Steak Lovers 101: A Beginners Guide to Steakhouse Cuts
There are few things more hearty and satisfying than a plate of freshly grilled steak. But the variety of options can seem overwhelming when you don’t know the rump from the ribeye. Let’s walk through some of the options you’ll see on Rio de Brazil’s menu, so steak lovers can dine with confidence.
Roughly translated as “delicate” or “tender” filet, filet mignon is taken from the tenderloin cut of the cow. That’s two long, narrow cuts that are found right along the spine. This part of the cow doesn’t get much “exercise” nor is there much connective tissue, so the meat itself is incredibly tender and juicy. If you want a mild, melt in your mouth cut of beef, this is an excellent choice for steak lovers. Or if you like a bit more flavor, order filet mignon with bacon for a bolder taste.
Just like the name implies, this steak is cut from the rib section of the cow. Sometimes the butcher will leave the bone in the meat, but often it’s removed for easier preparation and serving. The meat is fatty and well marbled, so it lends itself to hot cooking. This is a rich, flavorful cut of beef, so go for this if you want flavor with plenty of fat on the meat.
Flank steak is from the lower end of the cow, below the loin. It’s a thin, fairly flat cut, with a highly visible “grain” to the meat (think of the grain on a wooden table). Flank steak is often marinated, so it can come in a wide variety of flavors. When served, it’s usually cut “against the grain” so the meat is tender and easy to chew. It’s a popular cut for steak tacos. This steak has an intense beefy flavor, while still being quite lean.
Top sirloin can be found right below the tenderloin (that gives us filet mignon). It’s one of the most versatile cuts around, suitable for kebabs, grilling, and of course, Brazilian-style serving. It’s a thick cut, not too lean and not too fatty. If you want a good, old fashioned “steak”, top sirloin is probably the way to go.
This is a true delicacy: the most sought-after cut in Brazil. Most American butchers subdivide this cut of meat into cuts like the rump and round (as it comes from the “rump” of the cow) and remove the thick top layer of fat. But a Brazilian steakhouse really understands the beauty of this cut. It’s usually cooked over high heat and well salted. If you want an authentically Brazilian experience, you can’t go wrong with the Picanha.
Hopefully this guide has helped give you an idea of the different kinds of steak you might like to enjoy during your Rio de Brazil experience! If you’d like to make a reservation for you and the other steak lovers in your life, don’t hesitate to head over to our Contact page.