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Buying a good steak, what to look for?

Discussion in 'Food and Drink' started by WarrenB, Nov 10, 2014.

  1. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

    I love my steaks, but I don't always seem to get it right when buying them. I like most cuts but really like a good ribeye, what do you look for? good marbling, colour?
    What do you meat experts look for when you buy steaks?
     
  2. schanop

    schanop Founding Member

    Look for a good traditional butcher you can trust. That's my key.
     
  3. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    I think some groceries use food dye to make the meat look better. They also use lighting tricks. Ever see the apples in the produce that shine?...wax & directed light.

    My only tip is to look for a decent marbling, not to lean, not to fatty. Although fat around the edges can be trimmed off easy enough after cooking.
     
  4. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

    Thanks guys, I am looking for a good butcher still, tried 2 local ones and they didn't seem that knowledgable when I asked a few questions.
    Sometimes we buy in supermarkets and that is obviously hit and miss, I had a great ribeye last week from a supermarket but have had terrible tasting stuff as well even though it looks similar.
    Finding a good butcher is on my list
     
  5. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    There are lot of variables in steaks , so here is my advice even when you buy from a butcher:
    Most of the cattle used for steaks in market are 1,5-2 years old. Depending on their diet they may have finished of with grain or grass fed all way through . Grain fed animals tend to gain steady weight making them more marbled due to the content of the their feed . So whenever you buy a grainfed steak it will have marbling regardless of season , unlike grass fed which reaches it's peak in late spring or end of summer . Grass fed steaks can be AS marbled as grainfed a but their fat colour will be more yellowish. We are taking about same age same weight animals here. The older the animal gets the meat and the fat tends to get darker , so if you are looking at a grass fed beef light red colour and pale fat cour with it's all good , if it's dark red and pale fat color that animal is older than the first one. Older animals will have their muscles worked up more than younger animals so they will not be as tender. If you are holding a steak straight from fridge you want it to be firm like , errr... , firm I mean. Older animals , even they looked marbled , because it takes them longer to reach that weight are not as tender and their meat seems to be softer . I had 4 yr old Wagyu that looked picturesque with marbling but due to its age it wasn't any better than 2 year old grain fed Angus . My preference is grass fed for the restaurant and for my home , I am using grainfed for consistency . So I look for lighter color , firmness , fat colour ( grainfed will have a lighter fat colour ) and even fat distribution ,I hope it helps
    Mert
     
  6. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

    Great info thanks! Looks like I might have been getting by colours back to front, I have been looking for darker steaks and avoiding the really red ones with white/pale fat as I read that somewhere once, also there is a lot of stuff like 28 day matured etc, does the flavour or texture change a lot the longer the meat is left?
     
  7. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    Dry aging even the carcass hanging helps wet aging ( in vacuum packed packages ) not so much . The leaner cuts like tenderloin reach their peak in 5 days , you are not gaining anything.
     
  8. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    Where are you located ?
     
  9. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    Aging helps breaking the amino acids and giving more umami feeling but dry aged steaks are easier to over cook because of having less moisture content than regular steaks
     
  10. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

  11. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    I got 230 portions of Wagyu mb9 ( very good stuff) and 80 portions of Wagyu mb5 ( good stuff ) will save you one each along with some grass fed stuff if you decide to come over for the weekend :D
     
  12. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

  13. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    [Q UOTE="WarrenB, post: 24409, member: 310"]Almost worth the plane ticket:D thanks for the info[/QUOTE]
    You are welcome , this is how a mb7+ looks like
    http://instagram.com/p/gFQb0DAPVY/
     
  14. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

    You are welcome , this is how a mb7+ looks like
    http://instagram.com/p/gFQb0DAPVY/[/QUOTE]
    49247520.jpg
     
  15. mr drinky

    mr drinky Founding Member Gold Contributor

    You should buy the River Cottage Meat Book. It was published in the UK, so it is even tailored more towards your location. I think Chuckles recommended it a while back, and I thought it has some inspiring meat perspective. One thing I took home from it was to buy better meat, even if it means buying less.

    k.
     
  16. WarrenB

    WarrenB Contributor

    I will check it out thanks, the idea of buying smaller quantities of better quality meat is where I want to get to as we normally have a good steak as a treat rather than a regular thing
     
  17. chefcomesback

    chefcomesback Founding Member

    I have been buying whole primal ( ribeye , sirloin ) or secondary cuts bavette, hanger steak , culotte , oyster blade ( flat iron steak) it is lot more cost effective to cut them as needed rather than buying steaks
     
  18. Toothpick

    Toothpick #2 since day #1 Founding Member

    You are welcome , this is how a mb7+ looks like
    http://instagram.com/p/gFQb0DAPVY/[/QUOTE]

    Holy smokes! I'm doing it allllll wrong.
    I'd pop those like skittles.
     
  19. bieniek

    bieniek Founding Member

    Wa gyu - it just means japanese cow. Its not any specified breed so would be hard to find it, especially in Europe. If you mean the Kobe, im not sure you can get it outside Japan and Macau, but oh well Im not working kitchen anymore so Im not up to date.

    As to the marbling and age its just about right, but I heard in Europe animals are usually between 2.5 to 3 years when slaughtered.
    And here we come to the funniest part.
    Even if you have an animal in perfect size and weight and age, and it has been distressed or malnourished before killing, the meat is spoiled.
    If the butcher doesnt know what hes doing and the muscles after killing are stored in too cold a temperature, the meat is spoiled.

    There are propably thousand of variables I dont know/ forgot about, that being said, I would give you one piece of advice: stay local.
    Britain have awesome breeds, Herefordshire and yeah Black Angus. I would easily trust some good butcher and go with his recomendations.
    The angus in america is not pure-bred [well maybe nowadays], cause the first man to import angus cattles to America brought just two ladies.

    Great steak is not just the meat itself either. Its the balance of seasoning and flavourings used. Its the cooking method. Its the temp of your oil and the quality of your butter. Its your hand heavy or gentle. The loving touch or just a contact.
     

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