How to Cook the Perfect Steak & Make Compound Butter – The Steak Guide, Part III

There’s no denying that great steak is a treat – juicy, tender and rosy meat surrounded by a well-seasoned crust is a simple-yet-impressive main course that’s often on the menu for celebrations and special occasions. Considering the cost of dining out at a steakhouse, learning how to cook the perfect steak at home is a skill that every (meat-eating) man should master.

You’d think that cooking a steak – which aside from choosing the cut is merely a matter of adding seasoning and heat – would be fairly straightforward, but it is a polarizing subject. Like BBQ, there are many schools of thought.  For one thing, the ideal cooking method may differ based upon the cut of the steak in question; for more information on steak cuts, you can jump back to the first part of this guide.

Part I – Best Steak Cuts

Part II – How To Buy Steak

Part III – How To Cook The Perfect Steak

As an example, bone-in steaks like the T-bone and rib steak often achieve their best donenesses on the grill, as the bones in these cuts could interfere with surface contact when being pan-seared. Before we get into specific techniques, however, let’s take a look at a basic overview of the range of donenesses that can be achieved, the different methods and materials available to the home cook, and what tools and are required.

A beautiful bone in ribeye

A beautiful bone-in ribeye.

Choose Your Desired Doneness Before You Begin

The amount of time that your steak cooks is always based on personal preference. Knowing this, there are still some general rules; shorter cook times result in a juicier, more flavorful steak, whereas longer cook times result in a drier, tougher meat (but with less concern for bacteria). While steaks can be cooked to almost any doneness level, there is a standard system of terminology used by most professional chefs, which is as follows:

  • Raw – Completely uncooked; usually bathed in a light dressing or used for dishes such as carpaccio or steak tartare.
  • Blue Rare – Seared very quickly; the outside usually has a nice sear to it, with the inside being cool and bright red, basically raw. In Germany, this is known as English Style, since it’s common for English chefs to place the steak in the oven at a low temperature to warm before cooking.
  • Rare – Cooked to 126°F or 52°C, it has a cooked or seared outside with a bright red center that is slightly warmed.
  • Medium Rare – Cooked to 131°F or 55°C, it features a reddish-pink center. This is the standard degree to which most steaks are cooked by restaurant chefs, unless otherwise specified.
Steak Doneness Chart

Steak Doneness Chart

  • Medium – Cooked to 145°F or 63 °C, the middle of the steak is fully pink and hot, with a grayish-brown crust.
  • Medium Well – Cooked to 154°F or 68°C, with a light-pink center and a browned crust.
  • Well Done – Cooked to 163°F or 73°C; greyish-brown throughout, with the outside slightly charred.
  • Over Done – Cooked as hot as 194°F or 90°C, the meat is blackened and charred throughout, resulting in a tough and dry piece of meat with little to no juice and any fat being rendered down.

As we recommend that your steak-eating experience be one of strong flavor, we would suggest that you try a doneness level anywhere from blue rare to medium rare, depending on how comfortable you are with the bacterial risks of eating raw and under-cooked meat.

Steak Cooking Methods

There are pros and cons to each cooking method for a steak, and many stubborn opinions about which is best. What follows is an objective summary of the pros and cons of each method, so that you can decide for yourself which method you’d like to try first.

  • Grilling Steaks
    • There are two primary types of grill available to the home cook, those being the charcoal grill and the gas grill. Other types, such as the wood-fired grill, are often less predictable in their temperature consistency, and are thus not as well-suited to grilling steaks.
    • Charcoal grill
      • Pros: Smoky flavor; beautiful hashmarks on the surface of the meat
      • Cons: Time-consuming process; practice and familiarity needed to master the equipment; can be somewhat messy
        • Additionally, as the grates of the grill allow any juices to run off from the meat, grilled steaks are harder to baste (which adds other flavors and moisture).
        • Not as much crust created vs. pan searing
        • Easier to burn or infuse burned flavor into the meat
    • Gas grill
      • Pros: clean flavor; easier to manipulate and control heat than a charcoal grill; beautiful hashmarks
      • Cons: lacks the smoky flavor of a charcoal grill; difficult to baste; not as much crust created vs. pan searing
Grilled Steak

Steak on the grill.

  • Pan-seared Steaks
    • Pros: simple process; inexpensive tools; works in nearly every kitchen
      • Can baste to add flavor and moisture
    • Cons: If the pan isn’t suitably hot – that is, hot enough to quickly form a nice crust while leaving the remainder of the meat mostly pink- the meat will cook through more completely while the pan’s temperature rises, resulting in less tenderness. As such, the pan-only method may not be ideal for very thick cuts of meat.
  • Pan & Oven Combinations
    • Pan-to-oven Method: start by pan-searing the steak, then bring to temperature in the oven.
      • Pros: a more even internal temp at the beginning of searing (in this case, cool) results in less overdone meat around the edges.
      • Cons: time-consuming and fiddly
    • Reverse Sear: bake the steak in the oven first, then sear.
      • Pros: a more even internal temp at the beginning of searing (in this case, warm) results in less overdone meat around the edges
      • Cons: time consuming and fiddly; the internal temperature of the steak may drop considerably while being transferred from oven to pan, so a desired doneness may be harder to achieve.
Butter basting adds flavor and nuttyness as well as keeps the steak juicy and tender

Basting a pan-seared steak in a cast-iron skillet.

  • A Tip for Pan Searing
    • Go with a heavy stainless-steel or cast-iron pan, as these materials provide good heat capacity and distribution, especially as compared to aluminum or teflon pans. With that said, cast iron is a bit harder to maintain, especially if you live in a humid climate, and may rust if not seasoned or stored properly. Alternatively, a dutch oven (enameled cast iron) provides the temperature control of regular cast iron with fewer maintenance concerns, and so may be a good choice for you.
  • Sous Vide & Sear
    • This method is very similar to the the reverse sear, but it requires specialized equipment (namely, a sous vide machine).
    • Pros: Awesome if you have the equipment; this cooking method allows you to hold meat at a desired temperature for a relatively long time prior to searing, allowing for complete control over doneness and edge-to-edge color.
    • Cons: Sous vide is expensive and much fussier than other methods; the texture of the finished steak may be more rubbery than with other methods.
Tribest Sousvant Sous Vide Machine

Tribest Sousvant Sous Vide Machine

Based on the best possible result with the fewest variables, our three recommended methods are simple pan-searing, grilling, and the pan-to-oven method. Still, we welcome you to try out each of the methods discussed here, to get a feel for them and to decide which you prefer.

Seasoning Your Steak

If you bought a great steak, you want to taste what you paid for. As such, the flavor of the meat shouldn’t be hidden under copious amounts of bold, multi-flavored seasonings; rather, a small amount of seasoning goes a long way to giving the natural flavors of the meat a subtle and pleasing accent. With that in mind, here are some simple seasonings that we recommend in reasonable amounts:

    • Salt: standard kosher has the simplest flavor, though you can experiment with flavorings; we recommend mesquite smoked salt, for example.
    • Freshly ground black pepper (not pre-ground in a store-bought container!)
    • Steak seasonings; we like a brand local to the Midwest called Penzeys
      • Rub it on with a bit of olive oil 4h before grilling
    • Fresh herbs and garlic (after most of the cooking is done)
      • Choose from thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary, chive, parsley, etc.
      • Dry herbs are not flavorful enough, and frozen ones have too much residual water
    • Other recommended seasonings include garlic and a bit of Hungarian paprika
    • Butter
      • Use a European, high-fat-content butter
      • We’re also big fans of so-called “compound butter;” it requires its own process to make at home, which we’ll outline here.
Fresh parsley, a great choice for seasoning steak.

