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Examining the anatomy of a steak

If you are at you local meat market or grocery store and see a steak that is not blood red, don't panic. If it's green, however, panic. Steaks that have somewhat of a blue or brown color may look a little different, but they still taste good. Tha...

If you are at you local meat market or grocery store and see a steak that is not blood red, don't panic.

If it's green, however, panic.

Steaks that have somewhat of a blue or brown color may look a little different, but they still taste good. That is because they are aged.

Many people in the U.S. may not know a lot about the steaks they are buying.

Talking with a butcher, however, may enlighten one.

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"I would take a dark steak over one that was just cut any day of the week," said Pat Lepage of Wrazidlo's Old World Meats. "(The age) makes it that much more tender."

When steaks are a blue or brown color, they have lost more blood compared with a fresh steak. In turn, that makes it more tender.

Consumers can also age their steak at home. After buying a fresher steak, put it on a plate and leave it in the refrigerator for a few days. If it's put in a plastic bag, it will age even faster.

"People don't understand (the aging process)," said Lepage. "They shop with their eyes."

People who are avid steak eaters may also wonder whether or not bone-in is good.

It's less about fact and more about beliefs.

"People say it does and people say it doesn't," said Lepage in regards to the bone-in, bone-out controversy. "It's one of those, whatever-you-believe-in type deals."

However, it is worth noting that after the mad cow scare of the '90s, the British government outlawed the sale of bone-in cuts of beef.

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So, what should you be buying when it comes to steak?

Whether is filet mignon or top sirloin, steaks can be prepared flavorfully no matter what the price is, Lepage said.

If you want the best of the best, he recommends the rib-eye.

"Rib-eye is the butcher's choice," said Lepage. "It's got a nice marble to it and the chuck flavor."

Even though the rib-eye may be the most flavorful, that doesn't mean it's the most tender.

"Filet is the most tender piece," said Lepage. "It's why it costs so much. Plus you don't get as much out of a cow."

Skirt steak, which is less costly, may be mystical to the Northland.

"People in this area don't know what it is," said Lepage. "I spent 15 years out on the east coast and we used to sell boat-loads of it. They used it for fajitas and all of that kind of stuff."

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Of all the steaks, the top sirloin is probably the most economical.

"That is one of those steaks that you don't want to overcook," said Lepage. "It tends to get a little dry."

Last, but not least, are the pricier cuts of the porterhouse and the T-bone. These steaks are quite similar. Both of them consist of the top loin and a piece of filet. The main difference between the two is the size of the filet. The porterhouse has a larger one.

Now, on with the recipes.

Bourbon steak

--Courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com ,

Ingredients:

1 to 1 1/2 pound top round steak that is 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick (serves four)

Bourbon marinade:

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1/4 cup bourbon whiskey

1/3 cup soy sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger (optional)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

Melon Salsa:

1 cup chopped honeydew melon

1 cup chopped cantaloupe

1 teaspoon fresh mint

1 tablespoon honey

Directions:

Combine the salsa ingredients and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Combine the marinade ingredients and marinate the steak for 6 to 8 hours. Remove the steak from the marinade and get rid of the marinade. Place the steak on grill over medium heat. Grill uncovered for 25 to 28 minutes for medium rare to medium doneness, turning once. Transfer the steak to cutting board and allow to stand for 3 to 5 minutes. Slice diagonally across the grain into thin strips. Serve with roasted potatoes.

Dijon Flank Steak

--Courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com

Ingredients: (serves six)

1 1/2 pounds of flank steak

4 ounces of Dijon mustard

fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Rub the flank steak with Dijon mustard. Marinate it for 6 to 8 hours in the refrigerator. Coat both kinds of steak with fresh ground black pepper. Grill the steak for 6 to 8 minutes per side or desired degree of doneness. Slice across the bias of the grain.

Tenderloin with Portabello Sauce

--Courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com

Ingredients: (serves 10 to 12)

1 beef tenderloin roast

1 teaspoon olive oil

1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper

1 tablespoon butter

2 large Portabello mushrooms, halved and sliced

8 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 red bell pepper, halved and sliced

2/3 cup beef broth

1/4 cup Madeira or port wine

Directions:

Rub the tenderloin roast with oil and pepper. Roast uncovered (don't add liquid) at 475 degrees for 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 and roast an additional 12 minutes for medium rare. Remove from the oven and let stand for 15-20 minutes.

In a large skillet, saute mushrooms, onions and peppers in hot butter over medium heat until tender (about five minutes). Stir in broth and Madeira and bring to boil. Remove from the heat. Slice tenderloin across the grain and drizzle with sauce. Serve.

Classic steak butter

--Courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com

Ingredients:

1/2 pound unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon of roasted garlic

1 teaspoon of finely chopped shallots

1 teaspoon of finely chopped parsley

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage

1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

Directions:

Cream the butter in a small bowl using a fork or electric mixer. Gradually blend in other ingredients for the selected recipe. Place two to three teaspoons on each hot steak. The butter can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for four weeks.

Roquefort Steak Butter

--Courtesy of www.certifiedangusbeef.com

Ingredients:

1/2 pound of unsalted butter

1 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons of crumbled blue cheese

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Directions:

Cream the butter in a small bowl using a fork or electric mixer. Gradually blend in other ingredients for the selected recipe. Place two to three teaspoons on each hot steak. The butter can be refrigerated for three days or frozen for four weeks.

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