So you want to find a great steak but you don’t know how. What do you do? Ask an expert, me. I have been a meat cutter in Florida for the last 8 years. When it comes to choosing a great steak it is all in the color, size, and marbling.
First there is the color the redder the steak the fresher the steak. You see when a steak is first cut it is not blood red or bright red but rather a darker red. It does not turn bright red until the air hits it. The air changes the color to a bright shiny red (real fast too). So the redder the better. Always remember the darker it is the older it is.
Second the size of the steak. Now you can cook any size steak to these varying degrees of doneness but for the best possible effectiveness this guide should help. Depending on how rare you want it will determine the size you should buy. If you like your steaks to be black and blue ( charred on the outside and raw in the middle) you should buy a steak about 1 ½ to 2 inches (I have had customers get them as thick as 3 to 4 inches but then you are making more of a roast not a steak.) If you like them rare to medium (brown on the outside to pink in the middle) you should buy them 1 to ¾ inches. Lastly if you like them well done (brown all the way through) you should buy them around ¾ to ½ inches.
Thirdly lets talk about marbling for a moment. Now some people believe that fat is bad and it is but only if you eat it. The truth is when it comes to steaks the fatter the better. You see fat is a natural tenderizer. If you every look at a tenderloin (filet mignon) you will see that it is not only the most tender piece of meat it is also the fattest. That being said when looking at a steak you want the fat running through the steak to look like a spider’s web. Going in all directions.
Now that you know how to pick out a good steak let me tell you briefly about a few different cuts of meat. First there are the ‘Grilling’ steaks. This are the top of the line steaks and are the most expensive. They are in order from highest to cheapest: tenderloin, porterhouse, T-bone, new york strip, boneless ribeye, ribeye (delmonico), and top sirloin. All this steaks are best on the grill or broiler.
There are a few more steak which are grilling steaks but are not on the list above because of what part of the cow they come from. They are chuck eyes (the poor man’s ribeye), top blades, bone-in chuck steaks, eye round, and petite steaks. They are not as high prices as the ‘Grilling’ steaks but they are just as good to some one on a tight budget.
Next we have what they call the braising or marinating steaks these are steaks which you can cook on the grill but they need a little help. These steak are sirloin tip, chuck, shoulder, bottom, and full cut round. These steaks can also be cooked in a pan on the stovetop with a small layer of water on the bottom of the pan (simmer on low heat).
Lastly we have the pan fry steaks which would be the cube steaks and stir fry meat. These are the type of steaks you would not want to put on your grill ever.
Thank you for your time. This is Sam your meat man wishing you a wonderful grilling season.