Walking up to the Meat Counter at the grocery store can be a little daunting; so many different cuts of beef all neatly arranged, which is right for you, and which wine would pair best with it? Draeger’s experts are weighing in with some excellent advice. Fernando Esparza, Draeger’s Meat Operations Manager, sees the struggle to choose between cuts of meat daily: “there are three most often sought after cuts of steak: filets, New York strip steaks, and Ribeyes.” The choice is dependent upon both the flavor profile and what the use of the meat will be.
Cut from the loin, the filet is considered to be the leanest of the three cuts, and the most tender. Versatile, filets can be seared on the grill, sliced as an appetizer for party guests, used for fondue or beef wellington, even chilled and sliced as carpaccio. Draeger’s Wine Stewards agree that a Brunello, like the Poggio Landi de Montalcino, is the perfect accompaniment to this tender cut as the savory, backboned wine complements the beef flavor without overwhelming it.
Prime New York strip steaks are also cut from the loin, however they are a slightly fattier cut of meat. Many people shy away from marbled steak, out of the concern that they will cook down to mostly gristle, but Fernando assures this is a myth: “a marbled piece of meat simply means it will be juicier, more flavorful.” These steaks are best when grilled. Look for a bold California Pinot Noir, such as Martinelli’s Bella Vigna Sonoma Cost Pinot to stand up to the robust red meat.
The Ribeye steak is cut from the upper rib of the cow. Larger and more marbled than the Prime New Yorks, Ribeyes are an excellent choice when feeding a crowd. They are delicious both grilled or oven roasted. Fernando is particularly proud that Draeger’s offers Snake River Ribeyes: an American Kobe beef that is grass-fed and grain-finished for a particularly succulent, meaty flavor. Wine Steward Jim Collins raves about the Bordeaux-blend Chappellet Mountain Cuvée with its grippy tannins as the ideal pairing to stand up to the bold flavor of the Ribeye.
“These three types of steak are just the tip of the ice burg,” Fernando informs. “There are 16 different recognized cuts of steak, each with their own flavor profile and best use.” Selecting the right cut of steak comes down to personal choice, but Fernando hopes the next time you sidle up to a meat counter and view the myriad selections available, you will be armed with a little more knowledge of these three – along with some pairing suggestions to truly elevate the flavor experience.
By Tori Draeger, Draeger’s Markets