“So, have you ever thought about doing a steak tasting?” was the start of the first emails I’d gotten from Carrie Oliver of Oliver Ranch Company.
I was intrigued, but wasn’t convinced that the taste of steak could go much more beyond the grades of tough Select, affordable Choice and out-of-my-budget Prime. I’ve also been able to pump up the taste and tenderness of Choice steaks by my salting method, a popular post which has swung around the internet several times.
For the next couple of weeks, Carrie and I emailed back and forth, and in each email, she would slightly turn the faucet, letting a small stream of new ideas trickle my way. Opening the floodgates with beef information would have completely overwhelmed me and knocked me over.
I pay as much for a good steak as I do for a bottle of wine, so why not care about its taste, where it’s from and the quality of my beef? If I care about where my vegetables come from, why not my beef? If I care about what chemicals were sprayed on my produce, why not know what the cows were injected with and how they were treated?
Cattle drive at a Colorado ranch
Simply put, the taste of beef is influenced by:
- REGION: A chardonnay from Napa Valley has a different flavor profile than a chardonnay from New Zealand. Climate, geology and soil all influence the grass and grain that are fed to the cattle.
- RANCHERS: Like a winemaker, the quality of pride and skill in producing the best product matters. A small rancher who treats his cattle humanely will have better tasting beef. And like a winemaker’s art of blending and aging, a rancher’s special blend of feed and aging matters.
- BREED: Doesn’t a pinot noir taste different from a cabernet? Well, a Holstein tastes different than a Black Angus.
If the wine analogy doesn’t ring with you, let’s talk coffee. In the pre-Starbucks days, there was regular, decaf and Juan Valdez. Nowadays, we’ve got Fair Trade Certified, Sumatra, shade-grown, Kenyan, Ethiopian and Indonesian. Same with beef – flavor and quality go way beyond Select, Choice and Prime.
Okay, so I get that steaks taste different and hey, now that I’m thinkin’ about it…maybe that’s the reason I consistently buy my steaks at one market and not the other. Hmmmm…..
But my biggest revelation was yet to come. (Keep reading for a free drawing of an Artisan Steak Tasting Pack)
Artisan Steak Tasting
Last Thursday, Carrie flew down from Toronto and treated a group of 15 of us to a fabulous artisan steak tasting. Carrie led us through tasting six different steaks from small ranchers.
Each steak only seasoned with kosher salt and was quickly grilled rare. The steaks were numbered and it was a blind tasting held at Chefs On The Loose, a brand spankin’ new cooking school in Tampa, Florida.
A big thanks to Chefs On The Loose for hosting us.
Carrie asks if anyone is a vegetarian to raise their hands. Okay, maybe not, but she’s seen here enlightening the group on why being conscious of where your beef comes from matters.
This is just SOME of the steaks. 15 of us ate ALMOST ALL OF IT. omg, we are such fat pigs cows.
Carrie, Jeffrey and Chef Eddie wonder how in the heck we are going to drink 22 bottles of wine at our artisan steak tasting.
Yeah, we opened every single bottle of wine, but only had the wine AFTER the tasting, as wine would affect the taste of the steaks. To clear the palate, we had slices of green apples between each steak. The steaks were seasoned only with kosher salt.
Chefs Laura and Eddie whispers, “who invited the goofball who keeps snappin pics of the steak, telling the meat to ‘work it, baby. look good for the camera. come on beef, gimmee some attitude!'”
Carrie leads the group on how to rate and describe each steak by singing a hymn 😉
In the foreground, food writer Greg and Ritz Carlton restaurant manager, Laurent, discuss changing their careers to become professional steak tasters…as host Laura slices the next round of steaks. James is in the background stealing bites of steak.
Artisan Steak Tasting Language
To help us find words to describe the sensory experience of steak tasting, here is a chart from Carrie. She started the Artisan Beef Institute to educate consumers and industry professionals:
The Artisan Steak Taste Test Results
N-Bar Ranch, Dave Workman from Montana
- Breed: 100% Black Angus, dry aged minimum 14 days
- Tasting Notes: Well balanced, tastes like a good steakhouse steak, interesting but no big wow. Straight-forward, nice bite.
Kobe Beef America Ranchers from Holdrege Nebraska
- Breed: 50% Wagyu, 50% Black Angus. Wagyu is the famous Japanese beer fed, hand massaged cattle. It was brought to the U.S. in 1976 and crossbred with Angus. Wet aged minimum 21 days
- Tasting Notes: Sweet, savory, umami, dark, robust, bold. Melts in your mouth, hands down the group’s favorite. This stuff retails for $50+ a pound and would be considered Prime-Plus. It’s really a superb meat, but personally not my favorite. I’m not melt-in-mouth steak girl – I’d rather have a beefy good sirloin instead of a buttery filet mignon. Even though it’s expensive, if you’re looking to try Kobe beef, Oliver Ranch does sell it much cheaper than any other retailer.
Robert L. Beechinor, 3 Brand Cattle Company from Bakersfield California
- Breed: Holstein-Friesian
- Tasting Notes: Meaty, pleasant, subtle, softer flavor. No big wow. Flavor faded quickly, didn’t last throughout chew.
Elliott & Ferris Families from Front Range Region, Ft. Morgan, CO
I must have missed photographing their beef, but here’s a photo of the families!
- Breed:Charolais/Charolais Cross
- Tasting Notes: Bright, sweet, balanced, full-flavored and filled mouth. I loved this meat – flavors changed throughout chew, it was rich and savory. This was one of my favorites and definitely Carrie’s favorite – she described it as “fabulous umami, gimme more!”
Amazin Grazin from Manatee, Florida
- Breed: Braburn (crossbreed between Brahman and Hereford), very young cattle, less than 10 months old, fed only milk and grass, no grain
- Tasting Notes: Feral, complex, very gamey, like mackerel. This steak had a very distinct flavor, characteristic of only grass (no grain at all) fed cows. Grass fed beef is also much more lean than grain-finished, perfect for people who are concerned with fat content. This is definitely an adventurous steak, fun to try.
Estancia from Uruguay
- Breed: Hereford, only grass fed, no grain
- Tasting Notes: Deeply complex, broody, mushroomy, earthy, iron, roquefort. Again, because it’s only grass fed, it’s a very lean meat. HOWEVER, lean DOES NOT equal tough and chewy. This grass-fed beef tasted incredibly different from Amazin’ Grazin. I would have never guessed that this steak was this lean – on the traditional USDA rating, this would have been graded as Select, but wow, the tenderness and big, deep flavor of the meat really surprised me.
My big revelation
I didn’t care for the big-super-fancy expensive Kobe-style, Wagyu beef. It was good, don’t get me wrong. I’d never turn down a Kobe-style steak. But my style is big, beefy, nice chew. Heh. Makes me a cheaper date. But guess what…these were some of the very best steaks that I had ever tasted in my life. None of them were rated Prime. They were all Choice or Select cuts. So my big revelation was that quality was not just about Prime, Choice or Select. Flavor had so much to do with region, climate, diet and care. Knowing where your beef comes from is important – wouldn’t you rather support a small artisan rancher who takes pride in their beef?
Oliver Ranch Company is out to carve a new map for the beef industry, catering to people who enjoy discovering the specific flavor profiles of what they enjoy in steaks and connecting consumer to small ranchers.
If you’re interested in having your own artisan steak tasting, Oliver Ranch Company has a Taster’s Pack that includes 4 steaks, each from a different rancher. You can try this tasting test yourself – and include 1 or 2 steaks from your local supermarkets just to compare. Make sure your tasting is a blind taste test, so that your feedback is absolutely fair! I think you’ll be really surprised with what you’ll experience. If you have any questions, you can ask them here in the comments, or email Carrie at email@example.com.
The grand finale – a free Artisan Steak Tasting Pack!
Baby, all you got to do is comment below. Carrie is giving away a free Artisan Steak Tasting Pack. We’ll do a random drawing of unique commenters on Sunday, November 9th. I apologize to my dear international friends, this contest is only for U.S. and Canada residents, as international shipping of beef would be too difficult.
The four styles included in the Artisan Steak Tasting Pack
Dry-Aged Charolais-Cross, Front Range Region, CO, Elliott & Ferris Family Ranches
Dry-Aged 100% Black Angus, Russell Country, MT, N-Bar Ranch, Dave Workman
Wet-Aged Holstein-Friesian, Imperial Valley, CA, 3 Brand Cattle Company, Bob Beechinor
Wet-Aged Wagyu-Angus Cross, Select Kobe Beef America Ranches, directed by R.L. Freeborn
pack normally sells for $84.95, you get a 8-12 ounce NY Strip cut of each style.
Just comment below and I’ll enter you in the drawing. If you want to Tweet or blog about this contest, I’ll give you an extra entry – just come back and comment again for your bonus entry!
Contest over! Come see the winner...
How to turn cheap “choice” steaks into gucci “prime” steaks (yes, it really does work – Carrie tested the salting method with us on several of the steaks)
This is an amazing and it looks soo yummy….
