How to Turn Your Cheap Meat Cutlets into More Tender Meat Cuts

Tender Skirt Steaks Saudi Arabia

Did you know that by simply cutting your steak in a different manner can result in a more tender outcome? Did you ever imagine that your “overly tough” and “chewy” flank steak can be nearly just as tender as your high-end strip steaks? It all comes down to how a steak is cooked, what its final internal temperature is, and how you’ve cut your steak after you’ve cooked it!

The most important thing to consider when you’re carving your steak in preparation of serving it is whether you’re cutting with, or against the grain. In practically all instances of cutting your steak, it’s best to cut against the grain. This holds especially true for “tougher” cuts, such as flank, or skirt steak. Simply by cutting the steak against the grain you could end up with a steak nearly 400% more tender than if you had cut the same steak with the grain.

Because of the connective tissues being much less “tough” than the muscle fibers within a steak, cutting against the grain of the muscle fibers is paramount. Just by performing this simple, highly effective cutting method your flank steak could easily rival the tenderness of exponentially more expensive cuts of meat. So, don’t always assume that just because you have flank steak that you can’t ultimately grill a tender, juicy meal for you and those dining with you.

To find out more about cutting methods, as well as the different cuts of meat we have to offer at The Market, call us today at +966.13.845.6798. We will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions. We are the premiere provider of the top-quality beef and grilling knowledge in Saudi Arabia and the entire Middle East. We look forward to hearing from you soon, and happy grilling!

Beef Cuts and Which to Type to Use

Rib-eye steaks Saudi ArabiaThere are numerous beef cuts to choose from when shopping. How do you know which is the best for grilling? How about which type of beef cut is best utilized in a stew? The answer usually boils down to the tenderness and flavor of the particular cut of beef. Whatever beef cut you are looking for, remember to choose carefully. Make certain you are selecting a beef cut that is light red and evenly colored throughout, stay away from dark red or almost purple in color beef cuts. Now let’s check out the different beef cuts and what they are best utilized for!

Strip Loin Steaks: The name “strip” is derived from the fact that the cut of beef is literally stripped from the short loin. This particular beef cut is the quintessential beef cut of steakhouses everywhere. You’re probably more familiar with its common name, the New York strip. This beef cut is extremely tender, juicy, and plenty flavorful. This beef cut is best used for grilling; it needs no additional flavoring provided by adding it to a stew. By adding this beef cut to a stew, you would essentially be missing out on the wonderful natural flavor it contains. Just throw it on the grill and cook it to your liking.

The T-Bone Steak and the Porterhouse Steak: These two beef cuts are synonymous with steakhouses. Practically everyone has heard of one or both of these beef cuts. They are in the same category due to their incredible similarities. They are practically identical, the only exception being that the porterhouse is cut from a little further back on the beef carcass providing it with more of the tenderloin of the animal. The porterhouse is probably the most popular beef cut in the world. Due to it containing both a large amount of the strip as well as a large amount of the tenderloin, it’s the best of both world’s for steak lovers. Again, this beef cut is best thrown on the grill. DO NOT ruin your T-Bone or porterhouse by mixing it in any stew or overpowering marinade; it’s fine as it comes packaged.

Filet Mignon Saudi Arabia

The Tenderloin (AKA The Filet Mignon): If you haven’t heard of the filet mignon, you have probably been living under a rock, or in a place where beef doesn’t exist. The tenderloin, as the name would suggest, is the tenderest beef cut. The extremely fine muscle fibers that make up the filet (tenderloin) are what separate this beef cut from the rest. It’s the type of beef cut that is savory, and will just melt in your mouth. This expensive beef cut should be grilled with the utmost care. Due to its extremely fine muscling, you don’t have to cook it too long. For this cut, it’s grill only and keep a careful eye on it while doing so!

Flank Steak: Flank steak is used widely across the world in a plethora of different methods. In the U.S. it’s most commonly used in what is called “London broil”. Ironically, people in the U.K. have more than likely never heard of this! Flank steak is utilized in hundreds of Asian dishes as well as South and Central American cuisines. The beef cut is from the lower belly of the animal and is not nearly as tender as any of the beef cuts listed above. Because of this, the use of marinades, different searing and slicing methods are used to increase the tenderness.

