You might have heard of either the New York Strip or the Kansas City Strip, depending on where you are from in the country, or world.
But many don’t know the differences or similarities between the two. They are ironically very similar with some small differences.
They both come from the short loin of the cow, that is one of the better and more tender parts of a cattle, as dictated by being as far from both both hoof and horn as you can get, being the perfectly tenderized part of the cow the get this high quality strip steak from.
There are similar cuts of meat in modern butchery that can challenge the strip steak, which we will also look at.
In today’s article we are going to explain the story behind these two cuts of beef, what they are, how they compare, why there are two, and the history of these two cuts. Keep reading to learn more about cuts of beef and how they compare, below.
What Is Strip Steak?
So fundamentally both cuts are what we refer to as strip steak, and they both come from the short loin section of the beef. Both the New York Strip and Kansas Strip come from this tender area of meat on the cattle.
The short loin is located between the rib and sirloin cuts, almost perfectly in the middle of a cattle’s back. It will contain part of the spine and includes the top loin and the tenderloin.
In butcher’s terms this cut is far from the hoof and horn, meaning it will naturally be quite tender and perfect for high quality steaks.
While the short loin has desirable cuts, not all of the short loin is ideal for steak or is tender. It is the front end of the short loin that the tender and desirable cuts come from, called the chuck end.
Whereas the back end of the short loin is not desirable, this is due to a nerve that runs through this part of the meat that needs cutting out and when cut out can often ruin the cut.
History Of New York And Kansas City Strips
So, let’s let the cat out the bag – the Kansas City strip and the NewYork strip are both the same cut of meat, simply with different regional names.
Before we get into the nitty and gritty of how they compare as butcher’s cuts, the history of the strip can be helpful to elucidate on why they are the same.
While the definitive origin of this cut of meat is debated, it’s generally understood that it was originally called the Kansas City strip, before it became the now more popular ‘New York strip’.
It seems that those in Kansas had favored the cut of meat and named it after their city, but when the cut was altered slightly for a different clientele in New York, its name was altered.
Many suggest the New York strip was popularized and potentially originated by the Swiss born brothers Giovanni and Pietro Delmonico, who created the now famed steak restaurant of their namesake, Delmonico’s, which was established in 1827.
Their restaurant has been considered as the best steak restaurant in America, although many will debate this.
Is A Kansas City Strip And New York Strip The Same?
In terms of butchery, they are theoretically exactly the same cut, from the exact same part of the cattle. In terms of the meat that you’re eating, they are exactly the same.
There is one mild difference between the two cuts of meat that can separate them though, yet this isn’t always adhered to.
The original Kansas City strip which seems to have come first usually still had some of the bone on the cut, which you would eat around.
The Delmonicos, who seemed to originate the New York strip, would begin to start serving the Kansas City strip without the bone on it, and this started to become popular in their New York city restaurant.
Food historians believe this moment was when the change happened and the New York strip would begin to overtake the Kansas City strip.
This said, if you go to certain restaurants in Kansas and Kansas City many of the steakhouses here will still serve the same cut of meat but refer to it as the Kansas City strip.
They may serve it with or without the bone, the latter being more popular within contemporary cuisine, but still call it the Kansas City cut.
Another small difference that isn’t always concurrent, is that most New York strips have the tail portion of the strip still attached, while a Kansas City strip might have this part removed.
Even this tiny difference can be debated widely, and for the most part has little effect on the meat at all.
There are other minor differences as well that you might notice. For instance the Kansas City strip is often considered to have a thicker portion of fat on the edge, while the New York strip might be trimmed tighter to the meat.
Even this can be confusing and hard to spot and it is also true that a New York cut, while not having a thick fat cap, will instead just be a thicker cut of meat than the Kansas alternative.
So, put simply while there is a small historic difference between the two cuts, they are fundamentally the same.
The main difference is regional terms, expect to see the Kansas City strip in Kansas, whether it is bone in or not, and in New York expect a New York strip.
