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What Makes a Good Steak?

Steak is a nutritious food item that has always been a favorite dish for people holding parties, barbeques, or having dinner at a steakhouse restaurant. The different cuts of beef can make it a challenge figuring out the essential features of a good steak. It is important to keep in mind that not all beef cuts make a good steak and it takes lots of practice to achieve results that appeal to everyone’s taste buds. You need to consider a few things if you want to cook the perfect steak. This article looks into factors that make a good steak and how to achieve the best results when making steak.

  • Aging

Reputable restaurants age their beef to improve the tenderness of the cut and intensify the flavor. A steak can be either wet-aged or dry-aged depending on the outcome. Wet aging involves packing the meat in a vacuum and allowing it to age in its juices. On the other hand, dry aging involves storing the meat for several days or weeks in very controlled conditions. Just like good wine, great steak can have a fantastic taste when it is dry-aged. This process allows the enzymes to break down the tissue, making it tender while concentrating the flavor. However, dry aging is quite a difficult process that can only be done by professional butchers, as it poses a high risk of spoilage or food poisoning.

  • Marbling

Marbling refers to the little white specs that can be seen on a fresh cut of beef. They are small pockets of fat that melt during the process of cooking steak, making it juicier and tender. A good steak has an even spread of marbling all over the beef which gives it a beautifully rich flavor. A steak with high marbling has many monounsaturated fats compared to regular beef and is rich in omega 3 and 6 content. It also contains oleic acid and lower levels of cholesterol, which is good for the heart.

  • Grade

Some of the top-ranking restaurants and steakhouses in the United States serve prime beef, which is considered the most expensive grade based on the USDA beef scale. Prime grade is the highest quality beef extracted from young cattle. Prime grade is one of the juiciest and most flavorful grades of beef you can eat in a steakhouse. It is followed closely by Choice beef, which has less marbling than prime beef. Select meat is another option that is more affordable but is considered least flavorful compared to higher grades.

  • Cooking Method

A good steak needs to be prepared in a griddle or a cast iron pan to receive an adequate amount of heat. Cast iron pans make the perfect steaks, as they are dense, heavy and can hold a lot of heat. You can cook steak fast enough and hot enough to make it perfect just by having contact with intense heat. First, the pan needs to be preheated as hot as it can get before dropping in the steak. The duration and frequency of flip may vary depending on how you want your steak done. You can then add finishing liquid or butter when the steak reaches your preferred temperature.

  • Seasoning

Great steaks require a little seasoning to make them tasty and delicious. You will not need much as long as you start with high-quality ingredients. Great steakhouses can season their steaks with garlic, sea or kosher salt, coarse ground black pepper, or some type of signature spice. Besides the seasoning, professional chefs can add butter, a marinade, or some type of finishing liquid before serving the steak. If you want to give your cut a succulent flavor, consider adding a liquid mixture of soy sauce, red wine, and vinegar as it locks in all the flavor and moisture.

Steak Thickness

You may be limited on whatever you find on the shelf if you are purchasing your steak at the supermarket. However, a specialty meat store or a butcher shop can deliver a customized cut of steak for you. All you need to do is give specifications on how thick you want your steak. Keep in mind that a steak can be undercooked if it is too thick so be sure to check the size before placing it on the pan.

All the above elements make a good steak when combined with an ideal method of preparation and experience. No matter how much you spend on a prime cut of beef, you can never enjoy it to the fullest if it is not cooked well. Choosing your meat wisely and following the right cooking procedure are all essential qualities that make a good steak.

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