Steak Expert Guesses Cheap vs Expensive Steak

In this episode of 'Price Points,' Epicurious challenges steak expert Angie Mar (author, Butcher and Beast: Mastering the Art of Meat) to guess which one of two steaks is more expensive. Angie breaks down ribeye, strip and tomahawk steaks before making her guesses!

Released on 9/16/2019

Credits

Starring: Angie Mar

Transcript

00:00
I'm Angie Mar and I'm your steak expert.
00:03
This one's really nice.
00:05
It's like butter.
00:06
[playful music]
00:10
[bell dings]
00:12
[plates rattling]
00:14
Ribeye is actually one of my favorite cuts of meat.
00:17
This is one that I know intimately well.
00:19
The best ribeyes come from ribs one through seven.
00:21
It's kind of like the perfect cut on beef,
00:23
just because it's tender, but it's still toothsome enough.
00:27
It's got a deeper, more irony flavor.
00:29
And that's what I really love.
00:30
So if you look at steak A, you don't have a lot
00:33
of intramuscular fat.
00:34
So you've got a higher lean meat ratio,
00:37
and there's less marbling throughout the eye.
00:39
This steak also looks like it was cut towards the back
00:42
of the animal, where there is less of a fat cap.
00:44
One of the really important things,
00:46
when I'm selecting a ribeye, is actually looking at
00:49
the ribeye cap, right here.
00:51
This cut here, when you're looking for a really
00:53
great quality steak, should have really high level
00:56
of marbling, typically between 30 and 40%
00:59
fat to lean meat ratio.
01:01
If you actually look at B, you can see,
01:04
in here on the ribeye cap, that it is almost 50%,
01:08
so this is actually a really, really nice steak.
01:10
This is what I wanna see when I'm looking for
01:12
really good quality meat.
01:13
But you've got this beautiful marbling,
01:16
and intramuscular fat, all throughout the ribeye cap,
01:18
as well as the eye.
01:20
So this leads me to believe that this comes
01:22
from a little further up, towards the head of the animal.
01:25
You can also see this one,
01:26
it's got a really nice fat cap, here, and as we know,
01:30
fat equals flavor.
01:31
This is probably the steak that I would be going for.
01:33
And you can actually tell, by the differential in color,
01:36
between A and B, that this one is a little bit brighter red,
01:39
but what I'm gonna say is prime,
01:41
it's got that deeper garnet color,
01:43
and this is what signifies to me,
01:46
that this is a prime steak.
01:47
Prime USDA is actually the highest grade that you can get.
01:51
And what it is is the fat to lean meat ratio,
01:56
how much intramuscular fat that the animal has.
01:59
And there are eight grades provided by the USDA.
02:02
The first being prime, choice, select, standard,
02:06
commercial, utility, cutter and canner.
02:09
But the three that are always used for retail
02:13
and restaurant consumption are prime, choice and select.
02:16
Typically the other grades are used for burger meat,
02:20
they're used for fast food chains and then even lower down,
02:24
honestly dog food.
02:25
The best part about a ribeye cut is actually after you
02:27
finish the steak, getting to gnaw on the bone.
02:30
There's a lot of really great connective tissue here.
02:33
That's where the most flavor is.
02:34
That's like the breakfast of champions, right.
02:37
Right off the bat, I'm gonna say that this one
02:41
clearly has a little bit less fat,
02:42
because you can actually see
02:44
everything's been rendered out really with the marbling.
02:46
This one still looks like
02:48
it has a nice healthy fat cap to it.
02:50
I think I'm just gonna jump right in.
02:53
Right off the bat, when we cut into this steak,
02:55
we see that the muscle fibers look really, really grainy.
02:58
And it just doesn't really look that juicy.
03:02
When I cut into option B, you see that it is pink.
03:07
You can see that it looks way juicier, way more moist.
03:10
And you can actually see the fat distribution
03:14
from the marbling in here.
03:16
Let's just taste them both.
03:17
[soft music]
03:22
So the thing is with this steak, when I'm eating it,
03:25
it is dry and the fat's actually very chewy.
03:28
A really nice prime steak, should just be this kind of like
03:32
melt in your mouth fat, where you're not feeling
03:35
like you're just chewing on end.
03:37
All right, so I'm gonna try the second steak now,
03:39
but it already looks juicier,
03:41
and you can see the fat in here.
03:42
So let's give it a taste.
03:46
