Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette and our series on steaks.
Yes, you heard right!
This is a multi-part series where we just talk about steaks, how to buy them, what kind
of cuts there are, what to pay attention to, how to prepare it, and anything else you want
to know about this wonderful piece of meat.
In today's video, we go over the steak cuts, what makes them flavorful or tender, what
to pay attention to, as well as what to avoid.
For many, steak is their favorite meal; it can be a treat at a restaurant or a point
of pride about preparing it to perfection at home.
I would consider myself a foodie and steak is definitely one of those hotly contested
items where there are many different opinions and the entire restaurants dedicated just
to that one dish.
It also doesn't come with a whole lot of seasonings and it's all about the ingredients so it's
even more important to prepare it to perfection.
Even though it's a deceptively simple dish, just a little bit of seasoning and some heat,
there's a lot to know before you actually start grilling, searing one, or ordering one
at the restaurant.
So of all what exactly is steak?
It's a cut from the beef that's cut perpendicular to the muscle fiber.
It may or may not include a bone and it's quick cooking meaning that it doesn't take
all the time to break down the muscle fiber to get it to a desirable level of tenderness.
That being said the steak is also controversial; on the one hand, it's really delicious on
the other hand, it's very resource-intensive, it's damaging for the environment, and there
are lots of health concerns around it.
Cattle are often raised under less than ideal conditions, a lot of antibiotics are used
and it's often linked to an antibiotic resistance in humans.
Even though you can sometimes hear that certain kinds of beef are healthier than others, it's
definitely not a health food and the World Health Organization classifies it in the same
category as cigarettes when it comes to cancer.
There's been quite a few attempts with the Paleo diet and grass-fed beef to create a
more healthy image of beef but at the end of the day, it's still not a healthy dish.
Ultimately it's up to each individual to decide whether they want to eat red meat or not.
Personally, I rarely eat it but I consider it a treat and I truly enjoy it.
So, what are the two great characteristics of a steak?
It's in the one hand flavor and tenderness.
So what makes a steak tender and why is it so important?
If you look at search queries, tenderizing steak is a very popular search term and having
a steak that is not chewy but pleasant to eat is very important for most people.
While there are ways to tenderize otherwise tougher cuts of meat, choosing a more tender
cut from the get-go is always preferable.
After all, nobody wants a piece of steak that chews like a leather.
While tougher cuts are less expensive, the best way to start is with a tender cut of
So what goes into tenderness?
Basically two things.
One it depends on how much the muscle was used and two it depends on the ratio of collagen
with the muscle fiber as well as fat.
The less the muscle of steak is used the more tender it will be.
Muscles along the backbone are used a whole lot less than the shoulder or hip muscles
of a cattle that's why you usually don't want a chuck steak.
The connective tissue in muscles also known as collagen is something that holds the muscle
During cooking there's not enough time to break it down and to make it tender so you
want a cut that has the least amount of connective tissue because that will just be more tender.
Also, if you're looking for finely marbled fat because that will melt quickly during
On the flipside, avoid big pockets of fat because those won't melt.
In general the higher the amount of intramuscular fat the more prized is the cut of beef.
That's one of the reasons why true Japanese Kobe beef is so popular and expensive, it
has a lot of fat.
That being said what's sold as Kobe beef in the US is oftentimes a crossbreed and to learn
more about that check out part two of our steak guide.
In summary the most tender cut comes from the backbone of the cattle it has very little
connective tissue and a lot of finely marbled intramuscular fat. as the name implies the
Tenderloin is typically the most tender cut.
it probably doesn't come as a surprise to you that the most tender cuts come from the
smallest most unused muscles and are therefore the most expensive.
So now that you know what makes a steak tender what makes it flavorful?
Of course, the seasoning really helps but let's just focus on the meat itself.
Basically, there are three main factors.
One is the amount of fat in the meat.
Two is the diet of the cattle and three is the way it was aged.
Fat is definitely the main flavor component in beef because
otherwise, it contains mostly water.
Flavor carrying molecules are repelled by water but dissolved in fat which is why the
amount of intramuscular fat is so important for a rich beef flavor therefore it's true
to say that fat enhances flavor in steak but at the same time it also creates juiciness
which is very desired.
grass-fed cows typically have a lower amount of fat because grass is less energy dense
than grains are and at the same time grass-fed cattle often time walk more than grain fed
we believe that the most flavor in a steak can be found in a traditional grain fed piece
of beef with a lot of marbling.
grain fed beef is often not labeled as such and simply marked as beef whereas grass-fed
beef is usually advertised as a grass-fed. that being said it's not something that's
regulated by the USDA so it could be that the cattle has eaten nothing but grass but
it was just finished on hay. it's definitely buyer beware. last but not least the aging
has a huge impact on the way your steak tastes.
now in general people assume that the fresher the beef that better it is but that couldn't
be further from the truth.
all beef is aged because the time is required for the enzymes to break down the muscle into
something that is desirable to eat. even though the beef might look like it was just slaughtered
an hour ago it's not because typically beef is aged between four and ten days at the minimum.
