Wikipedia gives the impression that Kansas City strip refers to the same cut as New York strip. Are they really the same cuts? If so, which name is more "authentic"? And if not, what's the difference between them?
The Kansas City Strip and the New York Strip refer to the same cut of meat. Apparently restaurants in New York City in the 1930's decided they couldn't sell a fancy steak named after Kansas City (where the stockyards and slaughterhouses were located). So, they just started calling it a New York Strip.
If you want a steak renamed by a egotistical chef, order the New York Strip. If you want a steak named for the cut of beef originally selected by butchers working next to the stockyards, order the Kansas City Strip.
Wikipedia is correct about two things:
- Both the Kansas City strip and New York strip are literally the same thing as a "strip steak";
- The particular cut of meat used is the short loin, and does not have any tenderloin.
However, sources do not tend to agree on whether or not the strip steak includes a bone. For example:
Gourmet Sleuth's Guide to Beef Cuts says that a strip steak can be either bone-in or boneless, but that a NY strip (or KC strip) is boneless. It also calls out the "shell steak" as being bone-in.
On the other hand, the Cook's Thesaurus singles out the shell steak as being the boneless version (implying that NY strip and KC strip are bone-in).
Most sources will equate the strip steak to a club steak (as Wikipedia does), but some sources use the term to refer to boneless cuts, whereas others will explicitly call this a "boneless club steak" or "hotel-style steak".
You also have to be really careful with what Wikipedia considers to be the "international" name - club steak - because it is used interchangeably with the Delmonico Steak (which refers to at least 3 different cuts), and according to some, the label "club steak" may even get slapped on a rib steak.
The best way to think about this is probably the following:
The terms New York strip, Kansas City strip, or strip steak can all be applied to any cut of meat that is solely from the short loin, bone-in or boneless; however, you are likely to notice subtle differences from one butcher or steakhouse to the next, regardless of the specific name used, due to inconsistent interpretations.
I live in Kansas City. I am a professional caterer, BBQ judge and food consultant. There is ZERO difference. They are exactly the same cut of meat. A steak cut from the short loin. They were universally called "Kansas City strips" until Delmonico's restaurant in NYC decided some time in the 30's to call it a "New York strip" on their menu.
That is all there is to the story.
According to the USDA, these names are branding only. The USDA defines steaks of the loin with a few names. Legally, either steak can be from any of the final four of these, but traditionally, both are from the final two.
- Loin, Porterhouse Steak
- Loin, T-Bone Steak
- Loin, Strip Loin Steak, Bone-In
- Loin, Strip Loin Steak, Center Cut, Bone-In
- Loin, Strip Loin Steak, Boneless
- Loin, Strip Loin Steak, Center-Cut, Boneless
It is futile to try and define a difference between the two steaks when every retailer and restaurant is free to choose from any of four cuts for either steak.
I agree with "user19435" who referenced their great grandfather butcher:
A Kansas City Strip Steak has a small portion of the bone (top corner of the "T") still attached as well as a thin strip of fat. The New York Strip steak is completely trimmed off the bone and doesn't have the tail fat. Otherwise they are same "strip" of short loin.
This is much more consistently the case at an actual butcher counter. In most supermarkets (ie Walmart, IGA, Costco) almost everything is trimmed and packaged without the bone.
My understanding of the difference has to do with the shipping weight. Shipping via rail cars back in the early 1900's and "iceing" down the beef from the midwest was cheaper by removing the bone..hence the New York strip. Locally in the midwest, they left the bone in and referred to it as the Kansas City strip.
I am from Kansas. I lived in San Diego for about twenty years and out there it seemed like the meat cutters called the bone in version a New York, and the boneless version a K.C. Definitely the same cut of beef though. Living back in K.S now, I know crazy, my wife came home with cuts that were labeled bone in K.C. strips. I said thats a New York not a K.C.
It is fairly easy to find a New York strip steak in Kansas with all the chain eateries there, though difficult to find in the single or multiple local restraunts. It is quite difficult to find a KC strip steak away from the Kansas area. Did find a place in Long Beach, Washington serving KC strip steaks a while back though. Both steaks are exactly the same cut of beef.
It's a Kansas City strip steak. The stockyards were located in Kansas City, not New York, and like the 1st poster said it was hard to convince the yanks in New York that the cut was good. NY never had stockyards. If a restaurant says New York instead of Kansas City strip they are just a bunch of egotists that probably went to some high brow culinary school. In the 1970s the state of New York made a PR effort to try and say Kansas City was not a cowtown and that New York was the official name for the club cut steak.
The bone is a matter of quality. The prime cuts of a KC strip will be boneless, especially the center cuts; the choice or select will generally have a bone in.
I know this because my great grandfather and his brothers all worked in the stockyards in downtown Kansas City, and my grandfather was a butcher. The art of butchering has been handed down through the generations.
A Kansas City Strip Steak is different from a New York Strip Steak, my great grandfather was a meat cutter and Grocer from Germany and he knew. A Kansas City Strip Steak has the tail on it that curves around with the thin strip of fat that flavors the meat when it is cooked/flame grilled. Also, it has part of the T Bone still attached. The New York Strip steak doesn't have the tail of thin fat nor does it have the partial bone attachment. It seems New Yorkers are spoiled and don't want to be bothered with removing the meat from the bone or have any fat associated with their meat, and they don't have the patience for eating around it either.
KC is a NY with partial bone and small strip of fat for flavor. You can still find hi scale aged steakhouse restaurants that sell both cuts. Its that simple. However, if your KC or NY strip is not served as part of a Porterhouse, you're just 'doing it wrong' anyway. ;) ..and always eat the filet first when its fresh out of kitchen. ENJOY!