LRecently, I accidentally bought a steak online, imagining that I can also make the taste of the restaurant. But after receiving the steak, there was actually a long list of ingredients on the packaging bag of the steak…
It’s very strange, isn’t a steak just a piece of cut beef? Why does this steak have such a bunch of confusing ingredients? Then I consulted a lot of information, and at the same time consulted some professionals, and found that the steak in front of me was not that simple.
A little search at Papa Ma’s place, you can see everything from 100 yuan for 10 pieces of steak with free shipping, to thousands of yuan of “Australian directly harvested steak”. Damn, the water in the steak is so deep. The steak market is not only a price war, but also a concept war, which really forces consumers to get knowledge points.
| Types of Steaks Available in the Market
Steaks sold on the market can be roughly divided into four categories: original cut steaks, original cut marinated steaks, fat-filled steaks, and synthetic steaks. Most of the low-priced steaks sold online fall into the latter three categories, but the words “original cut marinated steak”, “greasing steak”, and “synthetic steak” will never appear in the product introduction, but are used by various replaced by other concept words.
raw cut steak
It has the same meaning as the steak you imagine. After the cattle are slaughtered by acid, without any pretreatment, the whole beef loin and sirloin are directly cut and packaged, without any food additives, seasoning and conditioning, which belong to fresh meat. There is only beef in the ingredient list, and the processing technology is raw cut and unmarinated.
The appearance of the original cut steak is generally irregular, because the body of the cow and the cow are different, and the whole cut beef will not be a perfect circle or oval. However, the natural texture and pattern of the meat can be clearly seen, and it is easy for experts to identify which part of the beef the steak comes from. Since there is no pre-processing, there is more room for processing during post-cooking, and it can be seasoned according to taste preferences.
Original Cut Marinated Steak
The original cut marinated steak refers to seasoning and marinating on the basis of the original cut meat to make the meat more tender, and then frozen. In addition to beef, the ingredient list also includes soy sauce, vegetable juice, black pepper juice, starch, etc., but there is no edible glue. The processing technology is whole cut conditioning.
Compared with original cut steak, although it is marinated and original cut steak, it is generally not a good steak. Really good and fresh beef will not be used for marinated steak. Moreover, after marinating, it is impossible to change the taste when cooking later. Whatever flavor you buy, it is the same flavor.
On the basis of the original cut beef, by injecting fat, the meat forms a finer fat pattern than the original meat, thereby improving the meat quality of the cheap steak.
The pattern of the fat-filled steak is rich and dense, and it looks pretty at first glance, but it is very unnatural when you look closely. The natural texture of real raw steak (as shown in the picture below) is similar to the texture of leaves, while the texture of greased steak is in the shape of geometric straight lines (as shown in the picture above).
In terms of price, the original cut steak will not be less than 100 yuan, while the fat-filled steak is about 20~30 yuan.
Steaks made of multiple pieces of beef, even minced meat, contain adhesives such as edible glue, and some are disguised as “raw beef”, but most of them are marinated. Because this kind of beef is generally of poor quality, marinating can cover up its fishy smell to a certain extent. The processing technology is generally labeled as conditioning synthesis.
In appearance, it is generally a regular circle or oval, and irregular shapes, but the process is more complicated. From the texture of the meat, it is impossible to tell which part of the cow it comes from. It is more like a beef patty than a steak.
This kind of steak has the most frequent appearance, the most activities, the highest sales volume and the cheapest price in Papa Ma’s house, but it is not recommended to buy. Although the added edible gum is a legal additive, it is far from real steak in terms of taste.
Generally, most of the products labeled black pepper steak, children’s steak, tender shoulder steak, and even plain steak are of this type. In the ingredient list, there are various food additives such as soybean protein isolate, edible gum (such as carrageenan), meat tenderizer powder, etc.
| Commonly used words translation of steak in the market
While explaining the types of steak above, we also explained the meanings of raw cut, synthetic, fat-injected, etc. However, beef sold on the market often uses many other confusing professional words. Below we explain these common words Organize and translate in one go.
