Understanding Beef

By Chef Angelo Antonucci

Understanding Beef

Number one, for the best steaks, don’t go to the grocery store to buy your meat – it’s fresh – and fresh meat is not flavorful or tender. Beef needs to be aged – as it ages it tenderizes itself. I would suggest Costco or Sam’s Club or a local butcher. Always buy choice beef, and you want it to be wrapped, so buy a whole loin, usually 12-16 pounds. If you like your steaks medium to medium well, choose rib eye. It’s fattier and holds moisture better. I like my steaks rare, so I choose New York strip; this cut doesn’t have as much fat, but will get dry and chewy if cooked too done.

Fresh beef is cryo-packaged removing the oxygen and replacing it with nitrogen. This keeps bacteria from forming. When you buy your beef, find out what the pack date was and age it 45 days from that date in the refrigerator. Do not let it get warm on the trip home from the store. It will probably already be two to three weeks past the pack date when purchased. At 45 days, take the meat out of the packaging, drain and dry with paper towels.

Cut your steaks to the thickness you desire. If you’re not cooking the entire loin that day, wrap each one individually and refrigerate for no more than three or four days. Once the meat starts to turn brown, eat it that day or the next. You can freeze your steaks individually wrapped and placed in a freezer bag for use within a month; however, you will lose a lot of moisture in the freezing process.

When cooking steaks, grill, either charcoal or gas, on extremely high heat. I would suggest not walking away from it – the fat in rib eyes will cause flames, and too much can burn your meat. We use a blend of salts and black pepper as seasoning. If you don’t want to blend your own salts, try a seasoning blend, like Montreal Seasoning – season one side of your steaks with the salts and pepper and one side with only the salts. The amount is relative to the thickness of the steak.

This may be harder for home cooks, but cast iron really adds a wonderful flavor profile to the meat. We will cook the meat nearly done, for example if a person wants medium well, we will cook it to medium, and then we put the steak into a cast iron skillet that has been heated over the flame to finish cooking.

Enjoy!

About this writer

  • Chef Angelo AntonucciChef Angelo Antonucci. If you’d rather have Angelo cook your steak, visit Angelo’s Steak & Pasta for some of the most delicious steaks in our area. Angelo’s is located at 2311 S. Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. Call 843-626-2800 or visit www.angelosteakandpasta.com.

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