New York strip steak is a cut of beef which is known by a variety of other names, including shell steak, Kansas city steak, top loin steak, hotel cut steak, and ambassador steak. This cut of meat is particularly prized for its flavor and tenderness, and it tends to fetch a high price on the market. Many butchers carry New York strip steak, and it is a common offering on restaurant menus. Many people like this cut of meat rare, showcasing the delicate flavor and naturally tender texture.
Before plunging into the specifics of the New York strip steak, it may help to become familiar with some basic cuts of meat. This cut comes from the short loin, a section of meat located along the back of a cow, right behind the ribs. Behind the short loin is the sirloin, another flavorful and tender cut of beef; the ribs are on the other side, towards the front of the cow, while the flank is located beneath it.
The location of the short loin is very important, because its location is what gives the New York strip its unique properties. The strip steak comes from a part of the short loin which sees minimal use while the cow is alive, creating a tender cut of meat because the cow does not develop big, strong muscles like those in the flank and shanks. In some cows, especially those finished on grain, the New York strip will also be richly marbled with fat, providing additional flavor and tenderness.
In Britain, the New York strip steak is known as a porterhouse steak, which can get confusing for Americans, as “porterhouse” is a separate term in the American meat industry. In the United States, the porterhouse or t-bone steak includes the New York strip and part of the tenderloin, attached by a characteristically t-shaped bone. This cut of meat is also highly prized for its flavor and tenderness.
Depending on the diet of the cow involved, the flavor and texture of a New York strip steak can vary. Grass fed beef has a much richer, more distinctive flavor, with less fatty marbling, and it requires careful cooking. Some people prefer the flavor of grass fed beef, because they feel it is more natural and complex. Others prefer grain-fed beef, which tends to be richly marbled. However, a grain-based diet can be unhealthy for cows, so meat producers typically try to strike a happy medium, selecting cattle breeds with a tendency towards marbling and finishing them with grain before sending them to market to create the desired look.