Yes, because there is many different types available it might seem challenging, but, honestly, this is not rocket science and we’ll get you to your perfect steak. Promise.
No matter whether you are buying meat from the local butcher, the supermarket or the grocery store, you will need to choose a specific cut for a specific cooking method.
What Is Quality Steak – Things To Remember Before Buying
Before we actually go and buy something, let’s understand what is that we are looking for exactly – what’s quality steak after all?
For many people, due to the ongoing controversy regarding the saturated fat, cholesterol and all the other possible issues with red meat, quality steak is a very lean piece without any visible fat dots.
Even though it might sound healthier than a fatty rib-eye (the point, imho, highly-arguable given the organic grass-fed options available on the market), this type of meat toughens much easier when cooked and there isn’t much flavor.
So here we go – there are two main things we’d be looking for in each and every steak and they are: tenderness & flavor (T&F).
So what affects T&F?
Many things, including:
- Age & breed of the cow
- The feed used
- Slaughtering conditions
- Storage temperature
- Whether it’s been aged
As you can see from the little sample above it’s hard to control these things!
That’s why I will show you how to make best decisions when it comes to buying meat, given the limited information that we have.
See also: Why Is Grass-Fed Beef Better For Health?
How Do You Buy Steak – How To Buy Beef At Supermarket Or Grocery Store And Leave Satisfied
So what are those things we need to look at when buying packaged meat? It might sound a bit challenging, but it really isn’t – here they are:
1. Know the purpose you are buying for.
It’s one of the most important things, which takes us back to my original point regarding choosing the right cut for the right cooking method. What are you planning to do with it?
If it’s grilling or broiling choose cuts like rib eye, t-bone, striploin and sirloin.
Looking to quickly sear the steak on the pan? Flank, chuck eye and round steak will be your good bets too.
Thinking about pot-roasting and slow cooking? Look for brisket – it’s amazing…after 10 hours :).
2. Use by date.
This is the second thing I look at and it might seem obvious, but do check the use by date and storage conditions – back in the days I got in a trap of buying too much steak, so I had to freeze it (not that’s its particularly bad for meat quality, it’s just more hustle).
3. Observe the structure of the piece.
In other words, how is it cut? Sometimes you can take two same prepackaged steaks and see that one of them has a massive gristle running across it – you would obviously choose the one without it!
Another example is about t-bones. The smaller filet part (filet mignon) can be different size, depending on where it was cut from on the carcass – compare a number of options available and choose the one you like the most (a bigger filet for me please).
4. Look at the shape when buying roasts.
Roasts are larger pieces of meat from which steaks are cut (so round steak is cut from round roast). Buying roasts and cutting steaks out of them is often much cheaper – that’s a hint for you.
So when you decide to get a roast and cut it yourself, look at its shape. Ideally it should be as even as possible and without any gristles running through – it makes cutting through it much harder.
A well-shaped and even roast, on the other hand, is nice to cut and will cook evenly should you roast it all at once.
5. How much steak to buy per person.
This bit is kind of related to the first point – know the purpose! How many dinners/meals are you looking to prepare? How many people are you feeding?
A typical portion size (even for athletes) will range between 100g – 250g (3,5-9oz) of raw, uncooked meat (up to 20% of its weight can be lost during cooking).
This is a good approximation, given that you are not going to stuff yourself with steak :).
More Tips For Buying Steak
Save Buying Meat
Why pay more when you can pay less?
Get some practical ideas on how to spend less money when buying steak and still get quality product.
The Cut You Need
Have you ever tried dry and hard piece of meat?
Chances are – the cut wasn’t appropriate for the cooking method you used. How to choose better.
I hope you are now more aware of how to buy steak! Remember to follow all the relevant resources and you are guaranteed to get the best every time.
Any questions or comments? Please leave them below – thank you!