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Top 10 Steak Buying Tips

September 16, 2012 21 Comments

My Ten Best Steak Buying Tips For the Home Cook

A lot of visitors ask me about buying steaks so I thought I would start putting together some tips together on buying steaks, describing various cuts and what to look for when purchasing a good steak.

I asked Jimmy Kerstein, someone who worked forty years in the meat industry and is the author of The Butcher’s Guide – An Insider’s View to Buy the Best Meat and Save Money.

Between his incredible depth of knowledge and some additional research of my own, I think you’ll enjoy these 10 worthwhile tips next time you are at the market looking to pick up a steak for supper. You may also be interested in How to Grill a Good Steak?

#1. Choose the right steak for the right meal before going to the market

Steak Buying Tips

It doesn’t matter if you buy your steaks at the supermarket or a gourmet butcher shop. If you want to learn about meat, how to purchase it, what’s a good buy today, how to cook it, start a relationship with your butcher. These are the folks who know what you don’t and will be glad to help if you just ask.

My own local butchers tell me that customers don’t take advantage of their knowledge and experience. They come in with their own preconceived ideas of what a good steak should look like and end up buying an inferior product.

A good steak is expensive so why not ask the expert who handles the products everyday what they think is a good bargain. You may be surprised by getting better cuts for less money.

Next Page

Online Steak Buying Resources

Convenience - Selections - Quality - Ratings - Prime - Gift Giving - Corporate Events

Most of us buy our steaks at our local market. When I was growing up, my mom bought steaks at the local butcher, but mom and pop butchers are becoming a rarity. So why would you buy steaks online?

I do recommend you get to know a local butcher near you, ask them lots of questions, ask them for advice and best buys, but when you need something hard to find or are sending a gift to someone special, check out one of these steak resources.

Chicago Steak Company - a premier provider of gourmet steaks, seafood and desserts who continue the long and rich tradition of Delivering Mid-Western Corn-Fed USDA Prime, Black Angus, and Premium USDA Choice steaks to homes and businesses across America.

Snake River Farms - Founded in 1968 by Robert Rebholtz, Sr., Snake River Farms and Double R Ranch are part of Agri Beef Co., a family owned and operated business dedicated to producing the highest quality beef and pork in the United States. The Northwest has distinct advantages over other cattle raising regions including a temperate climate that keeps the cattle comfortable throughout every season. The geographic location also provides access to a diverse range of feed ingredients.

Omaha Steaks - one of the best know online steak companies around. Headquartered in Nebraska, Omaha Steaks distributes a wide variety of premium steaks, red meats and other gourmet foods. It is a family business and have been since their founding in 1917., Inc.

Last modified on Sat 9 July 2016 1:54 pm

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Comments (21)

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  1. Jake says:

    Lot of great information here. Thank you for the steak buying tips.

  2. cedric says:

    Thanks for the great advice. I was not aware that steak was graded in that manner.

  3. Sergio says:

    Interesting and useful advice . Now, I would appreciate your suggestion about to COOK those beautiful **RIBEYES**

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Working on a list of cooking suggestions for Rib Eyes and all these other steaks. Please check back Sergio.

  4. Sam Tha Butcha says:

    I have been a Butcher for 10 years and whoever wrote this blog is right! Us Butcher’s are more than happy to make a customer happy.You wouldn’t believe the stuff that happens behind the counter.But I have to say if you are nice to your local Butcher he or she will be nice to you…..Keep That In Mind The Next Time You Think About Being Rude to Your Local Butcher;-)

  5. Anna Pecora says:

    this was very informative and answered my question was which are the best day to buy within my price range. I will certainly side when I can and maybe once or twice a year I can get prime.

  6. Wayne says:

    The advise u gave me was great it made for the best steak ever!

  7. Wayne says:

    It was the best steak I ever bought

  8. coz says:

    SAM THE BUTCHA’s: remarks, ( at the start of the reply column) about being nice to your local butcher irritates me no end. Do we have to kiss everybody’s butt just to get decent service nowadays? I just want my butcher to give me DECENT MEAT because I pay handsomely for it, and he needs to remember without customers he doesn’t eat. I don’t want to be his best friend !!! My going there should be sufficient reason for him to appreciate my custom! Sam have the fortitude to mention the location of your shop so that I can avoid it like the plague. I don’t like your threat of what you might do to my meat should I not treat you like royalty. Coz Egberts Australia !

    • The Reluctant Gourmet says:

      Coz, couldn’t disagree with you more. I find getting to know the people who provide me with ingredients I cook every week makes a difference and how hard is it to be nice and treat your merchants with a little respect?

  9. Patrick Toland says:

    Thanks for the advice in this article, nice. I live in Ireland and watch a lot of food shows from here and the US. I have become interested recently in making great burgers. I have seen Americans mentioning chuck steak as a great cut for burgers. I am a little confused about asking a butcher here about this cut as your article and some others say that the chuck is tuff and good for slow cooking. Is there a part of the chuck that’s good for burgers or is it a different part of the cow? Any advice on this would be great, thanks.

    • G. Stephen Jones says:

      Great question Patrick. If you go to your local butcher, if they are not buying chop meat in bulk for burgers, they are probably using scraps and trimmings for their burger meat. I have no idea what parts of the cow are used in fast food burgers and frankly, I really don’t want to know. Chuck steak is a great cut for making burgers and yes it is a tougher cut than filet but the meat is ground up, the ultimate tenderizer. More important is the fat ratio in the beef and that is a personal preference. Some people who are watching their weight like their burgers made with lean, low-fat beef but to me, they have no flavor. I read their are some restaurants using 60%/40% mixtures with 40% fat. Now that’s going to be a juicy burger! The question I have and will have to research or would appreciate someone responding to, how can you determine the percentage of fat in a cut of beef? If I buy a chuck steak and grind it up myself, how do I know the fat percentage?

  10. Joe B says:

    “I can buy Prime New York strip steaks at Costco for less than $14 a pound. Are they good, yes but how would they compare to these other steaks?” You say they are good, but your question implies they are not as good as other stores prime. well, what is it?

    • Joe, I don’t think I was implying anything but asking how would the steaks I purchase at Costco compare to the steaks Mark Schatzker wrote about in his book on steak. My experience with Prime cuts of steak is limited because of both cost and availability so I urge readers to try for themselves with what they can get their hands on. Also, everyone’s personal tastes are going to be different than mine. It doesn’t matter what I like, but what tastes best to the person eating the steak.

  11. bdad says:

    Check out the bbq sauce on the shelf behind them. That stuff is the bomb or pork.

  12. Charles says:

    You stated there were several classes of choice. What are the classes and how would one identify each. Great article and a lot of very good information. Will be my weekly reading this week, so I can be better educated.

  13. Nash Rich says:

    I really liked the diagram of what meat came from where. I’ve never really known what parts come from where. I knew where the rib was though because it’s easier to know where the bones are. It’s also my favorite part. I shouldn’t have looked at this before lunch! Thanks for the info!

  14. bettypark says:

    WOW,it’s amazing to know.I seriously don’t know how to buy the best steak.thanks,Buddy!!hope it will be my next new experience. 🙂

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