What's at stake? Choosing the right steak.|
When I was a kid, our family would have a “fancy” steak BBQ once each summer. Dad would bring home a tray pack of t-bones which mom would lovingly marinate. The steak feast always included sauteed mushrooms, onions and bacon, baked potatoes and corn on the cob. Our mouths would water as dad carefully cooked the treasured t-bones to perfection.
As farmers and butchers, we eat steak every week. We call it “quality control work” --- someone has to do it!
When it’s time to treat yourself to a steak dinner this summer, you’ll want the right steak for the best eating experience.
Some questions to consider when buying that beautiful steak:
- What cooking method will you use? BBQ, pan fry, broil, braise, low & slow in the smoker?
- How much marbling do you prefer?
- What do you want to spend?
The best steaks come from the short loin and the rib. T-bones, tenderloin and striploin (a.k.a. New York steaks) come from the short loin while ribeyes and prime rib come from the rib section.
These muscle cuts are the most tender because they do not contain a lot of connective tissue nor are they exercised as much on the animal i.e. less weight bearing as opposed to the rump or front shoulder of the animal.
In butcher terms, these cuts are the “money meat” because these premium cuts represent a small percentage of the total steer. For example, there’s only about 10 pounds of precious beef tenderloin on a 750 pound animal!
You’ll find a complete beef cooking recommendation chart on our website, but here’s how we break down the steak purchase decision.
Splurge Steaks for Grilling or Quick Fire Cooking
- Actually, life is short so eat these steaks whenever you can. Truth.
- Tenderloin, T-bone, striploin and ribeye steaks are at the top of the price and quality chart. They are simply the best for tenderness, and which cut you choose depends on your appreciation for marbling.
- If you prefer a leaner cut, choose tenderloin or striploin (a.k.a. New York cut).
- If you enjoy a more marbled cut and aren’t adverse to a little fat, choose the ribeye steak from the prime rib. It’s our personal favourite --- fat is flavour!
- These cuts don’t require marinating. Simply season liberally with salt and pepper and let the meat flavour stand for itself. You’ll be amazed.
The Ultimate Steak Splurge
- If you want to treat yourself to a luxurious steak splurge, we suggest reserving an Ultra Aged rib steak. We cut these steaks to order and age them for a minimum 42 days and up to 120 days.
- These beauties are cut thick with the rib, 1 ½ inches thick. Two people can easily share a steak, although we pretty much guarantee you’ll lick the whole thing up and fight over who gets to chew on the rib bone afterwards.
Everyday Steaks for Grilling or Quick Fire Cooking
- Sirloin steak and sirloin cap steak are mid- priced, lean and tender steaks that have a variety of uses. It’s your “Wednesday” go-to steak.
- Grill it and serve as a steak, or thinly slice for stir fry’s, steak sandwiches or salads.
- Some lesser-known cuts that serve the same purpose are Flat Iron Steaks, Denver Steaks, and Butcher’s Steak. These cuts are well priced, lean, very rich in flavour and are best when cooked to medium rare or medium.
- These cuts come from more exercised muscles so can be tougher if overcooked. Even still, they don’t require marinating to be good. Just season with salt and pepper and cook.
- Incidentally, Flat Iron Steak is also known as “poor man’s tenderloin” because of its surprising tenderness and rich beefy flavour for less than half the price.
Everyday Marinating or Braising Steaks
- Steaks that come from the rump or front shoulder like round steak or blade steak are best when marinated and slow cooked, stewed or braised.
- We do not recommend these for the barbecue. You may be able to use these cuts for making kebabs after marinating at least 24 hours in an acidic marinade that helps break down connective tissue. Cutting them into cubes for barbecuing as a kebab also makes them more tender.
At Pine View Farms, we dry age our steaks for a minimum of 14 days and 21 to 42+ days for our premium grilling steaks and Ultra Aged steaks. Dry aging improves tenderness by allowing gravity to do its work and stretch muscle fibers. At the same time, moisture drips out of the meat, leaving you with richly flavoured beef without added water. 100% of the beef you pay for is 100% of the beef you get.
The debate rages about whether to let your steak rest once you pull it off the grill. We think that 10-20 minutes of rest time after grilling allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat and slice a little easier.
We also prefer to serve our steaks family style instead of everyone having their own steak. Kevin will slice the steak and put it on a platter. That way, you can pick your portion and the meat actually goes further.
Lastly, when you purchase well-raised and cut meat, you don’t need fancy sauces, smoke or marinades to make it tasty. Simply season with fresh cracked salt and pepper and let the meat shine. The only thing we would add to our steak is a pat of herb butter on top--- melted butter on steak is seriously sublime. Give it a try and tell us what you think!
We always like to hear from you --- what you’re cooking, how you’re cooking and enjoying good food, grown well. Send us your steak success stories!