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Adventures in Steak


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#61 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 04:40 PM

Through a bit of googling I answered much of my own question.  This is the brand of angus that I bought:

 

http://www.buckheadbeef.com

 

 

I must say the buckhead angus was better than regular angus.  I generally don't find much difference between regular angus and the store brand beef, certainly not enough to be worth the price premium for angus.

 

But the buckhead angus is twice the price of regular angus, even more than the cost of Australian beef.



#62 gfweb

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 05:38 PM

Jo, are you  near a Costco? They have great meats at a fair price. Their 'choice' is better than most 'prime' (at least around here) and they have that too.

 

Costco is also a leader in meat safety with more stringent requirements than FDA or any state (from what I've read).

 

I make a run to Costco every month or two and lay-in a supply of NY Strip and others...vacuum pack and freeze 'em, and t hen thaw as needed.

 

We have a butcher or two in the area but both are thieves and the meat is no better than Costo's



#63 paulraphael

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 05:42 PM

The stovetop-to-oven method works well, but can take a while to dial in (you can't see what's going on in an oven). I believe this method evolved to make best use of the limited burner space at restaurants. If you don't face those recommendations, there are ways to get results that are at least as good on the stove.

 

Heston's method should work well. So does the Ducasse method (at the beginning of the thread I linked above). Easiest of all is to start in a blazing pan with high heat oil and sear both sides. Then pour off the oil, and turn the heat very low. Add butter. Flip the steak every minute or two, and keep basting it with the browning butter. The temperature gradient won't be as minute as with a sous-vide steak, but it should be pretty unintrusive. 


Edited by paulraphael, 04 January 2015 - 05:47 PM.


#64 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 07:48 PM

Jo, are you  near a Costco? They have great meats at a fair price. Their 'choice' is better than most 'prime' (at least around here) and they have that too.

 

Costco is also a leader in meat safety with more stringent requirements than FDA or any state (from what I've read).

 

I make a run to Costco every month or two and lay-in a supply of NY Strip and others...vacuum pack and freeze 'em, and t hen thaw as needed.

 

We have a butcher or two in the area but both are thieves and the meat is no better than Costo's

 

There's a Costco about twenty miles away, but I don't have a vehicle so that is not much of an option.



#65 JoNorvelleWalker

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 08:07 PM

The stovetop-to-oven method works well, but can take a while to dial in (you can't see what's going on in an oven). I believe this method evolved to make best use of the limited burner space at restaurants. If you don't face those recommendations, there are ways to get results that are at least as good on the stove.

 

Heston's method should work well. So does the Ducasse method (at the beginning of the thread I linked above). Easiest of all is to start in a blazing pan with high heat oil and sear both sides. Then pour off the oil, and turn the heat very low. Add butter. Flip the steak every minute or two, and keep basting it with the browning butter. The temperature gradient won't be as minute as with a sous-vide steak, but it should be pretty unintrusive. 

 

You may have noticed I am a participant in the Ducasse thread.  That is my favorite method as long as the steak is thick enough.  For me the Ducasse method doesn't work that well with normal sized steaks.  I don't eat much meat at a sitting, though I did see a nice looking buckhead angus cowboy rib steak tonight.  Reminded me of a small rib roast.  I didn't buy it, but I'm sure it would have been delightful by the Ducasse method.

 

In my hands sous vide steak turns out pretty, but totally dried out.  I don't think sous vide works that well with tender beef.


Edited by JoNorvelleWalker, 04 January 2015 - 08:09 PM.


#66 paulraphael

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Posted 04 January 2015 - 09:50 PM

Sorry, I haven't re-read that thread in a long time. The other stovetop methods mentioned in the thread are less dependent on a hugely thick piece of meat (but I find that at least 1.25" is helpful).

 

I'm still curious about your SV results. They're not typical.


