Mastering Steak Cuts: A Guide to Primary & Secondary - Picanhas'

Mastering Steak Cuts: A Guide to Primary & Secondary

The Ultimate Guide to Primary and Secondary Cuts


Calling all steak lovers! If you're searching for the perfect steak cut to delight your taste buds, you've come to the right place.

Get ready for an exciting adventure as we explore the world of primary and secondary steak cuts. You'll discover all the juicy details about each one along the way. Get ready to dive in! It's going to be an adventure for your taste buds!

The Crème de la Crème: 8 Best Primary Steak Cuts

Let's dive into the crème de la crème: the 8 best primary steak cuts.

These expensive cuts, renowned for their exceptional tenderness and perfect marbling, steal the show with their incredible flavour.

Picture yourself savouring a perfectly grilled, broiled, roasted, or pan-fried steak where every bite melts in your mouth. It's like indulging in a mouthwatering symphony of deliciousness, thanks to the delicate arrangement of their fine muscle fibers.

Now, let's meet these primary cuts that will make your taste buds dance with joy:


tenderloin steak with herbs

First is the tenderloin, the leanest and most tender beef cut, often called filet mignon. It's a true delicacy that will melt in your mouth.

Strip Steak:

strip steak with ground pepper

The next cut on the list is the strip steak, also known as the New York strip. It has a firmer texture compared to the tenderloin. It's a meat lover's dream!

T-Bone Steak:

T Bone Steak Medium Rare

Ever heard of the T-bone steak? It combines tenderloin and strip steak, giving you the best of both worlds.

Ribeye Steak:


And let's not forget the ribeye steak—the king of steaks—generously marbled and bursting with flavour.

Rump Steak

Moving on to the rump steak, which comes from the hindquarters of the cow. It delivers a burst of flavour but demands a bit more love and attention in the kitchen.

Higher temperatures and shorter cooking times are the way to go. Whether you're grilling, pan-frying, roasting, or braising, this cut will deliver some serious taste.

Sirloin steaks

Sirlon Steak with Peppercorn and Sea salt

Ah, the sirloin steak! It originates from the sirloin section of the cow and delivers a rich flavour. You can cook it in many ways—grilling, broiling, pan-frying, or roasting. The choice is yours, and you can't go wrong.

Porterhouse steak

Next, we have the porterhouse steak. Steak enthusiasts highly prize this cut for its tenderness and flavour. It's a combination of strip steak and filet mignon, offering the best of both worlds.

Tomahawk Steak:

Tomahawk Steak Perfect Medium rare

Last but not least, the Tomahawk steak. This beauty features an extra-long bone and is a ribeye cut known for its intense flavour and stunning presentation. It's a showstopper that will impress any steak lover. On average, Tomahawk steak contains 18-22% total fat.

The Underdogs: 8 Best Secondary Steak Cuts


Moving on to the secondary cuts, these may be tougher cuts, but they make up for it with incredible flavour. They're more budget-friendly in price points and perfect for marinating, slow cooking, or thinly sliced or diced meat.

Picanha Steak

Picanha steak | Queen of Steak | Rump Cap

First, we have the Picanha steak. It also goes by the names rump cap or the Queen of SteakIt's a Brazilian beef cut that's gaining attention for its flavour. The generous fat cap adds extra juiciness and enhances the taste.

Flank Steak

Flank Steak with Herbs

Next up is the flank steak. It earns its reputation for its pronounced grain and intense flavour. Marinating is the way to go, and then you can quickly cook it over high heat. Perfect for grilling or broiling!

Skirt Steak

Don't forget about the skirt steak. It's flavorful and versatile, with a loose texture. Latin American dishes like fajitas commonly utilize marinating, which plays a crucial role.

Chuck Steak

Chuck Steak with Rosemary

Let's not leave out the chuck steak. It comes from the shoulder area and is perfect for slow-cooking methods like braising or stewing. The connective tissue breaks down during cooking, producing tender, flavorful meat.

Flat iron steak

Thinly slice Flat Iron Steak

We can't skip the flat iron steak. Although it is tender and flavorful, people consider this cut a secondary option because of its location on the animal. It's a hidden gem!

Tri-tip steak

Tri Tip Steak with Salsa

Moving on to the tri-tip steak. It comes from the bottom sirloin and has great flavour. Grill it or roast it—it's a popular choice either way.

Hanger Steak

Wagyu Hanger Steak

Ah, the hanger steak! It comes from the cow's diaphragm and earns the name "butcher's steak. It's perfect for grilling or pan-frying and offers a robust, beefy flavour. Keep it medium-rare for maximum tenderness.

Flap steak

Last but not least, we have the flap steak, also known as flap meat or sirloin tip steak. This cut is flavorful and versatile, offering various cooking possibilities. But, it's not as tender as premium cuts because it comes from a less tender part of the animal. As a result, people often consider it a secondary option.

Although secondary cuts may lack the tenderness of primary cuts, they still offer rich flavours. They require different cooking techniques to bring out their best, but with some love and attention, they'll shine on your plate.

So there you have it—a guide to primary and secondary steak cuts. Whether you like the super tender primary cuts or the tasty and budget-friendly secondary cuts. There's a steak out there to satisfy every craving. Get ready to fire up the grill and embark on a steak-tacular journey!


Knowing the difference between primary and secondary cuts can make a big difference in how you cook and enjoy your steak. Primary cuts are all about tenderness, marbling, and flavour, making them absolutely delicious.

You can cook them in various ways using dry heat methods because they are versatile. On the other hand, secondary cuts offer robust flavours and are more affordable options. They are best suited for marinating, slow cooking, or slicing.

Remember, personal preferences are crucial in selecting the ideal steak cut. Factors such as tenderness, flavour intensity, marbling, and cooking techniques all contribute to the overall dining experience. To further enhance your understanding of how steak doneness can influence these factors, refer to our “Ultimate Steak Doneness Guide.”

Whether you enjoy a tender, melt-in-your-mouth steak or a bold and flavorful option. There are many different kinds of steak cuts that will make everyone happy, no matter the occasion.

To learn more about steak doneness and cooking methods, you can explore the Complete Guide to Sous Vide Steak or deepen your understanding of steak doneness

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the primary steak cuts?

The primary steak cuts are the most prized and versatile cuts of beef, known for their tenderness, marbling, and rich flavor. Examples include tenderloin (filet mignon), strip steak (New York strip), T-bone steak, ribeye steak, and prime rib.

Which primary cut is the most tender and expensive?

The tenderloin, also known as filet mignon, takes the crown as the most tender and luxurious primary cut. Renowned for its exceptional tenderness and lean quality, it stands as the pinnacle of steak indulgence.

Are secondary cuts less tender than primary cuts?

Yes, secondary cuts are generally less tender than primary cuts. They come from more active areas of the animal, resulting in slightly tougher meat. However, secondary cuts offer rich flavors and can be made tender through proper cooking techniques like marinating, slow cooking, or braising.

How should secondary cuts be cooked for optimal flavor and tenderness?

For optimal flavor and tenderness, secondary cuts should be cooked using techniques that tenderize the meat. This includes marinating the cuts before cooking, using slow cooking methods like braising or stewing, or thinly slicing the meat for quick high-heat cooking methods like grilling or broiling.

Are secondary cuts more affordable than primary cuts?

Yes, secondary cuts are generally more affordable than primary cuts. They provide excellent value for money while offering robust flavors, making them a budget-friendly choice for steak lovers.

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