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When it comes to comparing beef with our friends in the US then there is little doubt we have the better cattle, reared naturally and without the use of growth promoters. In fact many of the cattle in the US today are descended from pedigree British stock exported from these shores by our breed societies. We believe the quality of British Beef is the best in the world and is a credit to our farmers.
However, when it comes to comparing the end product, especially steaks, the Americans have taken a different approach – they age the meat for much longer.....
We now regularly see the wording "aged for 28 days" describing premium steaks in the UK and although this time period will help considerably with the tenderness, for economic reasons many supermarkets age meat for as little as 10 days. There is the potential for much more. The truth is that under controlled conditions doubling this figure to more like a minimum of 5 to 8 weeks (56 days) is the optimum maturation period for the finest steaks. Fat cover is also approached differently in the US. "Fat and marbled beef is flavour" is a mantra that we at Albert Matthews have long adhered to along with the many Americans who buy their beef cuts with greater amounts of fat. You simply cannot have the finest beef without a generous covering of fat; simply trim off the excess before or after cooking.
It is regular in America for the best butchers and restaurants to have specialist maturation fridges (low humidity, high air flow) with row upon row of steak cuts maturing on the bone. The black crusted ends are a result of the long maturation process. Whilst in the maturation fridges enzymes continue to break down the muscle fibres improving the tenderness, the meat can lose up to 30% by weight as the moisture evaporates which concentrates and creates the most intense flavour. This process does however add considerably to the cost. Premium steak restaurants in the US never compromise on this procedure for example the famous Peter Luger's in Brooklyn, New York (of which we are massive fans at Albert Matthews) will famously shut the restaurant if they can't find beef up to the desired standard and matured for the correct length of time! We all know portion sizes in America are bigger which isn't always a good thing but when it comes to eating and cooking steak this is a massive benefit. A normal steak in a leading US steak restaurant is a minimum of 10 oz's and often is nearer to 20oz's. Cooking a thicker piece of steak allows more control when achieving the desired rare, medium rare, medium or well done (You just simply shouldn’t go there - you’re simply not eating well done meat at its best). As the steak is thicker it is cooked at high heat for longer and then rested for longer. The result is a lovely crust on the outer surface of the steak and a wonderful juicy steak. Many restaurants serve one extra large steak to share.
Here is a list of people/businesses in the US that share our passion for creating great steak.......
Here at Albert Matthews we finally think it’s time to readdress the balance on who has the best steaks. Our new premium “black crusted” extra long dry aged beef (up to 8 weeks!) will allow you to have the best steak experience in your own home. As always we have selected the best British cattle with slightly extra fat cover, applied all the maturation techniques detailed above and then butchered the steaks slightly larger. The result is as you would expect is absolutely stunning and certainly some of the finest steak available in the UK. We believe Albert Matthews.com has taken quality steak to the highest level and is now better than our American cousins!
Recipes & Cooking Instructions
How to cook the perfect steak.