We have covered buying steak before, but a couple of guests asked this week how to buy the kind of great quality steak we serve at The Stone Grill. Having previously only bought their meat at the supermarket, both guests wanted to move away from pre-packed meat toward butcher fresh. Of course we were happy to help.
So here’s a quick refresher on how to buy great steaks!
Making the cut
There is more to buying steak than finding a piece that looks nice and is affordable. Different cuts benefit from different cooking methods and will lend themselves better to particular sauces. If you’re unsure of what cut you want, talk to your butcher about what you have planned. They have a lifetime of knowledge they are usually happy to share.
Fit or fat?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with a good layer of fat on a piece of meat. In fact, certain cuts depend on it to add flavour and texture. Rib-eye for example depends on marbling for texture. When cooked at a high temperature, that fat renders and coats the meat in that delicious signature flavour we pay so much for.
Despite what the media tells us, not all fat is bad. We need some of it in our diets to survive and there’s no better place to get it than a good piece of steak.
Most butchers will only sell the freshest meat but it helps to know what’s fresh and what isn’t. Fresh steak should be rich red, firm to the touch and smell of nothing but meat. Even aged steak should have these characteristics although some may be slightly darker in colour.
If the meat is overly soft, grey in colour or is covered in a thin shiny film, avoid at all costs as it isn’t fresh.
Size isn’t everything
Some things are better in small packages and we think steak is one of those. We tend to serve either 8oz or 16oz steaks here at The Stone Grill. We find that they are enough to satiate even the largest appetites when complete with starter, sides and dessert.
When buying steaks, keep it sensible. Don’t be tempted to buy something huge. It is much better to buy quality than quantity as you will be richly rewarded in the eating.
That is essentially all you really need to know about buying steak. The viability of various cuts depends on your tastes and what you plan to do with it. The multitude of cooking methods the same. As long as you buy fresh and buy quality and then cook it carefully, your steak experience should be a good one!