Ribeye B is definitely more juicy.
03:49
It is more flavorful and it's way more tender
03:52
than option A.
03:54
So I'm gonna say that option B is prime,
03:57
and option A is choice,
04:00
because option B, was just more juicy, the mouth feel's
04:04
just a little bit silkier, and the flavor
04:06
is just a little bit more beefy.
04:08
I'm gonna go with option B,
04:09
as being the more expensive steak.
04:11
Let's see which one is which.
04:13
[dramatic music]
04:16
So 13 and
04:19
54 a pound.
04:20
You know got expensive taste, right.
04:22
[Angie chuckles]
04:23
Definitely worth the cost.
04:25
[plates rattling]
04:27
So in front of me, I have two strip steaks,
04:31
and one of them is clearly Kobe beef.
04:34
This one, we can tell right off the bat,
04:36
that it's clearly Kobe, just because of the
04:38
high fat content, the marbling ratio.
04:42
And then this one, option B is Black Angus.
04:46
That's what American beef is, it's always Black Angus.
04:49
So the thing to know about Japanese beef
04:51
is that all Kobe is Wagyu beef,
04:55
but not all Wagyu beef is Kobe.
04:57
Wagyu refers to any of the four Japanese breeds of beef.
05:02
But Kobe beef specifically is very much like champagne.
05:06
Where sparkling wine that is champagne can only be grown
05:10
in the Champagne region of France.
05:12
It's exactly the same with Kobe beef.
05:14
It's one of the most rare, most expensive, cut beef
05:18
in the world.
05:19
And that's largely because there's only about 3,000 heads
05:23
of cattle every single year, that will actually qualify
05:27
as Kobe beef.
05:28
This is actually to me looks look at A5 Kobe,
05:31
which is the highest level that you can get.
05:33
So the Tajima cattle is actually fed grain fodder
05:37
throughout its life, and you can actually see
05:39
the marbling in here.
05:40
It's super, super light pink.
05:42
It's got more of a fat ratio than a lean meat ratio
05:47
on these cattle.
05:48
I love the Black Angus, and this especially
05:51
is a really beautiful strip steak.
05:52
This is a bone-in strip, and it looks like it
05:56
has definitely been finished on grain because you can tell
05:59
it's got really beautiful marbleization.
06:01
I like to cut this a little bit thinner,
06:04
when I'm serving it for a group.
06:05
Just because it helps with the tenderization,
06:08
when you're actually eating it.
06:09
The times when I look at Kobe beef,
06:12
this is something that I really want to enjoy
06:15
as a carpaccio, or as a tartare.
06:18
This isn't something that you need to cook,
06:20
but I think we should sear it off anyway.
06:22
So here we have our two strip steaks.
06:26
I'm gonna start with the Kobe.
06:30
So this steak of course,
06:31
really doesn't need to be cooked that much.
06:33
It's got such a high fat content.
06:35
But you can see it's just all marbling and fat,
06:38
which is definitely my jam.
06:41
[soft music]
06:43
It's like butter.
06:44
It is super sweet, super fatty, and super, super rich.
06:48
This steak is just so rich,
06:49
that I can only do a couple bites of it.
06:50
Now let's get into the Black Angus.
06:52
[soft music]
06:55
So look, you can see in the Angus steak
06:57
all of the marbling right here, the intramuscular fat,
07:00
it's obviously not gonna be as much as a Kobe beef,
07:02
but again, you know, this is steak that I wanna sit down
07:05
and really eat as a steak, versus this,
07:07
it's kinda like a one, or two-bite thing.
07:09
[soft music]
07:12
The Black Angus is definitely prime,
07:15
and it's definitely still a little bit on the sweeter side,
07:18
because this was actually finished on grain,
07:20
but these are just two completely different products.
07:23
I think both of them are extremely delicious.
07:25
When we look at Kobe beef, once again, just because
07:28
there are so few cattle, that actually get qualified
07:31
as Kobe beef, and because they're exporting it
07:34
to the States, this is obviously gonna be
07:36
the more expensive steak.
07:38
Let's see how much.
07:39
[dramatic music]
07:40
All right, so the Kobe is 130,
07:43
and the Black Angus is 66 a pound.
07:47
So obviously the Kobe is definitely a splurge,
07:49
but I think that if you have the opportunity to try it,
07:53
just the sheer experience is an absolute must for me.
07:56
And again, just because of richness of this steak,
07:59
a little bit goes a really long way.
08:01
[plates rattling]
08:03
In front of me I have two Tomahawk ribeyes.
08:07
Tomahawks are the exact same cut as a ribeye,
