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underrated cuts of beef

Underrated Cuts of Beef. 6 Tasty Cuts of Beef That Won’t Break The Bank!

When buying meat, we often ignore the underrated cuts of beef. This is because the overrated cuts seem more appealing with expensive price tags. What we can tell you though, an expensive cut doesn’t necessarily mean a better-tasting meal. The next time you’re in the butchery, ask the butcher to point you towards beef cuts that are cheaper but just as tasty.

Knowing which are beef cuts often underrated is easy once you know what they’re called. You can’t go wrong with these beef cuts: tri-tip, hanger steak, bavette steak, chuck eye steak, top round, and flat iron steak. All of these cuts are known for their rich, meaty taste and are full of flavor.


beef meat cuts


With all beef cuts, you want to ensure you get good quality. An underrated beef cut doesn’t imply poor quality. So, always check out the quality when buying any cut. Cooking the beef cut the right way also gives you better results.

Z Grills

Let’s talk through each of the beef cuts mentioned above. We’ll also show you how to pick the perfect cut on the butcher’s shelf and what to look out for when buying good quality meat. Finally, we’ll take you through the steps to cooking each cut to perfection.



Tri Tip

Tri-tip is one of your most versatile cuts. It’s also relatively inexpensive and full of flavor. You can use various cooking methods including broiling, grilling, smoking, and frying in a skillet. It’s recognized by its triangular shape. It also makes a good roast.

Steaks are sliced from the tri-tip roast. They’re also known as “Santa Maria steak” or “Triangle steak”. Always lookout for good marbling.  Another good sign of good quality meat is the deep red color.

Where it Comes From

The tri-tip is found on the bottom “tip” of the sirloin. This is located on the flank of the abdomen, towards the rear end. Trimmed, it weighs in at about 1.5 to 2.5 pounds.

How to Prepare It

There are numerous ways of cooking this tri-tip. If you decide to buy the roast, then you can opt for low and slow cooking methods. Tri-tip is perfect for smoking.

Steps to Smoking:

  • Step 1: Season with your favorite rub or seasonings such as salt, ground pepper, and spices.
  • Step 2: Wrap in aluminum foil and let it sit in the refrigerator for up to six hours or overnight.
  • Step 3: Remove 30 minutes before cooking. In the meantime, fire up your smoker.
  • Step 4: When the smoker has reached the optimal temperature of 225⁰F, you can place the roast inside. Estimate cooking time to be half an hour for every pound.
  • Step 5: When an internal meat temperature of approximately 125⁰F has been reached, remove it from the smoker.
  • Step 6: Heat up a skillet on the stovetop and add two tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Sear the roast for two minutes on either side.
  • Step 7: Remove from the skillet, cover with foil and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
Z Grills

If you’re looking to spend less time in the kitchen, then ask the butcher to give you steak cuts. The grill is perfect for cooking these steaks. You can marinate them for a few hours before tossing them onto the grill. Or, season with a spicy rub, salt, and pepper.

Depending on the thickness of the cuts and your preference of doneness, the steaks can be grilled for up to 15 minutes over medium heat. Thinner cuts can be grilled for up to 10 minutes. Once cooked, remove and let them sit for five minutes before eating.

Hanger Steak


underrated cuts of beef


The Hanger is full of savory, rich meaty flavors and is often known as the “butcher’s steak”. Many chefs will compare it to popular brisket. It’s a cheaper alternative if bought at your local butchery.

You’ll find it has a fair amount of marbling in it. Some butchers will trim the fat and sell it as 1 pound size steaks. It’s not easy to find in your local supermarket but you may get it at a craft butchery.

Where it Comes From

This plate cut comes from the upper stomach area of the cow. The steak “hangs” from the diaphragm, hence its name.

How to Prepare It

The Hanger is known for its tenderness. One of the best ways to cook it is to reverse sear it. This method entails low and slow cooking, finishing off with searing at high heat. A charcoal or wood pellet grill is perfect for this method.

Steps for Reverse Searing:

  • Step 1: Season with salt and pepper.
  • Step 2: Prepare your grill and aim for 225⁰F temperature.
  • Step 3: Place the steaks on the rack and close the lid.
  • Step 4: When the internal temperature reaches 10⁰ below the ideal temperature, remove it from the heat.
  • Step 5: Heat up a cast-iron skillet and add some butter or oil. Sear the steaks on either side for between 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Step 5: Remove and serve with a tasty sauce.

The ideal internal temperature should be 125⁰ for rare, 135⁰ for medium-rare, and 145⁰ for medium doneness.



underrated cuts of beef

Also known as flank steak, this beef cut is a long and flat piece of meat. It’s inexpensive and full of flavor. You’ll find it often used in fajitas and is popular for stir-fries. Its texture is loose, almost “crumbly”.

It is tougher meat so requires some care when cooking for tenderness.

Look out for a deep, red color and make sure the tough membrane has been removed. You can expect to find a fine thread of marbling.

Where it Comes From

This is taken from the abdominal muscles of the cow.

How to Prepare It

This is a big piece so the best way to cook it is to use a broiler or a grill. Of course, you can slice it into smaller pieces before cooking on the stovetop in a cast-iron skillet.

