Anatomy of a T-bone...

Up close and personal, this is where the T-bone fits. The black line across the top of the two T-bones pictured here is the outside (top of the back) of the steer. You can see the T-bone in the schematic illustration higher up on this page as the topmost part labelled Rib.

Above the ribs, what you touch if you pat the steer's back, is the New York strip. Beneath the ribs is the tenderloin from which a filet mignon is often cut.

T-bone steaks cut closer to the shoulder are known as Porterhouse while those cut closer to the loin are just T-bones.

Steak Lexicon

Butcher or grocery store names in italics.

Strip steaks: top loin, sirloin, strip, shell, New York, Kansas City—chewy with beefy flavor; fat around perimeter. If you wish to pan-sear, these are the best, also excellent grilled over fire.
Rib steaks: ribeye, Delmonico, Spencer—fine, smooth texture and rich flavor. Noticeable fat marbling throughout steak. Excellent grilled over fire; pan-searing not advised as it will not properly dispose of large concentrations of fat in marbling (the fat ends up in the pan with the steak).
Tenderloin steaks: filet mignon, Châteaubriand, tournedos—very tender and extremely mild flavor. These are the leanest steaks. Filet mignon is frequently bacon-wrapped to enhance its flavor.
Chuck steaks: chuck, blade, chuck-eye, flat iron—flavorful, well marbled, less expensive, nearer the shoulder, more connective tissue. Very good grilled over fire.
Flat iron steaks: Over the shoulder and down the front from the chuck, the flat iron originates in a muscle group from which cross-rib roasts and two flat iron steaks are cut. The flat iron is gaining in popularity, in particular in the mid-West. While well marbled, the flat iron is surprisingly devoid of connective tissue.
Flank steaks: tougher, but usually sliced thin used for carne asada, pan-seared, stir fry and filled rolls.
Round steaks: Lean, flavorless, inedible dog food—should have been thrown into a grinder with fat to make hamburger.

Smoke point of fats

Safflower 450°F
Peanut 450°F
Canola 435°F
Corn 410°F
Olive 375°F
Rendered butter 350°F
Butter 300°F

Roast Lexicon

Butcher or grocery store names in italics.

Sirloin roasts: tri-tip—chewy with beefy flavor; fat around perimeter.
Rib roasts: ribeye, prime rib—fine, smooth texture and rich flavor. Noticeable fat marbling throughout roast. Excellent slow cooked to rare, medium rare, etc.
Short loin roasts: filet mignon, tenderloin—lean, very tender and mild flavor.
Chuck roasts: 7-bone, cross-rib, chuck-eye—flavorful, well marbled, less expensive, nearer the shoulder, more connective tissue. Very good as pot roast if properly and carefully cooked.
Round roasts: tip, round tip, bottom round, eye of round, rump—lean, flavorless, inedible dog food—should have been thrown into a grinder with fat to make hamburger.

Roasting meat, basic steps

1. Season meat (salt & pepper, overnight marinade or
        apply a rub of blended spices).
2. Sear meat in 450° skillet, 2 minutes per side.
3. Place meat on rack, roast to 375° until done
        (appropriate internal temperature).
4. Let rest 8 minutes per pound; do not cover (or tent).

Miscellaneous facts

Steak comes from Anglo Saxon steik, meaning "meat on a spit."
To clean cast iron skillet scrub with Kosher salt until clean, then discard—no water.
Papain doesn't tenderize just sitting there: you have to apply heat!
Cook marinated skirt steak directly on charcoal briquettes that have been "dusted" with a hair dryer.
Fajita comes from Spanish faja, meaning "girdle" or "strip."
Cooking hot and fast? Avoid names for cuts containing tri-tip, ball-tip and butt.

Eating beef is covered in scripture...


Yea, verily, and the messenger from on high saith unto me, there existeth a beast clean to eat that giveth much pleasure; nevertheless, the manner in which thou eatest it determineth the enjoyment thereof.

Its steaks are legion: round for him who eateth infrequently of the beast and knoweth not its very goodness; sirloin for the establishment and hospitality; chuck for the likeness of rib at the humble man’s table; Porterhouse and T-bone for the tempting of natural, carnal and sensual man; New York for the seasoned diner; ribeye for the connoisseur and the hedonist; and filet mignon for the romantic tête-à-tête;

Communal and tasty are its roasts, except rump and round for the grocer’s sale and the uninformed hostess; but chuck for the large family gathering, taking care not to overcook; crossrib for smaller gatherings; and prime rib for the entertainment of quality persons that disobey not the injunction against cooking over-much;

The animal’s flank and skirt for the stir-fry and the savoury roll, but slice thinly lest it be tough and more suitable for the fabrication of thy sandals;


Succulent is the barbecue thereof: spare ribs for slow cooking; back ribs for Texas and for the winter sporting event; the beast’s brisket somptuous if thou perservere with smoke and vapour.

Employ therefore but a little salt and much pepper; spices in all their variety; the reduction of vine fruits after the cooking of the meat; great smoke and all manner of aromates including the onion, the shallot and the garlic.

This is the teaching I give thee and hold thee hard to its accounting; see thou dost not offend the sanctity thereof by inattentive or over-long cooking except for the slowness and patience of a pot or smoking pit; nor by the application of untoward or heavy sauces that obscure the taste thereof (ketchup and steak sauce lead thee swiftly to hell!); and see that thou givest thanks for this beast before thy Maker.

And the name of the joyous beast is beef.

Liber Russell, L.719