Fresh parsley, a great choice for seasoning steak.

How To Make Compound Butter For Steaks

Compound butter (literally) rolls your butter and herbs into one pleasing little package, and is therefore a great complement to any steak.

    • As outlined above, we recommend that you use a European-style butter and fresh herbs.
    • Add a pinch of smoked salt, paprika, and a dash of fish sauce for that nice umami flavor.
    • Place all of your ingredients into a bowl, and blend with a spoon until they reach a uniform consistency.
    • Place the mixture (which should still be semisolid) onto parchment paper, and roll into a log.
    • Store the log in the refrigerator, taking it out when the steaks are ready to be served.
    • Cut small discs from the log, placing atop each finished steak. Enjoy!

 

Required Tools for Cooking Steaks

Fortunately, you won’t need many tools to cook a great steak, other than your desired cooking implement (be that stovetop and pan, oven, or grill), a good pair of sturdy tongs, and an instant-read thermometer. Regarding the last of these, it’s important that you find a modern-style thermometer with a digital display; old-school meat thermometers with a dial readout are simply too inaccurate to ensure a proper doneness. One other note: skip the “hand pushing” method of measuring doneness (that is, comparing the firmness of the meat to that of your hand when pushed while holding certain fingers together), as this technique is much too subjective and unreliable.

Thermapen Mk4 Thermometer

An example of a digital-display meat thermometer.

Regarding the setup of your kitchen, make sure that you have proper ventilation, as you may encounter some smoke, particularly when pan-searing. The ideal kitchen should have a strong fan, ensuring controlled air flow. Even if you don’t have a restaurant style setup (with such features as an indoor charcoal grill with adjustable grates), you can still cook a great steak. With this information established, let’s get to cooking!


Cooking Your Steak

  • Allow steaks to come to room temperature; this can depend on the temperature of your refrigerator, but we recommend letting your steaks rest on the kitchen counter for anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
  • Pat steaks dry with paper towels, as extra moisture inhibits browning.
  • Trim your steaks as desired; some people prefer to leave on any large caps of fat, while others remove them. While the choice is yours, keep in mind that steaks cooked to any doneness below medium will likely not get hot enough to melt the majority of this fat.
New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling - From Right to Left - Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degrees of fat marbling – From right to left: Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed.

  • Season the dry surface with your preferred seasonings.
    • When pan-searing, there are two schools of thought regarding seasoning; some cooks argue that pan-seared steaks should not be seasoned before cooking, as the seasonings (especially the salt) will draw moisture to the surface of the meat, which will inhibit browning.
    • In our own tests for the creation of this guide, we did find the sear to be marginally better on non-pre-seasoned steaks. However, these steaks had fewer complementary flavors, as the seasoning was only added at the end of the cooking process.
    • The decision is yours to make, but if you’d like to taste some seasoning along with the natural flavor of the meat, we do recommend seasoning prior to cooking, up to four hours in advance. Just make sure your pan is quite hot, and you’ll still get a great sear.
    • When grilling a steak, feel free to season beforehand; your grill marks should come out nicely either way, as long as your grates are at the proper temperature.
Butcher Cut Pepper is best for steaks

Cracked black peppercorns.

  • If pan-searing, add oil to the pan; don’t oil the steak directly, because you’ll need more oil than just what the surface of the meat can hold.
    • Be sure to use an oil with a high smoke point; rather than something like olive oil, we suggest grapeseed or peanut oil.
  • Bring your cooking surface (pan or grill grates) up to temperature.
    • Restaurants can cook with temperatures up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, though this is hard to replicate in the home. Simply get your surface as hot as you can to ensure the best crust formation.
  • Using your tongs, place your steak on the cooking surface, laying it away from you to avoid any splattering of fat or oil. The heat of the surface will drive the juices to the center of the steak.
cast iron skillet steak

Seasoned steak cooking in a cast-iron skillet.

  • Cook to the proper doneness.
    • Check your cooking time based on the size and thickness of your meat.
    • Turn your steak during cooking; some chefs recommend only one turn, but you can turn more often, so long as you keep a close eye on temperature.
    • When pan-searing, some cooks add butter, herbs, garlic, or other seasonings to the pan at this stage. We found, however, that this won’t add a lot of flavor to the finished steak, and instead recommend pre-seasoning and/or finishing with compound butter (see above).
    • When grilling, start with all burners on high heat (preheating for 15-20 minutes), grilling each side twice, forming a diamond pattern with your grill-marks. Following this, turn off the center burner (placing the steak there), and reduce the others to low, aiming for an internal temperature of 250 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. When grilling a bone-in steak, stand it up on the bone. Remove the steak when it’s 5-10 degrees cooler than your desired temperature.
Sous Vide Cook with Cast Iron Finish

Sous-vide-cooked steak, with a cast-iron finish.

  • Rest the steaks for 5-10 minutes (wrapped in aluminum foil) after cooking.
    • During cooking, the meat contracts and the juices move toward the center of the steak. Therefore, if you don’t let your steaks rest, the juices will pour out, resulting in dry meat. Resting allows or the the juices to evenly redistribute and be retained after slicing, for optimal juiciness.
  • Serve your steaks on heated plates.
    • Heated plates ensure that your steaks will be kept warm throughout the meal. Most plates can be preheated in the oven; using oven mitts when inserting and removing them, keep them in for just a few minutes, so that they’re warm without being dangerously hot to the touch.
  • Enjoy!
Pan seared Top Sirloin Steak topped with compound herb butter - stay tuned for our how to cook a steak and make compound butter video

Pan-seared top sirloin steak topped with compound herb butter.

Preferred Methods for Different Cuts

As we outlined above, we find that bone-in steaks achieve best results when grilled. For other cuts, such as the sirloin, strip, tenderloin, and ribeye, we recommend the pan-to-oven method, as pan-searing provides even browning, and the temperature of an oven is somewhat easier to control than that of a grill. Furthermore, grilling is less than ideal in cold winter climates, so perfecting your pan-searing technique is a worthwhile investment of time.

Conclusion

Using the techniques outlined here, you should be able to cook a great steak using a variety of methods. Remember that practice makes perfect, and that you should experiment with different techniques to see which ones you most prefer. As a reminder, you can refer back to the other two parts of this Steak Guide, which cover cuts (in Part I) and considerations for buying (in Part II). Bon appétit!

How to cook the perfect steak

This steak guide was written by Preston Schlueter, incorporating previous writings by Sven Raphael Schneider.


Gentleman’s Gazette

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The Eyeglasses Guide for Men, Part I: History & Style Overview

After the horror of the eyewear in the 80’s and 90’s, eyeglasses have turned a sartorial corner. They are no longer dreaded but necessary accessories, because classic styles are making a comeback. Now glasses are affordable, optional accessories that you can use not only to correct your vision but to boost your style as well.

