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Jul 21

5 Sizzling Steak Tips

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5thingsyouneedtoknowaboutsteakHaving ‘grilled’ one of England’s top top beef scientists, we bring you tips that will make your barbecue season so much tastier. ‘The Science of Steak’ at The Meridian Hotel in London’s Piccadily involved some serious steak sampling, and whilst munching on  Waygu and Aberdeen Angus, Carol Muskoron spoke to Dr Phil Hadley of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board to discover some compelling steak advice.

Why you don’t always need steak mince.

Do you walk proudly by the budget mince and head straight for the steak mince? Budget mince is the best mince for making burgers. With more fat than leaner mince, it gives a burger extra flavour and succulence and helps it hold together better too. Go for the mid-range mince if you like a little less fat, but you really don’t need to opt for steak mince if you’re making burgers. What should you use steak mince for? Lasagne or spaghetti bolognese of course.

Steak doesn’t have to be bright red when you buy it

You know those brownish, vacuum-packed steaks you tend to avoid in the supermarkets – well, it turns out that they’re just as fresh as the bright red ones. We might prefer our steak to look red and bloody when we buy it, but it makes no difference to the steak at all. Want proof? Take it out of its pack and leave it for half an hour and it will turn nice and red again once its re-oxygenated. Or just cook it – the colour won’t affect the flavour.

When NOT to throw out your steak

If your steak has turned a bit brown on the outside that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s off. Steak does brown as it gets older but it’s usually perfectly okay to cook a steak that has a brown tinge. And remember, if you’re pan-frying or barbecuing you’ll be heating it up so high that it will kill any small amounts of bacteria on the outside. The sell-by date is a good indicator of freshness but may not be accurate – the real test is to smell it. A steak that is off will make its presence known to your nostrils – it will smell bad!

Ageing – what’s that all about?

When you go to a restaurant and 35-day aged steak is on the menu, what does that mean? Should you be excited or horrified that a mouldy old lump of meat will turn up on your plate?!  Ageing simply means storing meat so that the flavours and tenderness improve – it’s kept in a constant and very cool temperature under UV light to keep it fresh during the process. It’s common practice to age steak for 14 days, as flavour and texture both improve up to that point. After 14 days the texture won’t improve any more – it’s as tender as it’s going to get – but the flavour will move on and become more meaty (more game-like).

Grain-fed or grass fed?

Again, on a menu or in a butcher’s you might see this information. What should you make of it? In England, most of our cattle is grass fed, and the English consumer seems to mostly prefer grass-fed steak. In taste tests we say grain-fed steaks taste fattier. But give an American a grass-fed steak and they may well complain that it tastes off! Really, this seems to be a case of liking what you’re used to. FYI: Argentinian steaks are grass fed – and that may well be why so many of us love our Argentinian steak restaurants here in the UK.

Fnd out more at http://www.simplybeefandlamb.co.uk.