Rib eye (sigh). Prime rib (yawn). Strip steak …. Zzzzzz. Diners may love red meat, but they’re more than ready for some new cuts to liven up their orders. Check out these new cuts of beef that offer interest, novelty and unique flavor advantages. Sure, there’s a bit of marketing magic here (remember when the super-ugly monkfish began to be known as “poor man’s lobster” and took off on menus?), but the cuts are still worth checking out.
Vegas Strip steak
This a new cut of beef, taken from an area near the shoulder commonly used for ground chuck, is similar in appearance and cooking prep to a flat iron steak, the Vegas strip is a versatile cut that’s tender and delicious with no need for aging. Fun fact: The cut was “discovered” by meat expert Tony Mata, who claims to have happened upon the flat-iron steak 10 years ago. He pulled the new cut from a fatty area of the cow normally used for chuck and transformed something that had been overlooked for years into a prime piece of steak.
This cut comes from the cow’s hind leg, and is the darkest red part of the muscle group. Easy prep is one of this cut’s big advantages, requiring just a sear on either side and a few minutes to rest. It’s been described as an upgrade to the flank steak, since it has a finer grain and is generally more tender.
This tender steak from an area of the backbone above the rump is also known as spider steak, or, in England and Australia, Pope’s Eye. The big flavor advantage to this cut comes from its exceptionally high fat content. Prep warning: it can overcook quickly, so watch it carefully.
Also known as “bistro steak” or “Scotch tender,” this cut is gaining a reputation for tenderness that has chefs comparing it to filet mignon. Taken from the teres major muscle at the shoulder blade of a cow, it’s an evenly shaped cylinder that makes it a breeze to prepare and slice up medallion-style. Try it grilled, roasted or broiled. Check out this recipe for Beef Shoulder Tender with Herb Butter, which calls for a quick sear followed by a quick turn in the oven, until the meat reaches 120 degrees.