When a steak is cut to weigh 8 ounces, about how big will it be? What about a 12- or 16-ounce steak? The answers may vary depending on which cuts you’re talking about, but we can provide you with some general estimates.
How Big Is 4 Oz of Steak? (And Other Sizes)
A 4-ounce portion of steak is about the size of a deck of cards. If you were to put two decks of cards side by side, you’d have an idea of what an 8-ounce serving would look like. A 16-ounce ribeye steak measures 1-1/2 to 2 inches thick, with a surface area that’s roughly half the size of a standard sheet of paper.
Popular Steak Cuts
Before we get into the visual details, let’s go over some of the steak cuts that you’re most likely to find at the butcher counter.
The filet mignon is a highly sought-after cut of meat. It’s also very tender—so much so that it nearly melts in your mouth. As such, this is one of the most expensive steaks you can buy.
Filet mignon is cut from the tenderloin, a long, cylinder-shaped muscle that runs along the spine of the cow. This muscle doesn’t move around much during the steer’s lifetime, which contributes to its buttery texture.
Because the filet is so lean, it will dry out if you overcook it. Aim for a serving temperature of rare to medium-rare. The lack of fat also means that it doesn’t have a lot of flavor on its own, so it’s usually complemented by a rich sauce.
Cut from the rear abdominal muscle, flank steak packs a ton of beef flavor into each satisfying bite.
The meat has a thick, fibrous grain, which means it can be tough if you don’t prepare it right. The key is to sear it quickly over high heat, then carve it into thin slices across the grain. The steak will still have a slight chew to it, but it won’t be tough.
The ideal serving temp for flank steak is medium-rare to medium. It’s also a good idea to tenderize the meat in an acidic marinade before cooking. Though this steak is sometimes sold as “London broil,” that term refers to the preparation, not the cut itself.
Though the flat iron is more affordable than a filet or even a strip steak, it has a relatively tender texture.
This cut comes from the chuck, which is usually tough. However, it’s found in the top blade muscle, which has less connective tissue and is therefore more tender to the bite.
The hanger steak is a muscle that “hangs” between the rib and loin primals as a support for the diaphragm. Its hearty beef flavor and pleasantly chewy texture combine to make an excellent steak.
Hanger steak is also known as the “butcher’s cut,” because butchers would often take the steak home for themselves instead of packaging it for sale. Try marinating it in wine or balsamic vinegar, then grill it to medium-rare or medium and slice it crosswise.
Ribeye steaks are sourced from the center of the rib primal. The meat is tender and well-marbled, with a lovely juicy texture and plenty of beef flavor.
Though the ribeye has a slightly chewier texture than filet mignon, its flavor and juiciness make it a standout. It’s best when cooked on the grill, though you’ll want to use indirect heat for awhile if the cut is especially thick.
Tomahawk and Cowboy Steak
The tomahawk is a ribeye that still has several inches of bone attached. As you can imagine, this is a gigantic cut that retains all the best qualities of a ribeye, with the added taste and texture that bone-in meat provides.
If the ribeye contains a smaller portion of bone, it might be labeled as “cowboy steak.” The tomahawk’s larger bone gives your barbecue tongs something to grasp hold of, but the cowboy steak is easier to fit on a standard-sized grill.
T-Bone and Porterhouse
Both T-bone and porterhouse are cross-cut sections of the short loin, including a T-shaped segment of bone. On one side of the bone, you’ll find the strip steak, also known as the New York strip. The other side includes a portion of the tenderloin.
The main difference between the T-bone and the porterhouse is the amount of tenderloin that’s included. A T-bone might only have a few bites, but the porterhouse, which is cut from the rear portion of the loin, will have more.
In order to be classified as a porterhouse, the tenderloin portion of the steak must measure at least 1-1/4 inch wide at its thickest point. If the tenderloin section is any smaller, the steak is a T-bone.
Delicious and impressive when plated, these cuts are tailor-made for the grill. They don’t require much seasoning—just kosher salt and black pepper should be enough.
