When it comes to choosing the best steak, not every customer knows exactly what they want. That’s one of the key reasons they’ll be at the butcher’s counter - they’ll be relying on you to advise them! Therefore, as we’ve covered previously, you’ll need to know the answers to questions like how long has the meat been aged? How was it aged (wet or dry)? What does the marbling or fat content look like?
The customer will have thought about (or need to think about) how are they cooking this - grill or pan? What exactly are they cooking; a Beef Wellington, or something like a simple fillet? Will they serve it with vegetables? Do they need a sauce or gravy from the juices?
All of these questions can influence what sort of steak will be best for them and it’s helpful to know the answers to before you give them any advice. Below we will discuss the three most important elements of helping your customers select the right steak for their dish: namely marbling, tenderness, and cut.
Marbling is the amount of fat running through or streaking the meat. Outside the UK, other countries like the US and Japan have a grading or scoring systems to rate the amount of marbling in the beef. Generally speaking, the more marbling the higher the score.
The amount of marbling is directly correlated to the flavour of a steak because during cooking the connective tissues do not have time to break down but finely marbled fat will melt during cooking, which releases all the flavour.
So, the next time your customers ask about how to select the best steak, you can tell them to first look at how fine and frequent the streaks of white (fat) are in their cut of meat. Depending on the cut they may want more or less streaking, but we’ll get into that later.
The tenderness of steak can be caused by a range of factors outside the butcher’s control like how the animal was processed, what it ate, how frequently, and the amount of exercise it had during its life.
Luckily, there is a quick and easy way to test the tenderness of a steak before it is purchased — simply poke it with your finger (with a glove on or while it’s in the packaging of course) and if the meat immediately springs back to shape it isn’t very tender.
However, if you or the customer touches it and it stays down or rises very slowly then the steak is the perfect tenderness!
Choose your cut
Last, but definitely not least is the cut of steak! In the world of steaks, most people will say the best blend of tenderness and flavour come from either top sirloin, ribeye, or tenderloin.
We have included a list of the common areas and names for steak below including:
- neck - stewing steak diced
- brisket - rolled steak or beef brisket
- thin flank - skirt steak or flank steak
- chuck and blade - braising steak, chuck steak, blade steak, flat iron
- fore rib - ribeye steak, bone-in fore rib
- sirloin - sirloin steak, fillet steak, tenderloin, t-bone, porterhouse
- rump - rump steak
- thick flank - frying steak, thick flank, stir fry strips
The area where the steak is cut from will impact the amount of marbling you should expect to see, which is a choice bit of advice for your customers. We typically prefer steaks cut from the sirloin area because they tend to have the best marbling and flavour.
Now, that we have covered the three most important elements of selecting the best steak, all that’s left for your customer to decide is what matters more - flavour or tenderness?
Of course, in order to have any hope of selling your meat, preparation is absolutely vital - and here at Butcher’s Equipment Warehouse, we provide everything you’ll need to do just that. From our range of reliable butchers knives to our range of durable meat mincers, you’ll find everything you need to keep providing top-quality meat while operating at peak efficiency. And if you’ve got any questions or need any advice, feel free to give our friendly team a call on 01254 427721.