The hanger steak is a tender cut with more marbling than flank or skirt steak, which gives it great flavor and juiciness that a hearty amount of simple seasonings can easily bring out. It ranks the lowest because grocery stores rarely sell hanger steaks, as there’s only one per cow.
The skirt steak is a lean, well-muscled cut that requires a good marinade to avoid a leathery chew, and quick grilling over a high flame to avoid overcooking. However, skirt steaks can stand up great to marinades and spices, and work best in Mexican food, sandwiches, and salads.
A flat iron steak is a well-marbled cut that holds up well to marinades and seasonings. Despite that, a flat iron steak still needs quite a bit of tenderizing, and it should never be cooked past medium, with medium-rare being the most preferable to keep the meat tender and juicy.
Flank steak has no marbling and needs tenderizing, either with a meat mallet or an acidic marinade, to avoid toughness, yet it is one of the healthiest cuts of beef. Flank steak only needs a few minutes per side on a hot grill to bring out the flavor, as overcooking makes it very chewy.
Top sirloin is familiar to most because it’s reasonably priced and easy to find at local grocery stores. Although top sirloin has a good flavor and decent marbling, it requires extra tenderizing, and it is crucial not to overcook it, so for an ideal medium-rare, start by grilling for three minutes per side.