The 411 on the best steakhouses, gourmet beef grocers and everything beefy
The dizzying world of beef is a challenge to navigate, but don’t let that put you off. Beef up your knowledge with this quick guide of the top producing countries, the go-to steakhouses in town, plus how to prep your prime or secondary cuts. by eunice lew
Friendly food trade deals with countries such as Japan, Australia and the U.S. are in steak lovers’ favour - we now have the luxury of a seemingly never-ending list of options when it comes to top-shelf beef. And as pockets get deeper and demand for more varied cuts, brands and flavour profiles increases, consumers are fuelling the growth of the bovine industry and encouraging more niche and speciality producers to claim a piece of the beef market pie – a win-win situation for producers and diners. Here’s what you need to know.
A derivative of chophouses, which originated in London and served portioned meat of any kind, steakhouses are said to have sprouted in the U.S. from the 19th century and have since spread around the world, promoting the good reputation of the country’s beef. The majority of steak menus, when offering American beef, will no doubt tout Angus, also known as the Aberdeen Angus breed; USDA Prime Black Angus is considered the highest quality beef that the U.S. can offer. Well-known beef brands include JBS, Tyson Fresh Meats, National Beef, Greater Omaha and Creekstone Farms. Due to the country’s abundance of corn, the grain makes up most of U.S. cows’ diet when grain-fed.
Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) splits beef into eight grades, only the top five ever make it onto our plates – the rest are used for processed and canned meats. The top three distinctions – Prime, Choice and Select, in descending order – are graded according to marbling, with Prime (taken from young, well-fed cattle; only two percent of all U.S. cattle make this grade annually) comprising the highest amount of fat. Next is Standard and Commercial, which are usually sold as ungraded or store-brand meat. This grading system, however, is not a guarantee of the tenderness of beef.
Prime Angus fillet steak