Make no Mis-steak: A Guide on Choosing the Best Cuts of Steak for Healthier Eating

In the past, steak has been something of a no-no for those of us watching our weight and/or our cholesterol levels, but recent research shows that the saturated fat present in the leaner cuts of red meat can be beneficial. Steak is rich in nutrients such as iron, zinc and B vitamins as well as protein. Just choose cuts which are lean, use a recipe that adds flavor rather than fat, and watch your portion size. So for those evenings when nothing else but a slab of beef, cooked to your liking, will hit the spot, here are some of the best cuts to pick.

Tenderloin

If you’re calorie counting, this is the leanest of all steaks. Tenderloin lives up to its name, and is also full of flavor. Of all your kitchen appliances, your grill is your best friend when cooking healthily. Just season your tenderloin to taste with salt and pepper and grill briefly to your liking. For underdone, cook for just 1 – 2 minutes per side: the steak should still feel springy to the touch. For medium rare, cook just a little longer, but don’t over-cook. Wondering what wine to pick? The big red wines will stand up best to the full-on beefiness of tenderloin. Try a Barolo, a Californian Cabernet or a Bordeaux to go with this flavorful cut of meat.

Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com

Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com

Top-loin (strip) steak
Also known as a Delmonico steak, top-loin or strip steak is a lean cut that can be prepared in your oven, for a healthy steak you can enjoy whatever the weather.

Set your oven to broil, and pre-heat, leaving the door ajar. Oil the rack of your broiler pan. Place steak, straight from the refrigerator, on rack, season as desired, and position 3″- 4″ from the heat. Broil your top loin strip for 9 – 11 minutes for juicy perfection. A supple, fruity red wine, with just enough tannins to complement the beef juices, will be the perfect partner for your top-loin steak. Try a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon or a Cotes du Rhone.

Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com

Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com

Flank steak

Skirt or flank steak is a very lean steak that requires careful cooking. For extra tenderness, try marinading it. For a garlic-chilli marinade with a South of the Border kick, whisk together two tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, two cloves garlic, crushed, 1/4 cup white wine vinegar, two teaspoons ground ancho chilli pepper, and one teaspoon oregano. Place steak in a shallow bowl, pour marinade over and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. Heat grill to high, and cook flank steak for 5-6 minute per side for medium. Allow to rest for a few minutes, and then slice very thinly across the grain. Serve with tacos, or with sliced avocado and a mixed green salad. For a wine to partner a steak as spicy as this, you need to think about a medium- to full-bodied Zinfandel, which will stand up to the Mexican flavors without overwhelming them. Alternatively, you might just like a cold beer!

Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com
Photo Courtesy of BBCGoodFood.com

Thank you to Tesco for this helpful and delicious info.  Perfect way to gear you up for the holiday weekend!

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  • Thanks for sharing those helpful tips on choosing right meat and the wine pairing, Terra. I love the idea of pairing juicy steak with robust Barolo.
    Happy Friday!

  • Kris Kuhens

    Great tips!

  • Some really great tips here Terra. Thanks! Zinfandel and Mexican food – a great match!