Love it !
My Dad told me a long time ago that anything worth doing was worth doing right. He also said,”anything you have passion for doing, you should view as an art.” I believe people who really enjoy cooking and eating are artists. Selecting the perfect wine, the perfect meat, the perfect veggie or potato all make the meal that much more enjoyable. I hate it when a place has greasy fries with their steak. I value your an Carrie Oliver’s information. Bon Apetite!
Mmmm beef. In my experience grass fed beef tends to beat out grain fed for the money, but I like that really gamey flavor!
We have ordered the tasting pack several times for parties and it was an exceptional hit. The beef is delicious and the novelty of the beef tasting makes it all the more festive. I highly recommend Oliver Ranch!
this is so yummy , My mouth wa watering!! I hope i AM not too late for the drawing 🙂
Beef tasting … who knew? You get to do some of the coolest things, Jaden!
Wonderful! I would love to be able to dig into such a great variety of well-raised beef! It’s nice to see the comparison of grass-fed with grain-fed; I can’t seem to get enough of the lean grass-fed beef…such a big flavor without the fat!
Mmmmmm… Steak sounds great right now! I’ve always been a Ribeye/DelMonico fan, medium-rare please! 🙂
Yummy! We love steaks at our house and I’ve never paid attention to what kinda beef I’m eating! I would love to win this prize package
Tweeted: Vegetarians ignore – Meat eaters make sure you check out Steamy Kitchen’s steak give away before tomorrow: http://tinyurl.com/54s2k8
I lurv me steak.
Ah beef and comment number 447. We bought a 1/4 of a grass fed Beltie last winter, and we like it, as long as we trim most of the fat off. It is very grassy, reminiscent of lamb when the fat hits the grill. So we are looking to try some other breeds and see the difference. In fact, we just co-purchased a Dexter calf with my brother and he is raising it on grass (he raises organic free range chickens and pheasant too), however, I will have to wait a year or more to try it out! Go BEEF!
Thank you for this great information. I have told many of my friends and family about your site.
I work in the Stanford School of Medicine and I would be thrilled to present a steak tasting with the grad students and postdocs who work so hard in our cancer research laboratory.
Win or lose, I will pass along the link to this article.
Thanks again — Howard
that’s very interesting. i like the salting technique…
I learned so much from the article and I already love the beef. It is still hard for my 4x year old brain to understand how beef can be so different from steak to steak, but it is. Thanks Carrie!
I hope I win the free steaks as my school loans have relegated me to Top Ramen for the past year.
I am excited to try these myself, I am giving these as a gift.
great post! i love Kobe beef so i would love to see how some of these rank against Kobe beef in Kobe (the best, imho). this will keep me busy for months! thank you!
This was the most thourough post I’ve ever seen about beef. I’m blown away by all of this information. Thank you, Jaden! I’m totally tweeting this…
Oh yummy! I wanna do this : )
This is strangely alluring & appropriate since the first post I remember on SK was the cheap-to-Gucci steak post. I’m excited to hear of Florida ranch and will investigate if I can get a hold of some of those. Thanks for sharing this experience!
Those sound so yummy! Didn’t really think about the flavor component of steak so much as the texture before reading this.
Steak tasting parties, a great new reason to fire up the Primo Oval XL, which we call Big Daddy. I’ve always pushed for quality in beef over quality, but Las Vegas, NV doesn’t give us many options. Great Info.!
This whole post was full of so much info. I do eat only grass fed meat that is free of antibiotics and growth hormones and I would really love this tasting pack to continue learning about this.
Proof you CAN teach an old foodie new tricks. The tasting chart is off the wall helpful; I knew steak differed based on feed type and type of cow, but I had no idea how other factors, like seasons, mattered. This is pure foodie geek heaven. Thanks for the post and the new education.
Oh. My. God. Died and went to heaven post! I am a carnivore with a smokin’ dark hot love affair with beef. Just reading your post in all it’s detail made me swoon. I think I need a cigarette….
Very interesting post – but love that some grass fed beef was included in your taste test.
Very cool, love a good steak with a bit of a chew, but lasting flavor! Kobe is good but sometimes a little mushy, not exactly buttery. To try samples from different regions would open a whole know avenue for us! Maybe Publix no more!
Thanks Jaden, always enjoy your posts!
Arlene in Tampa
WOW I have got to get some of these steaks!!!!!
How exciting! And mouth-watering!
What a great event!! Great pictures and review. I love steak and would love to try this.
wowwie! exciting. Hope to win. We live in a good beef country but around here no one ages their beef leaving it a bit tough and lack of true flavor
This was a great post. Enjoyed reading the results and hope that I get the chance to taste them. :>)
I love your posts! They are so funny, I love this post especially. I love steak and totally agree with you on why not finding out how the cows are raised, their breed and how the flavor and texture develops with steak because of it. Especially when we are willing to pay for it.
I’ve taste-tested dry age steak and regular choice steak in class before. That’s as far as I’ve gone with taste testing steak. My chef was the one who dry aged the steak himself. It was pretty neat. I have to say that after I tasted it side by side. I definitely can tell the difference with dry aged. I craved it after that class.
Have fun and continue the good work!
Very entertaining and informative article… I’ve been wanting to try to find some different sources for steak.
Re: the wagyu-black angus cross — it would be nice to know what type of Japanese cattle was crossed with Angus. The word wa-gyu translate to “Our (meaning Japanese) cattle”. But there are different breeds of cattle in Japan, and Japanese foodies are hyper-interested in every detail of what-where-when-how about their beef, so much so that, in restaurants serving high-priced beef, diners are shown the certificate which accompanies each beef carcass as assurance of authenticity.
And, yes, the various Japanese beef differ from each other.
Thanks for the great article!
As usual, your posts leave me salivating one way or the other!
Hey Jaden, I linked here from my blog. I love steak!
Great blog and great recipes. I’m off to try the eggs with oyster sauce and chilis.
i love steak!! 🙂
found your site yesterday while looking for no knead bread, rising in oven @ moment! am getting tired of eating lobster every nite, (husband a lobsterman, and price is very low these days) how about i try those contest steaks?
I found your blog on a link from Pioneer Woman. Beautiful photos. I’ll be back to check out more. I’d love to be entered in your steak tasting giveaway
Wow, I’m envious *drools* This is just more confirmation that I could never become a vegetarian 😉
Ooh, I hope I can win the tasting pack!
i’m insanely jealous…that’s like the meatfest to crown all meatfests…
Sounds like fun — how about a steak tasting with local beef?
This sounds so fabulous! I love steaks and have some preferred cuts but would love to be more educated in the ways all different factors affect the flavor and texture.
Wow! They all look so good. I have been trying to find locally raised grass fed beef with no success. I have in fact had better luck in finding bison. Still, I feel sure I would enjoy the more complex flavors.
I’m so that I’m not a vegetarian. All those steaks look delicious!
I love cow. Strip steak is my current favorite, but I am easily swayed by filet…or anything with herb butter on it. yumm.
Wow, who knew there were so many choices. I like to think I have a somewhat sophisticated palate…but…WOW.
I have always wanted to try Kobe beef, and this just may be my chance.
Pick me, pick me!
I tweeted about the contest, enter me once more! Thank you!
I’m so interested in trying out these different kinds of beef!!
Wow, I’ve never tried all sorts of beef at the same time so that I could compare like this. Must be really cool!
Forget wine tasting, I wanna go to a steak tasting party. This post was mouthwatering!
pick me, love beef, it all sounds yummy! lucky lucky you . . .
Sounds like a great time, my wife and I just purchased a 1/4 of side of beef from a small ranch near Fresno. Black Angus grain fed, it would be great to compare with the tasting pack?? I am new to your site and like what I see,
Ooooh! Definitely sign me up for this! I am a new(ish) foodie and would love to try these!
I have iron deficiency and it’s one obvious reason why I love steaks so much (that’s what my dr. said) . I’ve always wanted to try Kobe Beef. Maybe one of these days.
Actually, your salting techniques was how I discovered your blog some time ago- I think I’ve forwarded that link to most of my friends once I discovered how well it worked!
And this is perfect timing: I’ve been curious about how grain fed compares to grass fed, and how the different types of aging affects the flavor.
I’ve never been a big fan of steak, but that could be because I’ve never had one that actually tastes like anything. Wanna change my mind? I’d love to win that pack… my husband would be especially pleased. 😉
I love steaks. I particularly like your post on salting the not-so-prime steaks. I hope I can still join the raffle for the steaks. Thanks..
Thanks, this was really educational. I’ll be sure to keep reading this site.
No, seriously though, nice. Reminds me when I used to eat steak twice a day (like everyone else) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
This was an amazing idea! I’m definitely a great dinner party idea!
Interesting article! I am interested in trying dry-aging beef at home, looked around and found your blog. Now I am a fan!