Like sunglasses, glasses can have a powerful affect on your style statement. In this guide, we will discuss why you should wear glasses, history, classic style options, and where to find the most interesting pairs.

Michael Caine wearing statement rectangular glasses in the 60s

Michael Caine wearing statement rectangular glasses in the 60s

What’s to Love About Glasses?

For many of us, getting rid of our glasses (after surgery or contact lenses) was a long-awaited triumph. That begs the question, what’s to love about glasses? Plenty, actually.

  • They’re optional these days! Since they are no longer the only way to correct your vision, you can choose to wear them as little or as often as you like.
  • Eyeglasses are finally more affordable. With low-cost online eyeglass retailers lining up to take your business where there were once only high-cost, cumbersome optical stores, you can now easily find and afford more than one pair, if you want.
  • Quality materials are making a comeback. Since glasses are now more about fashion than function, more retailers are offering materials other than basic plastic and metal.
  • You don’t need a prescription to wear them. Like to look of glasses but don’t need them or hate to wear anything but contacts? No problem. Many brands now offer the option of ordering frames with non-corrective polycarbonate lenses. Only you will know.
  • Glasses make you look smart. It’s not just a stereotype, it’s actually been scientifically proven. According to Psychology Today, glasses make the wearer appear more intelligent, honest and trustworthy, in addition to reducing your threat level and associating you with a higher social class. If you’re looking to get ahead at the office, getting glasses may just help.
  • They add maturity to young faces and youth to mature faces. By pairing mature frames with youthful faces and vice versa, you can change the impression of your age.
Vintage Glasses by Blickzurück - Anett Spinola

Vintage Glasses

History of Men’s Glasses

Glasses have come a long way in the last 700 years. The first mention of eyeglasses in roughly the format we know them today, two-lens corrective frames, in historical texts was in the late 13th century in Italy. Cultures around the world had been experimenting with optics for centuries prior, and the 11th-century Arabic text of the Book of Optics laid the foundation for the creation of modern eyeglasses. By the turn of the 14th century, Venice had established a guild to regulate eyeglasses. This early eyewear employed convex lenses to magnify a subject. The earliest known pair of dual-lens glasses ever discovered was dated to 1400 in Germany.

Scissors Glasses French Empire 1805

Scissors Glasses French Empire 1805

A few hundred years later, Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals and astronomer George Airy created lenses that could correct astigmatism. Glasses with temples that extended over the ears had been around for years, but glasses that were hand-held (lorgnette) or worn over the nose (pince-nez) dominated the market. Well into the 20th century, glasses were considered a “medical appliance” that was something to be embarrassed about, and they were intentionally designed to be as invisible as possible. It wasn’t until the 1970s that retailers caught on to the consumer demand for stylish eyewear, and the market has exploded since then. Eyeglasses are no longer an accessory to hide but much rather they are a stylish accent that can be used to enhance your outfit or burnish your personal image.

Eyeglasses Construction

Eyeglasses are constructed of several parts. Depending on the frame style, eyeglasses are typically constructed of a pair of rims that secure the lenses, a bridge which connects the two lenses, nose pads, and the temples, which extend over the ears.

Classic rounded plastic Eyeglass Frame

Classic rounded plastic Eyeglass Frame

Modern day glasses are constructed from many materials, including:

Plastic

Cellulose acetate is a plastic polymer that is made from wood pulp. Unlike other plastics (such as TR-90) which can be made from chemicals and petroleum, cellulose acetate is a plant-based plastic that is molded into sheets. Individual frames are then cut from the sheet and hand polished, which is more resource intensive than extruding plastic and therefore more expensive. Acetate is stiffer, heavier and more durable than standard plastic. Multi-colored patterns such as tortoiseshell are far more beautiful in acetate since the patterns were created over an entire sheet; standard plastic must be molded or worse, painted, to achieve the same affect.

In general, plastics like acetate and TR-90 are hypoallergenic. The main disadvantages are that they are more difficult to adjust, they are heavier than metal, and under stress, they can break or snap. Given the choice, we would highly recommend seeking out acetate for its beauty and durability.

Natural Materials

Though much harder to find and very expensive, it is possible to find frames that are made from bone, horn, shell, or wood. Wood frames are a recent trend,  and they are typically constructed similarly to a plastic frame. All wood frames are often made from a hardwood that is then veneered with a more precious wood. Buffalo and deer horn is often hand carved to shape, and beautiful natural striations and a matte finishing make for a distinctive choice. Real tortoise shell is largely outlawed, but a determined person could find vintage frames at specialty retailers.

Natural materials can be a distinctive style choice, but they offer only limited styles and require extra work on the wearer’s part to seek them out.

Original Tortoiseshell glasses are very difficult to find these days as mostly only old stock materials can be made into eyewear these days. As such, they often fetch prices north of $ 10,000.

Metal

Metal is a lightweight, easily adjustable choice for eyewear. They are ubiquitous in titanium, aluminum and various alloys such as Monel, which is corrosion resistant. Metal is particularly good for thin frames, such as round or rectangular shapes.

There are a handful of disadvantages to metal. They can easily be bent or misshapen, and since metal has a strong “memory” it can be hard, if not impossible, to reform them. People with metal allergies may find they react to metal glasses. Coated metal frames can also lose their finish over time, which will cause metal glasses to age faster than plastic frames.

Pascal Zimmer from Luxembourg with Newsboy Cap, Vintage glasses and shearling collar and lapel

Round metal glasses are staging a comeback

Glasses can be a signature accessory, such as Woody Allen's classic frames

Glasses can be a signature accessory, such as Woody Allen’s classic frames

Recommended Styles

One of the reasons we love glasses at GG is that so many of the classics are back in style. Here is a selection of styles that are classic yet very modern. Note that there are many variations on each style, so if our recommended frame doesn’t suit you, there is probably a retailer out there with an option for you.

Browline frames from Glasses USA

Browline frames

Browline or Clubmaster Glasses

Browline frames are defined by a top-heavy, strong frame along the line of the brow and temples. The lenses are suspended from the top of the frame by thin metal wires, drawing the eye upwards. This style is iconic of the 50s and 60s, when it was worn by famous figures such as Malcolm X and President Lyndon B. Johnson. This style is particularly good at adding maturity to youthful faces, but for more seasoned gentleman it can risk looking dated. This edgier style is great for creative types or those who simply want to blend classic style with a bold statement. Check out these black and gold Copperfield browline frames, $ 89 with lenses or if you want more customization option, Shuron.

Round Metal Glasses

Round metal glasses have long been the choice for counter-culture, resistance and youth-culture movements, and now they are reentering the mainstream. Favored by Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, John Lennon and even Harry Potter, they are a bold statement by someone who feels they fall just outside of the mainstream. Today, they can be found in true round shapes to softened round shapes that are a little less aggressive. Great for creative, quirky types. Check out this pair of soft round Ray-Ban 6355 frames here, $ 185 with lenses.

