Beef that makes the grade

US - Looks aren't everything -- at least when it comes to steak. During the rib-eye tasting at The Blue Room we realized that it is difficult for people who aren't trained as butchers to evaluate how a piece of meat will taste based on looks. All the rib-eye, in fact, had a similar appearance, but that's where the likeness ended
calendar icon 8 February 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

The US Department of Agriculture grades steaks based on fat content. Prime beef is 10 to 13 percent fat, choice is 4 to 10 percent, and select is 2 to 4 percent. Our steaks were all choice or higher.

More than the fat content determines taste. Factors like the breed of cattle, how much it exercised, what exactly it was fed, how old it was, the conditions during slaughter, the size of the herd, the extent of aging, and the handling of the meat may affect flavor. When you buy a steak from the supermarket, grade and marbling can give some clues to taste, but the rest is left to chance. Supermarket steaks come from cattle that begin on the pasture eating grass and are usually finished on mostly corn. Grass-fed beef, available at some butcher shops, might have more flavor but is usually leaner and tougher.

Beef is shipped from the processing house to supermarkets in vacuum-sealed plastic bags. At the supermarket, butchers break down the large cuts into steaks; the standard seems to be between 3/4-inch to 1-inch thick. Freshly cut steak blooms a deep cranberry red, which fades to pink after a few hours, and then eventually to a dull gray. The color of the raw steak does not seem to have much effect on the flavor.

Source: The Boston Globe

© 2000 - 2024 - Global Ag Media. All Rights Reserved | No part of this site may be reproduced without permission.