- The Grade-When looking for the best grade of steak the best you will be able to taste is called USDA prime beef. It is one of the most expensive grades and is in about 2-3% of the beef in the United States. The next best thing to USDA prime beef is called choice grade. What determines the grade of the meat are a few contributing factors such as the marbling, the age and the overall quality. Marbling is the lines throughout the steak that is fat, too much marbling is too fatty and too little of marbling will be a leaner meat but will have less flavor.
- The Aging-Aging is usually done to a steak to add flavor and tenderness. There are two types of aging, wet and dry. Wet aging is done with vacuum tight packaging, the steak ages in its own juices to lock in the tenderness and taste. Dry aging is when the meat is left out in controlled conditions for an extended amount of time. This dry aging can be tricky to avoid spoiling or food poisoning.
- The Seasonings-The seasoning of the steak is dependent upon the person’s preference but there are different methods of seasoning. Dry rubs, marinade and sauces are some of the most common and preferred, but these vary with culture and regions as well. But, a good steak shouldn’t need many seasonings other than a little bit of pepper and salt to taste.
- The Cook Method-A lot of restaurants use a broiler to cook their steaks, but there are other methods like pans and grills. A great way to sear in the flavor of a steak is to cook the steak with a cast-iron skillet with some butter.
- Temperature-A common question that is asked when order steak is, “how do you want your steak done” so what does this mean exactly? This is about how well you want your steak cooked. There is rare, medium rare, medium, and medium well and well done. Rare is seared on the outside but mostly red throughout. Medium rare seared with about half of the center cooked. Medium is seared and mostly pink in the middle. Medium well is slightly punk and well done which is a brownish color throughout.
- What Wine to Pair it with-A good wine for a New York strip steak is a Zinfandel, a T-Bone or sirloin try a Merlot, with filet mignon a cabernet sauvignon, or a prime rib with Syrah. When at a Steakhouse don’t hesitate to ask the waiter what type of wine they suggest with your meal. If it is a high quality steakhouse they should have a good idea of what would pair nicely with your steak.
So now that you know what makes for a great steak when you go out to your favorite restaurant or try some where new you know exactly what to look for.