Grain Fed vs Grass Fed
Grain-fed: As the name suggests, it is beef fed with grain.
Grass-fed: It is grass-fed, which is often referred to as free-range cattle.
The price of grass-fed steaks is generally 1/4 to 1/3 of that of grain-fed steaks, and the price varies greatly, because the cost of feeding cattle with grain is higher than that of grass. However, even if the cattle are fed with grains, they still eat grass in their infancy, but after a certain age, they are put into a barn for fattening. The fattening feed is generally grains such as wheat, barley, and oats. The beef produced by this feeding method will have a little sweetness and a strong milk flavor.
In short, grain-fed steak will taste better than grass-fed steak, and of course it will cost more.
Conditioning vs Marinating
In fact, in addition to “conditioning”, there is another name called “modulation”, which means the same thing, and conditioning and pickling also mean the same thing, so conditioning = modulation = pickling.
It means that the steak is marinated with soy sauce, vegetable juice, black pepper juice, starch, etc. and then frozen. Although both original cut steaks and synthetic steaks are marinated, the quality of raw cut steaks is generally not much better, because really good and fresh beef will not be used for marinating. things, not to mention synthetic steaks. There are even stinky steaks that are salted to mask their fishy smell.
When you see the words conditioning, modulation, and marinating, you can basically conclude that the quality of this steak will not be much better.
This is a very common promotional vocabulary for merchants, taking advantage of the psychology of most consumers favoring “handmade”. But if you encounter a steak marked with such words, you must control your hands.
Storage of steaks requires freezing at -18°C and no higher than -18°C, including during cutting. If it is thawed and then re-frozen, this process is also called re-freezing, which will change the meat quality and taste of the steak. The more expensive the steak, the greater the change in taste after thawing, and the taste will become quite greasy.
Where is the problem with manual cutting? If the meat is cut by hand, it must be thawed first, and then cut, otherwise it will not be cut at all. Therefore, cutting by hand is bound to refreeze and change the meat quality of the steak.
For normal cutting, the beef is usually frozen first, and then cut in a frozen environment. This kind of steak not only retains the taste, but also cuts out a flatter surface.
| Identification of imported steaks in the market
Beef steaks sold on the market, in addition to the concepts and methods mentioned above, also need to pay attention to smuggled beef. From time to time there are related reports, but because of its objective profits, it is still repeatedly banned.
A lot of smuggled beef will be transshipped through the ports of Vietnam and other countries, and then enter the processing factory to make marinated steaks. Only the processing factory information is on the packaging, which is difficult for consumers to identify. It is impossible to confirm whether the beef transported through illegal channels is called the cold chain. If it is re-frozen, the number of times of re-freezing and the length of thawing are unknown, and there are even “zombie meat” that have been frozen for 30 to 40 years.
On the other hand, formally imported beef will be labeled with a beef identity certificate during the breeding and slaughtering stages of the source country.
After importing the Chinese label, please look for the following four points:
1. For domestic sales, there must be a Chinese label
2. Country of Origin/Manufacturer Name/Address/Factory Registration Number
Meat processing companies in Australia, New Zealand and other countries have factory registration numbers for traceability. Simply claiming to be from natural pastures in Australia is often not reliable. If there is no label on the small package because the whole box or whole piece of beef is imported into China and then subdivided, you can ask the merchant to provide the label information of the original package to identify the authenticity.
3. Production date, batch number, packing date
The date of production is the date when the meat is cut and frozen, and the date of packaging is the date when the product is packed into the box or sub-packaged after entering the country.
4. Clear specifications, shelf life, storage conditions
The normal shelf life of steak is 24 months, and the storage condition is frozen.
If you are going for the real steak, then pay attention to the following three points when buying:
1. If additives such as glutaminase, soy protein isolate, carrageenan or edible gum appear in the ingredient list, it is generally synthetic steak.
2. A large pack of steaks are all the same, round or oval, usually synthetic steaks.
3. If you are buying imported steaks, you must ask the merchant for the original packaging information to make sure the labels are normal.