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Mar 21, 2007 01:11 PM

Raw Flavourful Steaks. Where to go, North York or anywhere in GTA, I will drive if it's worth it.

Looking for tasty Flavourful Steaks. Best Quality.

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  1. For the most part, if the steaks you're eyeing are AAA, Angus or Sterling Silver, they are top quality steaks. These are graded in part by their high level or marbelling; make sure to choose the best-marbled ones among these (note that "marbling" refers to the fine veins of fat running through meat - not chunks of fat).

    I prefer to buy my steaks from a butcher shop (Cumbrae's/The Healthy Butcher) or Rowe Farm Meats at the Saturday farmers' market (make sure the meat is AAA and well-marbled; sometimes it seems to be less than optimally marbled). When you buy from these purveyors, you can question where your meat is coming from and how it was raised.

    That being said, however, I have also gotten great steaks at the supermarket - Loblaws for Angus, and Sobeys for Sterling Silver, as well as surprisingly flavourful and juicy steaks at the kosher department of Costco's Downsview location (surprising because, in the koshering process, they've been put through a salt bath to remove excess blood - great for chickens, but often detrimental to beef).

    My preferred cut is rib steaks, followed by skirt and hanger.

    1. The dry aged steaks at Grace Meats (College & Grace) are really, really tasty.

      1. What is a 'skirt' steak?.....I had dinner at the (new to us) Hard Rock Cafe in Ocho Rios, JA last was great ..had an amazing sauce on it...I have never heard of 'skirt' was sort of like Flank steak in that it was fairly thin and narrow. Can anyone explain this cut to me?...thanks and can I buy them in Toronto when I return home?

        6 Replies
        1. re: pearlD

          pearlD, here's a link to the Hormel website (yes, that Hormel - their site is a great source of information): they list all the cuts of beef and where they're from.

          Skirt steak is a great cut - I've bought it at Whole Foods and The Healthy Butcher. You can get it from any butcher shop, including kosher ones - just ask. They all know what it is; why they don't all feature it as a cut, my guess is, is because it's relatively inexpensive and might cut into their other steak sales.

          1. re: FlavoursGal

            Thanks so much....I will ask around, I usually shop at my local Dupont & Christie Loblaws and the Butchers are pretty helpful...I will read the Hormel site really, I'm pleased you sent a reply!

            1. re: FlavoursGal

              Skirt steak is rarely sold by butcher shops since there are only two skirt steaks per beast. Most end up at tex-mex restaurants like the Texas Longhorn in Mississauga who will sell a lot of them. The mesquite skirt (rare or med-rare) & eggs is their most popular breakfast. Mine too!

              If your butcher gets whole carcases call them and have them reserve them for you.

              Here's a bit of technical info.


              1. re: Scary Bill

                Even more information! Wow!
                Thanks Scary Bill...Mississauga is a bit of a trip for me....I am not a fan of 'smoked/smoked flavoured' anything but I will give it some thought.

                1. re: pearlD

                  pearlD, I get my skirt steak at Whitehouse Meats at the St. L. Market. You have to ask for it, but it's awesome and usually very cheap ($7.99/lb).

                  1. re: AmandaEd

                    Hey your photo id.

          2. The bison ribeye steaks from Stoney Kepple and the hanger steak from Berretta Organics, both available from The healthy Butcher I believe, are the best steaks I've ever had.

            11 Replies
            1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

              Royal Beef, 1968 Danforth Ave. Excellent quality. My favorite is the rib eye, but all their steaks are great.

              1. re: rsvp7777

                Yes, Royal Beef steaks are great. Their Delmonico cut is nicely marbled, but I usually go for a striploin. Really nice people, too, always time to answer your questions.

              2. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                Twinkly, I agree that bison is amazing! I've gotten on occasion from Cumbrae's, but have never tried from the Healthy Butcher.
                I find that the steaks from Cumbrae's consistently good and they are very helpful when asked for cooking directions.
                A question about Costco steaks. I have friends that swear that their steaks are delicious. Are they still good when compared to a Cumbrae's steak? I'm trying to decide whether to actually make the effort to 1) Drag a friend with a membership to the nearest Costco 2) Find my way through the maze of bulk sized toilet paper 3) Then attempt to get out of the parking lot without being hit by a minivan.

