Ask the Butcher: New York Strip Steak

The New York Strip, found in the loin, ranks among the best-known beef steaks, finding a home in traditional steakhouses alongside the ribeye, filet mignon, Porterhouse and T-bone. What most steak eaters may not realize, however, is the extremely close relationship between the New York strip (known, like most other steaks, by almost a dozen other names around the country and world) and all four of those other familiar favorites.

Shop New York strip steak.

A well-marbled New York strip

New York Strip’s location on the animal

Main article: Loin Primal

The New York Strip is more generically referred to as a strip steak (and you may have more luck correctly ordering one abroad using this term), and is located in the loin primal, specifically the short loin subprimal. This is the group of muscles that lines the spinal column and stabilizes the backbone of the steer, which lucky for these muscles, is not a very strenuous task; after all, the steer never stands upright. The resulting meat of these lesser-worked muscles contains little connective tissue, and is therefore more tender than the hard-working support muscles like the brisket and shank.

New York Strip, the familiar neighbor

In our study of primal cuts and muscles groups, we’ve come to understand that the same muscle often spans such a great distance within the animal that it crosses imaginary boundaries used for classification. A great example is the chuck eye steak and the ribeye steak, the exact same group of muscles cut from opposing lines of an imaginary divide between the chuck primal and the rib primal.

Relation to the “eye” steaks

As luck would have it, that example is especially relevant in this piece, as the same muscle (longissimus dorsi) that forms the “eye” of the chuck and rib continues even further along the backbone toward the hindquarter of the steer, passing through the loin primal and forming… you guessed it: the muscle that makes up just about all of the New York strip steak. The main component of the chuck eye, ribeye, and strip is the same tender, backbone-stabilizing muscle.

Relation to filet, Porterhouse, and T-Bone

Now this is getting fun: look up a picture of T-Bone steak (or Porterhouse, they’re almost  identical). You’ll have no trouble locating the familiar “T”-shaped bone structure that splits the steak in two. Now use your hand to cover up the smaller of the two regions of the steak. Do you see it? The remaining portion is a New York strip. And the smaller portion you covered up? That’s the tenderloin muscle (psoas major), meaning you could remove that portion from the bone and have a filet mignon.

Cooking NY Strip

Like its cousin the ribeye, the strip does well in a hot pan and needs little more than salt and pepper (read pan-sear guide). They are also great on the grill for the more experienced steak griller, but since they have less fat to provide moisture in the event of overcooking, it might be nice to train up on the pan before hitting the grill; or practice on the grill with a more cost-friendly cut.


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