How to Pick Out a Steak

I’ve noticed most Americans choosing lean cuts of steak, probably because they’ve been told by nutritionists that fatty cuts are bad for them.  They pick steaks that look like the ones pictured below:

Bright red and lean.  It’ll likely taste dry and bland if it’s overcooked (anything over medium rare).  Guaranteed to be leathery if it’s cooked medium well.  Many medical experts recommend beef of this kind because it contains fewer calories and fat per ounce.  The best steakhouses and great chefs, however, avoid these cuts.  They instead recommend well-marbled steaks (high fat content), like the ones pictured below.

This will be a juicy and satisfying steak, especially if it’s slow-cooked (200 degrees in the oven) to rare or medium rare and then flash seared with high heat (500 degrees on grill).  More on this cooking method in How to Cook a Steak.  

Those who choose the lower calorie lean cuts will end up eating more calories than if they’d picked a well marbled one.  Lean cuts aren’t satisfying and fulfilling to most people.  Eating a lean steak leads to eating more of it or drenching it in high calorie sugary sauces like A1 to give it more flavor and moisture.  Or more butter is added to bread.  Or more dessert is eaten.  People want to feel satisfied when they eat.  Fat is satisfying and people will continue eating until they get enough of it.

1 thought on “How to Pick Out a Steak

  1. misscin

    I completely agree about steak being a treat, and one that we should get utmost satisfaction from . As someone who eats hers pretty close to raw, however, I tend to prefer the leaner cuts. I also prefer to cook them myself, so that they *don’t* become dried out and leathery.
    Also, I highly recommend the book “Nourishing Traditions” to anyone reading this. It is a fascinating read, and does a great job of de-demozing (?) many things that popular media have told us are “bad”.
    In truth, food that resembles it’s source is probably great nourishment for our bodies and our spirits. It’s the factory food that we should cast a wary eye toward.

    Ps, I just thought someone should comment, to break the ice…


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