the Perfect Steak
It’s relatively easy to cook the perfect steak if
you follow a series of simple guidelines. But the step often overlooked
is the most important one of all - and it happens before you get anywhere
near a grill… it happens in the grocery store.
While picking the perfect cut of steak comes down to personal
taste, there are certain external factors that deserve consideration. Grilling
utilizes dry heat, which means that certain cuts of beef lend themselves
to this cooking method more than others. Here are some factors to take
into account while cruising the butcher aisle:
Read the labels carefully.
There are more important things on them than the price point. If it’s
marked, stewing beef,
it’s likely a tougher cut ideally suited for tenderizing via a long,
slow simmering process. The same thing goes for cuts with the prefix, marinating -
a blatant warning that there’s another step required before arriving
at anything close to palatable. In recent years, thin slabs of meat masquerading
as steak have gained popularity in supermarkets due to the profit from
the price-hike that inevitably comes from putting the word steak in
the product title. Avoid cuts containing the words round, blade and chuck.
So what DO you look for? Marbling is a big green
light. This term simply refers to the presence of fatty tissue interwoven
with muscle fiber that comprises the meat. This unmistakable pink and white
pattern indicates a couple of things: a) this cut is going to be tender and
b) this cut is going to be tasty (fat is full of flavor).
Generally speaking, the higher up and more towards the
centre of the animal you go, the better quality of meat you will find.
This is due to the lack of strenuous activity associated with these muscles.
These are a few of the key factors to consider when purchasing
steak; however, the sheer variety of cut can be dizzying as well. The following
is a meat cheat-sheet designed to get you one step closer to that
elusive ‘cut above’ grilling experience…
RIB EYE (AKA: Spencer
Steak, Entrecote, Cowboy Steak)
With phenomenal flavor and excellent tenderness,
this cut is not for everyone due to its higher fat content. But for fans
of big flavor and big flames, it’s the number 1 choice.
STRIP LOIN (AKA: New
York Strip, Delmonico, Strip Steak, Club Steak, Hotel Steak, Kansas City
One of the acclaimed kings of the steak family, this cut balances flavor
and tenderness. It actually falls under the Short Loin category along with
fellow larger-than-life legends the T-bone and the Porterhouse.
What this cut sacrifices in tenderness, it more than
makes up for in flavor. There are 2 sections to a Sirloin - top and bottom,
with the top JUST edging out the bottom in tenderness points. TIP: If
bone is present, the cuts with the smallest piece will undoubtedly be
the most tender.
Start paying as much attention in the butcher aisle
as you do when you’re in front of the barbeque.
Located just south of the Short Loin and Sirloin,
the Tenderloin is by far the most tender cut imaginable… something
that’s invariably reflected in the price point. TIP: Due to its
minimal marbling, cooking this cut anything beyond medium is akin to burning
The grilling process
starts earlier than you think!