I firmly believe that there is a section of heaven piled high with end-of-summer beefsteak tomatoes and a shaker of salt. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water. But what is the best beefsteak tomato variety to plant? The answer may have just become a bit simpler!
Beefsteak tomatoes are the kings of the garden patch often coming in at a pound (or more) per tomato. You’ve got to have some hefty tomato cages ready to support these big boys. Known for slightly thicker skin and juicy fruit, beefsteaks are enjoyed fresh from the garden, roasted, or even stuffed.
A friend of mine recently asked me which variety of beefsteak tomato seed was the best and honestly I had a bit of analysis paralysis. On Burpee’s seed website alone they feature 48 varieties all with different ratings and reviews. That’s when we had an idea. We would take those 48 varieties and use the data points on their website, like ratings and reviews, to index the 15 best beefsteak tomatoes.
Here’s our method and process:
We created a list of all 48 beefsteak tomatoes listed on Burpee’s site and removed any variety that scored less than a 4.0. Then, we eliminated any variety that had fewer than 10 reviews since those appear to be less tried and tested. Finally, we ordered the list by the ranking number and arrived at a list of 15. Without further ado, here’s our index for the best beefsteak tomatoes to grow in your garden!
First introduced in 1949, the Burpee’s Big Boy Hybrid is a consistent best seller. The average size of this variety is about 10 ounces with many reaching a pound or so. These tomatoes, like most beefsteaks, grow on indeterminate vines, meaning they are vining and will produce fruit throughout the summer at various intervals. This variety touts a wonderful aroma and a rich, balanced flavor of acidity and sweetness. That balance is what people often refer to as “old-fashioned flavor”, so when you see that term used to describe the flavor in beefsteak tomatoes again, I’m talking about a good 50/50 balance of acid and sweetness. Plants will mature in 78 days.
The Brandywine Pink beefsteak tomato is an heirloom variety dating back to 1885. This variety grows in uniquely upright plants with fruit appearing in one or two per cluster. Brandywine Pink tomatoes have a sweet flavor profile offset with a bit of acidity. Some consider these the sweetest of the beefsteak tomatoes. These plants take 85 days to mature making them a later-to-ripen variety. Brandywine Pink beefsteak tomatoes average at about 14 ounces.
Porterhouse hybrids are some of the biggest of the best beefsteak tomatoes, averaging 2-4 pounds per fruit. Porterhouse Hybrid tomatoes boast a rich, old-fashioned flavor having a 50/50 balance of sweetness and acidity as well, and take 80 days to mature.
If you’re looking for an early producer, the Burpee’s Early Pick VF Hybrid variety fits the bill. They have a sweeter flavor with a meaty and juicy texture. A smaller beefsteak tomato, these fruits average about five or six ounces and take only 62 days to mature.
Burpee’s Supersteak Hybrid is another supersize tomato with average fruit sizes of 2 pounds. Taking 80 days to mature, this variety of tomatoes features a traditional beefsteak flavor with a balance of acidity and sweetness plus a meaty texture.
Another heirloom pick, the Cherokee Purple beefsteak tomato has an initial smokiness with a sweet aftertaste. I’ve seen write-ups comparing the flavor to a zinfandel wine! These tomatoes are dark purple and red on the outside and feature a dark red interior. Cherokee Purples average about 13 ounces and take 85 days to mature.
Do you like a savory-sweet flavor profile? Then the Darkstar Hybrid is just the thing. Multi-colored on the outside, these plants will produce many fruits averaging about eight ounces apiece. Reviews point out a deep tomato flavor minus the acidity. These tomatoes take 75-80 days to mature and are especially good picks for resisting blight.
A hybrid of the Brandywine, the Brandy Boy Hybrid features the delicious flavor of the Brandywine with its good balance of acidity and sweetness, but maybe leaning a little on the sweeter side. The difference is the tomatoes grow in a more rounded shape with tidier growth. This variety also resists disease and yields bigger and earlier crops. The average size of this variety is 14 ounces and they mature in about 75 days.
Its name should say it all. The Delicious variety of beefsteak tomatoes are full of flavor and yield large fruits between one and two pounds each. Reviews applaud the old-fashioned flavor, meaning, again, the acidity and sweetness are balanced. This variety features a smooth crack-free interior making it excellent for slicing. These plants will mature in 77 days.
Another big variety, the Super Beefsteak produces fruit averaging 17 ounces each and takes 80 days to mature. With a great balance of acidity and sweet flavor plus a meaty interior, this variety produces many fruits per plant.
The Big Pink Hybrid is a medium-sized beefsteak tomato. It has a balance of sweet and acidic flavor, but leaning more on the sweet. With a smooth rosy exterior, these tomatoes average between eight and ten ounces and are ready for harvest in about 75 days.
Averaging at about a pound per tomato, the Orange Slice Hybrid adds a big pop of color to your tomato patch. These tomatoes grow uniformly and are firm yet juicy in texture. Ready for harvest in about 75 days, these tomatoes pack a full-body flavor with a rich balance of acidity and sweetness. Can you tell there’s a tend in flavor for beefsteaks? It’s all about the balance!
Hello, sunshine! You can’t miss these yellow tomatoes popping out of your garden. Averaging at about a pound each, these beefsteak tomatoes are perfect when sliced on a sandwich and feature a tender texture and sweet-acidic balanced flavor. This variety will mature in 75 days and produce high yields.
These bright mid-to-large-sized beefsteak tomatoes average at about 12 ounces per fruit. They have a sweet, low-acid flavor. Firm and dense, these tomatoes are great fresh and roasted. Tolerant to Verticillium and Fusarium wilt, this is a hardy beefsteak tomato plant and produces consistent yields.
Coming in at #1 of our picks for best beefsteak tomatoes is the Hungarian Heart. It’s the top-rated beefsteak tomato on Burpee’s website. This heirloom variety is versatile and works well for fresh-eating, roasting, sauces, and canning. First grown in Budapest centuries ago, these tomatoes average about a pound each. They have a meaty texture and robust heirloom flavor, tipping slightly onto the sweet side of the acidic/sweet scale. They appear nearly seedless, rarely crack, and are ready to harvest in 85 days. Perfect for BLTs and making homemade tomato sauce.
Are we missing your favorite variety? Tell me the best beefsteak tomatoes that grow in your garden. Let me know in the comments!