                1. re: mightycheesehead

                  I love bison, as well. I'd bought it a few times at Whole Foods, but the last couple of time I bought bison steaks there, they were definitely past their prime, although still within the best-before date (they're sold Cryovac'ed). I'll have to give the Cumbrae and Healthy butcher bison a try.

                  As for Costco, most of their meat is, I believe, graded AAA. If you care about how your meat was raised and where, you'll buy from Cumbrae's, The Healthy Butcher, Rowe Farm Meats, Beretta, etc. Buy from supermarkets, and it's anyone's guess.

                  1. re: FlavoursGal

                    Last time I checked (its been a while though), Whole Wallet was charging $24.99/lb for the striploin and Cumbrae's was charging $19.99/lb.
                    I just about had a fit! Couldn't believe that stuff cost so much at WW!
                    This thread has inspired me to do some taste testing. I haven't ventured far from Cumbrae's in a very long time.

                    1. re: mightycheesehead

                      I've been weaning myself off of Whole Foods for the past little while, in favour of Cumbrae's and The Healthy Butcher for meats, and the farmers' markets (Dufferin Grove and St. Lawrence North, at this time of year) for meat, produce, cheese, etc.

                      For me, it's become more of a personal "support local" mission than a price-related issue.

                      On a side note, I purchased a couple of elk medallions at St. Lawrence North the other day; I haven't made them yet, but looking forward to trying them. It'll be my first time cooking elk. I plan to pan-sear them medium rare and make a simple pan sauce to go with them.

                      1. re: FlavoursGal

                        Let us know what you think of the elk.

                    2. re: FlavoursGal

                      The Duffrin Grove and Riverdale farmers markets are a great place to get quality, ethically-raised meat (I think happy meat tastes better). Riverdale has Stoney Kepple bison, an elk vendor and a pork vendor, who I got a pork shoulder from last summer and made an awesome pulled pork. Duffrin Grove has Berretta Organics and a few other meat vendors.
                      The Stoney Kepple bison ribeyes look rather small (and if you get them from the farmers market, they're vacu-packed and frozen) but they pack a punch--a bigger steak would be too much. My favourite way to have them is salt and peppered, seared in a really hot cast iron pan, and served with a garlicy caesar salad. mmmm...but the Berretta hanger steak really gives it a run for its money...also mmmm...ohhhh, it's just occurred to me that it's Thursday and the Duffrin Grove market is today. Mmm, steak fer dinner! See y'all there!

                      1. re: TwinklyTerrapin

                        Thanks Everyone, This helps out , I will try all the options here.

                    3. re: mightycheesehead

                      It probably isn't even fair to compare costco to cumbrae - they are in such different leagues. That being said, I love rib steaks, and we often buy them at costco during warmer weather, and I put them on the BBQ, and they're amazing - so, for the cost, it's a great deal.

                      1. re: mightycheesehead

                        If you undergo the apparently obnoxious Costco routine, mightycheesehead, you will find thick cut, marbled steaks and chops, nicely tied roasts, freshly prepared and replaced because of a fast turnover, from large western producers. Not quite like Cumbrae's Ontario farmed, but less than half the price, and better than the supermart. I have only had good service at Cumbrae's when I waited for a butcher to come up front.

                    4. Quite a number of people have mentioned Stoney Kepple bison. They've actually become so successful they are having to buy bison from other farms to keep their supply up. Other Ontario bison farmers are bringing in animals from places like Saskatchewan to meet demand. I find grassfed bison or elk ribeye steaks the most flavourful, but don't cook them past medium-rare or they will dry out and lose their juiciness because of the low fat content. Excellent cooking notes and recipes can be found at the Ontario website
                      They have an outlet in North York that sells bison from Blanbrook Farms (near St Marys) and Cape Chin Bison from up on the Bruce Peninsula.