A5 A Japanese Wagyu steak that’s been rated an 8 or higher on a scale of 1 to 12 based on color, marbling, size, and shape of the rib eye.
90-140 The number of days before slaughter that pasture-raised cattle are typically “grain-finished,” or fed a grain-based diet to increase marbling and flavor.
75 The minimum percentage of humidity required for dry aging, the process of tenderizing and developing a nutty, earthy taste in bone-in, highly marbled steaks in a controlled, slightly above freezing environment.
21-25 The number of days steak typically spends dry aging, though they can age for more than 100 days.
4.5 The approximate average percentage of U.S. steak given the highest rating, Prime, since 2012. Choice, the second-best rating, accounts for the majority of steak produced.
Wet Aging: The process of tenderizing boneless beef cuts in a refrigerated, air-tight bag for up to 35 days.
Koji: A rice grain used in rubs by local chefs like Sean Brasel at Meat Market to achieve an effect similar to dry aging, but in a much shorter (3 to 5 days) time frame.
Q: What’s a cut that doesn’t get the credit it deserves?
“Top sirloin coulotte tastes like a New York [strip] with better marbling.” —Sean Brasel, Meat Market
“Skirt steak and hanger steak. They both have huge flavor and are perfect if you rest them properly and slice against the grain.” —Rolando Anoceto, City Cellar
Tips for the Perfect Steak
1. “When shopping for steaks, bright red is not better,” says Okeechobee Steak house owner Ralph Lewis. “Darker meat is more tender and has more flavor.”
2. “Make sure your [cooking] surface is hot enough to develop a good char and caramelization,” says City Cellar executive chef Rolando Anoceto.
3. “Basting a steak takes the flavor to the next level,” says Cut 432 chef Bernardo Carvalho. “It’s a secret to making restaurant-quality proteins.”
4. “Good steak takes time,” says III Forks executive chef Tommy Nevill. “So, let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes.” For an optimally juicy steak, undercook it slightly, let the meat rest, and then flash it in the oven or on a skillet prior to serving.