Wow–this would be so much fun. My husband and I recently started to learn more about grass-fed beef vs. grain-fed beef and it’s really interesting. We’re hoping to order some locally raised beef this spring–and can’t wait to visit their farms to see exactly how they are raised. Crossing my fingers!
I’m with you. I much prefer a NY Strip to filet. Can’t wait to try your salting method.
I tried your salting method a week or two ago on a cheap steak and it worked fabulously. I haven’t been cooking with steaks much lately but this article makes me want to dig into one now!
I am sooooo jealous! It’s a lot of information to absorb but facinating. Here’s hoping I win.
Oh man! Now I really need to eat some steak!!!
Mmmmm….I am all about the grass-fed beef!
David: yes, all were ny strips. as for aging, some were dry aged, some wet. different aging length depending on rancher.
Was every steak the exact same cut of meat? Also curious about the influence of aging on the meat.
I didn’t eat meat for the longest time because I didn’t like what I found in the supermarkets…and all those stories about the feedlots and horrible conditions for the cows! But, then I started to discover good beef…not too hard here in Northern California. But it wasn’t until I decided to try one of Carrie’s Oliver Ranch taste packs that I felt ok about eating meat again on a regular basis. The taste pack is fun , we tried it with friends and had a blast (also got very full). Then I met Carrie and talked to her about the beef, she is so amazingly knowledgable…a true beef geek! I had never met one before! Try it you will love it.
Count me in! I would love to participate as I have a food blog and I love steak.
Check out my blog: http://themerlinmenu.blogspot.com
This blog was so interesting – especially since my husband & I raise cattle in Nebraska. I can’t wait to share this all with several of our beef producing friends – especially over a steak testing!
Ok my mouth is watering and all I want is a steak! What i wouldn’t give for a steak to magically appear in front of me. Looks like a lot of fun!
OMG — Wow do I want to try a steak tasting! Crossing my fingers and toes you’ll pick my name!
I first found your blog because a friend sent me the link to salt your steak before cooking. I bookmarked you that day and read regularly ever since. Wouldn’t it be cool to invite that friend over for a steak tasting!
Oh, please, please, please – pick me! This sounds like a blast.
WOW! good blog prize! can’t wait! TFS….gina
Regarding the tasting guide, if anyone’s interested in a copy, please send me an email at carrie (at) oliverranch (dot) com.
We also provide the tasting guide with our artisan steak tasting party boxes.
You make the steaks saound to die for. My mouth is watering.
Very interesting. When I worked for one of the major cereal companies I was on the first sensory panel (that’s what taste testing was called) started in the manufacturing facility. We used similar terminology and, as with this test, explained it during training to people joining the panel using a similar wine and/or cheese analogy. I must admit that I’d never considered it as relates to beef, before. I’ll have to keep your checksheets on hand for future use. Cereals and grains, wine, cheese, and now beef… my palate is certainly becoming educated.
That is a great idea — way more exciting than cheese or chocolate or another tasting. Steaks all around!
…lick..yummmm…sorry keyboard sunk in drool …cannot type more. Interesting idea steak tasting who would have thought of that !!!
Interesting! Who would have thunk there was such a thing as a beef tasting event?
Tweet Tweet ~ http://twitter.com/momof2dancers
Oh cool, what an amazing contest!
We love steak! Thanks for having a contest.
I’m excited to try the salting technique!
Who wouldn’t love a steak tasting? I’m so jealous you got to attend a steak tasting, it’s practically my dream come true! I love the website!
My husband loves steak — please pick me!
Don’t know too much about steak, so would love this opportunity 🙂 Thanks for your post!
I’m a ribeye girl myself, but i totally agree with what, where and how for beef, i have been telling my friends that for years! i turned my BF onto grass fed, not only for its leanness (is that a word?) but for the almost gameyness (again word?) of it. It has such a sweet, earthly taste and the texture….. any how even if i don’t get picked i might have to pick up the tasting pack anyway!
I’m with you … sirloin over filet any day. Too soft is not what steak is about.
If I wasn’t busy drooling, I might have learned something from that post. I’m a better hands-on learner anyway. 😉
Excellent post! So informative to me!
Steak = yum. Artisan steak = YUM!
And the good conscience from supporting humanely treated animals doesn’t hurt, either. 😉
It is simply amazing to me that in this day of specialized this and gourmet that, that this prime factor in our food supply had been ignored and neglected for oh so long. People will agonize over the smallest of details. You need to learn a new vocabulary to order a cup o’ Joe, or a glass of wine, Heck even beer has gone gourmet/imported/microbrewed, and yet steak, glorious steak, the icon of a weekend BBQ has remained just a hunk of meat. Thank you Carrie for spreading the word, and thank you Jaden for sharing this article. Since more than one cook works at your favorite restaurant maybe it’s more about what steak they are cooking than who’s cooking it. Maybe an event like this can help each of us decide what makes “great steak” to each of us.
Thank you for the crash course on beef sources..breed, etc. … and most of all for sharing your salting technique. I wonder if that’s what restaurants use as well!….will surely try it this week-end!!!!…rain. sleet or snow!!!!
Slap the horns of ’em and put ’em on a plate! I loves me a good rare steak. I remember learning that despite all of it’s promotion at restaurants as the premier cut, Filet Mignon, while tender, was only “eh” in flavor when compared to my fav cut, rib-eye.
ok, I’m “game”/Just returned home from Kansas City without eating any brisket or steak though I’m certain it’s the bomb there. In rural Indiana many of us raise our own for market but we don’t and I never, never see any stores featuring local raised product but i think we’re about 20 years behind the times. Thanks for posting this unique event. My last tasting was roasted heirloom tomatoes so this would be a great treat!
Thanks so much for the salting technique! What a difference in the taste . Iam anxious to try out the chart too. Fun stuff, alot better than an olive oil tasting party for sure.
Great info re: the salting technique…can’t wait to try it.
Loved the education on different beef sources. I always thought what you had thought, marbeling=tender&flavor. I always wondered what was the big deal about Argentine steakhouses…must be the grassfed cows. It’s great to know that there are some dedicated folks right here at home raising great steaks…I must get my hands on some. Thanks for the education. oh, and the contest…great prize!
I’m drooling already and ready to fire up the grill and chow down. I guess I’d better invite my very best friends to share with.
cleek demands beef!
YUUUMMM! Do you have any suggestions/resources for finding local artisanal steaks? Thanks for another amusing and informative post!
Oh, wow–doing this at home would make a perfect date night!
Yum….my mouth has been watering just looking at all of the photos. Love steak.
You would make my husband soooo happy.
Beef. My grandma has always thrown hunks of raw beef slightly salted in my mouth as I ran through the kitchen. That is how beef should be eaten. I crave that taste just as much as a crazed woman can crave chocolate. I am pretty jealous that I didn’t get to experience this event. Sounds delicious. Gotta love the beef!
Oh, that was an awesome post!! I’m going to try and find that Bakersfield steak,I want to support local, but I would love to try them all.
Some girls have all the luck! You have the coolest job 🙂 I can’t wait to have one of these on my own.
This is the best article on beef tasting…I’d steak my reputation on it!
What a great post! It took me a few minutes to stop drooling on my keyboard. 🙂
I have to say that this is the first time I heard the term “Artisan” steak. Very interesting post. Thanks for sharing it with us (and I hope I win so I can have my own steak tasting).
Great Idea. I’ll get the Webber ready…..
I love steak. This is a great idea.
I ADORE a good steak! These sound over the top of what I could ever have.
What an interesting idea. I’m veggie, but the hubby would love to taste test some steaks!
I’ve ordered grass fed beef online and really couldn’t tell the difference. I blame my lame palate.
when growing up in mexico, the beef was delicious and never tasted quite as good in later years, stateside. i think i now understand why. i love your information. by the way your no knead bread piece inspired me and i am on loaf number 5. your helper convinced me i could do it also! and i kiss the bread good night just like cutie does.
There’s nothing like a great steak, some kosher salt and my Weber!
Since we are big beef eaters in our household and the choices aren’t always good where we live to buy meat, this would be a good way to try something good so that we could have another option.
This was great info. Like mine with a little resistance, meaning not the super tender cuts like kobe, etc.
Kat, if you’re serious re: x-mas party, I will set you up for this 🙂 Carrie
You would think that reading this after lunch would not have made me drool like a wolf staring down a chained lamb…..but oh how badly I want to go home and fire up the grill for 15 pounds of rare seared beef!
Wow – a steak tasting! Quite ingenious. 🙂
So I should never have read this at work, because now they want to do this for our x-mas party (not that I’m complaining :))
Oh my! My boyfriend would kill for this package!
Oh yes, please!!!!! How divine they look!
oh my! This looks sooo good 🙂
How dare I ever think I could be come a vegetarian…
Oh! My brother in law and husband would love this! Thanks for doing this! Regardless of the outcome the information is invaluable.
