All steak enthusiasts have their own opinions as to what the best cuts of steak are. Some may prefer a more tender boneless fillet, while others go for the big flavor of a bone-in cut. Generally speaking, the best cuts of steak are those that need no tenderizing and don’t require long marinades or braises to impart flavor and texture. You will pay more for these cuts, but their quality is second to none.
Cut from the most tender part of the short loin, many consider filet mignon to be the most premium cut of steak available. It is tender, juicy, and takes very little work to make it delicious. A bit of salt and fresh ground pepper and a few minutes over high heat, whether on a grill or in a pan, are all this cut needs. It is best served rare to medium rare.
A Porterhouse cut is actually two steaks in one: part top loin and part tenderloin. Many cooks consider this the best steak, because you get the flavor of a strip steak and the tender, buttery texture of a filet mignon in one serving. Porterhouse steaks are often grilled and can also be broiled or pan-seared.
The only difference between a T-Bone and a Porterhouse is the amount of tenderloin attached to the bone. A T-Bone has a smaller amount of tenderloin and is therefore mostly top loin meat, which is less tender but packs more beef flavor. Like the Porterhouse, a T-Bone steak can be grilled, broiled or sauteed in a pan.
New York Strip or Kansas City Strip
When the top loin section of a T-Bone or Porterhouse steak is removed from the bone and served by itself, it becomes a New York strip steak, sometimes also called a Kansas City strip steak. While not as tender as the tenderloin section, the strip steak possesses more assertive beef flavor. Strip steaks are often grilled.
Rib Eye or Delmonico
The rib eye (also known as Delmonico) steak is known for its richly marbled meat. The fat adds moisture and flavor as the steak cooks, giving it a tender texture and strong beef taste. This juicy cut is served boneless. A rib eye is great grilled or broiled.
The sirloin section of the cow is behind the short loin, which is closer to the rump of the cow. These muscles are not as tender as those from the short loin, but still have plenty of flavor. Sirloin steaks can be bone-in or boneless. Thick and beefy and loaded with steak flavor, sirloin steaks are ideal grilling.
References and ResourcesGatewayGourmet.com: How do I Understand Different Cuts of Beef?; Mark R. Vogel
Barbecue'n On The Internet: Meat Cuts and Tenderness
The Cook's Thesaurus: Beef Loin Cuts
Chef's Resouces: Short Loin, T Bone Steak, Porterhouse Steak; Ryan Adams