There are many things you need to consider when purchasing beef. You do not want to get stuck with a less than perfect piece O’ meat.
We at the Belly suggest that you make friends with your butcher (even at the supermarket). Talk to them. Ask them what’s good today. If you have a recipe in mind tell them about it. They like the attention. It gets cold in that room. But if you’re the anti-social type here are a few guidelines:
- Check the grade. The government stamps it right on the bigger pieces. Prime is the best but you probably won’t find it at the butcher. It’s reserved for the big steak houses. Mmmm…Steak.
- Fat is good. Look for small streaks of fat throughout the meat. This is called marbling. Marbling = taste. Some cuts won’t have it and they therefore have less flavor (ie. filet mignon).
- Color is important. Beef should be red but not STRANGELY red. It should not be browning either. That’s a sign of old nasty meat. Good restaurants age their beef, but not in a styrofoam vacu-pack. Go for the red.
How should it be done? This is a topic of hot debate here at the Belly. Belly Buddy Dave was brought up eating everything his mother burnt for dinner and it took him a REALLY long time to move away from hockey puck style beef… now he orders his food medium. Big Belly Brian recommends rare to medium rare; sometimes just lightly searing his steak on a really hot grill to seal in the flavor and juices. Buddy Mark just eats what is put in front of him.