It looks real good. I bet it’s tasty too
Jaden, I am so down for some artisan steaks. Probably one of your best posts, after the Gucci steak one. 🙂 Thanks for the info, and I’m crossing my fingers to win that pack. 🙂
You are so lucky to have gone to such an event! Wow!!! I will definitely pay more attention to the beef I eat now. I had no idea such a huge range of flavors and mouthfeels could exist.
MMM, if only I can convince the wife that steak is great!
Great article! I’m hungry now! Please enter me.
Eye opening write up. I never thought to compare beef to wine/coffee/cigars but it totally makes sense! While this is a comparison of some “special” beef, now I would really like to see a comparison of what I can get at my local Vons/Safeway etc…
hmmm… now that I think about it, I really didn’t enjoy the 94%/6% ground sirloin burritos I did last night. I may now know why! and on that note – I really DO like the organic ground beef at Costco!!
This sounds like a really fun date night!
I’m glad to see the Colorado steak comes from a family business, not the huge conglomerate of Montrose Beef. Buying small means better quality, usually. 🙂
Steak tasting is a fantastic idea! I’m a steak girl, give me a big juicy chunk of meat any day!
The steak tasting idea is brilliant. Lately, I’ve been increasingly preoccupied with how the meat I eat is raised and the channels by which it gets to consumer- moi. And of course, I adore a great steak – the next best thing to nirvana as far as I am concerned! Especially with lots of fabulous wine…
Artisan steak tasting??? Count me IN!
I can’t imagine a better way to spend an evening. I have a bad habit of splurging on an excellent cut of meat that I can’t really afford from time to time, but a plethora of steaks in side by side comparison sounds even better.
What an interesting post. Now if I only had a butcher in my area besides the super market. Not much of a choice on what type of beef you get there.
Dream job indeed – sign me up also! 🙂
Hooray! Sign me up.
Oh my, a steak taste tester? Sounds like a dream job!!
Great information, thank you. Now I’m craving a good juicy steak, not the cruddy take out pizza we’re having. I hope I win.
great article, thanks!
Wow – look at all the comments!!!
For me this represents a great opportunity for a Texas gal to experience tasty beef from other areas of the country. As part of our intent to only eat responsibly raised and humanely treated protein a tasting party would be a fabulous way to expand a bit and help introduce some friends to the idea. Good for the industry and good to eat – a can’t lose combination. Thanks, Jaden!
I am a steak lover, and I know the steak I’ve had in Michigan tastes a lot different than here in Florida. I would love to do a side by side by side tasting, and with wine, wow. This sounds so interesting. Thanks for sharing and the photos are great! Yummm.
Jaden, I’ve been using your salting trick to great effect on cheaper cuts of steak, but I’d love to sink my teeth into the real thing here. Count me in.
And, I’ll play the blogging game too.
Blogged it, here.
*Drool* I just had some local Texas (La Grange) grass fed delicious sirloin at a lunch cooking class today and it has my tastes peaked for beef.
I still need to try your Gucci cooking steak method.
I love steak!! Cooking method is so important too!!
Salting????? Wow, I can not wait to try this!
never thought of steak tasting, but that makes sense…
twittered it! 🙂
Mmmm, steak. I never eat it since I am a poor grad student, so my mom always makes me some when I visit. 🙂
I’m not often lucky enough to be having steak, but when I do I always use your salting method, and it’s just awesome. There’s nothing more special than a perfectly cooked and tasty piece of steak.
Loved your very informative article, especially the characteristics of the various ranch’s steaks. I’ve eaten Kobe beef in the Far East and while it could be cut with a fork, the flavor of the beef itself was lacking.
Wow, and I though Kobe would be the winner, looks like you had great fun, Suzie
Nice post. In need of quality steak tonight… Those pictures looked so good.
WOW — I don’t even want to think about how amazing this would be. I will put it out of my mind!! The best tasting idea I’ve ever heard of!!
What a great prize! Nothing better than a good steak!
Oh my, a ribeye with good S&P would be awesome! And this would go great with a wine and cheese tasting…the best of all worlds!
Great piece on Steak, we can definitely use it. I agree that all you need to season one is salt and a little oil and a grill. I am always confused by which one to get at the store. I do have to say, as a regular or at least a twice year eater of Montana beef, it is GREAT! We would LOVE to win this!!!!!!
An impressive post – if I decide to buy online, I know where to come now to do the research.
looks great i would love to try this
I’ve been using your salting method since you first published it– the family loves it. Now, reading this entry has me drolling though. You’re quite lucky.
Oooh! I’d love a steak-tasting kit. I wonder if I could manage to make this experiment double-blind?
Steak is amazing! I am craving it now after reading about it!
ze steak! yummmm
OMG steak. These steaks look beautiful. I love the idea of artisinal beef. Everyone should know so much about their ingredients!
Oh baby. We use the salting method every time we make steak now (since I’m a cheap-ass) and I would love to have an artisan steak tasting party. Pick me, random number generator, pick me!
this is such a lovely post, so well inform so well written! thanks Jaden!
As usual, your photos are amazing, Jaden! I am just glad the steaks “worked it” for you! I have hosted wine tastings and chocolate tastings, but never a steak tasting…what a fabulous idea! I would love to host a steak tasting party!
I tried your salt steak method and the steak was incredible. Do you think this would work on lean meats like elk or buffalo?
Keep up the wonderful posts…I am hooked!
P.S. Did the group really drink 22 bottles of wine? 🙂
I’ve been to wine tastings. I’ve been to glass tastings (the type of glass will change the taste of the wine, really). And now I need to add a steak tasting to the list. Thanks for the info.
I’m with you. Filet is nice but I love a good skirt steak. Thanks for another great give away
Hooray for steak!!
Oh wow, I’ve never heard of a steak tasting but it looks like fun!
Great post Jaden! I would love to have a steak tasting too!
Very nice article Jaden! Looks like a lot of fun.
I sure would love those steaks 🙂
Who knew there were so many artisan steaks? Amazing.
I have been really wanting a good steak lately. Hope I win!
As a carnivore, I feel that this is the best idea ever ^_^
I really need a steak break!!
A steak tasting event with my hands. Now that’s how a man does it.
I just love steak! Great Giveaway and good luck everyone
Looks great! Too many of my friends around here are vegetarians, so I would have to invite people from work 🙂
I went back and read your salting steak post. Hilarious! I love your diagrams! 🙂
This sounds delicious
A steak tasting is a great idea. I could definitely get down with that.
What an interesting revelation!!!
I grill steaks every weekend (its either a habit or a hobby, havent figured that one out yet). I would love to try some new meat to compare and contrast with what i have already tasted. I’ve been to Perini’s Ranch in Buffalo Gap, TX and aspire to one day cook a steak like they do there.
I would love to win this I love steak and my fiancee is a executive 5 star chef…all the different ways he could cook this yummy.
Yum! These would go wonderfully on my new grill!
Count me in, seeing the differences in flavor profiles got me all ready to grill!
A horizontal steak tasting… what a great idea!
What a wonderful idea! I bet you had a great and fulfilling (grin) time!!
I’ve always known that the old axiom “you are what you eat” applied to the meat protein we consume, and as a result tended to by my steaks or roasts from butchers who had a product line that I consistently enjoyed.
Oliver Ranch Company has some interesting ideas and a new approach to viewing our beef steaks, and it’s a pretty simple concept….almost a no-brained when you think about it.
Just as each vineyard has it’s micro-climate and soil characteristics, each ranch has the same attributes of live stock, grass, feed and water. The beef produced from this unique set of attributes is distinctly different in taste and texture.
Frank Perdue was one of the first to take steps in branding poultry, and was eminently successful as a result. The poultry industry, unfortunately never really followed on and developed the micro branding approach.
New Zealand Lamb picked up on it somewhat, but what the Oliver Ranch folks are doing is fantastic. It will be interesting to see if the beef industry can learn from this, and provide a win-win situation for them and the consumer.
Keep up the great work…
This was a great post! A good beefy steak is my favorite comfort food! If you are shipping to Hawaii, then add my name in!
beef. its whas for dinner!
Very nice. Good idea.
My husband would love you forever if I won!
My grandfather was a beef farmer and taught me the delicacies of this amazing meat. A steak tasting would be a dream come true for me!
My husband and I love to eat steak, never tried some of the ones you have offered in the giveaway. They sound delicious! Thanks for the chance to win!
This was an outstanding post (I’d never considered a steak tasting before) but will be thinking about it until I get the chance to do so!
I have spent some time in Brazil and grass fed and free roaming cattle is beyond compare. I would love to win this.
I have been in Argentina 5 times, and served some outstanding Parilla and Bife Chorizo….all from grass fed beef who live out their lives on the rich Pampas grass, have normal sex lives. and never see a feed lot or a syringe full of some veterinary cocktail designed to make them bulge and marble in all the right places. Just remembering plate after plate of Medium Rare beef….time to raid the frig!
And then there is Brazilian Churrascaria……
Twittered it! ^_^
This sounds so interesting! I’d watched a documentary about grass fed beef and was really interested in trying some of those steaks!
the steaks sound great
hmm, I never thought about a beef tasting. I wish I has something like that around my area.
