What Is The Difference Between Beef and Steak?

‘There is only one right way to eat a steak –with greed in your heart and a smile on your face.’ –Soumeet Lanka.

Americans love beef generally and steaks specifically. However, there is always confusion between beef and steak among many people. This confusion is due to the variety of steaks available at restaurants, hotels, etc. Therefore, it is important to define both and differentiate them for the future.

Beef and steak are also loved and eaten in other parts of the world. However, the confusion remains the same about the definition of beef and steak. Many of you might know the difference between beef and steak, but many are unaware of the differences. Is beef a steak, or is pork a steak or steak a slice of pork are most of the common questions people ask?

This article is an attempt to differentiate between beef and steak. It won’t only solve your doubts and queries but will also let you focus on the steak when eating. We will also address all the queries and questions about beef and steak. So let’s get into it.

What Is Beef?

Beef is the term used for meat of larger cattle and, most specifically, cows, ox, bull, and buffaloes. The global consumption of beef meat stands at third, falling behind pork and chicken. There are different beliefs about eating beef in different religions.

Beef is specifically termed cow meat in India, and its slaughter is prohibited. It is because Hindus consider the cow as a sacred animal that is worshipped. Islam is a religion where beef is the primary source of big cattle meat. On the other hand, Hinduism is against slaughtering cows and eating beef. On the other hand, in the Christian world, beef is eaten along with other forms of meats like pork, chicken, fish, etc.

Different Cuts Of Beef

Beef meat is usually identified based on different cuts. There are nine major cuts of the beef that everyone must know about. We will enlist the cuts for you to understand it better.

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Barbeque-style brisket cut and corned beef are the most popular ways to cook the brisket cut. The chest area below the neck and shoulder of the cow is referred to as the brisket cut. The tough and fatty part of the beef is cooked at low heat for a long time.


Chuck refers to the beef’s shoulder and neck region, and this meat is tougher due to the abundance of connective tissues. Beef stew, pot roast, boneless short ribs, and Denver steaks are common dishes made from the chuck cut of beef.

Short Loin

The short loin area is located at the back of the cow behind the cow’s back. Due to the inactivity of this part, the meat is tender and cooked in dry heat to get the best results. Popular ways to cook short loin are strip steak, t-bone, New York strip, etc. A short loin cut is usually the most expensive one when sold at steak houses and restaurants.


Then comes the plat located in the front of the cow’s belly region and below the ribs. Bone-in ribs and skirt steak is made from the meat of this region. The flesh of the plate cut is also very tender and full of flavor due to the fat marbling. It is better to cook the plat cuts by parting them into short pieces.


The round cut is the term used for the cow’s flesh from the hind leg. The full round is one of the biggest cuts of meat. The round is divided into top and bottom rounds. Both rounds are different from each other and cooked differently. The bottom round is popularly used for beef roast whereas, the top round is best used for the London broil.


Flank is a popular cut from cow’s meat used to make steaks. It is located between the plat and below the short loin. More specifically, the back of the cow’s belly is where flank cut is derived. The meat of flanks is leaner but tougher. Therefore, high heat treatment is usually given to cook the flank steaks.

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Tenderloin and Sirloin

Loin cuts of beef are primarily used for beef steaks, and they’re subdivided into tenderloin, top loin, bottom loin, and sirloin. The sub-divisions of sirloin are called top and bottom loin. Sirloin cut is closer to the cow’s butt and behind the short loin. Since these cow parts are actively exercised, you get tougher flesh but full of flavor.


Now comes the mighty Ribs! Every American and steak lover asks for the classic rack of ribs in the middle of the cow. Grilled, smoked, steaked, or cooked in any way, ribs are full of flavor and tenderness. Ribs are also categorized as prime rib, ribeye steaks, etc.


Shank cut is derived from the leg of the cow. It is usually the area above the knee(forearm or foreleg both). Shank cut is not usually tender due to the active exercising of these parts. Most commonly, the cut is used in soups, stews, etc. steaks of shank might not be a good idea due to the longer cook time requirement.

What Is Steak?

By now, you would’ve got quite a good idea of what steak can be described as. However, we will make sure that you understand the concept well. So here’s our take on what actually steak is.

Steak refers to the cow’s meat or specific cuts from the cow’s meat. Steaks are slices of cow’s meat taken across the muscle fibers of the animal. Steak is a term specific to the cow’s meat, but it is often used for meat of other animals. For instance, pork steak, chicken steak, or salmon steak are the terms interchanged for the meat of the said animals. But steak is specifically cow’s meat cuts in the true essence.

How To Cook Steak?

Steak is usually cooked by grilling, smoking, or dry heating. We can describe three methods of cooking steak:

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·  Oven cooking

Most hotels and restaurants prefer the oven cooking of a steak. The spiced steak meat is cooked in the pre-heated oven by roasting the steak in an oven-safe pan. a little amount of oil is also used for cooking steak in this way.

·  Grilled and smoked

Grilling is the standard method of getting the steaks cooked. All you have to do is heat up the barbeque piping, apply oil on the pipes, and put the marinated steak meat. Keep the heat between low to medium. Brushing steak with oil after every while is a good idea.

·  Frying

Or you can simply fry the steaks in a frying pan. A spoonful of oil, one-inch-thick steak, and a frying pan at medium heat are all you need to fry a steak in four minutes.

How To Cook Beef?

There are endless ways of how you can cook beef. Grounded beef, beef steak, boiled beef, soups, gravies, beef roast, corned beef, beef biryani, rice beef, etc., are just a few examples of many options of how beef can be cooked.

Where does steak come from?

Now you know that steak is actually beef cuts, and the next question popping up in your mind might be ‘ where does steak come from?’

We’ve already discussed different cuts of the beef. the most popular ones for making steaks are as follows:

  • Ribs
  • Sirloin, Tenderloin and Short loin
  • Chuck
  • Round
  • Flank

There are many variations of how steaks are cooked and eaten around the world. For instance, Texas steaks, Mexican variations, saucy Australian steaks, etc., are the most popular.

Differences Between Beef And Steak

Here is the difference between beef and steak.  

Beef refers to the meat obtained from large cattle-like veal, ox, buffalo, or cow.The specific cuts from the cow’s meat are called a steak.
Beef is a term specific to the meat of cow, buffalo, etc. the meat of the pig is not beef, and it’s called pork.Although bacon is a word used for similar cuts obtained from pig, steak is a term sometimes used for pork.
Beef has 9 primal cuts that are cooked and consumed differently.Steak is made from the specific cuts from cow’s meat: ribs, loin, chuck, and round.
There is no limit on how to cook beef and which dish to add. You can cook cured meat(pepperoni), barbecue, roast, boiled, gravies, soups, rice, fried, etc. Steak is usually grilled or fried in a frying pan. So, you can’t play a lot with its flavor.
Beef has a mix of fat, lean protein, muscle fibers, etc.Steak is generally taken from the parts of beef where muscle fiber is abundant.


We’ve discussed everything about beef and steaks. Significant differences and similarities between the two are also discussed in the article. Next time you get confused about the difference between beef and steak, you know where to come for clarification. We hope you find this information useful.