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May 3, 2012 07:53 AM

Tough NY Strip

Well, that was disappointing,
I recently bought a lot of meat through PolyfaceYum (I live in VA) for the first time and picked up my purchase yesterday. everything came frozen and I put it all in my freezer except a couple of NY Strip steaks that I wanted to make for dinner. I left them in the package on the counter to thaw for about 3 hours, and then removed them from the packaging at around 6 and seasoned in preparation for dinner.

The way I've made these steaks before is using the Bistro Steak dinner technique in America's Test Kitchen ( which calls for warming the steak in the oven at 275 until internal temp reaches 90-105, and then crusting them in a hot cast iron skillet.

I have executed this technique in the past with impressive results, however last night it was terrible. While the steaks were still juicy, they were tough as wood, and the flavor was more "gamey" than the other steaks I usually cook.

My first impression is to assume I overcooked them, even though the coloration was warm pink center, granted, I've always bought my steaks at local butchers or whole foods, but it's my first time attempting the famous Salatin's products.

The color of the steaks as they came out was a nice deep dark red (visual proof that oxygen had not colored it to bright red), and the steaks were super tender once I handled them after thawing, they seemed very delicate and soft in texture to the touch.

I seasoned them with about a table spoon of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper before I threw them in the oven.

My question is:
Should I skip the cast iron skillet and go straight to a blast in broil instead?
Does anyone out there have experience with these cuts from Polyfarms? I've read a couple of posts that, my first instinct is to be more careful with these steaks, are they more delicate than the ones I would get in safeway/trader joes?

Should I attempt to dry age them?

My wife was quick to blame the quality of the cut, but I refuse to make a snap judgement.

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  1. I don't have any experience with Polyface beef, but have cooked grass fed beef from a variety of sources. While some sources seem more tender than others, in my experience grass fed is always going to be tougher than conventional factory beef. In general, the trade-off for more flavor (and I'm sure there will be some commentary on flavor vs. gamey), and a healthier product is worth it.

    Our best luck has been grilling -- low and slow til they are just barely med-rare. If they get to medium they will be hard to eat. We tried some sous vide... with enough cooking time at 130C to pasteurize (which should tenderize) + plus a quick hot grill ... they ended up medium and tough. Want to try this again with a lower temp / shorter time.

    I have not tried dry aging or brining.

    1. First, sometimes you just get a bad piece of meat....

      Second, I have never gotten a good piece of meat from any company selling frozen beef, regardless of the company or advertised premium cut......including, but not limited to Allen Brothers or Omaha Beef

      2 Replies
      1. re: fourunder

        My experience is that frozen beef is always tougher and drier. Freezing bursts cell walls when the water turns to ice and expands. When you defrost, it leaks out and is not coming back.

        1. re: sbp

          I can't speak for the science....but I agree with the results, especially for steaks