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Melonious Thunk

Steak

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I lugged a huge 3 1/2" thick prime, aged porterhouse from Dean & Deluca 86th Street to the car on Saturday morning, July 3rd, full of anticipation. Later that night, after grilling it to perfection on real charcoal, both Ellen and I commiserated. "Not great" we both agreed. "A little tough, though the filet was good."

 

The previous week, the same verdict with a thick two bone rib-eye of aged prime from Citarella. "Good but not great."

 

Last Saturday, yet another repeat. This time, two 3" thick aged prime porterhouses from Citarella. "The best steak in NY," said the butcher.

 

If he was right, then there is no great steak to be had for home cooking in NY.

 

I will try Lobel's and Jefferson's the next two times.

 

What's a carnivore to do?

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A while a ago we got the Kobe steaks from Lobels and a friend who was staying with us said it was the best steak he'd ever had in his life.

 

Is there still a problem (reported by Luger's to us on a recent outing) about lack of good pasture in US this year & that negatively affects taste of the meat?

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On good days, there are very good (as in almost-Lobels-good) dry aged steaks (strip, rib eye, t-bone, not 3.5 inch porterhouses very often) at the GCT butcher. Unfortunately, there's no way to know which day is a good day without going there and taking a look, the staff is not very helpful.

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For rib eye, I'm a fan of the Hereford rib eye at Fairway, formerly known as Ray's Rib Eye.

 

As Ray's, these steaks were ridiculously cheap - $8.99/lb., if I remember correctly. At that price they seemed too good to be true, so we decided that over time we needed to do side-by-side tastings of these bargain rib eyes with those from: Citarella, D+D, Balducci's, Jefferson, Ceriello (sp?), the prime stuff at Fairway, the Australian stuff at Fairway, the butcher on 5th ave in Park Slope, Little Alaska farms grass fed, Pasture Perfect grass fed, and more recently two different offerings from Whole Foods (one of which was grass fed, I believe). Ray's (now the Herefords, and still something of a bargain at $13ish per pound) always came out on top. The closest runner up thus far was from Ceriello.

 

This reminds me that we've got some comparisons left to do.

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Niman Ranch rib steaks from Jefferson Market can be good although they're a bit inconsistent.

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On good days, there are very good (as in almost-Lobels-good) dry aged steaks (strip, rib eye, t-bone, not 3.5 inch porterhouses very often) at the GCT butcher. Unfortunately, there's no way to know which day is a good day without going there and taking a look, the staff is not very helpful.

What is GCT? Grand Central Terminal?

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The last rib eyes I grilled were merely choice from Costco. They looked fatty and I considered not getting them based on the grade. I was pleasantly surprised to find that with a little sea salt, a little pepper and some marinade they were equal to or better than prime rib eyes I'd gotten elsewhere. Go figure.

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Niman Ranch rib steaks from Jefferson Market can be good although they're a bit inconsistent.

Niman puts out a generally high quality product, but their member farms are located in five states. With that distribution of grass and corn, the quality of the meat will undoubtedly vary a bit.

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Lobel's, of course. Luger's now sells steak mail-order. Does anyone know whether it's available raw at the restaurant? If so, will they cut it double-thick for Mr. Thunk?

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Guest Adam

What are the characteristics of a great steak? If Flavour, what flavours and if tenderness, is this more important then flavour?

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Guest Adam

What is "Beefy" taste? Is it the primary taste of the meat freshly killed meat or secondary flavours that develop with aging or flavours that develop with particular cooking techniques?

 

Sorry to be pedantic, just curious about what people from different, but similar, countries desire and expect. Have been curious since Ron mentioned that he had recently just tasted grass-fed beef for the first time. It had never occured to me before that people weren't actually having similar experiences when we said similar things like "I had a really great steak the other day".

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What is "Beefy" taste? Is it the primary taste of the meat freshly killed meat or secondary flavours that develop with aging or flavours that develop with particular cooking techniques?

 

Sorry to be pedantic, just curious about what people from different, but similar, countries desire and expect. Have been curious since Ron mentioned that he had recently just tasted grass-fed beef for the first time. It had never occured to me before that people weren't actually having similar experiences when we said similar things like "I had a really great steak the other day".

Adam, grass finished beef tends to have less marbling than corn or grain finished beef. While the first 20 months of so of life is the same, munching or grass in the fields, many American and Canadian cattle are "finished" on feedlots, where they receive a diet composed largely of corn. The result is a higher fat product.

 

In the US, the difference can often be observed in a place like Chiurascura Plataforma, which uses Argentine beef. In my personal experience, the result is a chewier, slightly stringier product than a US or Canadian product marked choice.

 

FWIW, I believe it's very difficult for an entirely grass fed steer to obtain USDA Prime certification, which is partly dependent on marbling characteristics.

Edited by Rail Paul

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Guest Adam

I must admit that I hadn't seen any visible marbling on Australian beef at all. The vast majority of domestic beef is grass or at least pasture reared. Which explains a lot. Australian domestic beef by and large would be considered inferior in the States.

 

Leaving aside the meat texture/mouthfeel what is the difference in taste between Argentine and USA feedlot fisnished beef?

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