marbled steakAside from not having to cook, eating out at a good steak restaurant is just so satisfying. The cut is usually big unless, of course, it is a filet mignon. The flavor is rich and juicy, especially if it has been aged correctly. Sometimes you may want to replicate the experience at home, but sadly the rich, juicy flavor is just not the same. Why is that? We want to answer that question honestly for you today.

The Grade of the Beef Matters

The main answer is the different grades of beef. There is certified premium, prime, choice, and select. The meat is graded by color, its weights, meat-to-bone ratio, fat-to-body ratio, the age of the cow, and the physical characteristics of the cow.

Choice and select beef are what you will find at the store. You can try different marinades and spices, but with the lack of quality of marbling you won’t end up with the same flavor you get at your favorite steak restaurant. There is a possibility of purchasing better quality meat by going to a specialty butcher or looking online. However, you will pay much more.

Steak Restaurants Get the Best Beef

Steak restaurants typically use USDA choice prime beef. It is actually only three percent of all the beef production in America. It is the best and you can’t find it in the frozen aisle of the grocery store. Prime beef comes from a young steer. It receives the highest rating in all of the categories. If you are wanting to cook this grade at home, it will be very hard to find.

The Flavor is in the Marbling

Marbling is definitely the best part of a good steak. Those thin streaks and flecks of white fat amongst the red flesh add to the steak’s tenderness, flavor, and juiciness. When that chef at your favorite steak restaurant cooks the steak at the right temperature, the marbling melts and coats the meat with flavor. That’s where the rich melt in your mouth texture and flavor come from. When the nice, hot steak reaches your table, you may not realize it had rich marbling. But when the meat reaches your tastebuds, you will know.

Is Grass-Fed Better?

Yes and no would be the correct answer. Some insist that grass-fed beef is better for the environment and uses more humane ways of raising cows. However, that simply isn’t true in many cases. Not only that, grain-fed cows simply produce tastier meat. In order to get the same rich flavor from grass-fed beef, you have to use specific cooking techniques. For that reason, most steak restaurants prefer to purchase grain-fed beef. Many ranchers that produce quality prime rated meat use sustainable methods to compete with the ever growing demand for grass-fed cows. Not only that, expert ranchers understand that well-treated animals with excellent practices produce safer, healthier food.

It’s Just Not the Same Without Aging

Another part of the great steak equation is definitely the aging. Aging improves flavor and tenderness. Dry aging is not as common as wet aging which most restaurants do. Dry aging entails letting the meat sit in a very controlled environment for a certain number of days or even weeks. It is difficult because of the risks of food poisoning and the meat spoiling. Wet aging includes vacuum packing the meat and letting it age in its own juices. Both processes yield the same flavor so most steak restaurants simply do not both with the difficult process of dry aging.

Why Does it All Matter?

All these details add up to one delicious steak. A good restaurant will only use prime rated beef, fresh spices, and meat that is never frozen. From the treatment and raising of the cows to the last few minutes on the grill, lots of details go into the perfect steak that lands on your table. You might pay more than the average dine-out meal, and wait a bit more for your steak, but it is all worth it in the end. The flavor and quality of a good steak are unmatchable.