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This time I explain exactly how I choose the best steak to buy, as well as unveil a stupid mistake EVERYONE (but not you) makes when buying one.
A month ago I was flying back home and my dear parents decided to make me super happy and bought like 10kg (22lbs) of beef roast, which I would then cut into steaks and cook it all for the entire them (yeah, this makes me super happy…noooot 🙂 )
Long story short, they bought it from our family butcher (the guy personally knows me) and asked specifically for steaks that can be cooked using dry hot heat (e.g. pan-searing, oven broiling, grilling etc).
This brings me to…
Rule #1 – Know What the Steak is For
So, if you are planning to pan-sear or broil in oven (i.e. use a dry high-heat cooking method), then you need a higher, more expensive type of steak like rib eye, tenderloin, NY strip loin etc.
Rule #2 – Know the Types of Steaks (there are just 2(!!!))
First – cuts that are great for the already mentioned dry-heat high-temperature cooking methods include all the expensive well-known steaks (e.g. rib eye, filet mignon (aka tenderloin), NY strip, T-bone (it consists of filet mignon + NY strip with the T-shaped bone between them))
Second – lower-end cuts like round steak, flat iron, chuck, brisket…all these steaks are less expensive, but they will not taste great when cooked at high heat. Instead they become very tough and hard to chew.
When I got home and saw that massive piece of cow (it was huge) which looked like round roast (a very lean, tough to chew part), I knew that it just won’t work as a steak…
My parents weren’t so sure (they thought I’m trying to escape from the processing of that chunk of red meat), so they got what they asked for – the unchewable jaw-breaking rubber-like accident…even though I tried my best (i.e. followed every rule of perfect pan-searing process).
Rule #3 – Don’t Trust the Butcher!
As much as I love butchers in Ireland, Spain, Germany and Russia (all the places I lived in), you just can’t trust these guys when it comes to COOKING the thing, that’s why you need to know what’s the best steak to buy yourself.
P.S. To all the butchers out there…you know it’s a sweeping statement and you are all awesome! 🙂
So, how did it all end up?
Without thinking further I passed on the chef crown to my mom, who actually happens to be amazing when it comes to slow, moist-heat cooking with lower temperature.
To keep it simple, she stewed it all in batches and guess what..? It was amazing!
Rule #4 – It All Boils Down to Pairing the Cooking Method & the Type of Steak
If you take away one point from me today, this is the one above!
The rule of thumb is – if the cut is expensive, then it’s for all the dry-heat cooking methods (e.g. pan-searing, oven broiling, grilling etc)
If it’s cheap, then it’s for slow moist heat (e.g. slow cooking, stewing, sous vide etc)
The Stupid Mistake EVERYONE Does (but not you)
People are not willing to pay money for quality beef.
That is it.
At the end of the day, you get what you pay for and no amount of proper cooking technique will substitute the actual quality, taste and flavor of an organic grass-fed rib eye (just an example…I’m hungry 🙂 )
To sum up – the best steak to buy is the one that fits your cooking plans.
And of course, when it comes to the quality, I’m always up for organic grass-fed for these reasons.
What’s YOUR FAVORITE cut to buy?