I hope I drew over some new traffic. I retweeted the link for you! Good luck!
Sounds like fun! I would love to do a steak tasting with my friends and family.
Great post, Jaden!
I want me some beef!
This looks like such an awesome experience. Sign me up for a beef overdose (as if there could be such a thing)!
Another Fantastic post, Jaden! Steak tasting, Hum… Who knew? Only you! :o)
We are so fortunate as your readers to have you to Live these events through. So thanks for delivering the Goods!
And, thank you for entering me into your Contest – not since we left Monterey, (at John Pisto’s Whaling Station on Cannery Row) have we enjoyed decent steak so this tasting pack would be QUITE WELCOME at our home in North Carolina!
My best to you always. Health, happiness and continued succcess,
Jaden, This looked like such a fun evening and something that you could get all the “manly” men in your life to attend. My mouth watered looking at the pictures, for sure!
Wow! this looks awesome! You were so lucky…Fort Morgan, CO is not far from me, I want to check some of their beef out. Thanks for the information
Interestingly enough, I don’t really prefer prime since it tastes a bit too oily for me. Over the weekend I ordered filet mignon while hubby ordred the sirloin, to my surprise I actually preferred the sirloin because it’s beefier in taste.
Nice comparison of beef and wine but I thought wine serves as a palate cleanser? Never thought apple will do the trick as well.
Very interesting! I’m curious as to how one would go about finding the origins of steaks purchased in the grocery store. Would the employees at the meat counter know?
Jaden, I’m so happy you posted about this. I have often wondered why people don’t seem to care where their meat comes from. Especially with the recent beef recalls across North America. I’m really fortunate to have a butcher who raises his own cattle, naturally without hormones etc. and then sells it out of a retail shop. We know where our meat comes from from beginning to end. Obviously that’s not possible for a lot of people but finding a good, knowledgeable butcher is a good place to start. It is actually more affordable than my grocery store and the quality is so much better. And now, I am officially off my soapbox 😉 Oh, and lucky you to have been able to participate in this!
Oooh, that looks like fun!
Yea, I’m not a kobe beef gal either. It’s great, but it lacks excitement for me. I’m definitely a rib eye person – love the marbling, the fat gives the meat the extra flavor, and it’s super moist when cooked properly. Does that make me cheap and easy?? =P
What a great party that was. I would love to compare the artisinal beef to the “prime” beef that is available at our local grocery store.
I hope this isn’t heresy, but in a comments section – Why not?
Here’s my question:
How does this grass fed beef which looks nice and lean compare to BUFFALO?
I’ve had buffalo, and it’s lean and juicy and seems to be almost more available than organic, grass fed beef.
Ted Turner (the largest private landowner in the US)(Yes, that Ted Turner) has a chain of restaurants that feature buffalo so it getting to the mainstream.
Did somebody say something about a steak?!! I’d love this!
What a great idea – I’d love to throw a dinner party centered around a steak tasting!
Ok, I’ve tweeted it too as michamc 😉
I love learning new things from your blog! I’m not much of a steak guy but this was good stuff. 🙂
What a coincidence, last night we had slow-grilled beef ribs for dinner, and my son proclaimed a-la caveman style: “Cow taste good.”
So any chance to savor good beef – I’m there.
This is great! My boyfriend is a serious steak lover, and I’m a bit of a steak ignoramus, so it’d be a lot of fun to have a tasting, and get me up to speed!
Hey Jaden –
I’m so glad you went into all this detail – and that you made such a point about where the meat is from. We get our beef from a local rancher here in AZ and it is UNBELIEVABLE how much better it is than store-bought. Even the hamburger – people are always shocked when we serve burgers because they just can’t believe how good they are!
An interesting concept – one I hadn’t really considered before. And, I think a ‘beef of the month’ club sounds great. Sign me up!
What a fabulous idea! As a steak lover, would love to win. Thanks for the opportunity!
Found the blog because of the salting info. Thanks a millon!
I just came back from a chilly week in Calgary where beef is what’s for dinner…. and lunch. Even breakfast and midday snacks if you so desire. They have a LOT of land up there and what isn’t being drilled and scraped for oil, is used for cattle.
I decided early on during my trip (first night there!) to do a taste test of my own. I must say that after my hosts implored me to “Try Alberta beef” every night with I have come to a personal conclusion that grass-fed beef is indeed much tastier than grain fed. Plus I got to wash the steaks down with some wonderful Canadian microbrews from Calgary and Vancouver (the bastards know how to get to me!).
So, cheers to our beef eating Canadian friends! Keep all those wonderful cows grazing on the grass up there as long as possible.
And all you other vegitarians out there. C’mon, admit it, beef is what you desire when you go off the wagon for the “one” splurge meal. Even if you don’t, we still think you do.
I lay sick in bed, and steak still sounds good…kinda weird when one can drool over photos of raw meat. such carnivores we are! good to see my birthplace Nebraska cow can still hold it’s own!
Beef: It’s whats for dinner! (I’m wishing!)
Free steaks? Free beef? In this economy?
Thank god I’m NOT vegetarian! Count me in…. how do I get more entries???
Oh, sorry, I was way excited for a minute there … yummm.
Yum! I found your site through the salting method. Will be trying that very soon. Maybe with my winnings from the drawing? 😉
I always under the belief that meat was not photogenic and you’ve proven me wrong. Reading your entry and looking at the photos made my mouth water. Whether or not I win the prize, I will definitely order some myself and have a steak tasting party.
Oh, it has been soooo long since I have had a great steak! I am so jealous!
Fantastic! I love steak, and this sounds wonderful!
I have not had breakfast yet. I should not be reading this.
I know what I’m having for dinner tonight.
Thanks for a beautifully educational post!
How delicious and fun! I wish I could taste that Wagu!
This does sound awfully tasty. It makes me wonder what other types of tastings would be worthwhile. But mostly, it makes me wonder what a steak tasting would be like. Mmmsteak.
Fun idea! I love the idea of a steak tasting and so would my friends. I had not thought about many of the delicate fine points about each steak type. Yes – what the cow eats is sure important, but aging is also important to the flavor.
My husband and I love steak, I think we are the only family in our neighborhood that grills steak all winter (during winter in MN no one goes out unless they have to).
I had the opportunity to enjoy Kobe beef in Kobe this spring. Delicious!
Fantastic writeup, thanks! I do tend to get my beef from Albertson’s instead of Smiths- I wonder if there’s a way to figure out where each gets their meat from. Really interesting to see the grass-fed steaks.
I’ll twitter this post in a mo!
I love your website. I don’t know much about steak until today. can’t wait to try some of your recipes. thanks
Wow, I don’t think I know an adjective sufficient to respond to this. A steak tasting will have to go on my list of things to do. Thanks so much for this post. Now if I could just stop drooling on my keyboard…
Why did I read this at lunch time??? My mouth is watering.
After reading this post, I’m craving steak like never before. I feel so deprived after living on mere Angus all these years. 🙂
Hmmm… steaks! Thanks for sharing this with us – i wish I would have the opportunity to attend a steak tasting
Mmmmm steak… second only to bacon on my scale of tasty meats
Oh wow, and I thought a high-end chocolate tasting would be decadent. A steak tasting would definitely put me over the top for a dinner party idea.
Wow, I wish I could do a tasting like that! I love your salting method and we’ve used it several times since I found it.
This post, again, made me want some red meat!!! 😀
Just tweeted it! http://twitter.com/nandita/status/979142184
Do I get a second chance, now? 😉
I never knew there was a whole Steak Tasting Language! I guess I’ll have to try it out on my free steaks! 😉
You lead a delicious life. This sounds like an incredible dinner party waiting to happen! Fingers crossed that I win!!
YUM. . . What a great idea. Thanks for sharing all the info Jaden. I would love to do a tasting like that.
Gee, I kinda like meat. Great idea! Count me in …
Got a load of fancy grass fed beef jerky to “review” this coming Saturday. Gonna have a load of people over for a tasting. Probably not as thorough as yours, but fun for sure.
Those look fantastic I would love to do a tasting!
Thanks for opening my eyes to the world of steaks. This was an awesome article and hope we will be able to host a steak tasting of our own in the near future.
This food looks great and I’m excited for the chance to try it for free!!!
Steak tasting!!! Why didn’t I think of that.
This is such a great contest and I would love to win those wonderful steaks.
I really enjoy your website. I tried your salt method for the steaks. They came out wonderful. My mouth is watering with your pictures.
Congrats on hostessing a great idea in a steak banquet…with primo steaks…nice work!
We’ve virtually stopped eating beef because of processing problems in the US, however I’d love to give local/small producers a try!
Very interesting post, thanks!
awesome review. these things sounds (and look! nice photos!) amazing.
Fantastic job! And a great idea for the 24/24/24! I was introduced to Kobe steak in Maui, and I have to say it was scrumptuous! I love it!
