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Prime v. Dry Aged v. Wagyu

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JohnnyChance

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What do you prefer? Whenever I go to the butcher shop, I always have a tough time choosing, they have so many cuts in a few great grades that the options are nearly endless.

My local (chain) butcher shop has Prime, Dry Aged (Top Choice grade) and Wagyu (not sure what grade, most likely "top choice" or ungraded) all for about the same price. For a New York Strip, the Prime is $20.99/lb, the Dry Aged is a bone in Strip and $20.99/lb. They didn't have Wagyu when I was there this past time, but from what I remember, it was around the same price.

This time around I got one Prime strip and one bone in Dry Aged strip. Each one was about a pound. Dry Aged on the left, Prime on the right:





The Prime cooks up nicer, partially because it is boneless. The bone in cuts always get a bit tricky as the meat shrinks the parts near the bone don't want to sear nicely on the cast iron pan. I cook my steaks slow in a ton of butter on the stove. These took probably at least 15 minutes, turning and basting frequently. The Dry Aged cut ended up being closer to medium as it was a bit thinner, but not too far over.

The Dry Aged also has a bit of a gamey flavor, due to it being (basically) slow rotted in a controlled environment. The Dry Aged was also dryer, partially to being cooked more, and partially due to being, well, dryed. The Prime steak had great marbling, and even after drying, the Dry Aged cut couldn't match the Prime's fat content. Overall, the Prime cut was a much better steak.

Next time I am there, I hope to get the Prime and Wagyu and have those two side by side.

What are your experiences? What do you prefer?
 

DwarvenChef

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Pork fanatic here... But as I work in a butchery department I have to try everything :p We sell the heck out of the dry aged stuff all day long. We hang it for 14 days in a windowed control room. Stuff sells it's self lol
 

Ratton

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I cook my steaks slow in a ton of butter on the stove. These took probably at least 15 minutes, turning and basting frequently.
Hi JC,

Can you please explain your theory in cooking a steak this way. Do you sear it on high heat first and then turn the heat down?? I am not familiar with this technique at all!!

Thanks!!!!:yammer:
 

Andrew H

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JohnnyChance

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Nope, no high heat at all. Just slow and low. Butter helps with the caramelization. No oven needed either.

It is not my method, more Alain Ducasse's. Here is an article on egullet where a guy cooks a MONSTER steak this way for 45 minutes. My steaks are never that big, so they don't take nearly as long. I flip mine more frequently than he does as well, but like he says at the end of the article, there are many acceptable variations to this method, and don't let your previous knowledge of steak cookery factor in too much. You don't have to follow those rules with this method to get a great steak.
 

JohnnyChance

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ecchef

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I'd go dry aged, all things being equal. Not the biggest fan of Wagyu, but I'm more of a chu-toro guy anyway.

Technique is a variation on a poêlé from what I can gather. Been around for a long time, but usually applied to white meats.

Now I'm hungry looking at them pics!
 

99Limited

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I cook my steaks like JC does. I like sneaking up on my desired finishing temperature. I feel like the lower cooking temperature allows the fat in the steak to melt but remain encased in the meat. Whether this is true on not I'm always happy with the juicy results.
 

Andrew H

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Yup, that's the one.

Just to note: the steak should be reasonably thick however. Around an inch or so and up. If they are too thin the middle overcooks before you get really good color on the outside.
Very true.
 

tk59

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I'll have to try this. I would have gone with the dry-aged but I guess I'll have to reconsider. :)
 

ajhuff

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Best steaks I have ever had were always labeled Chicago Prime.

-AJ
 

cnochef

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My preference is for hormone-free, grass fed, dry aged beef from a small farm. Prime still tastes like mass production to me and doesn't have much character.

Wagyu is very expensive where I live (about $100 for a nice strip to share), but I think I will treat myself to one on my birthday this year.
 

JohnnyChance

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My preference is for hormone-free, grass fed, dry aged beef from a small farm. Prime still tastes like mass production to me and doesn't have much character.

Wagyu is very expensive where I live (about $100 for a nice strip to share), but I think I will treat myself to one on my birthday this year.
That's not bad. Lobel's is quite a bit more.
 

tk59

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Wow. No steak is worth $250. That's a pretty nice knife, for Pete's sake!
 

tk59

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Yeah like jumping off a bridge sucking... Then again, you'd sort of deserve it.
 

cnochef

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Yes, it's not too bad at about $100 a pound for Wagyu striploin that comes from Alberta. Still an affordable luxury once a year or so IMO. I'd rather do that at home than eat out at an overpriced steakhouse and pay the same dollar amount for lesser quality beef. Plus, I can drink a great big red wine from my cellar without paying corkage:)
 

welshstar

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I buy steak in two main places in Chicago, Fox and Obel a high end deli store and beeive it or not the Costco here carries USDA Prime.

