What is the Best Beef & Cuts of Steak? (Guide for Recipes)

By Autumn Ellenson

Americans love to eat beef. We have enjoyed this dinner staple for hundreds of years and will continue to for thousands more. But some of the best beef in the world comes from different countries.

Beef is very versatile and incredibly delicious when prepared right. But there are many different choices for picking out the best beef. So, where do you start?

The following guide outlines the best beef from around the world. I also break down the best cuts of meat you can find, including a separate best steaks list. Whether you shop at the grocery store or your local butcher shop, you can pick out the best beef.

Why Is Beef So Popular?

What makes beef such a popular dish? First, it is incredibly versatile. Beef is used as the main ingredient for various dishes, from steak and carne asada tacos to Beef Bourguignon and hamburgers. The possibilities are endless, so you can always have a delicious dinner without getting bored.

Beef is also very delicious when prepared correctly. Red meats have a high-fat content that turns into tender meat when rendered during the cooking process. If you pick tender cuts with fewer connective tissues and come from the right region of the cow, it can be the most mouth-watering meat you’ve ever had.

Best-Rated Beef in the World

beef cow wearing blue ribbon

Let’s start our exploration of the best beef right at the top. The following are the top ten best-rated beef in the world. In other words, this is the best quality meat you can find in the worldwide beef industry.

1. Wagyu

Wagyu beef is often considered the best beef in the world. Wagyu steak originates in Japan and is the first choice beef for many people who have a thick wallet. It is usually served in high-end restaurants.

People often confuse the different types of Wagyu beef. There are both Japanese Wagyu and American Wagyu.

“Japanese beef” is the literal translation of Wagyu in Japanese. But when the term is used specifically, it’s made exclusively from Japanese beef cattle breeds (primarily Japanese Black cattle).

High-end Japanese Wagyu earns the moniker A5 Wagyu for a good reason. It is the highest quality rating awarded by the Japanese government, which is a point of pride in Japanese culture.

Kobe beef (which we will discuss shortly) is a type of Wagyu.

American Wagyu

wagyu cow
photo by gyro from Gety Images

There is also American Wagyu beef from crossbreeding different cattle. Usually, a full-blood Wagyu cow is crossbred with one from the Angus breed.

Many people love this type of beef because of its great flavor, marbled texture, and high-fat content.

This beef has a highly marbled texture that is unlike other meat. Wagyu cattle have a unique genetic make-up that leads to a higher percentage of fatty acids in the muscle.

The increased marbling leads to a more flavorful, delicious steak. It turns out juicier and more tender than most other beef you can find.

2. Magyar Szurkemarha Hus

Hungarian grey cattle
photo by Petasz from Getty Images

Great steak comes from the proper cut of Hungarian grey cattle.

Its exciting flavor makes it a unique beef. It has a delicately sour taste, reminiscent of various game meat. That means that hunters tend to particularly enjoy this beef.

This Hungarian breed grazes in pastures from April to December, longer than many other types of cattle. That results in a more significant lean meat percentage and higher quality meat than many different types of beef.

The meat is a deep, rich red, much darker than different breeds.

The low dry content of the beef means that it does not shrink much during the cooking process. It is a tasty and tender beef.

3. Kobe Beef

raw Kobe beef dish
photo by gyro from Getty Images

Kobe beef is a Japanese specialty. It hails from the Tajima-gyu cattle breed located in the Hyogo Prefecture. Kobe is the capital, which influenced the common name of the beef.

As we mentioned earlier, Kobe beef is a type of Wagyu. It’s one of those “all Kobe beef is Wagyu, but not all Wagyu is Kobe beef” sort of thing.

Kobe is known for its exceptional flavor, melt-in-your-mouth tenderness, and high levels of fat marbling.

