5 ways to pick fresher, juicier beef for your steak

If you have a dinner party coming up, and want to impress your guest with your cooking skills, know that half the job is done when you pick the right ingredients. We approached Ryan Goh, meat specialist at Emporium Shokuhin, and Henry Ngoh, outlet manager at Swiss Butchery, to share their secrets on picking the right type of meat, so you don't make unnecessary mis-steaks.

1. For the most flavour

Prime cuts such as rib-eye, striploin and tenderloin are the most flavourful and can be cooked quickly.

2. Marbling

This refers to the veins of white fat running though the meat that give beef its flavour. The fat keeps your steak juicy and tender when cooked.

How well-marbled meat is depends on the breed of cattle and what it’s fed. For example, premium Japanese beef is generally more well-marbled, thanks to the cow’s diet of mixed grains.

3. Grass-fed or grain-fed?

Grass-fed beef is leaner and takes more skill to cook well to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Grain-fed is generally fattier, has a meatier, more robust flavour, and is easier for even novices to cook.

4. The ideal size

A good-sized steak should be about 1cm thick and weigh between 180g to 200g, so that it can be easily cooked at home.

A thicker slab needs to be seared in a pan and then roasted in the oven, so the insides aren’t too raw.

5. Is redder better?

Contrary to popular belief, colour does not indicate how fresh beef is. Like the flavour, the colour of the meat comes from what the cows are fed and where it’s from, so don’t fret if your meat isn’t “red enough”.

Here’s how to tell:
• Japanese beef generally has a pinkish hue.
• US beef can be a pale red, and is typically mistaken for aged meat.
• Beef from Australia and New Zealand is bright red when freshly cut, but it turns brownish red quickly.

Tip: The best way to determine freshness is to check the date on the packaging before you purchase the meat or ask the butcher when it was cut.

This story was first published on Simply Her.