Wednesday, April 24, 2024


Planning to grill this evening, so was happy to come across this in The Telegraph this morning. It discusses seven myths about choosing a good steak. Some of the positive advice:
“The best steak doesn’t exist,” says chef Paul Foster, the owner of Stratford-upon-Avon restaurant Salt and author of How to Cook Meat Properly. “[Fillet] is the most tender,” he admits, “so if you’re looking for the most tender steak, then you’ve got to go for fillet. But it doesn’t have very much flavour.” Flavour often comes from meat taken from parts of the cow that have done more “work”, so for Foster, rib-eye (from the forequarter of the animal) is a great choice, delivering plenty of flavour and texture. ....

There are two types of fat to consider, explains Smith. “We’ve got subcutaneous fat – the fat on the outside – and too much of that is not good. Then we’ve got intramuscular fat, known as marbling. .... the distribution of fat plays a far more significant role than the quantity. Foster’s advice is to look for a steak that’s a dark cherry red, with even marbling. “Good, even marbling shows it’s a good animal. You don’t want pockets of fat in one side of the steak and not in the other.” ....

You’ll often see steaks referred to as aged or dry-aged, along with a range of days, most commonly 28, which is considered roughly to be the sweet spot. Ageing beef can help meat develop a more intense flavour, as well as tenderising it by breaking down the muscle fibres. .... More important than the duration is how the meat has been aged, argues Smith. Dry ageing describes when meat is exposed to air, in many cases hung but sometimes on a rack, allowing its moisture to evaporate, whereas a different process – called “wet ageing” by some – sees meat vacuum-packed, sitting in its own moisture, then left to age. .... [T]he key word to look out for is “dry” rather than simply “aged”. “If you see ‘28-day aged’, it sounds lovely,” he says, but if the meat has been vacuum-packed for that time, “the moisture hasn’t escaped and it’s just sitting there ageing in a bag, so the enzymes aren’t breaking it down as much. It’s not getting that flavour from being dry-aged, it’s not losing that moisture content.”
I knew most of that, although I didn't know what "wet-ageing" was, and I will avoid it. A previous post on the subject.

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