Kobe beef goes beyond tender steak. Most people enjoy Kobe beef in one of four ways:

  1. Prepared as a steak
  2. Shabu-shabu, which sliced and boiled in a broth
  3. Sukiyaki, which is sliced in a hot pot
  4. Raw, thinly sliced in sushi

Yes, you read that last one right. It’s common to consume raw Kobe beef in Japan, especially in sushi. However, thinly slide raw Kobe is not limited to sushi in many Japanese recipes.

Many Americans like to eat this Japanese beef at a “traditional” teppanyaki restaurant, which ironically, is a tradition made in America. It has grown in popularity around the world, though, including in Japan!

A chef grills the meat on an iron plate in full view of the patrons. Talk about dinner and a show!

4. Carne Barrosa

Barrosa cattle grazing
photo by BrasilNut1 from Getty Images

Barrosa cattle produce carne barrosa. It’s a native breed, home to the Barrosa plateau in Portugal. Family-operated farms in the districts of Braga, Vila Real, and Viana do Castelo raise the beef.

The animal’s age determines the richness in color, which ranges from pink to dark red as the animal gets older.

This meat is perfect for grilling and roasting. Many regionals dishes like Assados or Estufados traditionally feature carne barrosa. It is succulent and tender when cooked well, featuring a delicate flavor.

5. Carne Mirandesa

Mirandesa cattle
photo by Susana Luzir from Getty Images

This Portuguese breed had known origins dating back to 1286 when King Dom Dinis mentioned the Mirandesa breed of cattle in a document.

These cattle have long populated the land near Mirando do Douro. The cattle have large bodies and chestnut-colored fur.

This beef is very popular in Protugese’s regional cuisine. Traditional recipes often use carne Mirandesa, especially when they require grilling or roasting the meat.

Mirandesa beef has a unique flavor and is succulent and moist when appropriately prepared. It is pink in color and features even marbling.

6. Carnalentejana

Alentejana cattle in field
photo by StockPhotosArt from Getty Images

Another Portugues specialty, a variety of local dishes use carnalentejana. Many popular ones include soups and stews, fried dishes, and roasts.

Carnalentejana beef comes from Porugeuse cattle called Alentejana. They are raised mainly in Santarem, Castelo Branco, Lisbon, and Portalegre. Local dishes commonly use it, including Bifes Alentejo.

The meat ranges in color from bright pink to red. It features some marbling and is succulent and juicy.

7. Argentine Beef

Argentine beef cow
photo by Foto4440 from Getty Images

This Argentinean grass-fed beef is often touted for its exquisite flavor and high quality. With 55 million head of cattle, it is a staple in Argentina. where there is 55 million head of cattle.

The origins of the breed date back to 1536, when the Conquistadors first arrived in Argentina. Once people got a taste of the beef, they began producing and exporting very quickly. Farming landowners raising the beef became very wealthy.

You can find most of the cattle is currently found in pastures near Pampas.

This beef is usually prepared over a charcoal flame and served with a chimichurri sauce on the side. The most popular cuts of Argentine beef include:

  • tenderloin (bife de lomo)
  • short ribs (asado de tira)
  • flank steak (vacio)
  • sirloin (bife de corizo)
  • skirt steak (entrana).

Is anyone up for tacos or jerky?

8. Carne dos Acores

carne dos acores cattle grazing
photo by dinozaver from Getty Images

Even though America is known for beef, I’m sure you’ve noticed a trend in this list. Because here, we have yet another Portuguese meat earning it’s spot.

Raised in Azores, Portugal, Carne Dos Acores is light pink to red. It also features a smooth texture and a well-balanced but strong flavor. It is a staple in Portuguese recipes.

The cattle are raised using traditional methods. Herds graze on herbs, straw, hay, and wild grasses, giving the beef its unique flavor. When cooked properly, this highly marbled beef is moist and tender.

You get better results when cooking this beef if you grill or roast it. It does not require a lot of seasoning since it has a unique but strong flavor profile.

9. Angus Beef

large black angus cow
photo by rcarner

Angus beef is a common name for the fresh meat from Aberdeen Angus cattle from the Angus Aberdeenshire counties of Scotland. The Black Angus is the most common breed of cattle in the U.S.

