John Wayne ate steak.
What? I watch Good Eats too.

Anyway…. Steak. The best food ever. Sadly… no one knows how to buy a steak any more. These geniuses look for the cheapest crap that’s solid red that they can find. No wonder when they do go out for a mediocre steak they’re all like “WOW!” and I’m like “Really? You call THIS a steak?”

So it literally blows people’s minds when I pick up a steak that’s flaked in fat and $8 per lb.
Not that I can find a steak flaked in fat (aka Marbled) any more since everyone seems to be allergic to fat. 4pack (aka Costco) is about as good as you’re gonna get for marbling these days. Another plus is a nice THICK cut o’ steak. A steak should be NO LESS than 16oz. Or if you don’t eat much, a 16oz steak cut in 1/2 so it retains it’s thickness.

Where’s all this leading? I’m glad you asked. But first… a little lesson in steak: Grading

Top drawer steak houses charge an arm and a leg and a first born child for a steak. This steak is usually Prime. Or at least it should be. And it also should be aged for a long time, probably a week or two (on the bad end) to 60 days (on the good end).

Let’s start with Prime. What does Prime mean? In Canada at least, we have letter grades and then Prime. Letters you’ll see mostly consist of “A”s in varying numbers.
There’s also B, D and E, but it’s meant more for food processors/pet food/etc than the retail market.
In the US, it’s Prime, Choice Select and Standard. Again, most stuff you see is mostly Choice or Select.

So what do all these “A”s mean? The more “A”s it has, the more marbling it has. Marbling is the flecks of fat that are inside the meat muscle. This is an example of a BAD steak:


(Shamelessly stolen from Google Images)

Sadly… it’s the type of steak most geniuses reach for. Why? It’s lean. Lean = BAD. Why? Fat = Flavor!
Here’s an example of a good steak:

(Also stolen from Google Images)

Why is this good? Look at the marbling!
You’ve probably heard of Kobe Beef. You’ve also probably heard of the price tag.
Guess what. That steak above is Kobe. The marbling is the reason behind the price tag.

You’ll never find a steak like that in the supermarket. What you will find however is usually “AA” or “AAA”.
It seems that more and more markets are carrying steaks that are damn near “A” grade, which is sad.

Here’s a chart that I again stole from Google Images:

Here’s a picture from Google Images of what each vague description should look like.

Apparently this is for USDA grades and not Canadian grades. But you get the idea.

So next time you reach for a steak, have a look at it. Does it have marbling?

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