If you’re a steak purist, you likely identify with the irrepressible Ted Turner who uttered these words upon biting into a great steak: “Oh my God, this steak is so good I can taste its soul!” While this comment is probably not eloquent enough to make the pages of a high-end culinary magazine, truer words were never uttered.
You probably feel the same way, which is why you’re seeking information on the best way to prepare your own New York Strip Steak
using your stove top to accomplish your goal. The stove, you say? Cook this tender meat on the stove rather than broiling it in the oven or slapping it on the grill? You bet.
But before the secret to a perfectly cooked stove top NY Strip is revealed, how about a big bite of steak history to whet your palate?
While the word “steak” has deep Old Norse roots (think Vikings) and was once pronounced “steik,” bovines roamed the earth long before Norsemen gave this cut a name. Cattle, in one form or another, have been around since the cave dwellers of Lascaux drew animal figures on walls that resemble early versions of the bovine. Anthropologists call the earliest ancestors of cows “aurochs.”
Hunters used primitive weapons to snag these creatures as long ago as 8000 BC, and it didn’t take a rocket scientist for the brightest of them to conclude that life would be much easier if, instead of a fresh hunt every time meat was needed for the clan, aurochs
were domesticated instead. Evolution and migration both produced evidence of bovines roaming Europe, Africa and Asia, so while you may conclude that cows may not be the fastest hoofed species on the planet, they did get around.
Cows on the move
Because European explorers had no idea what they would encounter after leaving the shores of their homelands, they brought cattle with them on their ships. Columbus transported cows on his second voyage to America and as Spanish and Portuguese traders established links to the new world, raising cattle became a critical part of lifestyles emerging as a result of establishing new settlements in far-off lands.
Cattle ranching helped settle the west, too, though pioneers migrating west from the east coast weren’t the only migrants bringing cattle with them: this animal had already been domesticated and raised within the confines of Spanish missions that sprawled across northern Mexico and what we now know as the American southwest.
Did this mean that beef was a dietary staple by the time the Civil War erupted? Hardly. Cows were raised for dairy products and hide rather than as a food source in those days. It’s anybody’s guess how many steaks were ignored over time, but by the 19th century, cattle became king of the kitchen and the main course of choice--thanks, in part, to Chicago slaughterhouses and their proximity to rail lines and the Great Lakes.
How nutritious is steak?
A better question may be, how much time do you have to read about the punch this awesome cut of meat packs in the nutrition department? Just 4 ounces of steak provides around 34 grams of protein and for steak lovers who worry about fat intake, the New York strip has the least amount of fat among loin cuts, making it the ideal cut for those who want to enjoy their favorite meat while not compromising weight loss goals
Weight watchers need only add about 164 calories to their daily total by eating a 3-ounce NY strip steak, and while there is no fiber in steak, neither are there sugars. Further, you can get more than 25-percent of your daily allowance of the B vitamins by eating a steak every day. Of course, nothing this delicious comes without mentioning the downside—steak can account for nearly 40-percent of one’s daily cholesterol intake
, but those protein and vitamin B perks could be enough to vanquish any guilt you may feel.
Ready to shop ‘til you drop?
Finding the perfect New York strip steak is both art and science, but you can take comfort in having an expert for guidance if you’re up close and personal with a butcher whose knives are sharp and their eyes are even more so. We call butchers the first line of defense for those who prefer not to make the mistake of guessing which cut staring back from the meat department is the best of the bunch.
But, let’s say that you’re not on a first (or even last) name basis with your butcher. Well, maybe it’s time to make his or her acquaintance. There’s no rule against asking to speak to someone in the meat department at your local supermarket. In fact, you could literally make the store’s head meat honcho’s day if you ask for assistance selecting your first NY strip.
What to do if there’s no butcher around to converse with? Become an expert on your own. Take time to read about the difference between organic and ordinary beef, find out why grass-fed beef should always be your choice if it’s available and learn to differentiate the labels slapped on beef packages in your store’s cases.
Get started by using this mini-tutorial: If the NY strip steak you're considering bears a "USDA prime" sticker, that’s your best bet. If the sticker reads “Choice,” it’s the middle ground. “Select” is at the bottom of the acceptable range, so unless it's all you can afford, go for prime or choice.
Now, for cuts to avoid: If you see the words "Standard," "Commercial" or "Utility" stamped on the steak you are about to buy, drop that meat and think about serving chicken instead. Also, never buy a steak without checking the “sell by” date to make sure you're not buying a piece of meat that's been ignored by butchers responsible for checking expiration dates.
Finally, keep this mantra in mind when you browse steaks: Marbling matters if you want the tastiest flavor and texture. The right amount of marbling can escalate an average streak to one with a pedigree. Next, assess color. The redder, the better. Avoid meat with brown spots on the edges or in the fat, and for heaven’s sake, if you detect ammonia or a sour smell, don’t buy it.
What’s in a name?
By the middle of the 19th century, it had become commonplace for unattached men in New York to dine in huge halls where they tossed caution to the winds and devoured massive amounts of beefsteak and beer. The absence of cutlery offers insights into this barbaric dining experience, but according to New Yorker magazine writer Joseph Mitchell, once women began dining out with men, the “Tom Jones” approach to eating gave way to proper etiquette.