Skirt Steak: This particular beef cut is from the interior of the animal, specifically the diaphragm area of the animal. It’s nowhere near as tender as beef cuts such as the tenderloin, or strip loin beef cuts. It does, however, pack a lot of flavor. Skirt steak is commonly grilled. The key to a good skirt steak is the grillmaster themselves; you have to grill this beef cut just right to get anything representative of the word “tender”.

Brisket: The brisket is from the chest region of the animal. This beef cut is also not as tender as any of the inner beef cuts. You’ll often see brisket being utilized in Texas style barbecuing which takes several hours to achieve a flavorful and tender result. This is one tough cut of beef. If you put this on the grill on direct high heat, you’ll regret it immediately.

Rib-Eye Steak: The rib-eye is a favorite amongst most butchers. It comprises of the loin and is without question the most marbled and tasty beef cut. While it’s not an extremely tender beef cut, it makes up for that with its wonderful marbling and flavor as a result. Grilling this steak is the way to go. With its incredible marbling, this beef cut is tailor made for grilling. Any other method of cooking this beef cut would just be a total waste; you’ll miss out on the fantastic flavor provided by all the marbling throughout the beef cut.

Standing Rib Roast: The rib roast consists of nearly the exact same meat that make up the rib-eye steak. While it’s often referred to as prime rib in restaurants, this doesn’t mean it is prime graded beef (don’t get fooled on that one). The reason it’s called a standing rib roast is that it’s usually cooked standing up. In the U.S., it’s a popular meal that is primarily oven cooked. Due to the amount of meat, this beef cut is best cooked over a long duration with consistently lower heat with no flame. Cooking this beef cut utilizing direct heat or flame will undoubtedly result in the exterior being burnt to a crisp while the center is still raw. Slow and steady in the oven is the best method for cooking this beef cut.

Sirloin Steaks: Simply put, sirloin steaks are the bottom of the barrel of the steak world. This is the type of steak you’ll predominantly see in low-end steak restaurants. Due to almost no marbling, this beef cut is neither particularly flavorful nor particularly tasty. Grilling this steak is the best method of achieving the optimal results. However, don’t be tricked by restaurants offering sirloin along with seafood as part of the surf and turf portion. This only helps them to upcharge you for a lower quality cut of beef.

There are several dozen other types of beef cuts. The Market is fully capable of providing our customers with any cut of beef they desire. Not only is our beef carefully selected from the top 10% of beef in the world, but it’s also cut to order. With an in-house butcher, we are able to take custom requests from our customers. That’s something you will not see anywhere else. If you ever want to get in contact with us to see what types of beef cuts we have to offer, or just have questions about beef cuts and how to best prepare them, call us today at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be happy to help out!

Cattle Breeds and Different Types of Feed

Cattle Breeds Saudi Arabia

There are a plethora of breeds of cattle out there. For all intents and purposes, if you were to see the full list, it would be quite overwhelming. For this reason, we are going to focus on the four most prominently utilized cattle breeds for meat yielding. Each of these breeds’ meat yield and grade of beef can depend greatly on their diet; the type of feed used in raising each breed can significantly influence the tenderness and flavor of the meat itself. Join us as we cover the different breeds along with the different feeding methods.

We will start with the breed of cattle that most everyone has heard of, Black Angus.  Black Angus is the most common beef producing breed of cattle in the U.S. Due to an aggressive marketing campaign, and an overall great tenderness and flavor, Black Angus beef is the number one source of beef in the U.S. and even many online meat purchasers as well.

Now we move on to the Piedmontese. This particular breed of cattle are known specifically for their “double muscling”. They yield much more muscle than any other cattle breed and, therefore, produce cuts of beef with practically no marbling of fat. While this may be a healthier choice, due to the lack of nearly any marbling, the USDA usually assigns beef from this cattle breed as Select at best. For this very reason, the Piedmontese will often be cross bred with the fattier Angus cattle breed.

Next, the Herefordshire. Hereford cattle are well known for their hardiness and adaptability, being able to survive in a multitude of climates and temperature ranges. They typically cost less than an Angus, especially Black Angus, but are more efficient at converting their feed (usually pasture) into Prime grade beef. Often you will find Hereford cattle cross bred with other breeds, in particular Angus, due to their pasture to Prime ratio yield.

