Archives for June 2018

Beef and Wine Pairings

Beef and Wine Pairings

One way to enhance the delicious flavor and refined texture of premium beef cuts is to pair it with an equally high-quality wine. Beef and wine pairings have developed into an important factor when creating a luxurious dining experience, specifically due to the harmonious interaction of their complex flavor profiles and distinct textures. Even though people tend to use red wines to pair with beef, white wines and roses can also be enjoyed with specific beef cuts and dishes.

There exists a lot of different advice for how to find the perfect wine for each beef cut, and in this post we will explore this advice in the hopes that it will help improve your next dining experience.

 

Tannins

 Before we begin, we should understand what “tannins” are, as their level in the wine heavily contributes to the type of beef it should be paired with. A natural compound found in the skin, seeds, and stem of grapes, “tannins” are what produce a wine’s bitterness and dryness. Accordingly, if a wine is higher in tannins, it will be more dry and bitter. Since tannins have the incredible ability to bind to proteins and fat, wines that are commonly paired with beef cuts will have a higher level of tannins, as the dry texture and bitter flavor balances out the richness and marbling of beef. With this in mind, since red wines are usually higher in tannins, they are more commonly paired with beef.

 

Red Wines

 Red wines are typically chosen as a pair for beef, specifically due to the dryness and astringency from the high levels of tannins.

 

The Basics

Most people consider the basic guidelines to be:

  • Leaner meat with lighter wine
  • Fattier meat with bolder wine

However, other factors also play a big role when determining which wine to pair, such as the marbling of the meat, the cooking style, and the seasoning of the meat. Thus, along with the basic rule above, other parameters to keep in mind include:

  • More marbling tends to mean a richer cut of beef, thus the wine should be dense and concentrated
  • Certain seasonings compliment each other, for example:
    • A meat with black pepper paired with a wine with a similar flavor like a Syrah
    • The flavors of wines like Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon can often be enhanced by specific herbs
    • Beef dishes with considerable levels of spice, like from chiles, tend to pair well with a sweeter wine to counterbalance the spice
  • Cooking methods:
    • Meats that are smoked or grilled are usually paired with bolder wines that are high in tannins, or wines that have an oaky flavor
    • Slow cooked stews and roasts develop deep, rich flavors that need to be paired with a wine just as big in flavor, such as a red Burgundy wine

 

Cuts of Beef

Even though it is important to consider cooking style and seasoning when deciding which wine to pair with your meat, the cut of beef is usually the biggest determining factor. Some examples:

  • Filet Mignon

Cut from the smaller end of the tenderloin, Filet Mignon is a very lean meat with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich flavor. A wine with a good acidity and soft tannins tends to combine eloquently with the Filet, producing a smooth balance, and mutually enhancing the flavors of each.

Perfect partners to a Filet Mignon are often times silky Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux inspired blends, like the “Union Sacré, ‘Le Passion du Diable,’” Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 and the “The Paring,” California Bordeaux Blend 2013, both offered at LB Steak.

  • New York Strip

One of the most popular cuts of beef, the New York Strip is cut from the cattle’s short loin region, producing a lean cut of beef with a distinct, moderate level of marbling, and strong beefy flavor. One thing that makes New York Strip so popular, is the versatility when pairing it with a wine. Due to this, arguably the best wine to pair with New York Strip is a Cabernet Sauvignon, since the range of age, alcohol content, and flavor can be perfectly attuned to the seasoning and spices of the meat.

Some examples of good Cabernet Sauvignons available at LB Steak include:

  • Rafanelli, Dry Creek, CA ’14
  • Black Stallion, Napa, CA ’14
  • Silver Oak, Alexander, CA ’13

 

  • Ribeye

Cut from the rib section of the cattle, the Ribeye is known as being one of the fattest and juiciest cuts of meat. In order to cut through that fatty flavor, the wine paired with Ribeye should have an equally bold and robust flavor. With this in mind, other than a Cabernet Sauvignon, common wines to pair with Ribeye include Merlot and Zinfandel. Wines in this style found at LB Steak include “Turley, ‘Juvenile,’” 2016 California Zinfandel and  “Duckhorn”2014 California Merlot.

