NokTang
NokTang
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
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August 18th, 2013 at 3:49:32 AM permalink
Interested in buying restaurant "quality" steaks. Retail is fine, just prefer to grill at home and grocery stores are usually a cut below what would be considered restaurant quality. Any suggestions? Price within reason not a real issue. Thanks.
LowPingBoy
LowPingBoy
Joined: Nov 1, 2010
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August 18th, 2013 at 5:17:25 AM permalink
Strange as it may sound, in our area, NC, I can almost always find USDA Prime at Costco. You have to purchase the entire loin, NY Strip, Ribeye, or tenderloin, but they freeze well and the taste and tenderness is out of this world.
AZDuffman
AZDuffman
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August 18th, 2013 at 7:52:41 AM permalink
I think you just need to find "Prime" grade beef wherever you go. Most of it ends up in restaurants, but it should be out there. Try Trader Joe's or a better grocery store. Find one where they cut the meat in-store and not just having it shipped in wrapped al la WMT.

Some people like Omaha Steaks. The concept is neat, getting a box of steaks to your door is cool, but after doing it once I would rather buy fresh.
All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others
Mosca
Mosca
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August 18th, 2013 at 8:03:04 AM permalink
May I ask, how are your kitchen skills? Are you pretty damn good and want to move beyond "a damn good steak" to "THAT WAS AMAZING", or are you just OK, and want to know why the steaks you make on the grill are always tough and watery? Both situations are a guy looking for improvement, but the advice for each situation will be different.
NO KILL I
Mosca
Mosca
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August 18th, 2013 at 8:39:02 AM permalink
Most quality steakhouses now uses sous vide machines. They seal the steaks in plastic bags and heat them slowly in a water bath, then finish them over the fire to the required doneness. This gives the tenderness of slow cooking and the Maillard reaction of high heat, that grilled flavor from the dark outside.

You can buy a sous vide machine for a few hundred bucks, but there are also instructions on the internet on how to improvise one at home. You can also cook your steaks using the reverse sear method described by Meathead Goldwyn at Amazing Ribs, or you can sear them first and finish them over low heat; both methods have their advantages. There is a cookoff video at Amazing Ribs that compares the two methods, it is worth all of the 10 minutes or so. (I did not link directly to the internal instructions because Amazing Ribs is one of the truly great websites on the internet, and deserves to be seen in its entirety and bookmarked by all who are interested in great real world cooking.)

If you are using a gas grill, most home gas grills have trouble getting up to the high temperatures of charcoal grills and professional gas grills (I have nothing against gas grills AT ALL, most great steaks in restaurants are done over gas). You can get something called Grill Grates, which are ribbed aluminum plates that go on top of your cooking grid. They trap the heat and get up to well over 500*. You will have no problem searing.

These methods will get supermarket steaks to the same level as most restaurant steaks. To get to the next level is pretty expensive, and not worth it for every day dining, IMO. For special occasions, the levels are

1) Angus or grass fed choice
2) prime
3) wet aged prime
4) dry aged prime

Dry aged prime is very expensive. You can find instructions for dry aging steaks at home, and when you see how time- and labor- and product- intensive it is, you'll understand the cost. It takes several weeks, the temperature must stay between 32* and 36* F, and the meat loses about 20% of its volume. I've done dry aged prime rib roasts and regular choice rib roasts, and while there is a difference, the cost is worth considering because of diminishing returns. You'll get far better steaks from using proper methods on good choice than you will from using improper methods on dry aged prime.
NO KILL I
zippyboy
zippyboy
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August 18th, 2013 at 4:06:16 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

For special occasions, the levels are

1) Angus or grass fed choice
2) prime
3) wet aged prime
4) dry aged prime


ALWAYS get grass-fed beef if quality is important to you.

Nearly all beef in grocery stores is from CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations), so is chicken and so is pork. Beef is grain-fed to fatten them up, but cows can't digest corn and it makes them sick, so the corporation also feeds them antibiotics etc. Gives the corp a good yield, but sacrifices flavor. But WTH, we're all used to it by now so no one complains (except for Eric Schlosser and Michael Pollan). Get a grass-fed filet from a mom-n-pop family farm and you'll realize what you've been missing all these years.
"Poker sure is an easy game to beat if you have the roll to keep rebuying."
NokTang
NokTang
Joined: Aug 15, 2011
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August 23rd, 2013 at 9:13:00 PM permalink
Quote: Mosca

May I ask, how are your kitchen skills? Are you pretty damn good and want to move beyond "a damn good steak" to "THAT WAS AMAZING", or are you just OK, and want to know why the steaks you make on the grill are always tough and watery? Both situations are a guy looking for improvement, but the advice for each situation will be different.



Thank you for your detailed replies. I'm just looking for good steaks I can cook at home and am willing to pay more for them. Not in to aging the meat myself etc. as you mentioned. Cheers mate.
FleaStiff
FleaStiff
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August 23rd, 2013 at 11:55:57 PM permalink
Years ago Ninth Ave Meat Markets in NYC sold to restaurants and small institutions. Best deals were Friday nights... they wouldn't weigh individual steaks or anything...they had these large metal trays of steaks and would quote you a price per tray that would always be quite a bargain.

So I'd like for a similar market ... one for restaurants and institutions, a butcher to hotels or something.

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