We all want the perfect steak: beautiful marbling, tender but hearty texture and rich, bold flavor. How do you know when you've found it? With the American benchmark for great beef being the high-priced steakhouse, we have all experienced the letdown of trying to recreate that memorable meal at home. We asked Pumpkin Creek Ranch to educate us on the perfect cut.
1. Age of the Animal: This is probably the most difficult factor to control. Fat does not start enriching until the animal reaches around 2 years old (think whiskey or wine here). Older animals taste better, especially when they are allowed to grow slowly, without hormones speeding up the process.
2. Age of the Meat: If you have been disappointed with the metallic, bland taste of a grocery store steak, you are not alone. You want dry-aged meat. This means the animal was processed, and the meat was kept at a specific temperature in a controlled environment for at least 14 days. Within the first 14 days, the meat takes on a bold, rich, beefy flavor. After the first 14 days, the connective tissue begins to break down, giving you the tenderness all high-end beef has (again, think whiskey or wine). After these processes are complete, the individual cuts are packaged and flash-frozen, locking in the quality you desire.
3. Marbling: Marbling is the fat specks you see in the beef. Fat equals flavor. The marbling should be small, well-distributed throughout the cut and bright white. Marbling helps to keep the meat moist during cooking, helping to ensure a tender, juicy steak. Look for High Choice or Prime Grades.
4. Thickness: This applies mostly to steaks as they are one of the primary cuts manipulated by the butcher. Never purchase a steak under an inch thick. Thin steaks cook too quickly and curl.
Pumpkin Creek Ranch is a third-generation, family-owned farm and ranch operation. Brothers Dean and Jared Lerwick had a dream of providing high-quality, flavorful beef on a consistent basis direct to consumer. Dean is the farmer and rancher, and Jared runs the sales and marketing aspect from the fulfillment base in Windsor, Colorado. Pumpkin Creek Ranch is a Red Angus exclusive ranch with a strong focus on superior genetics, innovation, sustainability and premium flavor through natural, slow-growth finishing. The cattle are pasture-raised, hormone-free, fed a diet completely produced from the farm and never receive food-grade antibiotics. Pumpkin Creek Ranch believes there are no shortcuts to success. Taking the time to do things the right way may result in a slower process, but the beef will be a high-quality product that thaws, cooks and tastes the same way, every time.
Pumpkin Creek Ranch