So what exactly does aging mean it's a euphemism for carefully controlled decomposition of
so beef is either dry aged or wet aged. by default most beef is wet aged and that takes
about four to ten days and it has the advantage that there is no or just insignificant moisture
loss and since beef is sold by the pound or by the kilo it's desirable for vendors to
not lose any weight.
on top of that wet aging ensures that the fresh red color of the beef is maintained
and so people think they're buying fresh meat when in fact it has been aged. also keep in
mind that the four to ten days are minimum but aging can be done for a lot longer.
on the other hand dry aging is a very expensive process.
the idea behind it is that you reduce the amount of water in a piece of meat which concentrates
the flavor and at the same time because it sits there for two or three weeks and sometimes
more you just get more intense beef aroma. in order to dry age beef you have to keep
it at 35 to 38 degrees Fahrenheit which is about one and a half to three and a half degrees
At the same time you need a humidity level of fifty to sixty percent and because of that
it's a lot more expensive than wet aging.
as a consequence this is something usually only typically done by high-quality butcher
shops or restaurants.
it's not something you typically find in a grocery store.
typically only the higher-end cuts of meat can be dry aged because it requires a large
amount of finely marbled intramuscular fat. during the dry aging process enzymes are at
work that create the flavor make them even more tender.
because the dry aging takes so long and it's exposed to the air you see firms of oxidization
which results in a very dark color.
for steak that's actually desirable so when you see dark colored steaks that are raw it's
actually good not bad so now that you know all the basics what steak cuts should you
Basically there are lots of different cuts and we just focus on the most tender ones
that we like the most.
in our opinion the best steaks are a ribeye, a tenderloin, a New York strip steak, a sirloin
steak, a t-bone steak, and a porterhouse steak.
yes I also like the flank steak but I will discuss those in a different video.
while all these cuts are worth eating most people prefer the flavor containers of a ribeye
or a New York strip steak or a tenderloin.
the ribeye also known as Delmonico steak Scotch Filet or entrecote is a nice cut that comes
from the rib area and sometimes it has the bone still.As the name implies the cut comes
from an area close to the rib and technically needs to have the bone removed to be called
a ribeye if it has the bones still in it's called a rib steak however in practice these
terms are often used interchangeably. in my opinion the ribeye is the best cut for people
who value flavor over texture and it's definitely a richly marbled cut lots of fat but also
the strip steak also known as a New York Strip or Kansas City strip is a little less tender
but also still very flavorful.
it's a short loin or strip loin cut roast and the muscle doesn't get used a lot so there's
very little connective tissue and therefore it's a good cut of steak. in my experience
the flavor of the New York Strip is only second to the ribeye. by the way I also love to use
the whole loin to make roast beef.
as the name implies the Tenderloin is the most tender cut of the beef it comes from
the back part muscle that is used very rarely and it's oftentimes also referred to as filet
or filet mignon.
now technically filet mignon means just the small end of the tenderloin but in practice
people use it for the entire filet or just the center cut.
sometimes if you're at the restaurant you see the Chateaubriand advertised which means
it's the center cut of the tenderloin filet.
the average beef tenderloin is about three to three and a half pounds with a Chateaubriand
the center cut tenderloin weighing anywhere between one and a half two and sometimes even
two and a half pounds.
in my opinion the Tenderloin is usually leaner than both the strip steak and the ribeye it
has a nicer texture but it lacks a bit in flavor so it's definitely a cut for people
who prefer texture over flavor because of that sometimes people like to wrap it in bacon
or make sauces to further enhance the flavor of the temp you can buy from B
now t-bone steaks and porterhouse steaks are very similar but are technically not exactly
a t-bone is called that way because it has a t-shaped bone with the tenderloin part on
the one side and a strip steak on the other.
according to the USDA a t-bone steak just needs a tenderloin part that's .25 inch which
is quite small in order for it to be called a porterhouse steak you have to have at least
one and a quarter inches of tenderloin. as a result porterhouse and t-bone steaks are
really large steaks oftentimes weighing north of two pounds or a kilo and because of that,
I think they're best shared with someone else because it's simply too much meat for one
the top sirloin cut means it's the most tender part of the sirloin with the bones and the
tougher parts removed.
it's typically quite lean and also the least expensive cut of all the ones listed here.
it's one of the most popular cuts in the US and while it is lean it's also a little tougher
and it doesn't quite have the flavor of the other steaks. at the same time it's a good
now if you want learn more about the different grading systems for beef what Kobe beef is
grass-fed specifically or angus beef what you should go for a 1 a 5 select choice prime
please check out of part number 2 where I discuss all the things that should pay attention
to when you go out and buy a steak. for even more information about steaks and infographics
please check out the steak guide on a website here
in today's video I'm wearing a typical steak grilling outfit consisting of a blue polo
shirt with long seersucker pants and Sperry boat shoes in navy and burgundy