If you order one or the other at a restaurant you won’t be getting something crazy different to what you were expecting.
The bone and thickness differences have somewhat been lost in the time and this variable can be completely dependent on the butcher or steakhouse in modern times, rather than a regional thing, it’s more historic these days.
What About The Boston Strip?
Another cut you may have heard of, that can seem quite similar to these two cuts, is the Boston strip. The Boston strip is its own unique cut of steak that comes from an entirely different part of the cow.
The Boston Steak does have noticeable differences when compared to the New York or Kansas City strip.
The Boston Strip is a cut that comes from the sirloin subprimal, or more specifically a cross cut from the bottom sirloin flap. This is a much more modern cut of meat that was created to be superior to the New York and Kansas City strips.
As a cut from the sirloin you may expect a lack of marbling and tenderness to the cut, but this is far from true. The Boston strip steak is very well marblended and surprisingly tender, considering where it is cut from.
The origin of the Boston Strip is much less argued, as it was clearly created by Carlo Crocetti in 2014. Crocetti owns Crocetti’s Butcher Shop in East Bridgewater, MA.
Here he created the cut and it became a crowd favorite at his restaurant, trademarked as ‘The Boston Strip Steak’.
As a result of the nature of the cut, it does particularly well with strong and direct heat. At Crocetti’s restaurant the chosen cooking method was ‘caveman style’ which describes the method of cooking a steak directly on hot coals.
This creates a charred effect but the tender cut remains juicy and tender on the inside.
Thanks to marbling that can be similar to Kobe or Wagyu steak cuts, it is very tasty as a result of the fat content and worth trying if you do want something noticeably different to the New York or Kansas City steaks.
How To Best Cook Strip Steak
For home cooking, and also in certain restaurants, a cast iron skillet is the best option to cook steak. A cast iron pan can hold heat really well and is best for achieving that kind of char that is desirable on this cut of meat.
You want your pan to be ripping hot in order to charr the outside of the steak while the interior is less cooked, to your own preference.
One useful note for home cooks is to turn on your extraction fan or open the door or window, as the pan is on such high heat there will be a lot of smoke when the water in the beef comes into contact with the pan.
Sear all sides and cook to your liking and preferred doneness. A rare steak can take mere minutes, whereas if you want something more cooked on the interior this can take a little longer.
It’s always a good idea, no matter how you have cooked your steak, to let it rest for a little bit so the juices can be contained. Moreover, remember that the steak will continue cooking while it rests, so always remove just before you think it’s done.
Best Side Dishes For New York And Kansas City Strip
Of course, the side dishes you have with your steak can really make or break your dish, whether you make them at home or order them at the restaurant, here’s a rundown of the side dishes that work well with this cut of meat.
Garlic Mashed Potatoes are one of the most popular dishes to serve alongside a steak, and are perfect for this cut of meat.
The mashed potatoes will often be fatty and have a level of acidity from the garlic that cuts perfectly through steak and paris well with the meaty flavors. This is also really easy to make at home by following the recipe linked.
This is an easy dish to make that you can whack in the oven while you cook your steak, and even make ahead. Perfectly cut potatoes go into a dish and layers of cheesy roux white sauce and added on top of the par cooked potatoes.
The dish is topped with a layer of cheese to get that crispy cheese aspect that is so satisfying.
The potatoes are a perfect carb to serve alongside the steak and the rich cheesy sauce really makes the whole thing a decadent affair perfect for celebrating a birthday or other celebration.
Again, this is really great to make at home easily, but is also a true delight to order at a restaurant. Potato Dauphinoise is a very similar dish that may be listed as on the menu.
For those who want at least some greens to go with this cut of meat, asparagus is often a good choice. Asparagus can have that unique pickle taste that is perfect to pair with meat, like pickles on a burger.
This said, asparagus are really easy to make at home and one that can work well with the way you cook your steak.
Once you have cooked your steak and have removed it to let it rest, simply add some butter to the pan and grill your asparagus in the fond left in the pan for extra umami flavor to be added to these unique greens.
