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Bone-in Rib Steak
A bone-in rib steak has a superlative taste. Anything on the bone gets a magical richness, and the high fat content makes it delicious and keeps the meat moist.
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The tenderloin is the most succulent and expensive cut. The muscle, which comes from the cow’s back, hardly gets used, so it doesn’t toughen up like meat from, say, the legs. It’s the kind of steak people buy to impress their in-laws or their boss. It’s best when seasoned simply with salt and pepper, then grilled rare.
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The strip loin isn’t as tender as the tenderloin, but it has more flavour (muscles that get used more, like this one, develop a richer taste). They’re neighbours on the cow’s back and when served together make up a T-bone or, if cut thickly, a porterhouse.<
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Top sirloin, from the butt of the animal, is an everyday kind of cut. It’s perfect for hearty meals like steak and eggs because the meat is relatively cheap—$9 per lb., as opposed to $18 for tenderloin—but still tastes good.
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Flank steak isn’t common in grocery stores but shows up on comfort food menus. The meat is slightly tougher, but it takes well to marinades and works beautifully in sandwiches. The cuts tend to be thinner, so you have to grill it on high heat for a short time to prevent it from drying out.
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The well-marbled flatiron, from the underside of the shoulder blade, is the most supple cut of beef after the tenderloin, but it’s much more affordable. Chefs have started cooking with it, which means the popularity and price will go up.
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Don’t knock beef heart until you try it. When deveined and bias-cut, it makes an excellent scaloppine. It’s tender and best served rare, or even raw as a carpaccio.
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Korean-cut Short Ribs
Unlike much larger beef back ribs, which are usually braised, then finished on the grill, Korean-cut short ribs are thinly cut, go straight on the barbecue and cook quickly. Their high fat content makes them seem super tender.
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The hanger steak, so called because it hangs off the cow’s diaphragm, is iron-rich and has a strong beefy taste. Foodies love it because it’s still under the radar; I love it because it the taste is beautiful.
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If cut thicker, liver works well on the barbecue. The grill has to be well cleaned and incredibly hot to keep the unusually moist meat from sticking to the metal.
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