When buying steak you will notice that it is often deemed USDA Prime, Choice or Select. This is because the USDA has a grading system that determines the quality of a steak.
Upon request from the meat packer, the USDA will grade their meat. This is the only channel through which a steak company can obtain these labels on their steak.
Many online steak companies, such as Chicago Steak Company, sell only USDA Prime and Choice which are the two highest quality steaks with Prime being the most prized. What makes a USDA Primes steak so prized after is the maturity of the beef and the high ratio of fat marbling.
You will also need to consider what type of cut you wish to buy when buying steaks online. Some of the most popular cuts are strip steak, top sirloin, rib eye, t-bone and filet mignon. Obtaining the cut of steak you desire will not be difficult with a steak company like Colorado Prime Steaks, which offers a wide variety of different cuts of meat.
There are two types of processes when it comes to aging steak. There is wet and dry aging. In general, both of these types of aging allows for the juices to disperse within the meat and the flavor to mature. However, these two processes affect the texture and flavor of the beef in very different ways:
Wet aging is generally more common with near 90% of steaks on the market being wet aged. Wet aged steak is vacuum sealed in plastic and stored in refrigeration for at least a week and sometimes for as long as 3-4 weeks. This causes the meat to become tender because the enzymes within it break down the muscle tissue.
Dry aging is less common. These types of steaks are often found in high-end restaurants and eating establishment because they are more sought after by food connoisseurs. During the dry aging process the meat is not sealed, but rather may be covered lightly so that moisture is not retained. As a result of moisture loss, dry aged steak shrinks, but it does not dry out. In fact, this process creates a steak that has a more concentrated flavor and an almost melt-in-your-mouth texture. Typically, these steaks are aged for at least two weeks.
High Plains Bison is not your usual steak provider because their meat comes from the bison. Bison meat tends to have a taste that is slightly different from the beef of a cow. It has been described as a lighter taste with a sweeter finish.
Wagyu Kobe-style beef is difficult to find within the United States, but not if you are buying from Allen Brothers, who are famous for carrying this type of beef. This type of beef originates from the Wagyu cattle in Japan.
Steak lovers who want to know their steak provider is treating their livestock in a humane manner will want to buy from Niman Ranch. Their livestock are antibiotic and hormone free, and they are only fed with vegetarian feeds.
A final factor to consider before choosing a company and buying steaks online is whether you are in need of any other types of cuisine. Many of these companies, such as Omaha Steaks, not only specialize in steak, but they also offer food items such as appetizers, seafood and other types of meat, sides, and desserts that match the quality of their steaks.
This website offers numerous reviews of companies that offer steak and beef online. Chef Piquanti has personally purchased and reviewed these products. Click through to the company you might be interested in, and see actual photos and videos of these products the chef has "taste-tested" for your convenience.
Buying Steaks Online
Buying steak online can be difficult if you do not know what to look for or what you want. Learning more about the various types of steaks, their cuts and the aging process they go through may give you more insight into what it is you want. Some questions to ask yourself before beginning the process are:
This page was last updated: 9/13/2015
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Many of these online steak companies allow for longer wet and dry aging, which creates an overall better quality steak. An example of one company that allows their meat to age for 21-30 days is Stock Yards. Another company, Kansas City Steaks, wet ages their steak for a whole 28 days.
Do not be intimidated if you do not know the answers to these questions because we are about to learn all of this.
For those of you who know all of the above answers, you are a step ahead.
Choosing an Online Steak Company
Many of these steak companies have a little something extra that makes them unique so they stand out from their competition. It is of value to you, the customer, to learn this because it may help you make a better decision that suits your particular tastes. Although some of this information can be found above, there are yet more steak companies with a unique strategy.