Those steaks look amazing! <3 steak! =D
All of those pictures made me want a steak badly!
Great looking steaks.
Hmm. I’ve never heard of a steak-tasting. But it does sound quite fun. Mmm. Steak is so yummy.
Oh my goodness. I am so envious. I’ve been on a grass fed beef kick since I bought some grass fed beef steaks at Trader Joes. Unfortunately they stopped carrying it, and i’ve been trying to find a place to get it. Online, shipping costs almost as much as the beef itself. Now if I could only find the best source….
How fun! Very informative and what a great thing to do with some friends!I agree that it would be great to find out what wines to pair with each. 🙂
This sounds to good to be true.
This looks SO yummy Im getting hungry just seeing and reading everything! Please enter me in this contest I would love to win this sampler pack!
Fantastic post . . . I had a chance to try wagyu last year, but like you I think I enjoy steak that has more of a bite. I would be interested in trying some of the grass fed steak. On my way to buy a taster pack right now!
I had a chance to try wagyu in Aust this past summer. Very yummy and a nice treat but otherwise too pricey. Their local meat, especially lamb, is pretty darn good, wagyu aside. Would love to get my paws on that sampler package!!
What a fun evening–Mmmm!
Thanks for the great contest.
What a cool contest ! There’s a certain cowboy in my neighborhood I’m sweet on; sharing that prize with him would help this girl out ; )
Great looking steaks.
I don’t know how you went through so many steaks. We did 3 steaks at my restaurant and I thought I was going to burst afterwards. In Hawaii we also have grass fed beef, I would love to add that to the tasting list and see how it measures up.
I think these look so delcious and so wonderful.
Jaden, my husband saw the big hunks of steak and his eyes went O.O Steak tasting?!? Let’s go!!!!
So… I’m here, entering the giveaway so I can make him go O.O again 😀 Thanks!
thanks for offering a chance to win these awesome steaks. Good quality steaks are a great treat and I would love to get these.
There used to be a store here in Ohio called ‘Woody’s Market’ and they used to dry age their meat. Sadly, they closed several years ago and I miss the dry aged beef. I can remember getting the rib eye steaks and searing them med rare on the grill, all it needed was a little kosher salt & cracked black pepper.
Wowowow makes my mouth water to think of those steaks !!!
Wow, that is a unique way to taste steak. I must try that next time I have some funds or win a certain prize 🙂
Oh how I love steak. A taste pack would make my day!
wow, what an amazing experience!!! that’s really quite eye-opening 🙂
Oooo…what a wonderful posting! Thank you for the chance to win such lovely beef.
Oh dear, I am so glad I moved to NY!! Your tasting is one of the most interesting things I have read on the blogs recently! Well done. (sorry- medium rare for me 😉
What a unique and interesting post! I had never thought that there would be that much difference among types of steak, but you’ve convinced me. Much more elegant than my 24-24-24 entry, though with the rain in the mountains we could’ve used the 22 bottles of wine!
Dig the blog post @ http://blackirondude.blogspot.com/2008/10/attention-vegetarians.html
Man, when I went to the top restaurant in DC, I just ordered a steak. It seems like a simple thing, but let me tell you, this was the best steak I’ve ever had. I think “bouncy” sounds like my idea steak texture. Meat that’s too mushy is definitely worse than tough to me!
So timely as I have a few steaks sitting in the freezer that I very badly want to cook. Hello photographic motivation.
Wow, this is really interesting to me. My husband and I love steak and he was a meat cutter for several years (twice in his lifetime). We have worked at a few very upscale restaurants and food and wine are our thing. He now sells wine and I have a small dessert bakery.
Your new post leaves me very interested in the different flavors of steak. Like you, I am more familiar with the different grades of steak but am intrigued by the thought (and it makes perfect sense) of different flavor profiles for cattle grown in different climates, different feeding procedures, etc.
Thanks for your great and informative review, I will be trying this myself if I don’t win!
I’d love to host a steak party. What a great idea!
OMG! That looks so tasty! Rare steak is one of the best meals in the world but for reasons beyond me, my friends always flinch when I order it =( There’s a local (Jacksonville,fl) beef provider that I buy from called Ashlin Farms. Best moo cow I’ve ever had!
When we go out to eat, I usually order steak, Ribeye, Med rare. Great post and pictures!!! Hope I win!!!
The Elliott/Ferris team is great. While we help them sell their beef (overall and in our home tasting kit), they also have it available in several CO farmers’ markets and other locations. http://www.naturalbeef.com/ is their site and 1-303-449-8632 is their number. Tell Gina “hi” for me.
Steak is my favorite food in the world!
These steaks look beautiful and I noticed they are all “before” pictures! I guess nobody had time to take pictures after they were cooked because they were gone so fast!
I gave my son a heads-up on this post…huge steak fan! He would love to win!
fabulously informative post!
Live close to Fort Morgan!..Any contact numbers for the Elliot&Ferris beef?
Mmmm, making my mouth water, you sure are lucky to try all those meats. I like the new site.
Good thing we’re not vegetarians eh?
OK, what better way to host a steak tasting than to win a few cuts ‘o beef? This sounds very intriguing. Now, how does one find out anything about their good ‘ol grocery store (or even Costco) steak?
Looks like a whole lot of fun! This must be the new wine, olive oil, vingear, chocolate, coffee, tasting event. What’s next…
That’s really interesting Jaden. So flavour and not necessary price and cut huh…
I’ve used your salting method quite a few times, it’s great!
Sign me up for some beef!
Wow, those look delicious!
I just posted on my facebook…does that count as an extra vote?
Absolutely amazing photos and a great idea to do steak tasting.
I buy locally produced beef and like that it doesn’t have to travel too far to get to me, but in this economy I would love to receive free steaks. The only beef I’ve had recently is stew meat cooked in the crock pot for ages. It was really good (and cheap), but a steak would be a real treat!
@Davidsrecipesite – As SteamyKitchen said, we held back the wine until we’d done at least one pass with each beef style. But you’re so right, it would be a natural (and a lot of fun) to find the perfect wine for each style. Carrie
Diana @ AppetiteforChina
Went back through my notes to confirm, all of the styles we tasted, whether grain- or grass-finished, were considered tender. Some had more of a chew to them but weren’t described as tough and that includes the Braford from Amazin’ Grazin’, which is 1/2 Brahman (generally frowned up on as super lean and tough).
Hard to know what drove the beef in your tasting to be tougher. One difference may be that all our steaks were wet- or dry-aged at least 14 days. Gentle handling farm to fork plus good genetics and practice also matter a lot. Overcooking can be a problem, but sounds like you had pros at the grill.
And then unfortunately, sometimes, you just get a tough cattle. Nature isn’t perfect.
That is a delightful looking spread.
Good Lord what a brilliant idea! add in a little chocolate tasting to go with the wine and beef and you got a party.
Thank you. It’s good to know there is still good beef somewhere.
I stopped buying it from the supermarket as it was always disappointing.
What an awesome idea! I think it would be cool to add our two favorite rib-eyes that we get locally to the tasting should we have one. I’ve forwarded the link to my very steak loving husband!
@Grifola frondosa and Pam:
Great questions. It’s really hard to find farm-specific, breed specific, genuinely natural or organic beef, period.
Retailers aren’t set up to manage the complexity or for that matter inclined to do so. Farmers’ markets and CSAs and some butchers are great, but not everyone has access to one and it can still be hard to tell what you’re getting. Even on the Internet it can be hard to compare and contrast.
You can probably guess now one of the reasons I started my own company to try and solve these challenges (smile)
So, definitely, our in-person and home tasting kits are definitely geared toward the individual meat lover, I honestly believe we collectively have the power to change the industry for good.
Also, I want to help any top producer so if you’re not keen on our current options, email me at carrie (at) oliverranch.com and I’ll do my best to help you find another source. Come on back, too, we plan to introduce new ranchers and styles.
Re pricing, it really does depend on the style, cut, etc. One way to get value is to purchase more but less often, bundle up with a friend (both help minimize S&H), or sign up for regular shipments (think beef of the month club).
sounds like a great way to spend an evening!
Ooooh! Those look sooo tasty! What a fun experience.
Wow, so cool. Made mention of your post on my blog today.
What a great taste-off! I love how you evaluated it like you would wine, noting the flavors, texture, and “finish.” Nicely done!
Hey honey, we’re going to the Grill on Saturday – you’ll get your steak then 😉
Oh my! I was just telling Nate yesterday that I could go for a nice big hunk of steak right now and what did he cook me? Salmon cakes….sigh…so I need to win this, or…just go get a large steak myself. Very nice post Jaden!
I never knew what I was missing until I had grass fed beef from a small local producer.
Fantastic! How fun.. a steak tasting kit. 🙂 I am totally a melt in your mouth steak kinda of a gal.. especially if I’m beer fed and belly massaged like that wagyu! 🙂
Um hello? I love steak! Great article Jaden!
I want to win!
