Photo: Courtesy of Walmart
Scott Neal, VP of Meat for Walmart, shares his tips for selecting the best steak for grilling this summer.
What do you look for when you pick out a steak?
SCOTT: When I’m at the case looking for a steak, I want to see good, red color. I also want to see a lot of marbling throughout the steak. That means a little bit of inter-muscular fat within the red portion of the meat, which gives the steak its flavor and its tenderness when you are grilling. You definitely want a piece that has marbling in it.
What are the different grades of steak?
SCOTT: There are three grades. There is Prime, which only about 2 out of 100 cows is graded Prime. Then you have Choice. And Choice is really where you get that great piece of meat, where it has the tenderness and has the marbling. So that sits right underneath Prime. Then at the bottom of the scale, while still high quality, but very lean, you have Select. So you have Select, Choice and Prime.
What makes Walmart steak better than before?
SCOTT: We realized that to sell the best possible steak we had to improve our specifications. So what we did was rather than taking the whole range of Choice and the whole range of Select, we became very specific. So, now all our meat is the upper 2/3 portion of Choice and the upper 1/3 portion of Select which is going to give you a more tender piece of meat.
What’s the difference between a ribeye and a filet?
SCOTT: They are both grilling meats. The filet will generally be thicker and a very tender piece of meat, but it will have less of the fat around the outside. Whereas a ribeye will also be tender and will have a lot of marbling but there are also little strips of fat around the outside to give it additional flavor.
What’s your favorite cut of steak?
SCOTT: My favorite cut of steak is the ribeye. It’s really tender. It’s got great marbling and a whole lot of flavor and it does really well on the grill.
Why does steak need to be at room temperature before cooking?
SCOTT: You want your steak to be at room temperature before you cook it, because when you put it on the grill you want the meat to cook evenly and you want the heat to transfer through the steak evenly so you don’t end up cooking the outside of the steak more than it needs to be to get the inside where you want it.