Round plastic frames suit many ages and styles

Round plastic frames suit many ages and styles

Round Plastic Frames with a Keyhole Bridge

Unlike round metal frames, round plastic frames with a keyhole bridge are the epitome of classic men’s mainstream eyewear. These frames help add maturity to youthful faces, but unlike browline frames, they also work well for seasoned gentlemen. Overall, this look is ageless, intelligent, and thoughtful. Of course, the material is not the best. So if horn is our of your price range, and you can’t find something in acetate that you like, check out this pair of classic round Theory frames from EyeBuyDirect, $ 70 with lenses.

 

Rectangular Glasses

Rectangular frames can make a variety of statements. Long, thin frames are simple and pedestrian, while thick rectangles in dark shades can make a bold statement for men of all ages. They are just as fresh and attractive now as they were in the 60’s. This style is particularly good for adding youthfulness to mature faces, especially in bold color choices such as clear, blue, or tortoise shell. They give the impression of confidence, competence, and a touch of edginess to an otherwise classic frame.

Big Pattern

Herbert Stricker wearing rectangular frames with a bold dinner jacket

Do you wear eyeglasses? What is your go-to style?


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How to Buy the Best Steak for Your Money – The Steak Guide, Part II

In the first part of our Steak Guide, we discussed what a steak is (and isn’t), the related terminology, and what cuts of beef we recommend that you buy. The question remains, then: how should you go about buying your steak? This second part in the series answers that question, letting you know where and how to buy steak in order to get the highest quality product for your money.

Getting Started with Buying Your Steak

The first step to buying a great steak is to look at the components we discussed in Part I of this guide, in order to determine your preferred cut–whether that be a ribeye, a tenderloin, a New York Strip, a sirloin, or a t-bone or porterhouse.

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Second, you look at the flavor profile. Is it grass-fed is it grain-fed or maybe grain fed with grass finish? Of course the size and the thickness of the steak are also very important. Most grocery-store steaks are usually cut very thin, while most chefs prefer a 1- to 2-inch thickness. At the end of the day, you should choose something that you’re comfortable cooking, because both can be over- and under-cooked. In our experience, we recommend slightly thicker cut steaks, as they preserve a bit of that nice pink area inside when prepared medium-rare.

Measure the Marbling – The USDA Grading Scale

A huge factor to consider when buying a steak is the amount of marbling, which is basically the amount of intramuscular fat. The marbling of steak can vary considerably depending on the cut you choose as well as the quality level of beef that you get. In the United States, the USDA has a grading system for beef that’s pretty universal; there are three main categories: USDA Select, Choice, and Prime. These three grading categories are simply based on the amount of marbling present in the beef. USDA Select is considered to be the lowest grade of steak you can get, but it’s therefore also the leanest one.

A handy infographic breaking down the USDA grading system.

Approximately 40% of all steaks are categorized as USDA Select. The next class up is USDA Choice, which will already have a higher degree of fine marbling visible; large chunks of fat are undesirable, because they won’t melt when you grill or sear a steak. Choice is the only category that is further sub-categorized into three: these sub-categorizations are small marbling, moderate marbling, and modest marbling. Small marbling represents approximately 37% of all steaks, modest marbling approximately 15%, and moderate marbling approximately 5%. Reigning supreme at the top of the USDA scale is the Prime steak. It’s the most flavorful choice, having the largest amount of marbling. Only about 3% of all steaks are graded as USDA Prime.

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling - From Right to Left - Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling – From Right to Left – Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

What About Grass-fed Beef?

Though it has become a desirable term (and something of a “buzz-word”) among consumers these days, we feel it’s important to note that “grass-fed” is not a protected or regulated term to any degree; thus, it can mean anything from a cow that ate just a tiny bit of grass to one that ate nothing but grass. As such, it really pays to understand where your grass-fed beef is coming from, and what the breeders are actually doing and feeding to their cattle. In general, grass-fed beef is leaner and has less intramuscular fat, simply because grass is not as energy-dense as grain. Also, grazing cows walk more than their grain-fed counterparts.

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed

In recent years, grass-fed beef has become increasingly popular, touted by many as the healthy choice in steaks due to its higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. While this claim is true when comparing the amount of Omega-3 in grass-fed steak to conventional grain-fed cuts, the overall amount still pales in comparison to other foods. For example, a 3.5-ounce piece of sirloin steak that is grass-fed has about 80 milligrams of Omega-3; at the same time, a traditional or conventional grain-fed piece of beef of the same size and cut has about half that, at 40 milligrams. Comparing both of these cuts to a 3.5-ounce piece of salmon, we find that the salmon contains 1000 to 2000 milligrams of Omega-3, meaning you’ll get about 12 to 25 times as much in the same portion.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

What does this mean in practice? While it’s true that the consumer will get more Omega-3 fatty acids with grass-fed beef, we suggest that you simply enjoy the occasional piece of salmon every once in a while, and stick with traditional grain-fed beef; thus, you’ll continue to enjoy the more complex flavors of grain-fed beef when indulging in a steak, while still maintaining a diet that is richer in Omega-3 overall. That being said: as we discussed previously, grass-fed cattle are more often raised under more humane conditions; fewer antibiotics are used, and the cattle are allowed to roam and graze rather than being confined to tight-fitting pens, with the added benefit that such conditions lead to less environmental pollution. All this being said, grass-fed steaks do have a distinct flavor that some people enjoy or even prefer. At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice which you must make for yourself, and there’s no right or wrong answer.

What About Angus Steaks?

Certified Angus is a term that you’ll often see in restaurants or grocery stores, but stated simply, it refers to a specific cattle breed, not a quality grading. Angus or Aberdeen Angus is a breed of Scottish cattle that is smaller than the typical American cattle. As it is a breed and not a grading, Angus steaks can be graded under the USDA system discussed above, just as is the case with non-Angus beef. The breed has been around in the US for quite a while; the American Angus Association was founded in Chicago in 1883, though interestingly, it took them until 1978 to come up with the Certified Angus beef standard. The purpose behind this certification was simply to promote the idea of a higher-quality beef. In order to meet the Certified Angus standard, the cow in question must be 51% black in color and exhibit Angus influence, which includes simmental cattle and cross-breeds. Other necessary criteria include higher-than-average marbling, a carcass size of under 1000 pounds, and a certain hump size.

Two cuts of Angus beef (bearing the Certified Angus logo) alongside standard USDA-graded cuts.

With that being said, it’s worth keeping in mind that even McDonald’s serves Certified Angus beef. In our opinion, most people would not be able to discern a tenderloin of Certified Angus beef from a tenderloin that is not Certified Angus in a blind test, whereas a great many people would immediately be able to tell the difference between (for example) a Select-grade tenderloin and a Prime tenderloin. As with the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef, the difference in flavor (however marginal it may be) is yours to seek out if you prefer it.

What About Japanese Beef?

Given that these terms have also risen to greater popularity in recent years, let’s aim to answer the question of what characteristics are displayed by Kobe and Wagyu beef, and whether or not these Japanese cuts are worth your money. Stated simply, Kobe is a Japanese black cattle breed; more specifically, one of the Tajima substrain. It is fed on grain fodder, with a feeding period which is considerably longer than in the US (typically 26 to 32 months, as opposed to just 18). Kobe beef also has a much higher degree of intramuscular fat, the melting point of which is also much lower by comparison–meaning that when you eat it, it melts in your mouth like butter.