08:10
and when you go and get a ribeye,
08:13
it basically is the ribeye, the ribeye cap,
08:17
the short plate, the short rib,
08:20
and you have this entire layer of protective meat and fat,
08:23
that goes around the ribeye, and this is called the decal.
08:26
And I think when a lot of people think of a Tomahawk steak,
08:30
they think of a ribeye, that's attached
08:32
to this really long-handled bone.
08:34
Personally, I think that's kind of a waste
08:36
of everybody's money.
08:37
What good is paying for the weight of a cleaned off bone,
08:40
if there's no meat attached to eat?
08:42
This is probably one of the most flavorful cuts of beef,
08:45
and really the most diverse.
08:47
One of these steaks is clearly aged,
08:48
and let's start with just talking about
08:50
the dry-aging process.
08:52
The dry-aging process with beef
08:54
is typically used only by restaurants
08:56
and very high-end retailers.
08:59
The process of dry-aging
09:01
is taking an entire primal cut of beef,
09:05
and putting it in a temperature and humidity-controlled room
09:08
for a certain amount of time.
09:09
While the enzymes, the meat's natural enzymes
09:11
are breaking down the connective tissue,
09:13
and increasing tenderness, the muscle fibers
09:16
actually start to shed water weight.
09:18
Typically in the dry-aging process, you lose between
09:21
20 and 30% of the steak's original water weight.
09:25
The molecular make up of the beef, really changes.
09:29
And that's gonna result in a different flavor.
09:31
One of the things that I love about dry-aged beef,
09:33
is it's got a deeper richer flavor, versus beef
09:37
that hasn't been aged, which has a lot of higher notes,
09:39
and it's more sweet.
09:40
But dry-aged beef, it's funky, it almost has
09:43
this blue cheese quality to it, but in the best of ways.
09:46
And you can even tell, as I'm standing here
09:50
and smelling it, you can tell that there's just that
09:52
deeper, funkier, more blue cheese smell
09:54
to this steak.
09:55
So this steak I would actually say is probably about
09:57
a 100 to a 120 days old.
09:59
For me that's kind of a sweet spot.
10:01
I think for people that haven't had dry-aged beef before,
10:04
it's really good to start at a steak around 45 to 60 days.
10:08
Just 'cause that's the kind of entry-level
10:09
where you're going to really see the difference
10:12
between a fresh piece of meat,
10:14
and something that has an increased flavor profile,
10:17
an increased tenderness.
10:18
We're back with our two Tomahawk steaks,
10:20
and I am just gonna cut right into them
10:24
and we're gonna see how they look.
10:26
[dramatic music]
10:28
Just even as I'm cutting this,
10:29
you can just see how the knife just kinda goes through.
10:32
It's super tender.
10:34
And look at all the fat, look at the marbling.
10:37
This one's really nice.
10:39
Let's cut into the second one.
10:40
[dramatic music]
10:42
This one's a little bit tougher.
10:44
So you can already see, just right after cutting through,
10:47
it's the color.
10:48
This one is probably gonna be the fresh, unaged steak,
10:52
because you've got all of the this light pink color here.
10:55
The fat looks a little bit tougher.
10:57
It feels a little bit tougher.
10:58
So you can actually just see the grains
11:00
through the eye of the rib here.
11:02
As opposed to this, which has way more marbling
11:05
in the eye of the rib.
11:06
This one smells a little bit sweeter,
11:07
and a little bit fresher.
11:08
But we're gonna just jump in and taste it.
11:09
[dramatic music]
11:14
It is so flavorful, so tender, super juicy,
11:18
and it just has that really beautiful
11:20
blue cheese taste to it.
11:21
It's got that nice funk.
11:23
But let's try this other one too.
11:25
[dramatic music]
11:28
So this one's got a lot of like nice high, sweet notes.
11:31
But if I was really looking for great quality,
11:35
super funky steak, I'm gonna go with A.
11:37
That's my answer.
11:38
This is the aged one, it's definitely more expensive.
11:41
Right, let's see what the reveal says.
11:43
[dramatic music]
11:45
All right, $42 a pound, and $35 a pound.
11:48
Obviously there is a bit of a price differential here.
11:51
And a dry-aged steak is unparalleled.
11:53
It's gonna be like nothing else.
11:54
So I definitely opt for option A.
11:56
I think that at the end of the day,
11:58
from the low end to the high end of the spectrum,
12:00
there is a steak for everyone.
12:01
[upbeat music]