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#67 quiet1

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:29 AM

You are aware that cows have problems to digest large amounts of grains (in particular corn which is used a lot in the US) and that it is quite painful for them and often is one of the reasons why they need antibiotics - so cows defintiely prefer grass to grain/corn


I never said it was good for them, just that in my experience livestock generally prefer the taste of grain type feeds to all but really good grass - so if you offer them both, they are quite likely to opt for the grain, in the same way as a child would often opt for candy or cake over spinach. Livestock does not really consider the overall effects of what it is eating overly much, they only care if it smells and tastes good. Their digestive systems might prefer grass, but if it is free choice between the two the thing making the decision is their taste buds.

As I said in my original comment - lots of grain isn't any good for horses, either. But give one a chance and it'll probably be in the feed room with its head stuffed into the grain tub. It is up to the people caring for livestock to make sure the diet is appropriate for the animal. (Usually with horses this means primarily grass/hay of some variety, with grain added in small amounts as needed to make supplements palateable - some areas the grass is naturally deficient in some minerals so you add those back in as a supplement at amounts determined by testing your grass/hay supply every so often. More grain may be added for horses who are doing a lot of work or have trouble keeping weight on, but in modern horse keeping practices it would be very unusual to see a horse on a diet that was actually primarily grain. I imagine something similar is involved in farming cattle - the exact diet provided is determined by making a proper evaluation of the needs of the animal and the nutrition provided by the grazing and/or hay and other forage available, combined with the end goal in terms of what meat you end up with. It is highly unlikely to be the best possible diet for the cow if you let the cow choose for him or herself based on taste. Cows just aren't that smart.)

(I suspect this is going to be moderated since it is getting off topic for the thread, but as a semi-related note, I would never ever eat horse meat sourced from the US or Canada, were I enclined to eat the stuff at all, which I am not. But we have no meaningful system for tracking the animals from birth to slaughter, and there are a huge number of medications used in horses as companion type animals - riding, etc. - that are absolutely not suitable for human consumption. There is supposed to be a waiting period before slaughter to allow some medications that may have been given recently to process out, but it is my understanding that there are some common medications that do not clear the system reliably. No thanks.)

#68 quiet1

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 12:35 AM

Jo, are you  near a Costco? They have great meats at a fair price. Their 'choice' is better than most 'prime' (at least around here) and they have that too.
 
Costco is also a leader in meat safety with more stringent requirements than FDA or any state (from what I've read).
 
I make a run to Costco every month or two and lay-in a supply of NY Strip and others...vacuum pack and freeze 'em, and t hen thaw as needed.
 
We have a butcher or two in the area but both are thieves and the meat is no better than Costo's


I have to concur - exact cuts available seems to vary slightly, but all of the beef I've gotten at Costco has been really quite good. I picked up a tenderloin for Wellington for Christmas dinner and even though it ended up overcooked a little (first time doing Wellington) it was delicious, and provided you are willing to do a bit of butchery yourself and can afford the initial expense, I suspect the cost would compare quite favorably to filet mignon steaks purchased from your standard assortment of high end supermarket type places, which is mostly what folks have access to.

#69 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 01:46 AM

I never said it was good for them, just that in my experience livestock generally prefer the taste of grain type feeds to all but really good grass - so if you offer them both, they are quite likely to opt for the grain, in the same way as a child would often opt for candy or cake over spinach. Livestock does not really consider the overall effects of what it is eating overly much, they only care if it smells and tastes good. Their digestive systems might prefer grass, but if it is free choice between the two the thing making the decision is their taste buds.

 

 

I agree!

in spite of all the "hip" hype, like it or not, the reality is, cattle relish grain!


Edited by DiggingDogFarm, 06 January 2015 - 01:47 AM.

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#70 weedy

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:09 AM

the "hip hype" is about both what's better for them, and about what's better for us (when/if we eat them)... not about what they'd "prefer"

 

just as quiet1 said: humans 'prefer' sugary foods... that doesn't mean it's better for them, or that suggesting it's not is 'hip hype'



#71 paulraphael

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:22 AM

Also worth considering that grain, by definition, is from grass. We're making a distinction between the seeds and the leaves, but cattle living in the wild would be eating a certain amount of both.