Overall, the red wine most commonly paired with beef is Cabernet Sauvignon, due to its versatility. However, other red wines can produce amazing results when paired with the proper dish. Thus, the ability to experiment more with the complex flavors and textures produced from different pairings is always available.

 

White and Rose Wines

More often than not, beef is paired with red wines; however, white wines can also make a great pairing, especially depending on the style of cooking and flavors involved.

For example, beef prepared with Korean and Thai flavors pair extremely well with white wines, as the low tannin level and sweeter flavors compliment the specific types of spices used in these dishes. Rieslings, like “L’Union Sacré, ‘Fräulein’” 2016 California, are a natural compliment to the bold and sometimes spicy Asian flavors, common to this style of cooking.

Rose Wines, are an ideal match to lighter dishes such as steak salad, steak tartare, whose flavors are enhanced by the slightly fruity character of the wine, without being inhibited by tannin.

 

Overall, the most important thing during your dining experience is to enjoy what you are eating and drinking. However, if you wish to experience the unique new flavors and textures that can be created from pairing specific wines to specific beef cuts, this guide should help you get started.

Come to LB Steak to experience these unique culinary combinations!

Grass-fed vs Grain-fed Beef

Grass-fed vs Grain-fed Beef

There currently exists a large debate circulating amongst the meat-lovers of the world regarding which is better — grass-fed or grain-fed beef? You may be asking yourself, is there even a difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef?

In order to understand this debate, we will discuss the differences between these two raising techniques, along with if, and how, each technique affects the overall quality of the meat.

 

What’s the Difference?

At the beginning of a cow’s life, it spends its time drinking milk from its mother and roaming the lands, where it is allowed to forage and eat grass. This only lasts a few months, at which point the majority of cows are moved to feedlots, where their diet changes to grain-based. This is primarily done as a way to quickly fatten the cow up. In contrast, some cows are raised by allowing them to still roam the land and eat grass, or are fed grass in a feedlot.

Ultimately, the main difference consists in the diet of the cow as it is raised. Even though grain has historically been the predominant way to feed cattle, as the methods used to raise cattle have been evolving, grass feeding has become a turning point for the way they are raised.

 

Why Do Farmers Have Different Preferences?

When it comes to a farmer’s preference and decision on which technique to use, it usually comes down to the time and fat content that each method tends to produce. Typically, grain-fed cows will fatten up quicker, providing a faster profit for the farmer. On top of this, grain-fed beef tends to be higher in overall fat content, which gives the meat a higher degree of marbling, which is usually sought after for fine cuts of beef.

There are benefits for a farmer that chooses to raise grass-fed beef as well. As society continues to become more conscious of the environment and how we treat animals, especially how our agriculture techniques affect these, many people have begun to look for more sustainable methods to produce our food, and are even prepared to pay more for it. With this in mind, a farmer that takes the time and care to raise grass-fed beef can usually charge higher prices.

Therefore, even though grain-fed beef will usually be fattier and juicier, and grass-fed leaner, the decision between using grains or grass also heavily relies on economic and environmental factors.

Now that we know the difference in this aspect, it must be asked, does the difference actually matter for the health benefits and nutrition of the beef?

 

Nutrition

 

Much of the argument on the side of grass-fed beef lies in claims that it is healthier to eat. Since grass-fed beef is leaner, it will naturally have fewer calories, higher levels of Vitamin A and E, and more antioxidants. On top of this, grass-fed beef also has higher levels of alpha-linolenic acid, which is an omega-3 fat, and conjugated linoleic acid, which is considered to be linked to health benefits.

Though each of these qualities is healthier, in comparison to consuming grain-fed beef, some people believe that the difference is too small to actually affect our health.

 

So…Which is Better? 