Steak Marbling Guide

A marbling guide to Japanese steaks.

There are only about 3000 cattle that qualify annually as authentic Kobe beef, and the best of them are never exported from Japan. Kobe grades go from a 1 at the low end to a 5 at the highest end. In the US, there are only a handful of restaurants that even offer a 5 grade Kobe beef. With this degree of exclusivity in mind, know that anything outside of these 3000 annually imported cattle are not the real deal, but rather a crossbreed between the Tajima strain and Angus cattle or other cattle in the US. In other words: whenever you are at the grocery store in the US and you see something advertised as Kobe beef, know that it’s simply not the real thing. If you are at a restaurant which touts that it does happen to serve genuine Kobe beef, it will cost you anywhere from $ 40 to $ 60 per ounce to enjoy such a steak–almost $ 2 per gram. While there are, in fact, some American Kobe beef breeders who have not crossbred their cattle, and they have them DNA tested to have them certified by the American Wagyu Association, we would generally urge you not to overpay for this American-style Kobe beef (especially when in a restaurant), because you can never see the raw product.

Authentic Japanese Kobe beef at the Wynn

Authentic Japanese Kobe beef at the Wynn

In our experience, Kobe beef is so fatty that you really don’t need more than two to three ounces per serving; personally, I once had it when I was in Japan, and it’s an entirely different experience from an American steak. I wouldn’t even call it the same thing–it’s really more like flavorful butter rather than the steak experience that you’re used to. So, should you buy the American Wagyu or Kobe beef that is advertised all over the place? Just keep in mind that it’s a crossbreed, and while it usually results in a higher amount of fat, it’s not regulated, so you really don’t know what you’re getting unless you can trust the source.

Akaushi Beef

Another Japanese beef variety that has become more popular recently in the US is so-called Akaushi beef. It’s actually a form of Japanese brown cattle, as opposed to black. In 1994, a Texas Ranger imported 11 purebred Akaushi cattle to the US, taking care to keep them separate from any American cattle to prevent crossbreeding. Today, that farm has over 5,000 head of Akaushi cattle. Typically, Akaushi steaks have even more marbling than USDA Prime steaks, and as such, are often priced higher (though you may occasionally be able to find a sale). Personally, I like the taste of it, and I think it’s a good alternative. So, the next time you come across a cut of Akaushi beef, maybe give it a try and see if you like it.

Certified Kobe Plaque at the Wynn in Las Vegas

Certified Kobe Plaque at the Wynn in Las Vegas

Where to Buy Your Steaks

Of course, once you know what kind of beef you like, you have to decide where you intend to buy it.

Grocery Store

Typically, the lowest-quality steak is always precut at the grocery store and shrink-wrapped. You have to hope that they didn’t falsify the packaging date, but keep in mind that–as we discussed in Part I–aging beef is not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s not spoiled. Alternatively, you can have your piece of meat cut at the grocery store’s meat counter, which has the considerable advantage that you can get exactly the piece of meat you want, in the exact thickness.

A typical grocery store meat counter.

Butcher Shop & Farmer’s Market

Another great source for your steaks is the local butcher shop. While there are chains of butchers, visiting a chain makes it harder to know where things are coming from. Conversely, if you go to an independently owned butcher, they can usually tell you exactly where their cattle is coming from, what breed it is, and why they chose it. Best of all, you can even have your local butcher dry-age certain beef cuts to your exact specifications, ensuring the flavor profile that you most enjoy. Additionally, you can also buy meat from a local farmer’s market; the benefits of this option are that you’ll be able to get to know the farmer well with repeated shopping (as well as learn what his cattle-raising and preparatory techniques are), and be secure in the knowledge that all the money you’re paying goes to him, and not to some marketing or logistics scheme.

Beautiful steak cuts at Lowry Hill Meats - a local butcher shop in Minneapolis

Beautiful steak cuts at Lowry Hill Meats – a local butcher shop in Minneapolis

Online Retailers

When it comes to specialty steaks–especially American-style Wagyu or other very high-end and expensive cuts–you can also buy them online. These cuts will likely come to you in Styrofoam boxes, packed in dry ice to prevent spoiling. You can buy online with confidence; that being said, it’s our experience that the prices you’ll pay for that kind of service are quite high for the quality that you’ll receive.

Snake River Farms American Kobe Wagyu Brisket

American Kobe Wagyu Brisket from online retailer Snake River Farms.

At the end of the day, what kind of steak you buy is entirely up to you. If you go to the grocery store, you’ll likely get the lowest overall price, whereas if you go to your local farmer or butcher, you will probably learn more about where your meat is coming from and what you’re eating. Also, if you like the taste of dry-aged beef, you’ll most often have to go to a butcher shop, or to someone else who really knows how to handle it; it’s not something you can do in your fridge at home.

Additional Tips

Finally, here are a few other tips we recommend when selecting your steaks:

  • How do you know whether a steak is aged so it’s really tender? I always find that if I use my finger and I push into the meat and the meat stays down it is tender, and will remain so once it’s cooked or grilled. Typically, grocery-store steaks are not aged as long, and will spring back immediately when subjected to this “push test.”
  • It’s worth noting that cattle that is stressed out before it’s slaughtered will have meat that tastes differently and feels tougher than meat from cattle that was relaxed at the time of slaughter–ergo, asking local sellers of meat about their techniques is often a desirable course of action.
  • If you and your family are frequent meat eaters, consider buying in larger quantities, such as a half or quarter of a cow. As beef can be frozen and defrosted for individual meals (and in fact, many chefs argue that beef that has been frozen cooks up better than fresher beef from the refrigerator), buying in bulk may be a cost-effective solution for the more carnivorous consumer.
Snake River Farms Wagyu Steak Lover Flight

If your family enjoys read meat frequently, consider buying in bulk.

Conclusion

With the information we’ve presented here, you should now be able to enter your local butcher shop or grocery store as a confident and well-informed customer, and come home with your desired cut(s) of beef. This is just the middle part of the process to enjoying  a great steak, however; after procuring your cuts, you’ve still got to know how to cook them properly. To learn more about this final (and perhaps most important) part of the experience, consult the final part of this Steak Guide; Part III deals with cooking and serving techniques. Additionally, you can go back to reference Part I, which covers basic terminology and our top five preferred cuts. Bon Appétit!

cast iron skillet steak

A preview of what’s to come in Part III – stay tuned!

This steak guide was written by Preston Schlueter, incorporating previous writings by Sven Raphael Schneider.


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Mark Making: how shape-shifting plays a huge part in the contemporary artwork of Mark McClure

We caught up with Mark McClure as his work is displayed as part of the abstract showcase at our Brighton gallery. Building up dynamic layers is something the original Abstract artists excelled at, and it’s something that artist Mark McClure knows something about too.

Murmation by Mark McClure

 

Artrepublic (AR):Abstraction, by definition is dealing with ideas rather than events. What kind of ideas do you find yourself dealing with in your work?

Mark McClure (MM): My early painted pieces originally developed from landscapes – the structural and architectural shapes around me in London. I took this further when I started using bits of wood and paper on canvas, taking the landscape to a more directly connected work that used materials found in the scenes that they represented.

