British, Americans, Canadian, and Australians are still attracted to beef, regardless of relentless adverse print publicity. Truthfully, a well-aged properly grilled steak can be sublime particularly with a fine, full-bodied, deeply flavoured and finely balanced red wine like a Rhone Valley wine (Cote Rotie, Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas).
A great steak also makes a delicious gift for a red wine enthusiast, since beef and big (fully-flavoured, well extracted) reds partner naturally. USDA or Canadian agencies grade beef based on several factors, but mainly on the amount of marbling within the muscle of meat and which represents flavour. Meat with little fat has almost no taste and tends to be dry!
USDA prime beef is the best and only four per cent of all carcasses qualify for this exalted grade. Black Angus and Charolais breeds have become increasingly popular, but the best is Kobe aka vagyu, from Japan.
The back of cattle is massaged daily and sprayed with sake. After this teach cattle consumes a bottle of beer.
This technique was invented in Kobe, Japan. The sirloin of such cattle is extremely tender and flavourful, so much so that even American cattle farmers, as well as Canadian breeders have adopted it.
Actually a Kobe style cattle rising is a technique of pampering and relaxing the cattle while pushing fat into musculature.
Massaging not only relaxes the animal, it renders meat suffused succulent and ultimately more flavourful.
Aging of beef is also important. There are two types of aging – dry and wet.
To dry-age, the meat is hung uncovered in a well-ventilated low-temperature and humid room, conditions that help concentrate due to slow, control evaporation.
Dry aged meat costs more than wet aged because 25 per cent of the weight is lost during the three to four week process. Enzymes that tenderize the meat still do their work during wet aging (which occurs in a specially designed food grade pouch) but there is no weight loss to the producer.
When ordering you steak at your favourite butcher shop, specify what type of aging you prefer.
Better steak houses always dry-aged strip loins and curt their own steaks. They also charge commensurate to quality.
The best of the best serve Kobe-style or wagyu well-marbled steaks. They are so tender (if properly grilled medium-rare) you can “cut” them with the tines of your fork.
Strip loins are more flavourful and appealing than tenderloins or rib steaks, although slightly more firm than the latter.
Some American cattle farmers specialize in organically raised animals that are allowed to feed on grass, and handled as humanely as possible, but the tenderness and flavour of the meat fail to even come close to “corn-finished” or wagyu steaks.
Freezing strip loins and filets is detrimental to quality, but often employed owing to practicality.
Fine steak houses never buy frozen strip loins, tenderloins or rib of beef.
Overcooking steaks robs flavour and texture and should be avoided at all cost.
Cabernet sauvingon and red Rhone valet wiens are classic matches for properly grilled steals. Left bank Bordeaux wiens (Medoc) with elevted tannin content, when young, complemnt steak better than opulaent less tannic California cabernets. Arghentinaian m,albec, suertuscans, Washignton state cabernets, Brtich Columbia merlots, Ontario meritage wiesn also complemt steaks successfully.
Once toyu have experienced dry-aged properly cooked Angud stirlpoin steak you will never want to eat another “garden variety” steak.