Another great source for Prime is Allen Brothers, they are almost the same level as Lobels but significantly cheaper. Theres another online place called Stockyards but never been that impressed with them.

In terms of dry aged v Prime it seems to be a taste thing, i personally find dry aged to be to gamey and dry, i much prefer the moisture and taste of prime.

Another thing to consider is where the prime comes from, its all certofied but the Fox and Obel prime is $26 for NY Strip, the costco is $14, there is a distinct differeence in quality although its the same grade.

Alan
 

EdipisReks

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i love dry-aged. i love prime, too. can't go wrong with either. i like my steaks as rare as possible with a salt crust, so i salt both sides of the steak after patting dry, then sear just until release in well seasoned cast iron at as high a temp as possible, with no additional fat. beautiful crust on the outside and delicious rare deliciousness on the inside.
 

cnochef

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i love dry-aged. i love prime, too. can't go wrong with either. i like my steaks as rare as possible with a salt crust, so i salt both sides of the steak after patting dry, then sear just until release in well seasoned cast iron at as high a temp as possible, with no additional fat. beautiful crust on the outside and delicious rare deliciousness on the inside.
That's the way! I do it the same but I brush the steak with butter after it's out of the pan and had some time to rest.
 

EdipisReks

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That's the way! I do it the same but I brush the steak with butter after it's out of the pan and had some time to rest.
i brush with butter too, sometimes, but usually i want the steak in my belly as quickly as possible, and opening the fridge takes too long. :)
 

Lucretia

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Our grocery has started carrying a Wagyu/Black Angus hybrid ("American Kobe") that's pretty tasty at ~$25/lb. Even better when they go on sale for under $20, like they did yesterday. They also occasionally carry prime--I like & buy both. Don't ever see aged. Here's tonite's dinner:



The photo doesn't do the marbling justice. Probably going to do a fast sear on a super-hot cast iron grill pan.

Around the holidays they carry wagyu/angus roasts. One of these days I'm going to have to mortgage the house and buy one.
 

JohnnyChance

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The photo doesn't do the marbling justice. Probably going to do a fast sear on a super-hot cast iron grill pan.
Those look pretty thick, try the lower heat + butter method. You get a perfect crust without any char, still cooked perfectly.
 

Lucretia

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Not as thick as they look--probably between 1/2-3/4". Sounds like the butter method would be better for thicker steaks. Like the slab o' tenderloin that's also in the fridge.
 

Lucretia

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Overcooked the Wagyu hybrid a bit, but with all that extra fat it seems a little more forgiving than a leaner meat--still juicy even if a little overcooked. I like them a lot--every bite tastes like you've dunked it in butter with all that lovely melting beef fat. They positively glisten with it lying there on your plate.






Tried the butter method for the filets, but got a little nervous when they seemed to be cooking through rather than browning. Ended up turning up the heat to get a crust and finishing them up in the oven. Was working from memory and forgot to put the crushed garlic in with the steaks, so that might have made a big difference in the flavor. Overall, though, I think prefer the char flavor from a stint on the grill before tossing them in the oven. Next time maybe I'll be a little bolder and continue in the butter--and add plenty of garlic. These were choice grade steaks from the local butcher, about 3 1/2" thick. They were pretty darn tasty, especially with a little wild mushroom peppercorn cream sauce.


 

bcrano

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I love the Wagyu brisket in the sous vide.
 

kalaeb

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Thinking I want a steak for T-day, instead of turkey.
 

Eamon Burke

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That's some cheap wagyu! Ny strip wagyu at my grocery is $45/lb.

I like cheap beef. The young tender meat is just never my favorite, I like eating old cows.

I just sear and eat, keep it very very rare. The searing is mostly to kill exterior bacteria and make the salt stick.:hungry:
 

The Edge

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Don't ever see dry aged, so I usually go for prime. I do end up drying it a day or two in the fridge uncovered with a little olive oil, black pepper, and coriander. I'll take it out of the fridge an hour or two before cooking to let it warm up a bit before cooking. Then I liberally salt it right before throwing it into a med/high cast iron skillet. I only flip it once, and usually get a great crust this way, and comes out a perfect med/rare.
 
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