Know Your Steak Better with our Jargon Buster
You’ve seen these terms everywhere you’ve seen steak – in supermarkets, butchers, restaurants, Come Dine with Me – here’s what they mean.
Grass-fed cattle walk around and graze on pasture, which means the meat is leaner with a richer flavour. We only source grass-fed and silage-fed (a type of natural grass fodder used in winter) beef. This natural process means our products are as environmentally friendly as possible and the animals are kept on their natural diet, improving the welfare and the beef itself. As an added benefit, this process creates a ‘carbon sink’, absorbing more carbon than the process releases, allowing us to enjoy these products and create a truly world-class industry.
Grain-fed refers to beef that has come from cattle which has eaten a diet that is unnatural for a cow. For instance, corn and soy come under a grain-fed diet but a cow would usually only ever eat graze on pasture and grass. Grain feeding is done to artificially add extra marbling to the meat that with a grass-fed diet would otherwise be leaner with a more nuanced flavour that is actually better for the cow and you.
We’re big on this. The ageing process removes unwanted moisture from the beef, which improves the flavour and tenderness. There are two methods: dry and wet ageing. Dry ageing is the traditional process we use where carcasses are hung in a cool place for 35-75 days to intensify the flavour and cause the meat to shrink because of the removal of unwanted moisture. Wet ageing is when the meat is butchered and vacuum-packed, which stops the meat from shrinking. You will see all of our beef is aged for 35 days or 70+ days. We do this in our specialist state-of-the-art ageing chambers. Essentially, we do it to make it even more delicious. By doing this, we pay homage to the farmers who have given us this wonderful product. Like a fine whisky, wine or cheese, we give it time to become an even better final product.
The world marbling is the fat you can see throughout the meat of the steak. As the steak is cooked the marbling melts and provides a lot of flavour and tenderness. By grass feeding the animal, we add marbling slowly and carefully which enhances the flavour. Some butchers will use grain-fed cattle; this often leads to an unbalanced steak with too much fat on one side and not enough on the other. Grass-fed beef is the natural and best way to rear cattle. Certain cuts will have more marbling than others. For example, the fillet will have very little fat throughout in comparison to the rib-eye which has visible marbling throughout. Aberdeen Angus and to a greater level Wagyu are synonymous with high levels of marbling in the meat.
Now You Know
There you are. Now that you know a bit more about steak terms you can order or buy in confidence in future.