Sirloin steaks come from the loin primal, on the upper hindquarters. There are several sub-classifications of sirloin, all of which have different qualities.
Bottom sirloin cuts, for example, are better for slow-roasting and stewing. They come from an area that gets a lot of exercise, which makes the meat lean and tough.
Steaks from the top sirloin are more tender, though not as much so as the tenderloin. These cuts are better for grilling, especially if you use a marinade.
A Word About Shrinkage
Don’t forget that the steak is going to weigh less after it’s cooked. That’s because raw meat contains a great deal of water, much of which is expelled during the cooking process.
The total amount of shrinkage will vary depending on the cut of meat. Large, fatty cuts that contain a great deal of connective tissue, such as beef brisket, may shrink by as much as 50 percent. But a lean filet mignon should only shrink by 25 percent.
To put this into perspective, let’s say you’re starting with a filet mignon that weighs 6 ounces. After it’s cooked, you’ll be left with just 4.5 ounces of meat. That’s still a decent serving size, but it’s something to take into consideration when you’re shopping.
A Guide To Portion Sizes
How Big Is 3 Oz of Steak?
When you look at 3 ounces of cooked meat, it should be roughly the size of an average person’s palm, or a bar of soap.
Remember that the exact proportions may vary, depending on which cut you use. For example, a few slices from a porterhouse or tomahawk will have a different appearance than a whole filet mignon, even if both portions are equal in weight.
How Big Is 4 Oz of Steak?
4 ounces of cooked steak will be about the size of a deck of cards. This is a standard-sized portion that provides the ideal amount of protein and calories for a single serving.
How Big Is 6 Oz of Steak?
If an average-sized person were to ball their hand into a fist, the size and shape would approximate a 6-ounce portion of steak. It’s not uncommon to consume 6 ounces of steak in one sitting, but this is a fairly hearty portion.
How Big Is 8 Oz of Steak?
8 ounces, or 1/2 pound, of steak will be the size of a large person’s balled fist. You could also approximate the measurement by setting two decks of cards side by side.
We recommend planning on about 1/2 pound of cooked meat per person when hosting large gatherings. It’s more than most people will consume, but it’s better to have too much than too little.
How Big is a 10 Oz Ribeye Steak?
10 ounces is fairly small for a ribeye, though most steaks would be considered oversized if they were cut this large.
A 10-ounce ribeye will probably be cut no more than 3/4 to 1 inch thick. It will likely measure about the size of both of your outstretched hands, placed side by side.
How Big Is a 12 Oz Ribeye Steak?
A 12-ounce steak should measure about 1 inch thick, and its surface area should be just slightly bigger than your outstretched hands. If you were to stick with a deck of cards as a measuring tool, this steak would be the size of 3 of them put together.
Obviously, if the steak is cut thicker, the surface area won’t be as large. Conversely, thinner 12-ounce steaks will take up more room on the plate.
How Big is a 14 Oz Ribeye Steak?
How large will the ribeye be when it’s cut to 14 ounces? Again, this depends on the thickness of the cut. But in general, the surface area should measure 4 to 5 by 8 inches.
If you’re having trouble visualizing this, take a standard-sized sheet of notebook paper and fold it in half. That will give you some idea of what the 14-ounce ribeye will look like.
How Big is a 16 Oz Ribeye Steak?
16 ounces of ribeye equals one full pound of beef. It’s huge, which is why steaks this size should be split between at least 2 people—unless you have a giant appetite.
A 16-ounce ribeye steak should be 1-½ to 2 inches thick. In terms of surface area, it may differ only slightly from the size of a 14-ounce cut, depending on thickness. It might take up just an inch or two more on the plate when served whole.
4 ounces of steak is a standard serving. If you’re cooking off one or more larger steaks, consider carving the meat into slices instead of serving one whole steak per person. This will stretch out the portion sizes and afford you more leftovers.