The Cut Of Steak Michael Symon Says Is King

It's safe to say that Michael Symon is the undisputed culinary king of Cleveland. He's been winning awards for his innovative cooking since 1998, when Food & Wine named him their Best New Chef. Symon also garnered a nod from the James Beard Foundation in 2009 as Best Chef Great Lakes, and his former restaurant, Lola Bistro, was long considered the pinnacle of the Cleveland dining scene.

While many chef's decamp from smaller Midwestern cities to larger, coastal urban centers to make their name, Symon stuck by his hometown, and has been one of its most vocal champions. Cleveland is a no-fuss, working-class Great Lakes city that owes its cultural and culinary heritage to the many ethnic groups who flocked to the area for jobs and a toehold in America. Symon pays homage to that heritage at his restaurant Mabel's BBQ, where he literally invented a new type of regional barbecue — Cleveland-style, of course — by "incorporating Bertman's Ballpark Mustard into the barbecue sauce, using Eastern European spices and smoking meat over local fruitwood."

Suffice to say, Symon knows his way around a cut of meat, but that doesn't mean it's all low and slow smoking. He's also adept at cooking up a fine cut of beef, and there is one cut in particular that he says reigns supreme.

Stick to the rib-eyes

In a Food Network video shared on Facebook, Symon covers the ins-and-outs of several cuts of steak and provides pointers for various tastes. If you are like him and love a steak that has plenty of delicious fat as well as tenderness, then go with a nice bone-in ribeye. "To me, [it's] maybe the king of steak. It has the perfect balance between tenderness and a good amount of marbleization and fat, which I love in a steak," he explains. 

If tender and lean is more to your liking, Symon suggests beef tenderloin, though he is on record as saying that the cut's lack of fat and texture make it one of his least favorites. He also sings the praises of more affordable cuts, like skirt steak, but reminds viewers that the cut requires precise cooking quickly over high heat and carving against the grain.

Let's say you share Symon's love for ribeye, but you're a little out-of-your-element when it comes to steakhouse-style cooking. Fret not, because he has a ribeye recipe that he shared with "The Drew Barrymore Show" that can produce astounding results with little more than an oven and a good cast iron skillet. The trick is the reverse sear, which involves first cooking the steak, along with aromatics like rosemary and garlic, in a relatively-cool oven until the internal temperature is just right. Then, he turns things up by getting his cast iron ripping hot and searing the steak to obtain a beautiful crust, followed by a butter basting that contains the same aromatics.