How to cook a cheap steak vs. an expensive one


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When did Kristen Wiig start a youtube channel about food?


This was actually super informative. I’m a newbie at steak at 40-something, and am still very much learning all of the different cuts and what they’re for. I’ve had good luck with the ‘reverse sear’ method they show here.


The only thing I didn’t hear her state (and perhaps I missed it) is that certain cuts should not be cooked to certain temps. more fibrous cuts (flank or flap) should be medium and never med rare or rare because it needs more cook time to break down the connective tissue so it will be more tender.

large muscle steaks like filet, strip, and rib eye can be on the rare/med-rare side as they are tender cuts already. And don’t poke it with a a thermometer…learn to judge by touch.

The stronger flavor from cheaper cuts is most often caused by being grass fed beef which is always much cheaper. Especially if it is Aussie and not US/Mexico beef. Grass fed animals have more wild flavor in the meat due to their diet. I personally like that :slight_smile:

Also I am not a fan of the reverse sear, I know many people love this method…I leaves a different taste to me that I don’t care for.


All of my local markets have separate sections for “grain fed” and “grass fed” beef (and bison) now, and the grass fed is about twice the price of grain fed, whether cuts or ground. I’ve heard grass fed is better overall and have been wondering if its worth the price, honestly.

I’m very much still learning the ways of steak. To be totally honest steak really isn’t my thing, but I do a lot of cooking for my household of steak fans, so beef gets on the menu quite a bit, whether pan/oven seared or grilled.


Not sure where you are located, my local market has grass fed significantly cheaper when it is the Aussie/Ireland meats. US grass fed is the most expensive, but that’s because 'Murica.

I prefer grass fed for nearly anything I plan on not putting into a stew or braise. I like the funk that grass fed cattle impart. Its like cheese…I don’t like bland cheese.

I absolutely love steak, but try to limit beef to once a week. Well, summer time I “try” to limit it to 2 or 3 times a week :smiley:

Any new restaurant I go to, I get a Strip Steak medium rare. Its always my gauge as to what the kitchen can do.


Grass fed is definitely more expensive in Florida where I live, but I like it because the flavor seems more intensely “beefy” to me. Grain fed steak is often tenderer, but less flavorful and also fattier.

I’m fully on board with you on this one. :+1:


Does that mean that the cheap steak is still pensive?


Sous-vide FTW.


I’ve long wondered if “grass fed” is better because cow meat tastes better on a grass diet, or if it’s that the grain feed contains hormones/antibiotics/growth-promoters/etc have a detrimental effect due to the fast fattening of the animals.

Feeding grass can cheaper, if you grow it and put it up, yourself. But, for farmers looking to grow cattle to a certain size as fast as possible, it might be cheaper in the long run to buy more costly feeds that get the stock to their heaviest weight super fast.

I think that those looking for the best tasting beef, or to sell it to the most discerning customers, or who prioritize animal welfare, they will make a different calculation.


The stuff I’ve read lately goes beyond the flavor and more into the relative healthiness of eating grass fed vs grain fed – mainly that the fat content is overall lower in grass-fed and its omega-3s are higher, so you’re getting ‘good fats’ versus mostly saturated fats that’re in grain-fed. There was a video linked here a few weeks ago from a bodybuilder, detailing his daily meals, and he proclaimed grass-fed beef to be far better for him than grain-fed.


Damn, but that flap steak was huge.


For the cows too.
We are fortunate in that we can buy local free range grass fed beef and veal. Given the average life expectancy of a calf in the wild, the cows don’t do too badly either. Better than being brought up in a stall fed concentrate and drugs.
I remember a former colleague from Texas staying in a local hotel with another colleague from Chicago. The Chicagoan complained that the beef had a strong taste. The Texan marched him over to the window, pointed out to the fields and said, more or less “Look, real cows in real fields with no antibiotics. Real beef!”


All that broken down connective tissue, that’s the stuff.
I have used the broth from braising ox tails as marinade for sous-vide to make expensive cuts taste more like delicious cheep ones. I don’t think it really worked though.


Oh man, now I’m hungry for a nice flank steak with chimichurri…


What I really like is grass fed, grain finished. There’s a butcher shop near me that has this and 100 percent grass fed from southern CA farms.
We don’t buy a lot of red meat, but for the holidays, I like to get steaks or roasts. I did a standing 6 bone rib roast on my Weber kettle for Christmas that came out awesome. The year before, I ordered a 4 bone roast, then had him cut in into steaks which I seared over rocket hot mesquite. Also awesome.
My other go-to for a quick dinner for us or a small group is to grill flank steak. Costco probably has the best quality/price for this. Same for their NY strips, IMO.


sous vide all the things.


There’s a high-reputation butcher in France, Yves-Marie Le Bourdonnec, who is famous for being militantly flexitarian: he states that people should eat much less meat, but of much better quality, and grass-fed.


You might be pensive too if you learned that you were thought of as cheap.


I always opt for pan-seared; allows me to keep the juices.