I first found this blog because of the steak salting method (it works), so pleased to see more steak goodness.
(x-posted here as well : http://thecesspit.livejournal.com/132995.html).
I look forward to winning a steak tasting kit. If not, maybe I’ll have to make my own.
I’d love to do a steak tasting! Enter me in the contest!
hey jaden, great post! i’m not much a fan of kobe beef either – i like it on the chewy side. with some maggi sauce, vietnamese style!
Yum, yum. Would LOVE a taste test! Were the suggestions on how to cook these and I just missed it in the post?
Interesting and informative. I had no idea there was such a flavor and texture variety across different kinds of beef. Sounds like it was a fun evening!
I have a friend and mentor who is a butcher that works with me at one of our farmer’s markets. He is exceptionally talkative, but I have learned so much information from this man – he really expresses his love for meat through his talks. He would be an amazing butchering teacher. I started getting mack into meat after having him talk to me 10 times.
Steak me, baby! What a fun party this would be with my Sunday Night Friends. Hope I win!
Yum! Love steak…gotta get me some…..
I love trying new steaks! This sounds really exciting!
i thought i’d had a steak or two
but nothing like this
would kill (a cow) to try this stuff
thanks for the rundown on everything
opened my eyes to a new way of looking at steak
neat event Jaden. I’ve never done a proper side by side comparison like this with beef and bet it was educational. My own personal tastes have definitely shifted over to all-grass fed beef, and am lucky enough to have access to a butcher who works with NY-state farms that raise their cows that way.
That sounds like a fantastic idea. Can’t wait to try my winnings. 😉
I cannot in good conscience pass up the opportunity to win free high-end beef. Le sigh. So here’s my contribution – it’s 2 PM, I’m at work, and I am salivating over this post. Methinks I’ll be headed to the store for some steaks tonight.
Where would u buy these steaks, besides that oliver ranch steak site? Sounds delicious.
As a Native Texan, I love me some red meat!
very informative, jaden… thanks for the info… 🙂
How intriguing. I’ve never heard of a steak tasting, but my husband and I are big steak fans, so this would be an awesome thing to win. 🙂
Who could pass up an opportunity to win free steak?
Steak is one of my favorite food!!
Did somebody say Steak??? Sign me up. Growing up in the country, my family always just got a side of beef from one of the local farmers. I quickly recognized the difference between a cow that was raised for beef, and the occasional dairy cow that we ended up with from a relative. Big difference!!
I used to be a vegetarian. But I’m looking forward to winning this one
Great pictures, Jaden. I’m glad I already had lunch.
I love steak and I LOVE your post.
How much would Shane have LOVED to go with you???!!!
where’s the beef baby?
Hey Jaden, I love your steak salting method and have used it several times. Not only does it change the texture of the meat but I find that it also adds a beautifully seasoned flavor. A steak tasting sounds good too. Thanks for sharing the idea.
What a great idea. I wish I knew where tge beef comes from if I buy it at a regular grocery store!
Sounds great to me!
Artisan Tasting pack! Sounds great. Sign me up!
Wow, you’re one lucky duck! That’s awesome that you got to participate in the steak tasting. My favorite steak is pretty much any cut of steak cooked by my dad in a wok. For some reason, he’s able to sear that baby brown and get great flavor out of it. Give me some rice to sop up the juices and we’re good to go!
OH my gosh all that meat looks heavenly.
Wow – what an incredible experience – the tasting looks like it was fabulous and fun!! I’ve love to win the tasting package!!
How fun, now I want to host a steak tasting! Great info.
*whimper* A steak tasting kit? That is, like, a billion times more exciting than a wine tasting kit. Mmm… I do love some tasty cow.
Wow~ what a great idea~ We really don’t learn too much about our beef. I’d love to winn this tasting package!
Haha, I’m a vegetarian but my boyfriend would LOVE this!
Sounds like a great experience! Im gonna go on a veggie fast so that I can prepare for the steak tasting!
These sound so good. I thought it was interesting that you rated them on everything BUT how they were cooked.
Me! Me! Me! …..drooling right now!
mmm the steaks look soo good, Send some steaks my way!
What a great event. I never realized the compIexity of tasting steak! have learned so much. How fun it would be to win.
Never heard of such a think as steak tasting but it sounds like it could be fun (and definitely filling)!
Wow, I learned a lot here about what separates one steak from another. Problem is we don’t have all that info when we’re buying meat. You pretty much just know what the cut of the meat is and the price per lb.
Since I love a good grilled steak, I’d love to win. Count me in, please!
I’d love to try these steaks!
I always learn something new with your posts! Wow–never imagined beef could be so complex. The tasting sounds like something fun to try. My husband really, really, really, loves steak. He would be lovin’ life to get steaks in the mail rather than bills!
This sounds like so much fun!! My husband and I would love this!! Love the pics, they made my mouth water~
My husband and I are really big into steak. This would definately be a prize in our household!
Definitely making my mouth water (more so than the oatmeal I’m eating for breakfast). Thanks for the great article–I’m definitely in for the sampler!
I really appreciate the handy guide to “know your beef.” It’s nice to know both that the grass fed beefs stack up to the top cuts, given that I mostly hear about it in connection with more ethical concerns.
I am a sucker for a good steak!
This sounds cool.
Thanks for the great beef info.
What a delicious contest! I am dying from jealousy!
We had a great time Jaden! Thanks again! That is a great pic of Greg and Laurent. Food writer? What about Chef? The Trib don’t pay baby, him cooking does.
How funny. We are both doing steak giveaways!
After having an abysmal steak experience at BLT over the weekend, this looks like the perfect way to get back on the beefy bandwagon!!
This is good information for steak-idiot like me. Although Im cheap so i normally go for the cheap ones. lol.
Wow… what a cool concept. I am not a big fan of beef- probably because I am so picky about how I like it cooked. I have been thinking about having a wine tasting party but you have put an entirely new idea into my head!
Wow, so this just made me drool for steak. See, you can have your “good chew” type steak, and leave that melt-in-your-mouth Kobe for me. It’s not even 9am when I’m reading this and I so wish I had a steak right now! So, if you want to swing the chances of my winning that steak pack in my favor, that would be great! 🙂 Thank you for sharing!
In just one post I feel like I learned so much more about steaks and rating how they taste! I’ve tasted Kobe beef once and it was good, but I’m with you… I like my steak to have a bit of “chew” to it if you know what I mean.
Just found your blog recently and love it! There’s nothing better than a perfectly cooked piece of red meat (well, with a glass of wine, of course!).
Mmmmm steak. I’m in for this contest. I didn’t realize steak tasting was almost as complicated as wine tasting…but then again, I should’ve known.
OMG…I’m daydreaming about steak and it’s only 9:30 in the morning! I would have been in heaven at that event.
Just tweeted it as zigweegwee. 🙂
Ditto yoko’s post. We don’t eat much meat, much to my teenager’s chagrin. I would have to hide this stuff or it wouldn’t make it to the tasting! I never thought about meat tasting different per region. New info.
A steak giveaway? I can definitely get on board with that. If you needed us to jump through a few hoops for this contest, I probably would!
This was a very informative post! It makes total sense that all beef is not created equal, and all the factors you’ve listed contribute to the taste. I haven’t been able to afford meat lately, so this would be a real treat if I win!
I am a steak snob. Unfortunately, I’m also an uniformed steak snob – I haven’t got to experiment much outside of different cuts of steak (I love my NY Strip). Since I don’t really have a butchers shop around where I live, I’m going to have give Oliver Ranch a try (seems like a great alternative)… thanks for the informative post Jaden!
Ooh! How could I pass up this chance? I’m intrigued and want to taste steak!
awesome that you got to participate in this — what a cool thing. now that the temperatures are cooling off, i’m beginning to crave meat again… oh to win this… oh to win… sigh. sigh.
great information! thanks for sharing.
Okay, way cool. I’ve never heard of a steak tasting before. Fabulous post.
Of course, I can’t find the reference now, but I recently read about Kobe beef, and the article mentioned that the whole “sake massage” thing was a myth.
A steak tasting is a brilliant idea… I wish someone would do that here. It’s only recently that I’ve begun to understand the various cuts and qualities of steak, after being served grey roasts from my parents for my entire childhood.
You’ve made even — ultra rare! that would be raw — steaks look mouth-watering, Jaden. I’ll soon be taking possession of a LOT of meat, beef, pork, even elk so will be doing my own comparisons. Great post —
This looks like a great experience! What a wonderful opportunity for ranchers to show the value behind what they do and the taste difference between what you can get in a normal grocery store and what beef actually tastes like! I want a yummy steak now!
