Are you in the mood for a good steak? That’s pretty normal. Since you already have a craving, let’s talk about it a little bit. What kind of steak do you want most? Do you have a favorite cut?
If you’re not quite sure about any of that, then it’s time to learn more about the different kinds of steak. Depending on how the steak is cut and where it comes from anatomically, you can get very different flavors and textures. There are more than a dozen types of steaks, but a handful of them are the most common and popular. Among those, two are arguably the most recognized names in the world of steak: top sirloin and filet mignon. You’ll find them both at any restaurant that serves steak, and there are good reasons for that: these are the champions of lean steak cuts. But which one should you order? Keep reading for information that will help you decide.
Top sirloin is one of the most well-known cuts of meat in the world. It is taken from the sirloin part of the cow (hence the name), which is near the round section. For those unfamiliar with butcher’s terms, the sirloin is in front of but not on the hind leg. Because of this, top sirloin gets a fair amount of exercise and is one of the leaner cuts of steak. But because it isn’t the most worked muscle, it can still be plenty tender.
Top sirloin has very little marbling, and that affects the flavor. It has one of the stronger beefy flavors of the common cuts of steak, and it holds seasonings and marinades pretty well. Calling it gamey would be too much, but for a standard steak, top sirloin is closer to a gamey flavor than most cuts of beef. Naturally, this will also depend on the animal’s diet and the steak’s preparation.
Being lean, top sirloin rarely has enough fat content to change the texture. The soft, sometimes stringy texture of heavy marbling is not present in this cut. As long as the sirloin is not overcooked, it will still be tender and juicy.
On top of all of this, sirloin is one of the most affordable cuts of steak. If you want quality beef that gets you a little more food for your money, this is arguably the best steak you can find.
With a fancy French name, you might have high expectations for filet mignon. That’s fair, and the good news is that this cut lives up to the hype. It is taken from the softer portion of the tenderloin, which is near to where you would find top sirloin. But filet mignon comes from a muscle grouping that gets a lot less exercise. Despite that, it is still a lean steak, which means filet mignon is super tender with little marbling.
That combination makes filet mignon extremely desirable. As a lean steak, it is a little healthier, but it is also the most tender cut of steak you can find. When cooked by a master, this is the kind of steak that will melt in your mouth.
Filet mignon also has a very mild flavor. That mild flavor is not weak, though. The steak is not easily overpowered. Because of this, filet mignon is usually lightly seasoned and not marinated. Instead, it will be paired with sides and accouterments that may feature a nice sauce and a good range of additional flavors, but the filet mignon is always the star and centerpiece of the dish.
The downside to filet mignon is that it comes from a very small section of the cow. That means there is less of it, and that scarcity drives the price up considerably. Per pound, filet mignon is typically the most expensive cut of meat you can find.
The truth is that there is no single best cut of steak. Each has its place, and each satisfies different cravings. Filet mignon is often thought of as a special treat. Meanwhile, top sirloin is a reliable cut that can be cooked in so many ways that it never gets dull or repetitive.
If we can be so bold, we might suggest that you eat both (maybe not in the same sitting). Try all of the cuts of steak and find what you like best. If you’re into lean steak, these are the two you should try first, and you’ll find them both at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. You’re sure to enjoy your steak here, and that’s what matters most.