For safety, the USDA recommends you should cook all raw beef steaks to a minimum internal temperature of 145°F, as measured with a food thermometer, before removing meat from the heat source. For safety and quality, allow meat to rest for at least three minutes before carving or consuming. For reasons of personal preference, consumers may choose to cook meat to higher temperatures.
It is best to thaw your steaks overnight in your refrigerator. Thawing on the counter at room temperature is not recommended. This higher temperature accelerates bacterial growth on the outside of the product as the core thaws.
Retail Cuts of Fresh Beef
There are four basic major (primal) cuts into which beef is separated: chuck, loin, rib and round. It is recommended that packages of fresh beef purchased in the supermarket be labeled with the primal cut as well as the product, such as “chuck roast” or “round steak.” This helps consumers know what type of heat is best for cooking the product. Generally, chuck and round are less tender and require moist heat such as braising; loin and rib can be cooked by dry-heat methods such as broiling or grilling.
Rib-eye steak: A rib steak consisting of the longissimus dorsi muscle and the spinalis or cap. The rib-eye steak comes from the primal rib used to make prime rib (typically oven-roasted as opposed to grilled as is typical with rib-eye).
New York strip: A high-quality steak cut from the strip loin, which is a muscle that is relatively low in connective tissue, making it particularly tender.
Tenderloin: Cut from the tenderloin of beef, which is a muscle that does very little work, making it the most tender part of the beef.
Top Sirloin: A high-quality steak cut from the heart of the sirloin.