When you’re on the hunt for the best cut of steak, what you really should be looking for is fat. Or, marbling, to be exact. According to Masterclass, marbling in steaks is identified by the white flecks of intramuscular fat running throughout the red meat. We’ve all heard fat equals flavor and, in this case, marbled fat not only adds flavor to your steak, but it also contributes to its juiciness and tender mouthfeel. If that doesn’t sound like a win at the dinner table, we don’t know what does. Chicago Steak Company says the level of marbling comes down to the breed of cow, what it’s been fed, and of course, which cut you choose.
Japanese breeds of cattle like Wagyu and Angus are known for high levels of well-distributed intramuscular fat (aka marbling). If the cow is dining on a diet high in corn products, as opposed to grass, it’s likely to have a lot of good marbling in its meat as well. So, that just leaves one thing — what is the best cut of steak to choose? Look past the lean tenderloin and skip over the tough flank, and you’ll find the well-marbled cut you’re looking for between rib numbers six and 12 on the cow: the ribeye.
Marbled meat makes ribeye the best cut of steak
Omaha Steaks says the rib area of the cow collects more intramuscular fat than other areas of the animal and that translates to a well-marbled ribeye steak. As it cooks, the fat melts into the steak, rendering it juicy and buttery in flavor. Buttery steak? Enough said. When you’re shopping for the perfect ribeye, Hungry Cravings notes USDA “prime” grade is the best but it will also be the most expensive. If you’re on a budget, look for the more affordable “choice” grade but steer clear of “select,” as they tend to have little to no marbling. A thickness of about 1-¼ inches is ideal so you have a good mix of tasty seared exterior surface and tender, juicy interior meat.
To cook your prized ribeye, Delish recommends seasoning it and allowing it to come to room temperature before searing it in a very hot cast iron skillet for six to seven minutes per side. Lower the heat and add butter, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the pan and baste the steak with the aromatic butter for another five minutes or so, until it reaches medium rare. Buttering an already buttery steak sounds like the tastiest idea we’ve heard in a long time. Once it’s rested for about ten minutes, your well-marbled, best cut of steak is ready to be enjoyed.
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