Picking The Perfect Custom Cut
With more time at home base on the horizon, there’s no time like the present to practice your grill game and bring the steakhouse experience to your own back yard. Here are some tips to help along the way.
The first step to taking your skills from “good-effort” to “Grill Master” is finding the perfect cut of meat. At Goodstock, we’re here to help you build confidence when selecting your cut, so you can have a dang good steak, whenever you want it.
What to Expect When You’re Selecting
Goodstock's in-house Butchers will help guide you every step of the way as you choose which steak to take home from our vast selection of high-quality Texas beef. We'll ask about about factors such as your preferred cooking method, price point, fat content and number of servings to make sure you leave with the right cut of Goodstock Angus, Goodstock Black Label or your preferred choice of meat for your occasion.
Choosing Your Cut
From filet to porterhouse, brisket and beyond, there are a lot of choices behind the butcher counter. Austin’s favorite pit master Aaron Franklin writes in his book Franklin Steak that bone-in is better not because it adds more flavor, but because it provides structure and insulation to the steak, which slows down the cooking time – allowing you to cook the steak more evenly and without overcooking. Meat expert Jess Pryles adds that if cooking for a big group, skirt steak is a great cost-effective choice as opposed to cooking a steak per person. Her quick Carne Asada board can be a real crowd-pleaser – just cut into bite-sized pieces and surround with toppings for a sure-fire hit. When it comes to date night, sharing is caring. Pryles suggests splitting a thick-cut ribeye, which can be sliced on the board and split up restaurant-style. The only lovers quarrel here? Who gets to gnaw on the bone.
To Freeze, or Not to Freeze
Don’t forget to take time into consideration, too. If you’re cooking your meat right away, any cut will do. But if you’re looking to freeze for a later feast, your choice makes a difference. LA Times Food Editor Genevieve Ho suggests that if you’re going to freeze, look for meat that will cook low and slow, resulting in a beyond well-done final product. When meat is frozen, ice crystals form, damaging the cellular structure of the meat and potentially making it mushy once cooked. She recommends going with ground beef, chuck, brisket or roasts.
Color, Thickness, and More
When meat is vacuum-sealed, its deprived of oxygen, which is what causes the meat to spoil faster. As oxygen is removed from the meat, it turns darker in color. Once oxygen is brought back, the meat “blooms” and turns a bright, cherry red color which is ideal.
Marbling – fine threads of fat within different grades of meat – is what gives beef its flavor, juiciness and tenderness. Per USDA, cuts with more marbling, such as Goodstock Black Label may be grilled with high heat to a medium or medium rare for excellent results in flavor and tenderness. Certain cuts, such as the tenderloin (filet) may naturally be more tender regardless of the degree of marbling or the USDA grade. As more marbled meat cooks, the fat will slowly melt into the meat, adding juice and flavor.
When it comes to thickness, go big or go home. The thicker your steak, the likelier you are to get a good sear without overcooking. The bare minimum recommendation for a steak is one-inch, but some steak masters suggest going even thicker – at least 1.5 – 2 inches. Hayden stresses that the biggest key to a good steak is to avoid falling victim to the myth of cook time per side. Instead of doing guesswork, he recommends investing in a thermometer to give you a perfectly cooked steak every time, regardless of thickness.
Price = Premium
Relative to the size of the steer, premium cuts are only a small percentage, which contribute to their premium prices. Prime cuts (like Goodstock Black Label) are at the top of the beef food chain – categorized by a high degree of marbling in a cow under 30 months of age.
Finally, keep in mind your preferred methodology when making your pick. For example, the Texas Beef Council recommends choosing from the following six cuts of beef if you plan to grill your meat:
- Rib Eye
- Top Sirloin
- Flat Iron
If the slow cooker is more your style, reach for a roast – chuck, shoulder, round and much more. These less-expensive cuts will yield loads of flavor while staying tender when slow-cooked. For pan-frying, look for the more tender cuts - rib-eye, porterhouse, T-bone, skirt steak, top sirloin, or filet mignon.
Now that you’re armed with a little more information in your beef-selection arsenal, you can feel more confident that you’ll select the perfect piece of beef for the occasion (or just any old day, as current circumstances would dictate). And if you’re not quite ready to commit to choosing on your own, worry not – head on over to Goodstock and we’ll take care of you.
The Goodstock Family