Advice, Food, General

Everything You Need to Know About Steak

Like most guys, I claim to have superior knowledge of grilling when push comes to shove. Truth is, my only cooking skill is creating endless variations of the same meal–pasta al dente, pasta with sausage, pasta in vodka sauce, pasta in creamy pasta. Whatever, dude…it’s all pasta and it’s all the same. Sure, I can (technically) cook a steak and know my temperatures, but in the grand scheme of things have no clue. Enter this great article in Esquire:

A man should know his meat. We can help. We tell you everything you need to know on steak types, grades and cooking times.

Why Beef is Aged, and How: Beef must be aged to allow natural enzymes to break down fibrous connective tissue that holds the muscle together. There are two ways to self-tenderize:

Dry aging: Expensive and time consuming. The beef is stored in temperature- and humidity-controlled coolers for up to six weeks. Moisture evaporates, improving texture and concentrating flavor. Between the evaporation and trimming of the thin coating of mold that develops, there’s weight loss of up to 20 percent.

Wet aging: The beef is refrigerated in vacuum-sealed plastic and allowed to tenderize in its own juices. No evaporation means no moisture is lost. Less waste but also less concentrated taste.

Some Types of Beef You Should Know About: Rare “red” cattle (the same breed that produces Kobe beef) raised in Texas by HeartBrand Beef–the only herd outside of Japan. They started with eleven head of cattle, which have been guarded by armed Texas Rangers for the past fourteen years while the herd has grown to more than five thousand. (heartbrandbeef.com)

Grass-fed: Healthier but, some say, less flavorful than corn-fed. Raised in open pastures. Not necessarily organic.

(Grain-finished cattle–which are switched from grass to grain for the last few weeks before slaughter–develop more marbling.)

Heritage: From rare heirloom breeds, pasture-raised on small farms without the hormones or pesticides used in conventional agribusiness

Angus: Aberdeen-Angus is a pure breed found in the U. S., England, Scotland, and Ireland. Certified Angus Brand is a brand name and may or may not include meat from Aberdeen-Angus.

Read the rest at Esquire.