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Normally, I’d start a seasonal article with, “summer is here and it’s the time for…” but fuck that. I’m here to talk about a year round favorite of mine (and just about any other carnivore): that glorious cut of meat every vegan and vegetarian is missing out on. I’m talking about some good old-fashioned red meat goodness. I’m talking about steak. I can literally eat a good steak at any time of the day; hell, I even had it for breakfast the other morning with two over easy eggs. But when I say a good steak, I mean a good steak. Don’t make a mis-steak and serve some overcooked (read: anything over medium) quarter-inch thick cut that taste like lighter fluid and regret. This pan-seared, grilled, or broiled beauty is literally a cut above other meats and deserves the proper respect. Which brings me to the first part of this ribeye induced rant, the cuts.
The porterhouse, in my opinion, is the king of cuts. Not only do you get a delicious bone in strip cut, right on the other side of that sweet marrow filled flavor divider is a generous cut of tender filet. (If it’s a slightly smaller portion of filet you call it a T-Bone, FYI). With this top-notch steak, you get two of your favorite steaks in one bigger steak. I guess you could compare this steak to a delicious three-way, and it’s always served bone-in. ZING!
This cut is for those of you who either just got a raise, or have a company-comped meal. Right behind the porterhouse, the filet is not only one of the most sought after cuts, but it’s one of the most expensive as well. Be sure not to overcook this bad boy because it lacks marbling (fat) and can dry out easily. The filet is also the tenderest cut because the muscle it’s cut from, like many recent graduates, can’t find a job and doesn’t work. The filet won’t make you look at a slideshow of its two-month backpack adventure around Europe, though.
The strip is one of my personal favorites, and one of the most popular cuts in the grilling game. I wouldn’t be lying if I said I enjoy a good cast-iron pan seared New York strip when I have a hankering for steak in the winter and don’t feel like braving the cold to operate my grill. The strip has a decent amount of marbling, a solid flavor, and usually comes in a solid portion size.
This is another great steak and many compare it similarly to the strip. Ribeyes have a little bit more marbling to them which makes them less likely to be ruined by steak rookies, but it also means that you’ll have more fat cook out when you cook them. I’m at a toss up sometimes between the strip and the ribeye, and on those days I wonder, “Why not just cook both?”
This is your everyday cut of steak, and it’s a great choice if you want that fix that steak craving on a postgrad budget. It’s got a good flavor, but most people wouldn’t mind a marinade on this bad boy to help make it more tender and add a little extra something to it. There’s a reason this steak is affordable and not seen on a good steakhouse menu, but it still beats a black bean vegan burger any day.
Okay, so now that we’ve gotten through all of the cuts of steak, here are a few pro-tips on the right way to cook them.
Make It Thick
That’s right, ladies aren’t the only ones concerned about how thick your meat is. Anything under a one-inch cut just isn’t going to do it. You’ll increase the odds of overcooking your steak, and it will undoubtedly be less juicy in the long run. Don’t be afraid to ask the butcher at the grocery store for a 1.5” or 2” cut if you don’t see something to your liking out in the aisle. Odds are this person will respect the fact you appreciate a great steak and may even give you an inside scoop of a special they have going on. If you want to impress the ladies at your next BBQ, make your meat thick and juicy, and I guarantee she’ll be begging you for seconds.
I’m a purist, so a classic olive oil, garlic, cracked sea salt, and cracked black pepper mix is enough for me, but there are a ton of great seasonings available to help spice up your steak game. Go out there and find the one you love and rock it. The only thing I will strongly recommend is to put a nice dollop of butter on your steak, or steaks, when you take them off the grill. There’s a reason why all the good steakhouses do this, and you will taste a difference. Just make sure if you use truffle butter from Whole Foods and NOT Nicki Minaj…
Okay, so you’ve just cooked a boss steak, but sometimes steak by itself doesn’t count as a meal by itself. While some may debate this, I think a great steak dinner usually has two sides to balance it out. The rule of thumb is to pick one green veggie like broccoli or asparagus and one starch like rice, potatoes, or couscous (the food so nice they named it twice) to balance out the plate. Speaking of accessories, have you seen these whiskey stones from Man Outfitters?
The only thing I beg of you after this column is to not to smother your next steak in A1 Sauce, BBQ, or ketchup. Respect the steak.
Grill on, friends..
Image via Shutterstock