Lastly, and perhaps the most interesting of the four cattle breeds we will cover, is the Wagyu cattle breed. This breed, due to cultural misinterpretations along with lore of its own, is a rumor factory. This is inherent in the fact that Wagyu simply translates from Japanese into “Japanes cattle”; it’s not really a breed but has been labeled as such. It’s more of a type of cattle which is the result of four breeds being cross bred beginning in the early 20th century. Wagyu cattle do produce the most sought after beef yields on the market. The coveted breeds of beef are undoubtedly the Matsusaka, Kobe and Omi. Kobe beef is the most well-known of these breeds and it produces excellent beef yields, however, it’s not the king of Japanese beef. That title would go to the Matsusaka. The heifers are treated like royalty prior to their trip to the slaughterhouse. They are spoiled with extremely expensive feed in to being given regular massages (yes you read that correctly, they get massages regularly).

Of the different breeds, Wagyu beef is graded on a completely different scale than any other beef, A1-A5, with A5 being the highest grade. Their genetics alone allow for optimal beef quality, but include their feed and raising prior to slaughter, and you have a marbled cut of beef where the fat will actually begin to melt at a mere 77° F! So, obviously, the beef cattle’s diet and environment along with their specific breed do in fact make a huge difference in both tastiness and tenderness of the cut of meat.

Cattle fed with grain, usually corn, but barley and wheat are used also, ultimately produce higher meat yields of a better quality. Nearly all beef producing cattle are raised ingesting grass for nearly 90% of their lifetime. It is only in the 3-4 months prior to slaughter when the cattle are switched to a diet consisting of corn, alfalfa, wheat, and barley. The reason for the switch in diet is purely to fatten the cattle, which ultimately produces better marbling, thus producing tenderer, better tasting meat. While it has been reported that grain fed cattle are to be avoided, which is merely misinformation, grain fed cattle are not bad for you and subsequently the notion that grass fed cattle are somehow better for you is also untrue. If you’re looking for a delicious, savory and tender steak, you’re looking for grain fed beef producing cattle.

At The Market, we are thoroughly trained and educated on the different types of beef and how to select the best type of beef possible. With so many variations in meat and misrepresentations, it sometimes can be confusing for customers. We seek to make it as easy as possible and leave our customers with the confidence in knowing that they are only getting the absolute best beef. If you have any questions about our beef selection process, or how to find the best cut of meat in all of Saudi Arabia, call us today at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

The Difference Between Dry-Aging and Wet-Aging Beef

Dry Aging vs Wet Aging Beef Saudi Arabia

Dry aging vs. wet aging beef has become a relatively common argument. Dry aging beef has been around for hundreds of years, while wet aging is rather new in relativity. So, what’s the difference and which one is better?

Remember, nearly all meats are aged in order to allow for the breakdown of tissues allowing for a tenderer cut of meat. Beef, however, is capable of being aged for a longer duration than most other types of meat. Let’s see the differences for each, both dry aged and wet aged beef below.

Dry Aged Beef: Dry aged beef is aged exactly as it sounds, without the aid of moisture. You’re probably familiar with this method, as it is seen in many movies, where whole sides of beef are hung in an open air container with the temperature just slightly above freezing for approximately 3-4 weeks. During this time period, enzymes break down the carcasses’ tissues and the meat actually loses some of its moisture (a very, very slow dehydration process).

This age old method is very efficient in procuring an extremely flavorful and tender cut of meat, yet it does have a slight downside. The slow dehydration actually results in some of the meat being lost (through moisture loss) and this results in a yield reduction. Also, the price for each pound of meat is elevated through dry aging, so the consumer eats that cost, literally. Even more loss of meat occurs once the surface of the dry aged beef is removed (as is customary) and this reduces even further the amount of meat.

Wet Aged Beef: As was stated earlier, wet aging is a newer technique. It came about due to better methods of refrigeration being available. You have probably seen vacuum sealing commercials, which guarantee to keep your food edible for much longer. Wet aging uses this same method, and it’s aged in a much shorter duration of time than with dry aging. The usual time period for wet aging is roughly 10 days after slaughter, then it is put on the market.