These ideas of abstract landscape and representing structural forms, patterns and everyday motifs – combined with using materials and textures from my daily surroundings – are the basis for all the work I do today, albeit using a more pared-down, condensed visual language.

AR: Abstraction is also a state of preoccupation. In general, what do you find preoccupies you and why?

MM: Challenging my own perceptions of what I like about a piece and what I don’t. It’s not always constructive to consciously think about this for too long, but I find it fascinating. If I like something immediately I often find that I don’t so much a few days later… It’s usually the works that are a struggle that become the long-term loves. It’s a hard-earned thing. There’s probably a profound life lesson in there somewhere.

AR: Historically, abstract art was as much about process and materials as it was the outcome. Can you talk us through your usual making process, and the materials you feel an affinity with?

MM: It varies a lot. The trigger can be one of many things; sometimes a certain piece of wood or metal will catch my eye and become the starting point of a piece, especially for the sculptural works. These then slowly develop – as a pile of changing shapes and objects on the worktop, which are added to or taken from – before they slowly settle into place and are fixed.

For the mosaics I tend to sketch in a sketchbook or on the computer and take a piece to an almost finished state before cutting wood or having it cut, and then painting and assembling the work. There’s always an element of chance and the happy accidents often make a piece – either with loosely painted additions or through the way cut shapes interact with each other

AR: If you could collaborate on a project with anyone – artist/ non-artist, dead or alive – who would it be and why?

MM: I think it’d be someone like Joshua Davis, a creative coder and artist who has been doing amazing work for decades on Praystation. My background is in digital interactive design, and I’m slowly introducing elements of that journey back into my current work. So to do a project with someone with that knowledge and creativity could only end in kickass awesomeness.

AR: Consider the Cubists as an early-20th century art collective, pushing each other’s work forward. Who’s in your art gang?

MM: Good question. I don’t really have a core group who are connected through similar work. It largely depends where I am. I’m lucky enough to live near the good folk at LookUp Editions, who live and breathe abstraction and do a very good pint-based critique. After that it’s all about long boozy chats in the pub, which normally go off topic after 20 minutes and onto something entirely different. The usual suspects include the likes of Ben Slow, Dan Cimmermann, Nadeem Chughtai and the Static boys. My studio neighbours Richard Stone and Hannah Ludnow are my daily sounding boards – even though our work is hugely different to each other’s, it helps to have a completely fresh take on things.

 

Discover Mark McClure’s work for yourself at artrepublic Brighton, or find out more about his art and our abstract showcase by speaking to one of our personal art advisors on 01273 724829

For more news stories and events visit our Brighton Gallery page

The post Mark Making: how shape-shifting plays a huge part in the contemporary artwork of Mark McClure appeared first on artrepublic blog.

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The Steak Guide, Part I: Characteristics & Types of Cuts

Steak. For many men, it’s their favorite meal, a treat at a restaurant, or a point of pride in their home cooking repertoire. It’s such an important food in many cultures that entire restaurants are dedicated to perfecting it, and the definition of a perfect steak is hotly debated.

Even though it’s a deceptively simple dish, requiring only a bit of seasoning and some heat, there are many things to know about steak before you get started grilling, searing or ordering one. Therefore, this article will discuss what exactly a steak is, the characteristics of a good one, and the best cuts to buy.

What Is Steak?

It may seem like an overly simplistic question, but there is, in fact, a bit of nuance to it. After all, not just any piece of meat is automatically considered a steak. The actual definition, then, is as follows: a cut of meat, usually beef, that’s sliced perpendicular to the muscle fibers. While this definition can apply to other types of meat, this particular series of articles will focus specifically on beef steaks, a staple in western cultures.

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Assortment of Steak Cuts at the butcher

Steak Controversies

Before we go any further with specific information, there are a few important considerations that we feel obligated to address.

  • In short: while steak is delicious, beef is controversial.
  • It’s an expensive, resource-intense food that is damaging to the environment.
  • Cattle are not always raised under humane conditions, and antibiotic use in animals has been linked to growing antibiotic resistance.
  • Furthermore, beef is definitely not a health food. In fact, the World Health Organization links regular consumption of red meat to an increased risk of cancer.

While many attempts have been made to reframe red meat as healthy (such as the “paleo diet” or advocacy of eating grass-fed beef) it simply isn’t. Ultimately, everyone must choose for themselves if or how they consume red meat.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

Cattle on a ranch near Elko, Nevada, USA.

Characteristics of a Great Steak

Now that we’ve covered our necessary disclaimers, let’s get back to discussing the particulars of what makes for a good steak. Overall, there are two key characteristics of a steak to consider: tenderness and flavor.

What Makes a Steak Tender?

The importance of tenderness can’t be underestimated; “tenderizing” a steak is a popular search topic for that reason. Tender cuts are easy and enjoyable to chew. Nobody’s idea of a good steak should include a dining experience that resembles chewing on a piece of leather! With that in mind, the simplest way to achieve a tender steak is to start with a tender cut of beef. When considering tenderness, let’s look at the characteristics of the steak itself and set aside the cooking method for later consideration (which is to say, the second article in this series). There are two key considerations when it comes to tenderness:

  1. How much the muscle was used

    Just as humans exercise different muscles to different degrees, the same is true for cattle. The less a given muscle was used by the cow in question, the more tender that the resulting cut of meat will be. For example, the muscles along the backbone (which are cut into many of the steak types we’ll discuss below) are used much less than the hips and shoulders (which end up as cheaper cuts, like chuck).

  2. The ratios of muscle, collagen, and fat in the steak

    A steak contains three main types of bodily matter, not counting a bone: muscle, collagen (a type of connective tissue which holds muscle together), and fat. Muscle is the primary substance of the steak, fat provides flavor, and collagen provides structure. During cooking, connective tissues do not have enough time to break down; therefore, tender cuts of steak should contain less connective tissue overall. Finely marbled fat will melt during cooking, but thicker pockets of fat will not; this compromises tenderness.
    This is why finely but intensely marbled Wagyu or Kobe beef is so prized–but we’ll address these types of beef later in the article.

A chart showing the various grades of beef marbling, using the Japanese BMS (Beef Marble Score) index.

A chart showing the various grades of beef marbling, using the Japanese BMS (Beef Marble Score) index.

To summarize, the most tender cut will come from around the backbone, has very little connective tissue, and has finely marbled fat. For these reasons, as well as the fact that the more tender muscles are often smaller, you can expect to pay more for a tender cut of beef.

What makes a steak flavorful?

Again, let’s just consider the flavor of the steak itself rather than any seasonings that might be added during or before cooking.

The main components that contribute to flavor are the amount of fat in the meat, the diet of the animal it came from, and how the meat has been aged.  

  • Fat is the main flavor component in steak.

    • Meat is mostly composed of muscle tissue, and therefore water.
    • Flavor-carrying molecules are repelled by water, but they dissolve in fat; therefore, fat enhances flavor.
    • As a further such enhancement, fat also adds to the juiciness of the steak.
A cut of beef such as the one pictured here, with little connective tissue and finely marbled fat, will be more tender and flavorful.

A cut of beef such as the one pictured here, with little connective tissue and finely marbled fat, will be more tender and flavorful.

  • The animal’s diet also has an impact on flavor.

