Checklist before you buy your steak
There are many things that you need to consider when purchasing your steak including the grade of meat and the cut itself.
The grade of the meat is a good indication of the quality of the meat you are buying. Prime grade steak cuts are the best quality steaks you can buy as they are full of flavour, extremely tender and have a good level of marbling. Choice cuts are a little less tender, but still full of flavour, making them the next desirable grade of meat. Select grade cuts are tougher than both prime and choice grade meats, however, they are cheaper and taste great when tenderised and marinated.
Marbling, the effect that the meat has where thin strips of fat run through the cut – the higher the degree of marbling, the better quality the meat and the more flavour it has. Prime cuts will have many thin strips of fat in them, and the finer the strips, the tastier the meat. Thicker strips of flat usually mean a poorer quality of meat.
The ‘cut’ is simply the meat that comes from different areas of the animal and each can denote a different quality, price and taste.
Fillet – A very tender steak cut, it is extremely lean and tastes great when fried. Also known as tenderloin, the fillet mignon is generally one of the most expensive meat cuts.
Ribeye – Made up of both fatty and lean parts of meat, ribeye is usually cooked on the bone and has good marbling.
Sirloin – One of the prime cuts of meat, sirloin can be tender and has a great flavour. It is tender, lean and is also cheaper than more expensive prime cuts.
T-Bone – Cooked and served on a T shaped bone, the T-Bone is cut from the shortloin and is ideal for barbeques. It also takes less time to cook than other cuts
Rump – A lean cut, the rump is quite tough so needs marina ting and tenderising prior to cooking, but is most popular for its great flavour.
The proper color of a steak cut should be a light red color. Bright red sometimes indicate that the cattle were distressed before they were culled, so a lighter red indicates a more humane killing and a better quality meat – darker meat tends to be tougher as well.
The best quality steak cuts should be between ½ inch and 1 inch thick. The thickness of the steak can also determine how well it cooks as thinner cuts generally dry out quickly and make it less juicy. When buying your steak, look for thickness rather than the weight.
Before cooking your steak
Before you prepare your steaks, take them out of the refrigerator to get them to room temperature. This makes sure the steak retains its flavour and juiciness. If the steak is dry as well, it will allow the marbled fat to cook the meat and give the cut a great taste.
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