It is much cheaper for manufacturers to utilize the wet aging method. While the muscle tissues are subjected to some breakdown, it’s not comparable to the more flavorful and tenderer results yielded through dry aging. The upside of wet aged beef is that you don’t see the loss of meat through moisture loss and extra trimming, and since it is cheaper for the manufacturer to perform, you won’t see it listed at a higher price in your supermarket.

So, what’s the difference? Without question, the biggest difference between dry aged beef and wet aged beef is the flavor! Due to the longer duration of aging utilized in dry aging, the meat is subjected to more breakdown of the muscle tissues via enzymes that remove excess moisture. You’re essentially left with a smaller yield, yet one that packs much more of a punch in terms of flavor than with wet aging.

Believe it or not, you have probably never even had a cut of dry aged beef. Without a doubt, the meat you purchase in a store is wet aged. Dry aged beef is much more expensive and more difficult to find, therefore, when supplying meat for the masses it’s much more economically feasible for supermarkets and grocers to provide their customers with wet aged beef.

The Market is different. We give our customers the option of both dry aged and wet aged beef. Our thorough knowledge and expertise in butchery and cuts of beef have granted us the notion of supplying the more expensive, harder to find cuts of beef; because in the end, we know it’s worth it. If you have any questions about wet aged beef vs. dry aged beef, or are trying to find the best cut of meat that money can buy, call us at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer any and all of your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

How Judges Actually Grade Beef

Judge Graded Beef Saudi Arabia

In our previous article we discussed the different ways of grading beef. It’s quite complex, is it not? To help simplify this process, we are following up with an article that explains, in simple terms you can refer back to our previous article for, how judges grade beef. This article will be much easier to fully explain the grading process, and will help to make much more sense of our previous article. There are three main grades set forth by the USDA. They are: Prime beef, Choice beef, and Select beef. Here are the differences between each according to the USDA:

  • Prime Beef: Prime beef is produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. It has abundant marbling, and is generally sold in hotels and restaurants. Prime roasts and steaks are excellent for broiling, roasting, or grilling. This is the top tier of beef you will see. If the beef carcass meets all the standards by a judge, it is then stamped as USDA Prime beef. It’s more expensive than the others, but absolutely worth it.
  • Choice Beef: Choice beef is high quality, but has less marbling than Prime beef. Choice roasts and steaks from the loin and rib will be very tender, juicy and flavorful and are suited for broiling, roasting or grilling. Less tender cuts are perfect for braising, roasting or simmering on the stovetop with a small amount of liquid. Choice beef tends to be either less juicy or less flavorful than Prime beef, but never both.
  • Select Beef: Select beef is very uniform in quality and is normally leaner than Prime or Choice beef. It is fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, it may not have as much juiciness or flavor. Select beef is best for marinating or braising.
  • Standard Beef: Standard beef are usually the last grades to make it to the stores. They usually won’t be labeled, have very little marbling and can sometimes go by “ungraded”. Standard meat, once again, due to not having very much marbling is tougher, less juicy, and has less flavor than the other three grades of USDA beef. Standard beef is best suited for being cut into tender slices or “cutlets” and cooked by way of slow, moist heat with an addition of a flavorful sauce.

According to the Canadian Beef Grading Standards, the breakdown is similar but different in name, as follows with their descriptions:

  • Prime Beef: Slightly abundant marbling, youthful maturity, bright red in color only, no yellow fat permitted only white with good to excellent muscling and firm meat texture.
  • AAA Beef: Small amount of marbling, youthful maturity, and bright red in color only, no yellow fat permitted only white with good to excellent muscling and firm meat texture.
  • AA Beef: Slight amount of marbling, youthful maturity, and bright red in color only, no yellow fat permitted only white with good to excellent muscling and firm meat texture.
  • A Beef: Trace amounts of marbling, youthful maturity, and bright red in color only, no yellow fat permitted only white with good to excellent muscling and firm meat texture.

Canada has a slightly more stringent mode of grading beef. Whereas yellow fat is permitted in the United States to allow for a grade of Prime Beef, it is not in Canada. The meat can only be bright red in color in Canada to earn any of the four grades available, this is not the case with the USDA grading system. To meet the Canadian standards of grading, the meat must always be firm, unlike the USDA which is slightly more flexible on the texture of the meat.

