Written by David on 16/05/2024

The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts


One of the most common questions from customers looking for a steak is, which is best? What do butchers think? Is an expensive steak worth the extra money?  We know meat and steak so here is the Butchers guide to steak cuts.

To help you, I’ve broken this down into three different measures that we can use to help not just find the most popular steak but also help you, the reader, find the best steak for what you want to cook.

These will be price, texture and flavour.

Is the price a good guide?

Overall, yes, the price of steak is a fairly good indicator of its popularity. By simple economics, the more popular a cut is, the more expensive it is. There is, however, another factor in play, which is the yield/quantity of a cut per animal that is processed.

There is only one fillet steak per carcass, while there will be many rump steaks. This is why eye fillet tops the charts for the most expensive steak due to its popularity and low yield. So does that make it the most popular?

What does the Texture/Tenderness have to do with selecting a steak?

Actually, it has nearly everything to do with choosing a steak, and while it’s very common knowledge that eye fillet is the most tender of steaks (so it must be the best? Yes?) Well the texture and tenderness is primarily determined by the primal muscles group that the meat come from, also not everyone is aware that the cooking technique has a huge impact on the texture (and flavour) of a steak. Eye fillet comes out as the most tender as the muscle group does little work and is difficult to make tough with cooking (thou a gifted and determined bad cook can achieve this).

Chuck steak (which is one of the toughest cuts due to it muscles group) when cooked long and slow becomes melt in your mouth tender (think Beef Rendang, or Massaman curry).

Skirt steak is becoming popular in Australia as when marinated, cooked quickly and then cut across the grain it is fantastic for taco’s or sandwiches and is also a relatively cheap cut.

Is Flavour the King Maker?

From a butchers perspective it most certainly does. Most butchers I know don’t really like the Eye Fillet, sure it’s tender, but overall its quite lacking in flavour. Have you noticed that restaurants often serve the eye fillet with a sauce? Thats because the sauce is driving the primary flavour here. (opps I think we may have let the steak out of the vacuum pack here).

When I take my team out for dinner they invariable order the rump steak due to its flavour (I won’t go into the feedback they provide on the quality). As the tenderness goes down the flavour profile goes up, but the cooking techniques used can counter that. A quality rump steak cooked correctly can be almost as tender as a beef eye fillet.

The Breakdown

So with these three factors defined and explained lets get into the various cuts of steak.
Indicators (low to high)
Price 💵 to high 💵💵💵💵💵 🪙=1/2
Tenderness 🦷(Tender) to 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷(Chewy)
Flavour 1 to 5 – 🍲
Butchers Rating: 🔪 to 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪

Eye Fillet
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 7

Eye Fillet / Fillet Steak / Chateaubriand

Price = 💵💵💵💵💵
Tenderness = 🔪
Flavour = 🍲

The eye fillet, also known as tenderloin, is cut from the short loin primal cut of the cow. This particular cut is highly prized for its exceptional tenderness, as it comes from a part of the cow that gets little exercise. The eye fillet is very lean, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder flavor with a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture. It’s often considered one of the finest cuts of beef​​.

Butchers Rating – 🔪- mmeeehhhh, it is tender.

Scotch Fillet
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 8

Scotch Fillet / Rib Eye / Cattlemans Cutlet

Price = 💵💵💵💵
Tenderness =🦷🦷
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲
Scotch fillet, also known as ribeye steak, comes from the rib primal cut of the cow. This cut is known for its marbling, which refers to the streaks of fat within the muscle that enhance the flavor and juiciness of the steak. It is very versatile as it can be served as just a steak, steak with bone on, a rolled beef roast or a standing rib roast. This cut has a great beef flavour and does not require long or complex cooking.

Butchers Rating – Abit pricey but yummy 🔪🔪🔪🔪🔪

T Bone Steak
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 9


Price = 💵💵💵🪙
Tenderness = 🦷🦷 
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲

T-bone steak is a classic cut that comes from the short loin primal cut of the cow, located towards the back. The steak is characterized by its distinctive T-shaped bone, which separates two different sections of meat, with tenderloin on one side and the sirloin on the other. It is an impressive looking steak with the bone in the middle and give’s out ‘Fred Flintstone’ vibes.