As fate would have it, New York City’s Delmonico’s Restaurant opened in 1837, and chose only one cut to become its signature “Delmonico steak.” The cut became so trendy, every New York eatery eager to seduce diners added strip steaks to their menus. But nobody was willing to promote competitor Delmonico’s brand, so the strip steak made anonymous appearances on menus. Eventually, the cut took its name from its city of origin and the New York strip steak was permanently added to the world's culinary lexicon.
All was well in New York--but Midwest cattle growers and chefs took issue with the name, so travelers scanning menus in search of a New York strip steak found new names for the same steak. That’s how the Kansas City strip steak began popping up on menus throughout the Midwest. Leave it to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association to complicate things further: These days, they recognize these NY strip steak alternative names: Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel-Style Steak and Veiny Steak.
5 Easy Steps for preparing the perfect New York Strip Steak
1. If you’ve already talked to a butcher and selected a beautifully marbled cut of New York strip steak, you can skip this step because picking the right piece of meat is the best way to produce a juicy, tender bite. But, let’s say that you have no butcher to consult and your local beef supply leaves something to be desired. Meanwhile, you've got an important occasion on deck and nothing but grass-fed or organic beef will do. We’ve got your solution: Order premium cuts from high-end Internet resources like Oliver Ranch
2. When your clock (and your stomach) signals that you’re about an hour away from preparing your meal, remove four 8- to 10-oz. New York strip steaks from the ‘fridge that measure from 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick. Heavily salt the steaks on both sides with coarse Kosher or sea salt. Don’t hold back. This salt bath will tenderize the meat over the next hour, so pack it on—and no wimpy table salt at this stage of your steak prep, please!
3. Time for the great pan decision. Culinary sorts swear that there is no other stove top alternative to the cast iron pan, while others are just as happy with an ordinary one. Looking to invest in your first serious cooking tool? You can’t go wrong with a weighty cast iron pan. Heat the empty pan until it is scorching hot atop your stove. While it’s reaching temperatures high enough to attract firefighters, wash the salt off the steaks and pat dry with paper towels. Now, you’re permitted to use table salt to season your steaks. Don’t forget freshly-ground pepper.
4. Use a sturdy pair of tongs to hold the steak over the heated pan, so the biggest strip of fat faces the pan’s surface. The steak will begin to release juices and grease that will coat the pan’s surface. Lower the steak so it rests on one side. Sauté to brown and then flip the steak and repeat the browning process. Use a meat thermometer to up the ante so you know when the steak reaches 140-degrees (rare), 160-degrees (medium) or 170-degrees (well done). Should you cook the steak to the temperature you desire? Not if you want a tasty bite!
5. Turn off the burner when the thermometer reaches a temperature that’s just short of your cooking objective. In other words, if you want a medium result, turn off the burner when the steak reaches 140-degrees. As the steaks rest in their juices atop the burner for from 5 to 10 minutes, they will reach the proper temperature on their own. While they rest, what will you do with the juices remaining in the pan? Add some butter or up your game by adding blue cheese butter instead (Blend 1 stick of butter with 4 oz. crumbled blue cheese, ¼-tsp granulated garlic and black pepper to taste). Be prepared for praise that will be heaped upon you for cooking your New York strip steaks to perfection.
What to serve with your NY Strip steak
- Bake them to perfection and serve with individual crocks of butter, sour cream, chives and/or crumbled bacon.
- There’s a reason they call them steak fries: Leave the skin on when you slice up potato wedges and deep fry.
- Try Christian Delouvrier’s Black-Truffle Crushed Potatoes.
- Switch up your mashed potatoes by using cream cheese or sour cream in place of some of the milk you use.
- Braise fresh Brussel sprouts in garlic butter and pepper.
- Steam broccoli spears, removing them while still crunchy. Sauté lightly in olive oil before serving.
- Grill a colorful medley of asparagus, pepper strips, onions, mushrooms and seasonal produce.
- Forget the other produce and substitute several varieties of mushrooms sautéed in butter and wine.
- Prepare a Caesar salad using traditional Romaine lettuce or substitute Brussel sprouts for an extra kick.
- Toss garden salad ingredients with green, red and yellow fire-roasted peppers. Serve with vinaigrette dressing.
- Prepare a tasty grilled fennel salad.
- Go with tradition: Serve huge wedges of iceberg lettuce with a carousel of dressing choices.
- Cabernet Sauvignon is the classic pairing, so if you want to play it safe, serve this with your steak.
- Discover the rich flavor of Malbec wines bottled at vineyards in Argentina and Chile.
- You can’t go wrong with glasses of Pinot Noir served with your New York strip.
- Known by either name—Syrah or Shiraz—this trendy red says you know your way around a vineyard.
- Classic meals deserve classic desserts, which is why fresh cheesecake invokes this steak’s New York roots.
- Sometimes, a full meal begs for a light dessert; reason enough to serve hazelnut gelato.
- Adopt the European custom of serving a light cheese and fruit pairing.
- Give guests a choice by preparing a platter of petit fours, mini-eclairs and Danish cookies.
What else could you want from a classic cut of steak? New York Strips have the right amount of history and heritage. It’s the perfect cut to serve when you’ve invited company you want to impress, but remember, your reputation starts at the supermarket. Pick the right cut and use our easy prep instructions and all that remains to be done is to have your name embroidered on your apron--just like all top chefs do! And if you would like to try the best NY strip steak in Brooklyn
, you should stop by Atlas Steakhouse.