The differences between these grades of beef can range from unnoticed to extreme. When considering which beef to purchase, there are things to note about each type of beef. For instance, you don’t need to spend that extra money on Prime beef when purchasing loin cuts as they are naturally tender and are nearly identical to Choice beef. When springing the extra money for the Prime beef, make sure you pick a beef that can cook to perfection because of the marbling and fat, i.e. a rib-eye or New York Strip.

Also, when searching for your Choice beef, there is often a subsection that is not labeled known by either “small marbling” or “moderate marbling”. If you don’t pay close attention to the marbling of the Choice steak you’re purchasing, you may be paying for a lower quality grade of beef even though it’s labeled Choice and costs the same as all the other beef cuts of the same type that are labeled as Choice beef.

When purchasing a Select beef, make sure to go for the loin or rib section as they will be tenderer than any other cut of Select beef. If you do happen to purchase a tougher cut of Select beef, it’s best to put that into a stew, marinate it heavily, or braise it.

Now that you have a breakdown to go by when choosing your grade of beef, stay smart and make sure your beef is graded appropriately and is marked accordingly. The Market is fully experienced and educated on the beef grading process and only selects the finest grades of beef there are on the market. If you ever have any questions about what types of beef we carry, call us anytime at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be happy to answer any and all your questions. We look forward to hearing from you soon! And our next article will covering the difference between wet and dry aging of beef. Stay tuned!

Who Knew Beef Grading Was So Complex?

Beef Grading Saudi Arabia

How many of you reading this article knew there are different grades of beef? How many of you know how to tell the difference between a top-notch cut of beef and a mediocre cut of beef? The reality is, aside from restaurant chefs, most people don’t take the time to inspect their cuts of beef to ensure they are getting the best cut of beef they could get. The Market’s knowledge and expertise in beef grading are what separate us from other suppliers in our area. Beef grading is actually a complex process, one which we will attempt to simplify here.

  • One of the easier ways of being able to tell the grade of beef your seeing is the marbling. Marbling is the intramuscular fat’s intermingling within the lean. The degree of marbling is the initial determination of the quality and, therefore, grade of the beef. 
  • The next way to put a grade to beef is through its maturity. Not maturity as in years of age, but in the physiological age. From bone characteristics, to the color, texture and firmness of the ribeye, nearly every aspect of the meat carcass is inspected.
  • Both the maturity and the marbling of the beef are then cross examined together to fully grade the beef. According to Texas A&M’s article on beef grading, “After the degree of maturity and marbling has been determined, these two factors are combined to arrive at the Final Quality Grade. The fundamentals involved in applying quality grades are learning the degrees of marbling in order from lowest to highest and minimum marbling degrees for each maturity group and understanding the relationship between marbling and maturity in each quality grade.”
  • Fat is a great indicator of the grade of beef as well. The primary estimate of the fatness is fat thickness at the 12th . The color of the fat should be a pure white color, with no anomalies present. The average range of fatness between the 12th and 13th rib is usually ½ inch. Between the 12th and 13th rib is the so called “sweet spot” of estimating the overall beef carcass’ fatness. Fat is the key ingredient to marbling and without it, you’ll have a less tender, less flavorful piece of beef.

With all these facts, it truly boils down to appearance, texture, and firmness of the beef carcass. Beef with a bright red color, and white fat with slight traces and minimal marbling are the ideal beef. The color of the fat is ideal if it’s absolutely white with no discoloration and evenly distributed. The same goes for the muscling as far as consistency is concerned. The muscling is slightly related to the texture of the meat itself. With an even muscling distribution, the more likely the texture will be more consistent as well. If the muscling is tough, this can be a precursor or indicator of how tough the meat will be once cooked. Texture and muscling are closely coupled and each will determine the grade of beef due to whether the beef will be extremely tender, or on the other end of the scale. Judges behind the scenes look for a multitude of other items.

When looking to find the best cut of meat possible, it’s important to rely on a butcher which knows the different grades of beef cuts. The Market is completely experienced in beef grading and only offers the best of the best cuts of beef. To find out exactly how phenomenal our cuts of beef are due to our incredibly high standards when considering the purchase of beef, call us today at +966.13.845.6798 and we will be more than happy to answer any and all your questions. In our next article, we will show you how judges actually grade the beef into different categories.