The main method of cooking thin steaks is using high heat to sear them. It’s tough as it comes from a well-exercised part of the animal. Marinating before cooking will help to tenderize it. Braising is another option.

Steps for a perfect French Bavette Steak:

  • Step 1: Season with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Step 2: Combine goose fat and butter and add to a heated cast iron skillet.
  • Step 3: Place in the pan and sear on either side for 3 to 7 minutes.
  • Step 4: Remove when done to your preference.

A meat probe is useful for measuring different levels of doneness. Rare should be around 120⁰F while medium-rare is about 125⁰F and the medium is 130⁰F.

Chuck Eye


Cuts of Beef to Smoke

Chuck eye or often referred to as the “poor man’s ribeye steak” is one of your most cost-effective cuts of beef to pick from. It’s a large piece of meat and full of flavors. It can be chewy but if cooked properly, you’ll achieve a tender and scrumptious meal. The best way to cook it is by grilling it over high heat.

Chuck eye steaks are not commonly found in the local supermarket as there are only two pieces per steer or heifer.

Where it Comes From

Chuck eye comes from the core of the chuck primal (upper shoulder) which is located below the rib primal.

How to Prepare It

While it does have a meaty flavor it’s good to add salt and pepper to enhance the flavorings. Chefs do recommend you coat both sides and leave for a couple of hours. This draws out the moisture for a crispy coating when cooking.

Heat your grill to a high temperature and coat the racks with oil. Toss the steaks on and sear either side for about five minutes for medium-rare doneness. When the internal temperature reaches 135⁰F, remove it from the heat.

If you prefer medium doneness, aim for an internal temperature of 155⁰F. However, make sure you don’t go beyond this temperature as you’ll end up with dry and tough meat.

Top Round


Cuts of Beef

This budget-friendly steak should be on everyone’s grocery shopping list for its versatility. It’s lean and tough so low and slow cooking is the best method here. You can expect it to be full of flavors and it can be tenderized with marinades.

When buying it, you’ll find little fat or marbling in these cuts.

Where it Comes From

The top round steak comes from the round primal which is located between the rump and hind legs of the animal.

How to Prepare It

When cooked properly, the top round can be used for sandwiches, fajitas, or in a beef casserole. Using the smoker is a great way to prepare a meal from top round steak. Use the following steps to get perfect smoked top round steaks.

  • Step 1: Season well with a good rub and sprinkle with finely chopped fresh herbs. Place in the refrigerator for up to 4 hours.
  • Step 2: Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking. Fire up the smoker, reaching a temperature of 275⁰F. Apple wood chips are great for this recipe.
  • Step 3: Place the top round into the smoker and bring the temperature down to 250⁰F gradually. Cook for 30 minutes per pound.
  • Step 4: Remove from the smoker when the internal temperature reaches 135⁰F. Cover with foil and let it sit for 20 minutes before slicing.

It’s always best to serve top round at medium-rare doneness.

Flat Iron


underrated cuts of beef


If you’re looking for an alternative to tenderloin at a fraction of the price, then flat iron steak is your pick. Also known as top blade steak or shoulder top blade steak, you can expect it to be full of tasty flavors. It’s recognized by its rectangular shape and has the same thickness throughout.

When buying flat iron steak, you’ll find it has a good amount of marbling in it.  The best way to cook it is by grilling it.

Where it Comes From

The flat iron steak comes from the shoulder of the animal which is also known as the chuck.

How to Cook It

The denser, thicker flat iron steak should be cooked to medium-rare because of its muscular build. If you overcook it, you’ll end up with a chewy and tough dish. The best way to cook this steak is by grilling it.

While you can marinate for a few hours, it’s not necessary. Simply coat it in oil, layer on the salt and pepper, and flip onto a medium-hot grill. You could start with a quick sear and then bring the heat down slightly to finish it off. The ideal internal temperature should be around 135⁰F.

Where to Buy the Meat

One of the ways to buy any of these steaks mentioned here is online. Snake River Farms is one such place where you can expect to find some of the highest quality products. What’s more, they’re the pioneers of the American Wagyu cattle.

Whether it’s Tri-Tip, flank steak, or flat iron steak you’re looking for your next meal, order it through Snake River Farms. You can rest assured your choice of steak is of the highest level of quality with all their meats meeting the grading requirements.

What is the Most Flavorful Cut of Beef?

While all the meats mentioned here are revered for their meaty flavors, if you’re looking for the most flavorful we suggest you go with the following:

  • Tri-Tip
  • Hanger steak
  • Chuck eye steak

What Meat Cut is a good substitute for Filet Mignon?

If you’re a fan of filet mignon or tenderloin but find the price tag way too expensive then go with the flat iron steak. It’s just as tender and you won’t be disappointed with the flavors either. It’s also quick and easy to cook. Simply throw onto the grill for a few minutes and in no time you’ll be eating a tasty steak.

Final Thoughts

It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing a good steak has to be expensive. These overrated steaks can be substituted with many of the underrated steaks mentioned here. Cheap doesn’t have to mean dull, tasteless, or poor quality.

Underrated Cuts of Beef. 6 Tasty Cuts of Beef That Won\'t Break The Bank!