 Overall, each agricultural method has its advantages. Grain-fed beef will be fattier, juicier, and more tender, while grass-fed will be leaner, and have slightly better health benefits. Along with this, the prices will usually differ. It is hard to say if one or the other is “objectively” better, especially since a large influence for people to buy grass-fed over grain-fed comes down to moral reasons regarding the treatment of the animal, as well as the effects on the environment. As with most debates in the culinary world, the choice ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Primal Cuts: Beef

Primal Cuts:  Beef

Have you ever wondered how so many different cuts of meat can be sourced from a single cow? Not only this, but where specifically do we find each cut of beef on a cow? With so many different cuts, it is helpful to understand where each cut of meat comes from. In this way, you’ll be more equipped when deciding which cut to use for any particular occasion, as well as how to properly prepare it.

In this post, we will discussing different cuts of meat, as well as helpful information relating to each specific cut.

 

The Beef Basics

When a carcass is cut, they are first split down the middle into two halves. Once this is done,  each individual side is divided between the 12th and 13th ribs. The two halves from the front of the cow are considered the forequarter, while the two halves from the back of the cow are considered the hindquarter.

The main cuts of beef one will find in each section are known as “primal cuts” of beef. These primal cuts are then broken down even further into “subprimal cuts,” which are then used to cut individual portions for restaurants and retail.

Now, we will explore which primal and subprimal cuts are found in each section of the cow, along with the specific names of the retail cuts produced by each, since these will be the names you will be most familiar with.

 

Forequarter Cuts

  • Chuck
    From the very front of the forequarter, the Chuck primal cut contains parts of the neck, shoulder blades, and upper arm. It is generally considered to be a tough meat due to a large amount of connective tissues; however, it is also extremely flavorful due to a high fat content. While there are some cuts that are good for grilling, such as the Top Blade and Shoulder Steak, there are also cuts from the chuck that are amazing for a pot roast or slow-cooked stew. Along with this, the meat from the Chuck is also used to make ground beef for hamburger patties. Some other commons cuts from the Chuck include Cross-Rib Chuck Roast and Country-Style Ribs.

 

  • Rib
    The region between the 6th and 12th ribs makes up the Rib primal cut, which includes well-known cuts of meat such as Ribeye, Skirt Steak, and Short Ribs. The meet from this primal cut is known to be very tender, as well as incredibly delicious due to its high degree of marbling. With a variety of subprimal cuts, the Rib primal cut offers beef cuts for any cooking situation, be it grilling, roasting, searing, or frying.

 

  • Plate
    Being located directly below the Rib primal cut, the Plate primal cut section also offers short ribs. Along with this, also located in the Plate primal cut is the Skirt Steak, which can be cooked quickly, and delivers an amazing flavor.

 

  • Brisket
    Despite having great potential for flavor, the Brisket primal cut is usually very fatty and tough, and therefore need to be slow-roasted to perfection. Consisting mainly of the chest and pectoral muscle, the Brisket primal cut is thick and meaty, and tends to work best being cooked for a long time at low temperatures. Brisket is also the common choice for traditional corned beef and pastrami.

 

  • Shank
    Located in both the forequarters and hindquarters, the Shank primal cut is from the legs of the cow. As one of the toughest cuts of meat, it’s usually only used in soups and stews that need a long and slow cook.

 

Hindquarters

 

  • Short Loin
    In the Short Loin region of the cow, one will find some of the most widely enjoyed and expensive cuts of meat. Popular cuts from the Short Loin include the T-Bone, Porterhouse, and New York Strip. These cuts of meat tend to be best cooked using dry-heat methods and grilling.

 

  • Sirloin
    Less tender than Short Loin, but arguably more flavorful, the Sirloin is located in the hindquarter, from the 13th rib to the end of the hip. These cuts of meat are generally not the best for slow cooking methods, and instead are best grilled, seared, or fried. Beyond this, the Sirloin primal cut can be split into two smaller regions, the top and bottom. The top Sirloin cut includes cuts such as the Top Sirloin Filet and Pin-Bone Steak, while the bottom Sirloin cut includes well-known meat cuts such as Tri-Tip and Ball-Tip Steak.