Another way to cook the asparagus as suggested in teh recipe is to bake them with other vegetables and fruit in order to gain more heterogenetic flavor that can contrast the steak rather than absorbing its existing flavors.
Mushrooms are a classic accoutrement to serve alongside steak. Like other vegetables, they are perfect to cook in the juices and fond left behind by the steak after it is done cooking.
As your steak rests, add mushrooms into the pan and they will naturally deglaze it, but you can add some butter too to make it richer. This creates serious flavor and umami points and can be great with mashed potatoes too, but also work on their own.
Who doesn’t love baked potatoes, these creamy baked potatoes are perfect for a steak that is fatty and needs some carbs, but also has the cheese to make the dish something celebratory and rich.
Baked potatoes are easy to do and will use your oven rather than your pan so cook at the same time as this teak for culinary satisfaction.
Frying up some eggs and serving alongside a steak can make a great breakfast to celebrate something, but is also an American diner classic.
If you are really looking to get those protein points in then frying up some eggs in the heat and fond left in the pan can be an ideal and cheap way to make this into a full meal.
Best Wine Pairings With Strip Steak Cuts
Another thing that can really change your steak meal, especially when just having a steak on its own, is the wine you pair it with. If you are ordering a specific cut of meat at a restaurant you ideally want to be ordering a good wine to match.
Wine and meat pairings can be really great and provide the perfect contrast to a steak meal. If you are in a fancy restaurant and going all out anyway, why not order a wine that you know will work with the steak, it’s a good way to impress a waiter or a steak date.
Wine pairing is in part personal preference, part science, but can also rely on what the restaurant has.
A fancy restaurant will have a sommelier who serves you wine and can suggest what he thinks the best choice is based on their own wine list – so it can be best to follow a sommelier’s choice, but here is what they might suggest anyway, which you can also have at home.
A young ‘cab-sav’ that has a high tannin count can be perfect to have with these fattier strip cuts of steak. These younger versions often are lower in alcohol which is ideal so it doesn’t overpower the flavors of what is likely an expensive steak.
The peppery aroma from the wine is ideal to pair with the steak, and the fat from the steak is perfectly paired with the higher tannin content of the wine that provides bitter and acidic notes.
A wine from Bordeaux also has high tannin content that can be ideal for this kind of fatty cut, but also has some more fruitier flavors that are pleasant with the grilled flavors of the steak and its juices.
The full flavored wine doesn;t shy under the presence of the steaks flavor but rather compliments it quite well by being equally strongly flavored.
A malbec is another classic pairing with these fattier cuts of steak. There is a balance of texture and tenderness that allows the steak and wine to shine together.
While this wine has softer tannins it has a sharpness from the grapes that is the perfect accompaniment to the stronger flavors of a steak like this.
What should be clear is that the main difference between the New York strip and the Kansas City strip is their name, which mainly changes via region than anything to do with the cut of meat.
There was a historic difference insofar that the Kansas City strip would likely have a bone when served in the region, but when the New York strip became popular it simply took the bone out and changed the name.
In the modern day, they are very similar and the name is mainly a token of that region that anything that greatly affects the meat.
Other cuts from a similar part of the cow, such as the Boston strip are in fact different cuts of meat altogether and have different qualities.
When it comes to the Kansas City and New York strip, they are the same thing for the most part and ordering one or the other in a restaurant won’t change much.
Frequently Asked Question
Yep, a strip steak has completely different names in Europe as well as places like Australia and South Africa. Yet, they refer to the same part of the cow, the longissimus which is used to create a New York strip or Kansas City strip.
In Britain they call a strip steak a Sirloin steak, Sirloin being what they call a Short Loin. If you order a sirloin steak in Britain you can expect a strip steak that is similar to a New York strip.
However, in parts of Ireland they also call this a striploin, like it is in Canada. Meanwhile in Australia and New Zealand they would call a strip steak a porterhouse steak.