Well this is something I have to throw my hat in the ring for. Sounds like a delicious adventure. I knew beef from different regions could taste different, but I never thought of comparing beef to wine, in terms of tasting. Thanks for sharing!
girl, that is just so awesome! what more can you ask for? steak and wine tasting. life is good.
hi alexander! i live in the State of Hessen – i have not heard of such event… unless, there’s one but have not been publicly announced. i would love to go to one of these, though, that’s for sure. if germany have not done this kind of event, give it a year or two, maybe it will happen. i hope so! i’d be the first in line! 😀
Drool… I’ll have to try that “turning cheap steak into prime” trick! (Unless I win!) Thanks for sharing all this great info with us, and for the giveaway.
Dave – Good question – we didn’t have wine until after our tasting. Green apple slices were used to clear palate. Only kosher salt was used to season the meat.
This sounds right up my alley, I LOVE MY MEAT! This post was very informative!
The chart is brilliant. I have always been picky about my meat but what you all did was fantastic. The event must of been near overwhelming.
Am curious about the use of wine though. Was it paired with the meat? Could it not possibly effect the flavors of the meat, especially after making it a blind test with just salt – cooked all the same. I know wine can be lovely with steak. Must say I am just very curious to the use of it between tastes or as a palette cleaner etc. Example the right wine can make the right steak sing, while another wine may make it ho hum.
As a former resident of Venice, FL I am very envious of your opportunity to attend a steak tasting in Tampa. In the 60’s as a newly wed I moved to Europe when my husband was in the military. The base commisary obtained beef from Ireland and Austria. The steaks that we purchased there were awesome and tasted nothing like steaks we purchased in Florida at Publix. I’ve sought out artisan since then whenever I could. These days however, Wal-Mart steaks are about all I can afford. Excellent article, thanks for writing it. Cotntail in S. GA
Looks delicious – I’m curious as to which cut was your favorite in the end? Brilliant idea!
Wow what an awesome event…I want to try too!
The steak looks great. My wife’s family raises cattle, so we mostly eat theirs. I’m always looking for other great steaks though.
Good I am hungry now. Steak tasting is a brilliant idea. I’d love to do that one time. Anyone knows anyone doing that in Germany?
I’d love to get my hands on that tasting pack, but I guess that they don’t ship international customers. Too bad.
Wow, I learned a lot about steak. The event sounds like it was a blast. A steak and wine tasting. What could be better?
Excellent! What I try and do is let a pack of steaks age on their own in the fridge for a week before grilling. The tip I got from Jerry Steingarten is to trim off most of the fat on the edge. Then you can grill on high the entire time without a fire developing. 4 to 5 min of the first side, flip over and turn the grill off. 1 min later get it out. If I’m lucky to get one that are nice and thick then I can actually grill on the other side and get a good crust on both sides. But either way very tasty.
Jaden, how fun that you and Carrie met!
Carrie, thanks for providing the info and setting all this up.
Where are steaks like this generally available?
Love the post, especially the language chart. I hate not having the words to describe how something taste in a somewhat intelligent way.
i’m inspired to do my own tasting now! thanks for the great idea, and the drawing.
Wow, awesome post. How’s the book going? I’d love to win a pack!
I like a juicy sirloin myself, but someday when I’m rich and famous, I’d like to try some kobe steak. Very informative post! I didn’t think region would make that much of a difference.
Oh Wow! This is the perfect giveaway for my husband and myself! We could eat steak everyday if we could. We LOOOOVE steak of any kind, as long as it’s done medium rare, of course. We will feel as if we’ve won the lottery if we get this.
I’d be curious to find out what kind of steak girl I am! I may have some ideas, but they’re probably randomly floating artound in my head and I won’t be able to articulate them.
I hope I win!!!!
I’ve always loved steaks but the ones I could afford on a more regular basis are Choice and Select. Your post is a fascinating read — I never knew steaks would have very complex flavors and personalities that there is specialized Steak Tasting Language for Artisan Steak!
What an event! The last time I was faced with eating that much beef was my freshman year of college. One of the roommates of my then-boyfriend and I decided it would be a great idea to see who could eat the most of a 22 oz. steak from Gregory’s, a fabulous restaurant not too far from school. The 22 oz. steak plus the sides!
I can’t remember who won (probably because the hours after our challenge were spent in a major food coma), but I’m ready to challenge him for a rematch. 😉
PS. Gregory’s can be found here: http://www.gregoryssteakhouse.com/
I want those steaks!!!! Yum! Thanks for a great piece–now I’m depressed because I’m just having fritatta for dinner. Bah.
Wow, I never knew there were such things as steak tastings…but sign me up! Well, maybe not, it’s a bit out of my budget at this point…we still eat a lot of ‘Select’ in my house.
This is a delicious and delightful website and business. Whenever I ponder the thought and humanity of going vegetarian I smell or think about a good cut of beef or a warm roast in the oven and it reminds me of the love of beef. Humanity and care of our food comes in many forms. This company demonstrates that they not only love their animals, they know what they are doing. It has been explained to me that grass fed beef may be oily, however I would love to find out for myself. My favorite part of the site is the pictures and terminology.
this looks so amazing! i’ve done coffee cuppings, wine tastings…but steak! ahh. i want to be there!!
As a devoted follower I found this through your twitter tweet! What a wonderful post, steak can be almost as complex as wine! And how lucky are you?! Thanks for the much needed education, and it’s great to see ranchers from Colorado on the list!
I need a big juicy steak now! I would love a good ribeye!
Nice! I once helped a magazine grill and taste-test various steaks from grass-fed cows; it seemed that all the grass-fed steaks we tried from Colorado and Wyoming seemed a lot tougher than conventional Black Angus, Prime varieties. Other than the Kobe, which of the steaks in the tasting were less chewy than the rest?
This is a surely my steak fantasy…to be tasting all these different steaks and with wine too! Could it get any better? I’m so jealous! You have the best job ever!
Ooh! The drawing is on my birthday! That means I have to win. 🙂
I’m with you, I like my steak with some chew. I’ll always choose a New York or Ribeye cut over a melty filet.
yeah. I need steak…now.
I’ve always wondered what the kobe style beef tasted like. I’ll have to check it out one of these days.
What a unique opportunity and so telling about the whole process. I’m hungry now 😉
Jaden, this was particularly fascinating for me because in a more limited way, I’ve been doing something very similar to report for KPBS radio’s weekday show, These Days. I’m on monthly to talk about food and my last appearance was all about beef. So, I spent a lot of time (and money) buying various grass-fed beef steaks, as well as Kobe-style beef and conventional steaks to test against. While what you did sounds like a lot of fun, tastings are very difficult. Obviously, our choices in San Diego are much different. We do have a local producer. La Jolla Butcher Shop is part owner of a grass-fed beef program through Mendenhall Ranch, which is up in Mt. Palomar. But, I also tasted Estancia Beef, TallGrass and several others.
One complaint people have about grass-fed beef, of course, is the expense. But my take is that it’s more environmentally sound, better for the cows, healthier for us and usually tastes very good — and you don’t need to eat a huge piece and you don’t need an expensive cut. We eat too much at one sitting. It can be incorporated into stir frys and other dishes as a flavor enhancer not the focal point of the meal.
Running on too much, but this obviously has been on my mind since I did so much research for the show. If you’d like to listen, you go to http://www.kpbs.org/radio/these_days;id=12929. Or do a podcast of These Days from iTunes.
great post. found the link via twitter. the estancia steak sounds interesting. i agree i like a big chew rather than a melt in your mouth steak.
thanks for sharing!
I never heard of a vertical steak tasting before and it’s a great idea.
Of course, there a couple of big questions.
1. Where does anyone find these artisan beefs (other than on the internet?
2. How much $$$ per pound?
Occaisionally, I’ve seen artisinal beef or lamb at a few select farmer markets but it seems that this tasting is geared more for the high-end restaurant trade.
It was interesting to read about the vocabulary of terms to describe the elements of tasting for steak.
Fine wine and great steaks – an umbeatable combo!
Make mine a rib eye – medium rare…
what a fantastic event!! I’ve heard of wine tasting, but never a steak tasting. Very cool.
I never knew how many types of beef there were! Not only that but they way they are graded/rated similar to wine! You definitely have opened my eyes to different types of beef and how you grade/rate them….
What a great and novel idea. I love all types of meat, and comfortably eat, brains, kidneys (raw), intestines, and everything else. A whole night dedicate to the pleasure of eating cow. Very decadent! Thanks for the great explanation, I’ll start thinking about where I get my cut of beef next time.
Oh I would love this! And yes excellent shots.
Great post Jaden! Mmmm beef and wine – doesn’t get much better than that!
Congrats on your meat shots – they look so juicy and succulent. It’s so hard to photograph meat tastily (a word?!) but you pulled it off!
Jaden, Thanks so interesting. As a naughty Buddhist, I still eat lots of fish and on rare days, other meat, usually cooking for others. So I like to make the quality and humanity of how any animal is dealt with count. So thanks for telling my about this new website. I have tended to give business to Snake River or Neiman Ranch. So it’s great to have some other small providers to consider to support.
This is a great event. I would have prefer tasting the wine because I don’t eat beef. My husband would have like to taste the beef. This is such an honor that you have been invited to this event.