    • Grain-Fed Cows
      For the most part, grain-fed cows are left to roam free for their first six to twelve months. After that, however, they’re moved into feedlots, which are no longer pastoral environments, but more concentrated areas. In the feedlots, the cows are rapidly fattened up with grains such as corn or soy. Some cows are even given hormones to help them grow faster and antibiotics to help increase their survivability in the concentrated and sometimes unsanitary living conditions. As you might imagine, these feedlots and the conditions therein are one of the principal complaints when considering the inhumane treatment of beef cattle.
    • Grass-Fed Cows
      Unlike grain-fed cows, grass-fed cattle are often left to graze for the entirety of their lives before going to the slaughterhouse. While the term grass-fed isn’t a legal definition, according to best practices it typically implies that cow will subsist mainly on a diet of grass, hay, or shrubbery. Grass-fed cows typically have less fat in their meat; this is because grass is less nutritionally dense than grain. Grazing cows also move more, which makes their meat a bit tougher.
    • Grain-fed is often labeled purely as “beef,” whereas grass-fed or grass-finished, which captures the flavors of both feeds, is usually labeled as such.
      • Note that the USDA does not regulate the labeling of grass-fed beef, so the discerning shopper may want to inquire further of their butcher or grocer.
    • At the end of the day, it is a matter of personal taste, so don’t be too concerned and choose what you like. We believe that if flavor is your aim, traditional grain-fed beef is going to be your best bet, although some people may prefer the flavor of grass-fed beef.
    • In general, remember that it always pays to know where your steak comes from, as the characteristics of the cattle will have an impact on the quality of the meat.
A helpful infographic, illustrating the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

A helpful infographic, illustrating the differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

  • Finally, how the meat is aged also affects flavor.

    • Stated simply, aging is the process by which microbes and enzymes act upon meat to help break down its connective tissue, increasing both tenderness and flavor.
    • While one might assume at first that a more freshly butchered cut of beef would be more flavorful, this couldn’t be further from the truth! “Fresh” beef is tough and flavorless, as its connective tissues are all still intact. While some grocery stores sell “non-aged” beef, such material is still aged for at least a few days. Further, this “non-aging” is simply a hallmark of lower-quality cuts whose suboptimal flavor would not benefit from additional aging.
    • Dry Aging
      • In the traditional dry-aging process, steaks are aged by hanging them for about 30 days; due to the water loss, the beef flavor intensifies. Moreover, microbes on the outer surfaces of the meat are allowed to create a distinctive aroma and textured exterior.
      • Today, meat lovers often choose dry-aged beef over wet-aged beef because they like the stronger flavor. Generally, a standard grocer won’t carry dry-aged beef, while a reputable butcher often will. Furthermore, only premium cuts are typically dry-aged, because lower-quality cuts like flat-iron, chuck, or skirt steaks would simply degrade rather than improve – this is chiefly due to said cuts’ lower and less-evenly distributed fat content.
      • Dry aging is a delicate and therefore expensive process, as the meat must be stored at near-freezing temperatures in a humid environment (35-38 °F, or 1.5 To 3.5 °C, with a humidity of 50-60%).
      • Proper dry aging can take from two to six weeks’ time, and approximately a third or more of the weight is lost as moisture.
A selection of dry-aged cuts of beef. Note the dark and textured exterior.

A selection of dry-aged cuts of beef. Note the dark and textured exterior.

 

  • Wet Aging
    • Most beef is wet aged in this day and age, by way of vacuum-sealing cuts of beef in plastic bags.
    • This process not only helps to keep the meat fresh for a longer period of time, but also reduces the loss of water (meaning a higher value for the vendor, as steak is sold by weight).
    • Further, said process takes less time than dry aging (usually 4 to 10 days at a minimum) and helps retain the appetizing red color of fresh meat, which is seen as desirable by many consumers.
    • Just because we’ve already discussed how the loss of water-weight can lead to more flavor, that doesn’t mean that wet aging is necessarily inferior. Some vendors even start with dry aging and then switch to wet aging to get the best of both worlds.
    • Ultimately, our suggestion is to simply try for yourself, and once you have a favorite, take notes so you can get exactly what you like with future visits to the grocer or butcher.
A typical example of a wet-aged steak, with moderate marbling.

A typical example of a wet-aged steak, with moderate marbling.

Steak Cuts

There are many types of steak cuts; in simplest terms, a “cut” refers to the part of the cow from which the steak was sourced. The most tender cuts come from the loin and rib around the backbone, and as they typically have the best texture and flavor, these are the cuts on which we’ll be focusing today. We believe the top five cuts for tenderness and flavor are:

  1. Ribeye

  2. Tenderloin

  3. Strip

  4. T-Bone & Porterhouse

  5. Top Sirloin

While they are all worth eating, a great many people will likely attest that the best combination of flavor and tenderness comes from the first three cuts on this list in particular. Of course, you might also enjoy other cuts (for example, a flank or flat-iron steak), but as we believe that the five cuts listed here represent the best combination of texture and flavor, they’ll remain the focus of our discussion. Now, let’s talk about each one.

Another useful infographic, illustrating the numerous cuts of beef that are commercially available.

Another useful infographic, illustrating the numerous cuts of beef that are commercially available.

Ribeye

  • This cut is sourced, perhaps obviously, from the rib section of the cow (remember to check the infographic above!), and is also used, when slow-roasted, for prime rib.
  • Also known as a Delmonico steak, Scotch fillet, or entrecôte.
  • In the United States, a terminological distinction is made: “ribeye” refers to the cut when the bone has been removed, whereas “rib steak” refers to the cut if the bone remains attached. In other parts of the world, these terms are largely interchangeable.
  • We believe that the ribeye represents the best choice for those who prize flavor above all else; for its well-marbled fat and high degree of tenderness, the flavor of a ribeye is second to none.
Rib Steak Ready To Be Cut, without the bone it is a ribeye - notice the marbling

Rib Steak Ready To Be Cut, without the bone it is a ribeye – notice the marbling

Tenderloin

  • This cut, sourced from the center of the loin regions, is aptly named, as it is the most tender cut of meat on a cow.
  • Also known as the filet in France, the fillet in the United Kingdom, and the eye fillet in the Australasian region of Oceania.
  • The three main “cuts” of the tenderloin are (in order from largest to smallest) the butt, the center-cut, and the tail. The butt end is usually suitable for carpaccio, the center-cut for portion-controlled steaks like the coveted filet mignon and Chateaubriand, and the tail for recipes where small cuts of beef are used, such as Stroganoff.
    • Filet mignon (which means “small” or “dainty” in French) is sliced from the small end of the center cut, whereas Chateaubriand (named for the 19th-century French ambassador, François-René de Chateaubriand) comes from the large end.
    • The average animal only nets about 3.5 pounds of tenderloin, with about 2.5 pounds suitable for Chateaubriand and one pound for filet mignon. The weight of the tail portion will vary from 0.5 of a pound to almost nothing. As you might imagine, the tenderloin is therefore the most expensive cut by weight.
  • As it is leaner than the ribeye or strip, this cut is the better choice for those who prefer texture over flavor; it’s often described as being “melt-in-your-mouth” tender.
  • At the same time, because it’s not as flavorful as the ribeye or strip, the tenderloin is often wrapped in bacon or served with a sauce to bolster the flavor profile.
The Chateau Briand is the center cut of the Tenderloin

