Steak Guide: Choosing your Steak
Do all steaks have the same flavour? How do I choose between a rib eye and a fillet steak. Which steak gives me the most meat for my money? Steak is such a popular and well known food item, but there’s not many people who know the answer to all of these questions.
Which means shopping for steak can be a little scary. With a friendly butcher it really doesn’t have to be- you should use your butcher for as much product information as possible. If you want to be clued up before you go shopping, we answer all of these questions and more below.
Rump steak offers the best value for money for a prime steak, yet shouldn’t be disregarded as “the poor man’s steak”. It is actually one of my favourite cuts because it is full of flavour. This is because the muscle is the hardest working out of the four prime cuts. We dry hang our entire rump for at least 28 days so that the cut is tender as well as full of flavour.
The rump is quite large compared to the sirloin for example; so one entire rump steak could be enough to feed 1-3 people. Don’t worry if you don’t want one whopping big steak: there’s no obligation to buy the whole thing. It’s size means that is a great choice for the BBQ as it is easy to pick up and turn over without falling apart and it can take the intense heat of the charcoal. Also easy to cook on the oven grill, or on the hob in frying or griddle pan.
The Rib Eye steak comes from the beef rib. As a roasting joint this cut would be the Forerib. The steak is the eye of the meat served without the bone.
It is the most marbled prime steak. Not a lot, but more than the others. We know fat can be off putting to some customers, but it really shouldn’t. When you’re buying from a good butchers who know how to cut their steaks, fat does not mean horrible old gristle that is impossible to cut through.
We would recommend cooking these steaks at least medium rare. Quickly browning the steaks on both sides on a high heat, then turning the heat down, and taking your time to cook the steaks will help to cook down any marbling, which will keep the steak juicy and full of flavour.
In French the Sirloin is called the “Faux-fillet” and it’s easy to understand why. Like fillet it is lean, with just one strip of fat running down the outside. It is also lovely and tender when dry hung correctly, for at least 28 days as we do. Sirloin doesn’t need an awful lot of cooking; it is lovely eaten from blue or rare to medium and well done and is lovely with salad dishes, in steak sandwiches, or on a Friday night with chips! Sirloin is one of our favourite steaks because it’s a no fuss, no frills, easy to cook steak.
Fillet of beef is the most expensive steak per kilo. From a practical outlook this is because there is only one fillet per side of beef, and is much smaller than the other joints of meat. However, as the least worked muscle on the animal it is also the most tender and delicate. When dry hung for 21 – 28 days, as we do, the fillet cuts like butter and has a gorgeous delicate flavour.
Because it is more expensive than the others steaks, we would tend to choose fillet for special occasions. As there is very little fat on the steak, it suits quick cooking recipes is best served medium rare. Too much cooking will dry it out. Fillet steaks are lovely fried in hot melted butter that can be used to baste the meat, or baked in the oven for a short while with a lovely creamy mushroom topping. You might also try a whole fillet wrapped in Parma ham to keep the juices in.