 

  • Tenderloin
    Situated amongst the Short Loin and the Sirloin, even sharing the same parts of meat, is the beef cut considered the most tender part of the cow. The Tenderloin cut is also where the highly sought after Filet Mignon is found. Since the meat found from the Tenderloin is already extremely tender, it tends to need only a quick cook at high heat.

 

  • Flank
    Found on the underbelly of the hindquarter, the Flank primal cut is known to be incredibly tough, and therefore needs proper attention when cooking, in order to make sure to not overcook it. Despite this, being an especially long and flat steak, the Flank primal cut can be easily marinated and sliced thin to produce a delicious meal. Along with this, Flank steaks have been getting increasingly more popular since it is so lean.

 

  • Round
    Much like the Flank primal cut, the Round primal cut is an extremely lean and versatile cut of meat. Along with this, the Round is also subdivided into three sections, the top, the bottom, and the knuckle. Some popular cuts from the Round include Round Steak and Eye of Round.

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef – A Cut Above

When it comes to offering top tier steaks, LB Steak raises the bar by offering a specialty meat considered to be “Beyond Prime”—Wagyu. The name “Wagyu” is meant to refer to all Japanese beef cattle, with “Wa” meaning Japan and “gyu” meaning cow. Raised using special techniques, Wagyu receives its extraordinary texture and delicious flavor from its “marbling,” which refers to the streaks of fat in the lean muscle of the meat. Due to how marbling affects the texture of Wagyu, each bite feels like it melts in your mouth. Along with the mouth-watering flavor of Wagyu, it is well-known for its invigorating aroma, produced by the rich resources of the natural environment where the cattle is raised.

 

Raising Techniques

In order to produce a beef as exquisite as Wagyu, specialty raising techniques are required. One of the most important factors when raising cattle to produce high quality beef is the stress levels of the cattle. Because of this, the living conditions in which cattle are raised for Wagyu beef are focused on maintaining the health and comfort of the cattle. By providing the cattle with high-grade rice plants, wheat, and hay, as well as guaranteeing that their sheds are clean and they have access to enough open space, not only are their needs met, but the cattle receive the highest quality of care and attention in order to ensure the best meat quality.

 

Different Types of Wagyu

The different types of Wagyu derive their names depending on the prefecture, or region, of Japan in which the cattle is raised. For example, three types of authentic Japanese Wagyu that are commonly referred to as “Japan’s top three Wagyu,” are Matsusaka Ushi, Kobe Beef, and Ohmi Beef. While each of these originally begin as Tajima Beef cattle born in Japan’s Hyogo prefecture, as they are taken by farmers in other regions and raised, they take on these other names depending on the region they go to and the conditions in which they are raised.

 

Matsusaka Ushi

Raised in Japan’s Mie prefecture, this Wagyu receives its name from the special conditions in which the cattle is raised. In order to qualify as Matsusaka Ushi Wagyu, the cattle is required to not have given birth. Along with this, these cattle are fed beer to increase their appetites, and experience special individual care, such as receiving massages. By using this special technique, the beef is produced with intense marbling and a mellow flavor that is noticeable in every bite.

 

Kobe Beef

With its popular name, Kobe beef is one of the most well-known Wagyus, specifically due to other countries importing the cattle and producing “Kobe-Style” beef. However, authentic Japan Wagyu originates in the Kobe City area of Japan’s Hyogo prefecture. Raised with a diet of rice plants, corn, and clean water, the meat from these cattle is popular because it delivers an extremely unique aroma, along with a rich sweetness. By having strict raising standards and an impeccable flavor, Kobe beef has become one of the most prized and sought after Wagyus.

 

Ohmi Beef

With one of the longest histories, Ohmi beef stands out as one of the ultimate sources of Wagyu in Japan. Raised in the Shiga prefecture, surrounded by a serene natural environment and deeply cared for by their producers, Ohmi beef is distinct because it is the only one to have fat with viscosity. The special fattening techniques used when raising this cattle produce a meat that has an incredible smooth texture and a powerful flavor.

