Steak
This steak is so large that it overlaps moat dinner-sized plates. With the bone in, the meat is shaped like a tomahawk and comes from the rib section of the steer. It's basically a ribeye with the whole bone attached. The average weight for this cut is 2 to 3 pounds, and it's a mast lover's dream with plenty of beefy flavors.
Since it's a thick steak, you'll want to reverse sear it (cook at a low temperature on the grill, then on a higher heat at the end to give it a seared crust). The tomahawk is a delicious cut that needs nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and pepper. It's nearly impossible to find at the grocery store or even a butcher shop, so it's best to order this special cut of beef online.
Tomahawk Steak Recipe to Make at Home
While it doesn't need anything more than salt or pepper, it never hurts to prepare a compound butter to throw on top of this massive steak once it's already prepared.
Try this recipe from The Stay at Home Chef
8. Rib Roast
The rib roast is often referred to as prime rib (or standing rib) and is served thick-sliced with a salty-crust exterior and tender red meat on the inside. This cut of beef comes from the entire rib primal of a steer. Although many consumers prefer a bone-in roast, it's also delicious boneless and will be easier to carve.
To achieve a crusty exterior and tender pink interior, start cooking the meat at a low temperature and then searing it in a pan shortly before serving it. Smaller rib roasts can be found in most grocery stores, but if you want a larger cut, visit the butcher so that you can ask for a specific cut of beef — either the front or back portion of the rib primal.
Rib Roast Recipe to Make at Home
A delicious prime rib screams holiday feast, and the key is cooking it perfectly medium-rare.
Try this recipe at Tastes Better From Scratch
7. Ribeye Filet
A ribeye filet is part of the ribeye steak but without the muscle's thicker fat. It's just as flavorful as the filet mignon but with the delicious marbling of a ribeye steak. Like most high-quality cuts of beef, the ribeye filet is best cooked on a grill or skillet and served medium-rare.
It may be hard to find a good ribeye filet at the grocery store, and most butchers will not sell it separately — you'll need to buy a whole ribeye steak. Another option would be to order it online from a reputable steak company.
Ribeye Filet Recipe to Make at Home
Here's another easy-as-pie steak to cook that requires very little oil and a few seasonings to get that steak flavor to shine.
Try this recipe from Baker by Nature
6. Cap of Ribeye
The ribeye cap is located on the top outer edge of the ribeye steak (which is from the sub primal area on a steer). Due to its loose texture, the cap is an extremely tender cut with a lot of flavor from the extra marbling in the meat. It tastes best when grilled or pan-seared quickly on high heat. Do not cook it past medium-rare. Once it's done, let it rest — covered — for 5 minutes before serving.
Even better, salt the raw meat and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight before throwing it on the grill. Cap of ribeye will be difficult to find, so you'll need to buy a whole ribeye steak or full rib roast — preferable from a butcher — to get a cut of the cap.
Cab of Ribeye Recipe to Make at Home
You know what tastes great with steak? A delicious horseradish sauce, which this recipe has in spades.
Try this recipe from Over the Fire Cooking
5. Ribeye Steak
One of the best steaks you can buy, the ribeye comes from the rib sub primal area on the animal. The fat marbling in the meat gives it a delicious beefy flavor and texture that steak lovers enjoy. Look for a cut from the front of the primal area with a bigger cap.
Since there is very little connective tissue on a ribeye, it's best cooked quickly at a high temperature and will remain juicy even if it's served medium. Ribeyes can be found in grocery store meat cases, but consider buying them from your local butcher for a better-quality cut. This steak is so good that the only seasoning it needs is a little bit of salt and pepper.
Ribeye Steak Recipe to Make at Home
This steak is thick, which requires you to cook it a bit longer. The best part about this recipe is the smashed garlic.
Try this recipe from Damn Delicious
4. Hangar Steak
Once considered a "butcher steak," the hangar steak has a nice texture and is very flavorful. This cut of beef hangs from the diaphragm of the steer near the outer skirt steak area. It connects to the last rib and runs up to part of the vertebrae. If you buy a hanger steak, it's important to cut it down the middle seam to remove the sinewy membrane.
The best way to cook the hangar steak is quickly on a grill or pan-seared with Mexican, Asian or Middle Eastern marinades or rubs. Unfortunately, not all grocery stores carry this cut of beef, so it may be necessary to find a good butcher shop.
Hangar Steak Recipe to Make at Home
France's famous steak and frites dish immediately come to mind when talking about the hangar steak. It's especially delicious when served with a flavorful sauce on top.
Try this recipe from All Recipes
3. Porterhouse Steak
Looking for a large and delicious steak? The Porterhouse fits the bill. It's tender like filet mignon but every bit as tasty as a New Yor strip. The Porterhouse is cut from the back of the short loin, right in front of the sirloin. A perfect cut should be over 1.5-inches thick and weigh roughly 24 ounces.
It's best to cook this high-quality beef quickly on high heat on the grill. Porterhouse steaks are available at most grocery stores, but order them from your local butcher if you want a thicker, juicier cut.
Porterhouse Steak Recipe to Make at Home
You can really jazz up a porterhouse steak with any seasoning, especially the coffee seasoning that this recipe suggests.
Try this recipe from Vindulge
2. Beef Tenderloin
Like its name, this cut of beef is very tender ad succulent. Located right under the ribs next to the vertebrae of the animal, beef tenderloin has very little fat and not an overly strong flavor. There are numerous ways to prepare it, but seasoned, roasted and pan-seared are best. This cut is absolutely delicious in Beef Wellington recipes.
However, tenderloin is not cheap, even though it is available in most grocery stores. So, if you're on a budget, you're better off buying the entire roast to get your money's worth.
Beef Tenderloin Recipe to Make at Home
This recipe is literally called the "Million Dollar Roast Beef Tenderloin," so how could we not include it?
Try this recipe from I Wash You Dry
1. Filet Mignon
This is one of the juiciest, most tender steaks you can buy (and one of the most expensive). It comes from the tenderloin section on the steer, right beneath the lumbar area. The flavor of the cut is very subtle but with a buttery texture that is irresistible for steak connoisseurs.
Filet mignon needs to be cooked fast at a high temperature and only needs salt and pepper for seasoning. Never overcook this gorgeous piece of meat — grilling is best — or cook it in a cast-iron skillet with a little bit of oil. Serve it medium-rare to get all the flavor of the beef. You can easily find filet mignon at the grocery store, but it would be more cost-effective to buy it from a butcher.
Filet Mignon Recipe to Make at Home
Filet mignon is too good to not cook exactly right. This recipe takes you through all the steps to get it to your desired doneness.
Try this recipe from Self Proclaimed Foodie