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

Epicure - - CONTENTS -

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.

U.S.A.

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

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