How to choose the perfect steak

Woman in supermarket

Few things are as delicious as barbecued steak. Juicy, tender, and perfectly seasoned, it’s the ultimate accessory to a summertime meal. The first step to cooking a perfect steak is the most important: buying the perfect steak. We asked Richard Stephen of Stephen’s Butcher Shop in Port Carling how to pick the perfect cut, and here’s what he had to say.

Start with quality beef

Canada AAA, USDA Choice or Prime beef is preferred. With the highest amount of internal marbling, these grades of beef will make your steak juicy and tender.

Look for well-aged beef

Aging meat adds flavour and tenderness. For steak, Stephen recommends four to five weeks of aging as a minimum.

Choose cuts that are suitable for grilling

There are cuts of meat that are suitable for grilling and cuts that aren’t. Cuts from the loin, such as Striploin, Tenderloin, T-Bones, and Porterhouse, or steaks from the rib, like Rib Eyes or Rib Steaks (bone in) are great for the barbecue. Don’t marinate any of these cuts, as they won’t benefit from it.

If you’re feeding a large group, marinated Flank Steaks and large Sirloins can be cooked whole, rested and then sliced for sharing. 

Go for thick and even cuts

Choosing a steak that’s cut thicker than an inch will prevent overcooking and will allow for a juicier, more tender end product.

“One thicker steak for two people is better than two thin steaks,” says Stephen. Make sure the thickness of the steak is uniform to prevent uneven cooking.

Make sure it’s well trimmed

A good steak will be well trimmed with excess fat removed. The trimming helps avoid flareups and charring.

Opt for custom cutting

A good butcher will cut your steak to your specifications. Take their advice but know what your are looking for before you shop. 

Find a butcher you trust

There are certain people you should get to know and build a relationship with. A butcher is one of these people. Find a reputable butcher or meat shop, get to know the butcher, and you’ll never again have trouble finding the perfect steak for your grill.