 

There is some truth that cattle have health problems when they eat too much of the wrong types of grains. This happens, but is universally considered bad farming practice. Good farmers can raise very healthy cattle, whether they're finished on greens, silage, dried grass, grain, or on combinations. 

 

The best beef I've had has been finished on a combination of green grass and grains.



#72 DiggingDogFarm

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Posted 06 January 2015 - 10:45 AM

There is some truth that cattle have health problems when they eat too much of the wrong types of grains.

 
Yes, but there's also the fact that, in certain situations, pasture and forages can cause health problem too, .....grass tetany, bloat, nutrient-deficiencies, parasites, nitrate poisoning, prussic-acid poisoning.....etc.
There's MUCH to be considered when comparing cattle feeding methods and nutrient regimens and doing what's best for the animals.
 
I grew up in dairying and worked a seasonal pasture-based dairy (plus beef) for several years...i'm ALL for it but there's a lot of popular and related "feel good" information, perception and opinion that's just plain wrong.

In terms of good beef, good genetics is paramount, some cattle won't yield good beef to matter what they're fed!!!

Edited by DiggingDogFarm, 06 January 2015 - 11:15 AM.

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~Martin
 
Unsupervised rebellious radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, self-reliant homesteader and adventurous cook. Crotchety cantankerous terse curmudgeon, nonconformist and contrarian who questions everything!
 


#73 quiet1

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 02:46 PM

Yes, but there's also the fact that, in certain situations, pasture and forages can cause health problem too, .....grass tetany, bloat, nutrient-deficiencies, parasites, nitrate poisoning, prussic-acid poisoning.....etc.There's MUCH to be considered when comparing cattle feeding methods and nutrient regimens and doing what's best for the animals. I grew up in dairying and worked a seasonal pasture-based dairy (plus beef) for several years...i'm ALL for it but there's a lot of popular and related "feel good" information, perception and opinion that's just plain wrong.In terms of good beef, good genetics is paramount, some cattle won't yield good beef to matter what they're fed!!!


Right, with horses these days I know people who have taken college level courses about equine nutrition in order to make sure they are feeding the animals in their care correctly, and have testing done regularly on the local grass and on the hay they bring in (to supplement the pasture - some areas don't support grass enough of the year for horses to be only on pasture, or the type of grass that will grow is not nutritionally complete, etc. Various reasons for feeding hay even if there is ample pasture.) And many of these folks are just people trying to provided good care for a companion animal, not people trying to make a living in the industry.

Given that, I can't imagine that how to feed up meat livestock like cattle is any simpler a proposition - your livelihood depends on the animals maturing as expected into acceptable quality meat, without having too many problems along the way which require vet care, since vet visits cut into the bottom line. (Note I am not saying people would not get cattle care, just that it is in the best interest of the farmer or rancher to manage things in a way that reduces the chances of needing extra vet care beyond the routine stuff they can budget for in advance.) Then you add to just wanting to keep them healthy the idea of finding a market niche by being able to reliably produce a certain characteristic in the meat, which often occurs due to diet, and you end up with a situation where I am sure a good cattle farmer could talk your ear off about feeding options for beef cattle, and which you would choose when and why.

Don't get me wrong - I do think we need to get away from factory and intensive farming methods where subpar care is corrected by just giving the whole herd antibiotics and other similar interventions - I much prefer my meat to have had a decent quality of life before it ends up on my plate, and an environment in which medications are required because the keeping method itself basically makes the animals sick seems pretty unlikely to be a good quality of life situation. I just doubt that good care and keeping practices for all herds in all places are the same in terms of what they need nutritionally, be it grass or grain or hay or a commercial feed product.
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#74 gfweb

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Posted 07 January 2015 - 07:01 PM

The antibiotic issue is more complex than correcting for crowding etc.

 

Antibiotics are actually growth stimulants in cattle and swine. Doubtless something to do with altering the gut flora affecting growth.

 

The boost is somewhere on the order of 10-15% IIRC. 

 

So there is clear economic incentive to use them in an industry where margins are slim.

 

(This isn't a defense of the practice.)


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