LB Steak is proud serve Wagyu Beef in San Jose. We take our role in global stewardship seriously and embrace complete transparency in how we source our steaks, chops, poultry and seafood. We display our certificate of authenticity in our Meat Locker. Call Us Now to Reserve a Table and Experience Wagyu Beef in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Angus Beef at LB Steak

Angus Beef at LB Steak

At LB Steak, we offer the highest grades of beef available. Among these premium cuts of beef offered is the increasingly popular Angus Beef. In order to guarantee the highest quality Angus beef available, LB Steak makes sure to only use Certified Angus Beef brand. By only using Certified Angus Beef, LB Steak provides Angus Beef that qualifies under the Certified brand’s strict quality standards.

Angus beef is popular throughout the world because of the large amount of meat available and its distinct “marbling”—which refers to the streaks of fat in the lean muscle of the meat that give the beef its flavor and texture. As Angus beef has become more popular, its quality has been increasingly improving as quality standards have been set to certify which cuts of Angus beef are superior.

 

What is Angus Beef?

The name Angus beef does not in itself imply any standard of quality; instead, it simply refers to a type of cattle breed. Originally from Scotland, Angus cattle were bred with the intentions of maximizing the black hide of the cattle. Because of these attempts, the majority of black Angus cattle today are believed to have originated from these indigenous Scottish cattle. As these cattle were brought to America in the 1870s, the American Angus Association was created shortly after to guarantee quality standards of Angus beef. Over time, the advantages that accompanied raising Angus cattle, such as quick and easy growth, as well as balanced marbling and tenderness, led to it becoming one of the most popular beefs across the world, and the most consumed beef in the United States. In order to guarantee quality, improve awareness, and increase the price of Angus beef, the American Angus Association created a set of criteria to establish a Certified Angus Beef in 1987.

 

Quality Standards

Formed by cattle breeders, with a vision “To be the leading and most progressive, member-driven, consumer-focused beef organization in the world,” the American Angus Association began an organization to provide the best quality Angus beef to consumers. Under their oversight and leadership, their goals include:

  1. Achieve Angus Excellence Through Information
  2. Increase Beef Demand With Angus Equity
  3. Identify and Implement Relevant Technologies
  4. Optimize Resources
  5. Create Opportunities

Since the establishment of the Certified Angus Beef brand, consumers can be sure that the Angus beef they are receiving is guaranteed to meet the highest standards of quality.

Even though the name Angus itself does not imply quality, when using Certified Angus Beef brand, you know you’ll be receiving high-quality Angus beef that has surpassed strict criteria. This strict criteria is a set of 10 requirements in order for Angus beef to qualify as Certified Angus Beef. These requirements include:

  1. Modest or High marbling
  2. Medium or Fine marbling texture
  3. In order to qualify as “A” maturity, which represents superior color, texture, and tenderness, the cattle must be harvested at an age younger than 30 months
  4. The cattle must have a 10 to 16 square inch ribeye area
  5. Less than 1050 pound hot carcass weight
  6. Less than 1 inch fat thickness
  7. Superior muscling
  8. Practically free of capillary ruptures
  9. No dark cutters
  10. No neck hump exceeding 2 inches

By meeting all of these standards, Certified Angus Beef is guaranteed to have the highest quality of marbling and maturity, consistent sizing, a gorgeous appearance, and supreme tenderness.

At LB Steak, we make sure that our Angus beef is sourced only from Certified Angus quality beef. From the classic burger, to our wide array of hand cut steaks, LB Steak raises the bar for the potential of flavor and tenderness from Certified Angus beef.

Come to LB Steak today to experience the superior quality of our Certified Angus Beef! With a superior selection and outstanding service, whether you choose the Tenderloin, the Filet Mignon or any other item on our Prime Angus Steaks menu, you are sure to find a cut that will satisfy your craving for quality Angus Beef Call us now to reserve a table and share an evening with us.