How to Choose a Cut of Steak

By Paleo
In Cooking Tips
Dec 27th, 2011


It’s no secret that one of the best parts of the paleo diet for many people life that can compare to that of a great steak, but it can be difficult when you’re standing at your grocer or butcher’s meat counter to know just which steak to choose. When choosing a steak to include in your delicious paleo meals, there’s a few guidelines to follow that will ensure you get the best cut possible.

Above all, always choose the best and highest quality cut of meat you can afford. Grass-fed, organic meats are always best for people on a paleo diet, so if you can afford this quality of steak, you should go for it. There are three breakdowns in steak quality, the best being Prime, then Choice and then select. The Prime steak cuts often have a great deal of fat marbling running through the meat, which gives it a great flavor, in comparison to leaner cuts.

It’s also a good idea to get to know your local butcher or the person at the meat counter in your supermarket of choice. They can be a great resource in your steak selection process. In addition to forming a personal relationship with your butcher, when possible, you’ll help guarantee the best steak cuts by opting to buy directly from the butcher counter, rather than heading for the pre-packaged selections.

The appearance of the steak is a great indicator for how it will taste. When choosing a steak, look for a cut that is light red, somewhat cherry-colored in appearance, versus a deep red shade. Gray or brown colored meat is a very bad indicator of the age of the meat. Again, steak with marbling running through it will almost guarantee great flavor at the dinner table, although the marbling should ideally be thin, rather than thick pockets of fat running through the meat. More lean cuts of meat will actually be more tender than their fattier counterparts, but they will lack of the flavor of a deeply marbled piece of meat.

Other than color and marbling, steaks should also be firm to the touch, and if you do have to buy pre-packaged steak you should avoid options that seem to have a lot of moisture, tears, or more obviously are expired.

There are several different kinds of steaks to purchase, one of which is the Porterhouse steak. The

Porterhouse includes both the filet and the strip loin, and works well being either grilled or broiled. The Porterhouse is generally an expensive cut of meat, but it is very tender. The T-bone has very many of the same qualities of the Porterhouse, but it has a smaller filet.

A filet mignon cut is very lean and tender, as well as fairly low-fat in comparison to many other steaks. The filet mignon is fairly easy to cook, and does well under a variety of cooking situations, as long as high heat is applied. Most people recommend the filet mignon not be cooked past medium rare, to avoid drying of the meat.

A sirloin cut can actually be the result of a few different cuts, with the top sirloin generally being more tender and having more flavor. The bottom cut of sirloin is usually larger, less tender, and better for roasting or slow-cooking.

If you’re out to dinner with friends and want to enjoy a moderately priced and paleo-friendly steak, a rib eye cut is a good choice, as they are very common on restaurant menus. If you’re preparing a rib eye at home, it’s best to use a high, dry heat cooking process. A rib eye would be great if prepared by grilling, broiling or pan frying.


2 Responses to “How to Choose a Cut of Steak”

  1. Ug says:

    This is bad advise – not Paleo at all. You want the cuts with the least marbling … the least fat. NOT rib or strip steaks, even though they taste the best they are NOT “lean beef”.

  2. JLA says:

    Well Ug must not know what Paleo is because in a paleo diet you are encouraged to eat the tasty fat in beef…

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