This beef has excellent marbling. The high quality of the fat contributes to the beef’s incredible juiciness and overall tenderness. It has superior texture and delicious flavor.

Angus beef is often cross-bred with other cattle. This influences the meat’s quality, and other factors influence meat. Those things include animal lifestyle, age, maturation, diet, and meat processing.

10. Ternera Gallega

Ternera gallega cow
photo by nonimatge from Getty Images

Hola, cattle! Ternera Gallega is veal that hails from the indigenous species of the Galicia, Spain region. The Rubia Gallega and Morena Gallega are born, raised, and slaughtered there.

It is sold in two categories: yellow-label and pink-label.

The Ternea yellow-label category are raised on family farms and fed vegetables and cereals.

The pink-label certification is a top category indicating that the calves are fed only their mother’s milk for the first seven months.

The color of the meat is pale red and has a creamy yellow fat content. It is succulent, flavorful, and softer than other beef.

What are the Best Cuts of Beef?

diagram of best cuts of steak

Here in America, we love our juicy steak and other cuts of beef. We love it so much that it’s an earmark of our culture. The following are the best cuts of meat you can find!

Rib Eye

Many consider Rib Eye to be the best cut of steak. That is because of the rich flavors produced by this cut of beef.

Ribeye is usually a large, round cut of beef that features excellent marbling throughout. You can find it boneless or bone-in.


Another favorite steak cut is Tenderloin. It is a more extended cut of meat and does not have marbling. That means it is not as flavorful as the Rib Eye. However, it is incredibly tender, which helps make up for it.

This cut of meat comes from beneath the ribs, next to the backbone. It’s traditionally served with a sauce to add some flavor.

New York Strip Steak

New York Strip Loin
photo by joecicak from Getty Images Signature

New York Strip Steak, also commonly called New York Strip or Strip Loin, is one of those classic cuts of beef featured on any good restaurant menu. You won’t be disappointed with its rich, striking flavor!

You can usually find it boneless and rectangular. The cut has marbling throughout and has a rich flavor profile. It is less tender than a rib eye but still considered high-end.

Top Sirloin

Top sirloin is a thick cut of steak that is naturally lean. It features a bold, beefy flavor that’s perfect for the grill. It’s enjoyable on its own since it has such a strong flavor.

It is also affordable and lean enough to eat a few times per week, especially the thinner cuts. We have an article on How to Cook Thin Sirloin Steak in the Oven.

Filet Mignon

Filet Mignon is often heralded as the perfect steak. It’s taken from the smaller end of the tenderloin and is incredibly succulent.

It is more expensive per pound than the tenderloin itself, though both are known for their high price tags.

T-Bone Steak

T bone steak
photo by Lisovskaya from Getty Images Pro

A T-bone steak brings together two favorites: the strip steak and filet. It features both cuts of steak, held together by a t-shaped bone (hence the name).

This cut is consistantly a crowd-pleaser because of the substantial portion. People also love the versatility and that it offers something to every meat lover. You get the full flavor of the strip steak with the tenderness of the filet- all in one!

If you are interested in this steak, do beware that it will cost you. After all, it is like getting two high-end steaks in one.

Porterhouse Steak

A porterhouse steak is the same thing as a T-bone steak. However, it comes with a larger tenderloin side.

So, if you’re looking for a bigger portion, then porterhouse is a better option than T-bone.

What Will the Best Beef Cost You?

beef cow with price tag on ear

When forking over your hard-earned cash, you want to be sure to get the most for your money. You can expect to pay the most money for the tenderest meat cuts. Tenderloin is going to cost you the most.

You will also pay a premium for any of the best-rated beef mentioned at the start of the article. That is because those cows are bred and raised in the best conditions.

They are fed strict diets and live a specific regimen to keep the muscle and fat ratio very specific. It enhances the tenderness and flavor of the meat, making each cut delicious. Earning that delicious title of best beef guarantees a higher price tag.

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