The following cuts are my personal favorites. Any one of them can simply be rubbed with plenty of salt and pepper and grilled over a very hot fire. Thin steaks cook quickly over high heat, with a nice crust on the outside and pink meat inside. For thick steaks, lower the heat or move it off the flame after the initial searing so that the inside can cook through without burning the outside. Always wait five minutes before cutting a hot steak; the juices will then stay in the meat instead of running all over your cutting board.

Rib-eye is easy to cook; the fat keeps it nice and juicy, with lots of flavor. This is the vehicle for your wildest spice rubs and spiciest barbecue sauces.

Porterhouse is the most impressive steak you can serve, period. You get the best of all worlds: flavorful sirloin on one side, butter-soft filet on the other, and a good big bone for the dog. With a magnificent cut like this, you can hold the spices and just rub a little butter on the meat, then cook it to medium-rare, no further.

Shell and strip steaks come from the same cut as the porterhouse - the top loin, right in the steer's midsection. They are a little smaller, but still juicy, boneless, well-marbled, and much less pricey. For steak salads or a casual dinner, they are a great choice.

Filet mignon is what you want for an elegant presentation. Cut from the tenderloin, filet mignon is small, perfectly shaped, and easy to eat. It has a fine texture but not a whole lot of flavor, so use an extra-heavy hand with the seasonings.

Flank, skirt, and hanger steaks are hits of pure beef flavor. Marinate them in powerful aromatics such as soy sauce, red wine, garlic, ginger, or chiles, and they just get better. Cook them to almost medium (rare will be too chewy), then slice them thin, always against the grain, so that the texture of each slice is tender. These are best wrapped in tortillas with a good relish and make great steak salads.