Lately I’ve seen a much higher availability of prime, dry aged, grass fed steaks:
All of them cost significantly more than traditional choice or select steaks full of hormones, fed on corn and not aged at all. But is a dry aged steak worth it? What about prime? And if choosing between dry aged, prime and grass fed, which is better? The Grillin’ Fools decided to put it to the test with a side by side by side, somewhat blind taste test.
Lately, at a local grocery store chain in St. Louis, we’ve seen many of these prepackaged like so:
All three of these are NY Strip steaks also called Strip Loins:
For the side by side by side taste test, all we hit these with were salt, black and white pepper, and a little hickory infused grape seed oil:
Prepare the grill, in this case my Char-Broil TRU Infrared, for high heat, direct grilling. Don’t toss those awesome steaks on until it hits 500 degrees:
The prime and dry aged steak were significantly thicker than the grass fed beef, so they went on first:
I left the first two steaks on for four minutes before rotating 45 degrees to get those perfect grill marks and then tossed the final steak on:
Here are the first two steaks flipped over:
I only went with a single hatch on the thinner, grass fed beef so all three steaks would be cooked to the same temperature:
And here we have al three steaks off the grill:
And a closer look:
We had to finish up inside since at this point the tornado sirens started screaming. We didn’t head for the basement right away though. Not when we had a prime, dry aged and grass fed steaks ready to eat that looked like this on the inside:
For the record, if you want steaks to come out that beautifully rare, and still have that wonderful cross hatching on them, then the grill better be uber hot. I’m not talking a nice 500 degrees. I mean 700+. If your grill doesn’t get to 700 anymore, don’t junk it. It probably only needs a new burner or fuel regulator which is much easier to install than building a grill out of the box and is much cheaper than a new cooker. Talk to my friends at GrillPartsSearch and work on a tune up rather than a trade in.
So what was the verdict? Well the grass fed was clearly the inferior steak. See, grass fed beef is MUCH leaner than other cuts and well, fat tastes good. I cooked it to a wonderful rare and yet it was still much tougher than the other two.
Now prime vs dry aged steak? At initial tasting, prime was voted the superior steak. But not by a ton. The dry aged had a certain sweetness with a little “meatier” or robust flavor to it that the prime did not, but the prime was a bit more tender and seemed to melt in the mouth. Even the fat around the outside had a different texture to it that made it quite delicious on its own.
After the initial tasting, we did have to go to the basement before we finished the steaks and after a little more time resting, the flavors awakened even more as if a fine wine allowed to breath. It was at this point that I would’ve called it a toss up between the dry aged and the prime. Hot off the grill, the prime was the winner. That being said, we used a prepackaged, dry aged steak. So basically, once it was put in the package, it was wet aged after being dry aged. I think that takes away significantly from the dry aged as I had one of these just the night before which was dry aged and not wrapped in plastic and it was blow your mind great:
Our next test will involve prime vs dry aged that were not prepackaged.
If you have any questions about our taste test, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you would like actual steak grilling recipes, click here.
While this taste test had a very small sample size and involves the personal preferences of the three Grillin’ Idiots, er, I mean Fools, this is by no means the end all of this discussion. What is your favorite? Leave your favorite in the comments section below…