Which steak is best for you?

It’s a divisive topic, but how do you like your steak?

Raw and bleedy or leatherlike and cooked all the way through?

One of my mates could never understand why people ordered steak in restaurants. And then, by chance, he was given a medium rare steak and it all became clear. His mother had only had one level of cooking: overdone to the point of disintegration. He had simply never had a decent steak.

Whatever your cooking preference, not all steaks are created equal. Here we give a handy guide to this delicious meal.


As the name suggests, it’s a cut of meat with a bone shaped like a ‘T’ in it. No imagination was used whatsoever.

This cut has fallen out of favour a bit. It was big in the ’70s, but you hardly ever see it at a retail level anymore. This probably has a lot to do with changing tastes. Meat with bones seem to have fallen out of fashion.

However, cooked properly, like most meat on the bone, it has gangs of flavour.

Top tip: Great on a grill, but be aware that the meat on either side of the bone will cook at different speeds as they are different shapes. Try to angle the steak so the larger piece is on a hotter spot.


There’s a bit of controversy about how this steak got its name.

Some say it’s from ‘porter houses’, tavern-like places that served porter and simple meals at all hours. Or is it after a Massachusetts hotel owner Zachariah B. Porter? No-one can agree, but with a magnificent name like that, maybe something should be named after him.

Confusingly, a T-bone can also be called a porterhouse in the US. Generally, though, it’s only called a porterhouse if it’s cut thicker and has more of the loin side (the smaller bit).

However, in Australia, it’s the larger piece of meat on a T-bone, but without the bone.

It’s lean and juicy with a layer of fat, and is often known as the steak lover’s cut of choice.

I prefer scotch fillet because for me it offers the perfect mix of flavour and fat.

Top tip: If you can, balance it on the fat layer to render it down and add to the pan juices before tipping it onto its side to cook.

Scotch fillet

The Scotch fillet has more intramuscular fat than the porterhouse, which is a fancy way of saying there is more fat throughout the cut, not just at the edges. It’s also called marbling.

It’s both its best feature and its worst, depending on how you feel about fat.

Because of that fat pattern it’s best cooked on the barbecue grill where the fat can drip into the coals for a smokey flavour.

The cut comes from the upper ribcage area, so it doesn’t work as much as say, a leg muscle, which means it’s much more tender.

Eye fillet

This is by far the most tender cut of meat and the most expensive.

In fact, it’s so lucrative, farmers will breed stock for optimum eye-fillet size.

Also known as the beef tenderloin in the US, this cut is so tender because it doesn’t do a lot of work in the animal. It runs along the spine and is more of a stabliser muscle than a movement muscle.

It’s tender, but it’s also the prima donna of steaks. It has almost no fat, so turn away from the hot plate at the wrong time and suddenly it’s a hockey puck. Its brief cooking time means it’s really only suitable for those who like their steak on the raw and bleedy side.

Top tip: The squeamish can wrap it in bacon for a longer cooking time.


No hidden meaning in the name here, it’s from the rear of the animal. As it’s a muscle that does a lot of work, it can be a bit tough. Cooks quickly and easily and takes marinades well.

It’s a big steak and usually a bit cheaper than other cuts, so it’s good for feeding a lot of people. A full-sized rump will have three separate sections divided by connective tissue that you can use to easily break it down into smaller steaks.

Top tip: You can also buy one of these ‘sections’ as a roast and it’s known as a rump cap.    


The show pony of steak cuts. The pampered royalty of steaks. The Fred Flintstone-style steak. This will usually be your most expensive cut at a restaurant but can feed up to four people. It’s essentially a rib eye/eye fillet and the meat surrounding it with the long rib bone still attached that gives it its ‘tomahawk’ look. In reality, the long bone serves no purpose other than being visually appealing.

They are cut from the largest part of the ribs, in this week’s piece of useless information, somewhere between rib number six and 12 to be exact.  

While they look hard work to cook, they can be quite versatile as they can be grilled or roasted and the bone-in adds extra flavour.

Top tip: In the US, a tomahawk without a long bone is called a cowboy steak.

What’s your favourite way to eat steak? Why not share your opinion in the comments section below?

Also read: One-Pot Steak and Potato Stew

Jan Fisher
Jan Fisherhttp://www.yourlifechoices.com.au/author/JanFisher
Accomplished journalist, feature writer and sub-editor with impressive knowledge of the retirement landscape, including retirement income, issues that affect Australians planning and living in retirement, and answering YLC members' Age Pension and Centrelink questions. She has also developed a passion for travel and lifestyle writing and is fast becoming a supermarket savings 'guru'.


  1. “One of my mates could never understand why people ordered steak in restaurants. And then, by chance, he was given a medium rare steak and it all became clear. His mother had only had one level of cooking: overdone to the point of disintegration. He had simply never had a decent steak.”
    I have a similar story. In my late teens, at home, I was in a rush for night shift and mum said cook yourself a steak. I only had time to do it medium-rare and it was beautiful. I said to mum, why don’t you always get that kind of steak – it’s much nicer than what we usually have.
    She said, it was exactly the same steak as we always had.
    She had always just very much overcooked it. That was over 50 years ago. I have never had a well-done (ruined) steak since.
    BTW, please, Jan, don’t use the negative “raw and bleedy”.

  2. NEVER cook a steak over hot coals so the fat drips on them. The smoke from coals combine withe fat and produces Nitrosamines. It might look good as the flames shoot up and smell nice, but Nitrosamiones are carcinogenic, in other words can cause caner.

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