In the topic of top-notch quality steaks, from rare vintage rib steaks to grass-fed chunks, each type of beef brings their own value to the table.
Selecting high-quality beef isn’t too challenging and difficult. However, ranking the best-quality beef can be a bit trickier. Undeniably, the beef industry is competitive and upmarket, but as consumers become more aware of the cattle industry and the health concerns of meat with growth hormones and antibiotics, the “best” might vary depending on who you are talking to. For meat lovers, the breed, feed, and marbling is an easy tell-tale of the texture and flavor that can be expected. However, nutrition, feed, and environment can be a higher priority for those who are more health-conscious.
The following are among the world’s highest-quality steaks:
For a long time, the US has been best known for providing the world’s top-quality AAA Angus beef. The excellent marbling and profitability of Angus beef can explain the consistently high demand for this meat type across the US and the rest of the world. But in light of sustainability issues and topics regarding the ethical treatment and health concerns of growth hormones and antibiotics in American cattle, new doors have opened for beef around the world to serve as alternatives.
Australian & New Zealand
Because Australia and New Zealand are both below the equator, both countries provide a perfect environment for raising cattle. Both countries down under have dry summers and mildly wet winters which enable cattle to graze and feed on their vastly open pastures of green lands all year round, in contrast to confined feedlots in the US. In view of this, the quality of meat of both Australian and New Zealand beef have gained the attention of health-conscious consumers who prefer grass-fed free-ranged beef as this contributes to leaner meat production and a higher amount of Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Outside Japan, Australia is also reputed as the largest producer of Wagyu beef, accounting for most of the worlds’ Wagyu consumers including Hong Kong, China and Taiwan.
Wagyu which literally translates to Japanese beef remains to be the most in-demand when it comes to premium- quality beef. This is specially true with Japan’s A5 Miyazaki and Kobe beef. This is because Wagyu has the most detailed grading system when it comes to determining the quality of beef. Despite its massive popularity, Kobe rarely exports outside of Japan, making its exclusivity alluring. Full-breed Wagyu is also amongst the top in the world in terms of rich marbling and buttery flavour.
image from cnn.com
Côte de Boeuf (France)
A piece of the vintage Blonde d‘Aquitaine rib steak — yes, vintage — is worth US$3,200. Why is this so pricey? Because this vintage beef is extremely rare. Raised exclusively by Polmard’s butchery in Saint Mihiel. Only a little over 100 existing pieces sit preserved in a ventilated-negative-cold room and only four of these cows from the small family farm in the Northeast of France are sent to slaughter every week. To emphasise on the value of this beef, only a handful of chefs are allowed to prepare this luxury beef after careful observation of the chef’s techniques and understanding. So far, only one of two chefs have been allowed to cook the Côte de Boeuf , one of them is chef Fabrice Vulin at Hong Kong’s own two-michellin starred Caprice.
image from thebutchers.club
Galician Blond Beef (Spain)
While Polmard’s Côte de Boeuf may be the world’s rarest and most expensive beef, Spain yields the best-quality cattle in the world. Their cattle are known as “fat old cows” since they are let to graze the pastures 15 years longer than regular cows that are raised for meat. Although this would mean that their marbling would be more mature and that their meat becomes leaner, it is the process after the slaughter that makes for this Spanish beef to top every other existing meat in the world in terms of flavour. The meat is dry-aged and slow-cooked over a flattop instead of over open fire as is done typically. This brings out a subtly smokey flavour unique only to Spanish beef.
image from Mugung Hanwoo Beef Specialist
Hanwoo Korean beef is gradually gaining its popularity, especially in Hong Kong. This beef type is favoured over any other type in South Korean and is always in high demand. Because of the local high demand of this native breed, South Korea seldom exports Hanwoo outside of the country, making this beef type exclusive to South Korea and a few privileged cities. A few years ago, Hong Kong became one of the very few cities that started importing the treasured Korean beef. The Hanwoo beef is coveted for its rich marbling and delectable chewiness. Its exclusivity and top-notch quality will surely rise in popularity around the world and anticipate further growth in demand in the near future.
Feature image from cnn.com