The biggest problem I have with this steak is that you have two very different cuts of meat that required different cooking times. If you want the tenderloin just right then the sirloin will be underdone and the versa of the sirloin perfect with an over cooked fillet. Others will say it give the best of both worlds

Butchers Rating – 🔪Over-rated – Pick a lane

New York
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 10

New York Steak / Sirloin / Porterhouse

Price = 💵💵💵🪙
Tenderness = 🦷🦷🦷
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲

Sirloin steak comes from the loin primal cut of the cow. This cut is situated towards the rear of the cow and is typically divided into top sirloin and bottom sirloin. The top sirloin is known for its tenderness and flavour, while the bottom sirloin is less tender but still flavorful. The sirloin steak is often favoured for its balance of tenderness and robust beef flavour​​.

A solid staple steak for the BBQ, Frying etc. Has a great flavour, is easy to cook and is often available at a good price.
Butchers Advise / Rating – A great steak for the BBQ . Firm Favourite 🔪🔪🔪🔪

Rump Steak

Price = 💵💵💵
Tenderness = 🦷🦷🦷
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲

Rump steak comes from the rump primal cut, which is located at the hindquarters of the cow. This area is known for its robust flavor and slightly firmer texture compared to other cuts. An often overlooked steak, this is full of flavour and, when cooked correctly, is very tender (the secret here is to use a thermometer to get the right temperature and let it rest really well).
Butchers Advise / Rating – A flavourful steak . May not be everyones taste. 🔪🔪🔪

Skirt Steak
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 11

Skirt Steak / Flank Steak

Price = 💵
Tenderness = 🦷🦷🦷🦷
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲🍲🍲

Skirt steak comes from the plate primal cut, which is located on the underside of the cow, near the rib cage. It is a long, flat cut known for its intense beefy flavor. Although skirt steak can be somewhat tough due to its fibrous nature, it becomes very tender when cooked properly, particularly with quick, high-heat methods like grilling or pan-frying. This steak is often used in dishes like fajitas because of its robust flavor and excellent compatibility with marinades​​.

Chuck Steak
The Butchers Guide to Steak Cuts 12

Chuck Steak

Price = 💵
Tenderness = 🦷🦷🦷🦷🦷
Flavour = 🍲🍲🍲🍲🍲

Chuck steak comes from the chuck primal cut, which is located in the shoulder area of the cow. This cut is known for its rich flavor and slightly tougher texture due to the presence of connective tissue. However, this same tissue makes it ideal for slow-cooking methods such as braising or stewing, as it becomes tender and flavorful when cooked for extended periods. Chuck steak is often used in hearty dishes like pot roast and beef stew, where its robust flavor and texture shine

Butchers Advise / Rating – The goto for long and slow cooking. 🔪🔪🔪🔪

Helpful tip: Don’t cut this too small, you want the meat to be large enough to cook and melt down, but not become tough and dry. I personally would never cube this less that 1 inch or 3cm’s and prefer to go larger. Remember it is always easier to break apart (most likely with a fork) after cooking.

The Wrap

Hopefully the above is a helpful guide to the various different steaks and will be useful the next time you are buying a steak. Observant readers will notice that I’ve not included the Oyster Steak/Spider Steak or dry age steaks. This is because there are only two Oyster steaks per steer and only available if the butcher is one who breaks down the whole body.

Dry age steak is another whole topic which we will cover later, and wagyu shares the same cut just very different fat profiles.

The Butchers Favourites

My Favourite steak for BBQ / Frying = Scotch Fillet – the perfect blend of taste and tenderness, along with a reasonable price point.
My Favourite for slow cooking is Chuck Steak – You just can’t go past how well this steak cooks down to become so tender and full of flavour
My Favourite for sandwich/tacos = Skirt Steak – A great taste when cooked and cut correctly at a great price.

Article written by David

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