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A steak (from Old Norse steik, "roastbeef") is generally a cut of beef sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers, or of fish cut perpendicular to the spine. Meat steaks are usually grilled, pan-fried, or broiled, while fish steaks may also be baked. Steak can also be meat cooked in sauce, such as steak and kidney pie, or minced meat formed into a steak shape, such as Salisbury steak and hamburger steak. Without qualification, the word "steak" generally refers to beefsteak. Steaks from other animals are usually qualified as such - for example, 'swordfish steak' or 'venison steak'.
The more tender cuts of beef, from the loin and rib, are cooked quickly, using dry heat, and served whole. Less tender cuts from the chuck or round are cooked with moist heat or are mechanically tenderized (e.g. cube steak). Steak can be cooked to a level of very rare (bleu, a cold raw center), rare, medium rare, medium, medium well done, or well done. Beef, unlike certain other meats, does not need to be cooked through. Food-borne human illnesses are not normally found within a beef steak, though surfaces can potentially be contaminated from handling, and thus, very rare steak (seared on the outside and raw within) is generally accepted as safe.
A rib steak is a beef steak sliced from the rib primal of a beef animal, with rib bone attached. In the United States, the term rib eye steak is used for a rib steak with the bone removed; however in some areas, and outside the U.S., the terms are often used interchangeably. The rib eye or "ribeye" was originally, as the name implies, the center best portion of the rib steak, without the bone.
The sirloin steak is a portion of the sirloin part of the cow which is near the cow's rear, the nearer the meat is from the rear, the tenderer it is likely to be, like the rump steak. Although there are two parts of the sirloin: upper sirloin is generally more expensive than the lower sirloin because it is more tender. Sirloin steaks are often served at steakhouses and are often accompanied with French fries and vegetables such as broccoli, carrot or peas. They are usually cooked by grilling or frying.
A skirt steak is a part of the plate (situated at the cow's abdomen), the steak is long, thick and tender and it is usually priced by its flavour rather than the tenderness because its flavour is better than its tenderness. Skirt steaks are not to be confused with flank steaks because they are near the sirloin and shank. Skirt steaks are used in many international cuisines: Mexican cuisine use this steak for fajitas and arrachera. In the United Kingdom it is often used as filling for Cornish pasties as well as vegetables such as carrot and potato. In Chinese cuisine it is used for stir-fries, in Spanish cuisine the steak is made for churrasco and Italian cuisine use skirt steak for making bolognese sauce as well as with tomatoes.
T-bone and Porterhouse steaks
A T-bone steak or Porterhouse steak is a steak that comes from the short loin which is at the cow's lower back area. When being processed, these steaks are normally cut nearer to the front of the animal with an area of tenderloin still attached. Porterhouse steaks have a larger tenderloin section than T-bones.
T-bone steaks are commonly grilled, broiled or occasionally fried so that the outside is browned while the inside is maintained to desired doneness – usually from rare to medium rare, although this cut of steak, when well aged, will retain its tenderness even if well done.
For fish, steaks are cut perpendicular to the spine and include bones. In North America, fish usually cooked as steaks include swordfish, halibut, and tuna. Other fish often cooked as steaks include salmon and mahi-mahi, though they are also frequently cooked as fillets or whole.
Unlike beefsteaks, fish steaks are often baked in sauce.