The Steak Cut Jacques Pépin Calls The Best Piece Of Meat

Correction 03/19/2024: A previous version of this article stated that Jacques Pépin's first TV series was "Jacques Pépin: Cooking with Claudine" in 1996, not his appearances in the '70s and his first series "Every Day Cooking" in 1982.


Jacques Pépin first began appearing on the small screen in the '70s and starred in his first TV series "Every Day Cooking" in 1982. Now, more than 40 years later (and at nearly 90 years old) Pépin is still not slowing down. Still exuding that infectious humor and impeccable taste in food, he has penned a treasure trove of cookbooks and continues to host his own YouTube channel.

Pépin, like any professional chef, has a couple of quirks that have stood out to fans over the years. One is how, from the 90s up until now, he has determinedly said time and time again that there's one cut of meat that never lets him down: the New York strip. Taken from the short loin or back part of the cow, this prized cut is widely considered one of the best cuts of steak. It goes by many names; you'll see generic labels like strip and sirloin steak, and more localized names like Kansas City steak, and of course, New York strip steak.


Pépin's enduring love for the New York strip

Jacques Pépin's preference for a good New York strip steak isn't just a whim. He declared his love for this particular cut of meat on an episode of "Today's Gourmet with Jacques Pépin" that aired in 1991. In that memorable episode, Pépin showcased three different beef cuts — top round, short ribs, and the New York strip — as he prepared a steak in the style of Lyon, smothered in a red wine sauce, served with potatoes and baked creamy apricots.


As he went through each cut, he gave those watching a detailed look into the qualities of each: the top round is lean, the short ribs are marbled with fat throughout, and the New York strip features a lean core with most of its fat around the edges. The too-lean top round isn't ideal since it lacks the flavorful fat, while the marbled short ribs are too fatty. That leaves the New York strip as the best of both worlds. By trimming the excess fat in the perimeter, you're left with a steak that strikes the perfect balance of not too lean and not too fatty — but just right!

What you can do with a New York strip

Now that you're in the know about Pépin's steak preference, you've probably just mentally bumped this cut up to the top of your grocery list. But before you buy, think about how you want to cook it.

Fortunately, a New York strip is incredibly versatile. If you don't have a lot of time, season it with salt and pepper, then pan-sear it in butter with a sprig of thyme for a classic steak dinner. In the mood for something a bit more sophisticated? Try Pépin's red wine sauce-smothered steak, or this steak with red wine mushrooms recipe which is in the same vein. Both will result in an equally fancy dinner.


The possibilities don't just stop at standard steak recipes. A New York strip can be fashioned into the filling for a Philly-style cheesesteak sandwich. And if you're craving some Asian-inspired flavors, strip is considered one of the best cuts of meat for stir-fry due to its tenderness and how it holds up pretty well to the high heat required for this cooking technique. Toss it together with some stir-fried noodles, and you've got dinner ready in minutes. Considering how that's just a fraction of what you can do with this cut, it's no wonder Pépin is such a big fan!