What is it about steaks that many people just can’t get enough of them?
Some are advised not to eat them but just can’t resist the temptation.
There are varying opinions on why steaks are irresistible and why cooking them is fun to do.
Whatever the reasons are, it can’t be denied that it is a great idea to serve steaks at home.
It can be super easy to cook steaks, but there are steps to follow to make sure you are doing it right.
The first step is meat selection.
Easy, right? Well, not so much when you find yourself choosing from the different cuts of steak at a supermarket.
But don’t worry because there are ways to find the cut of steak that suits your intended purpose.
The question will lead you to discovering the different parts of the cow and how each part is ideal for certain methods of cooking.
The shoulder area at the front of the cow is called the chuck, and the part is a tougher cut of meat which is best used for stewing and braising.
Rib-eyes steaks and short ribs come from the rib section of the cow.
Rib-eyes steaks are great for grilling and short ribs are great for slow cooking.
A tenderloin cut comes from muscles that do not usually exert too much effort, so it is tenderer and great for grilling and broiling.
The cheaper cuts of steak are still delicious, especially if you marinate and cook them properly.
However if you have money to splurge and the occasion calls for it, then you can buy Prime cuts.
Prime is a United States Department of Agriculture classification for superior beef.
A Prime cut has excellent marbling that makes it tender, juicy, and flavorful.
Even when a Prime cut has lines of fat running through it, it is still a better option than a lean piece of meat.
Tip#3: Get Steaks from the butcher’s or meat counter
To determine if a piece of meat is fresh, you need to check for moisture, smell, and color.
When you buy a pre-packaged steak, you can only check the steak’s moisture, smell, and the color of its other side when you get home, and by then it might be too late.
So, it is better to get steaks from the butcher’s counter.
Also, premium-grade steaks and private labels are usually displayed on a butcher’s counter. You may even ask a butcher or salesperson behind the counter for advice.
Tip#4: Inspect the meat thoroughly
As mentioned, the meat’s color gives you an indication of its freshness.
A cut of steak that has a bright red color is fresh, unless it has artificial coloring.
However, unwrapped beef turns brown as the day goes on because of oxidation.
While it’s all right to buy steak that is already showing a brown color, it is still preferable to choose the freshest cuts available at the supermarket.
You can also know if the cut comes from grass-fed cow or from grain- and corn-finished fed cow by checking the color of the beef.
Grass-fed beef has a deeper red color.
When it comes to smell, don’t buy a steak that has an ammonia odor or that smell sour.
While you can tell if the meat is fresh or not by touching it (steaks that are sticky to touch could mean they are no longer fresh), you can’t just go to a supermarket and start poking and pinching meats, as you can damage the meats.
And, you will get angry looks from butchers and salespeople.
Tip#5: If you are buying pre-packaged steaks, there are ways to check the meat’s quality.
The excess liquid in the tray could come from the frozen steak that has been thawed, or it can be an indication that the meat has been in the refrigerator for days.
You should also inspect the packaging itself.
Don’t buy the steak if there is a damage to either its Styrofoam tray or plastic wrap.
Also, check the label for the steak.
The description ‘sell-by date’ is synonymous to ‘pack date’, ‘freeze-by date’, or ‘suggested use,’ and it basically tells you of the last day the steak is still considered fresh.
Tip#6 Marbling is Where the Steak Flavor Comes From
Marbling is how fat is spread within the lean.
So, it’s important to check the marbling of steaks because it is an indication of the steak’s flavor and tenderness. Marbling makes steaks tender and flavorful.
You can determine if a cut of steak has the best marbling if small flecks of fat are spread evenly across very fine textured lean.
How marbling develops is also important when inspecting the quality of meat.
If possible, you should ask the butcher or salesperson where the beef comes from, the food it was fed, the number of enhancers and treatments it was given, and the age it was slaughtered.
See more about how to start cooking steak now!