The Chateau Briand is the center cut of the Tenderloin

Strip

  • This cut is also known by a host of other names, including the New York Strip and Kansas City Strip.
  • Sourced from the short loin, the strip is another cut of meat that is low in connective tissue (with the muscle having done little work for the cow), resulting in a tender cut of beef.
  • Its fine marbling results in great flavor, generally second only to the ribeye.
  • As a bonus, strip steaks can also be used to make richly flavorful roast beef.
New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling - From Right to Left - Akaushi, Prime, Select, Grass Fed

New York Strip aka Kansas City Strip Steak cuts with different degree of marbling – From Left To Right – Grass Fed, Choice, Prime, Akaushi

T-Bone & Porterhouse

  • Both the T-bone and the porterhouse cuts are sourced from the short loin of the cow.
  • As you might expect, the T-bone steak is named for the distinctively shaped bone which holds it together. Somewhat confusingly, the porterhouse (whose name comes either from an early-1800s restaurant in New York called the Porter House, or a similarly named hotel in Georgia) also has a T-shaped bone, as both cuts are taken from the same region of the animal. Importantly, however, the two cuts are not the same.
  • While both a T-bone and a porterhouse contain a T-shaped bone surrounded by a tenderloin on one side and a strip on the other, the difference between the cuts lies in the quantity of meat in each of these two sections.
    • Both T-bones and porterhouses contain a large section of strip steak. Porterhouse steaks are cut from the rear end of the short loin, and thus include a larger section of tenderloin. Conversely, T-bone steaks are cut closer to the front end of the short loin, and contain a smaller section of tenderloin.
      • According to the USDA, a T-bone must contain a tenderloin filet with a thickness of at least 0.25 inches, whereas a porterhouse must have a filet that is at least 1.25 inches thick. As a result, many porterhouses can weigh two pounds or more.
      • Adding further confusion to this equation, the term “porterhouse” also has different definitions outside of the United States. In Britain and the countries of the Commonwealth, a porterhouse is a UK sirloin steak (that is, a US strip steak) on the bone, without the tenderloin – though some British butchers now offer American-style porterhouses, as well. Meanwhile, in New Zealand and Australia, a Porterhouse refers to a strip steak off the bone.
  • In general, both T-bones and porterhouses are both fairly large cuts, and as such are fairly expensive – and best shared among friends!
T-bone steak being cut by hand

T-bone steak being cut by hand

Top Sirloin

  • The top sirloin cut, meanwhile, is very simply named, as it’s sourced from the upper portion of the cow’s sirloin section (just behind the short loin, and under the hip).
  • While other cuts from the sirloin section, such as the flat-bone and round-bone sirloin steaks, feature more bone and tougher muscle, the top sirloin does not, and is more desirable for that reason.
  • Additionally, the top sirloin is a fairly affordable cut (the cheapest on average of those we’ve discussed in this article), and given this combination of desirability and affordability, it’s one of the most popular cuts in America today.
  • Though top sirloin is less tender, less flavorful, and leaner than the other cuts on this list, it isn’t sorely lacking in any of these categories. For the individual who likes to purchase and enjoy steak fairly regularly, then, top sirloin is a great budget alternative.
Top Sirloin Steak is a relatively lean cut

Top Sirloin Steak is a relatively lean cut

Conclusion

With the information we’ve laid out above, you should now be suitably familiar with the basic characteristics of a quality steak, as well as the unique attributes of our top five cuts. This is only the first part of the process to enjoying  a great steak, of course; after deciding what you want, you’ve got to go out and buy your steaks, and then cook them properly. To learn more about these two facets of the experience, consult the latter two parts of this Steak Guide: Part II covers how to buy a steak, and Part III deals with cooking and serving techniques. Bon Appétit!

Pan seared Top Sirloin Steak topped with compound herb butter - stay tuned for our how to cook a steak and make compound butter video

Pan seared Top Sirloin Steak topped with compound herb butter – stay tuned for our how to cook a steak and make compound butter video

This steak guide was written by Preston Schlueter and starred by Sven Raphael Schneider.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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The Lauren Moshi Stores are Hiring Part Time or Full time Retail Sales Associates In MALIBU And WEST HOLLYWOOD

Lauren Moshi is looking for sales associates who can work at either location or Both would be ideal! There is potential to grow in this position! We pay hourly plus commission! If you love Fashion, Art and Selling please email over your resume! Looking to hire someone: Self …

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AT&T is developing an ad tech platform where it can sell targeted video ads, including on streaming content. Ads could appear on AT&T's television shows and movies, as well as partner media companies' content.
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Alfonso Riberio Proud To Be A Part Of Utah’s ‘LoveLoud’ Fest

On July 28, the LoveLoud festival, successfully raised $ 1 million for LGBTQ youth in Utah, reports The Daily Universe.

Alfonso Ribeiro, who plays Carlton on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, was a fan-favorite guest speaker at the event.  “I look forward to the day this festival isn’t necessary,” he said. “Love strong, love proud and love loud.” Ribeiro also entertained the crowd with “Carlton’s”, signature dance move.

See clips of his speech below:

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UNDEFEATED Takes Part in the Upcoming Gumball 3000 Rally This Weekend

Following the recent news of yet another store destined for Tokyo comes news of UNDEFEATED taking part in the upcoming Gumball 3000 rally. The annual British-based event will soon celebrate its 20th anniversary and will see drivers start off in London with stops in Chantilly, Milan, and Bologna before flying off to Japan. Resuming in Osaka, the race then carries on from Kyoto, touring through Nanao and Mt. Fuji with Tokyo set as the final destination.

To commemorate the Gumball 3000, UNDEFEATED kitted a 2018 Ford F-150 Raptor with Rotiform wheels, ADD Stealth bumpers, Baja Designs LED light bars and a colored 3M livery, along with a limited apparel range, consisting of a graphic T-shirt and a branded snapback cap designed exclusively for the participants. The historic rally is scheduled to kick off on August 5.





Elsewhere in the fashion world, the Ralph Lauren Polo Bear designer explained the origins of the emblem.

Click here to view full gallery at HYPEBEAST




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Cummins to recall 500,000 trucks over faulty emissions part: EPA

Cummins Inc has agreed to recall about 500,000 medium- and heavy-duty trucks produced between 2010 and 2015 to correct a faulty emissions control system part that degrades and allows too much nitrogen oxide pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday.


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Kids suffer from debilitating episodes after recovering from strep throat: Part 1

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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First Look: “‘Til Death Do Us Part” | Tyler Perry’s The Haves and the Have Nots | OWN

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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The moment when 12 boys, coach trapped inside Thai cave were found alive: Part 2

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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Manafort campaign ties now part of Mueller investigation

Prosecutors for special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing that they intend to present evidence at the trial of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort that a banking executive allegedly helped Manafort obtain loans of more than $ 6 million while the banker sought a role in the Trump campaign. CNN’s Sara Murray reports.


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Trump is skipping part of the G7 summit after a spat with the French President and Canadian Prime Minister

President Donald Trump flies to Canada on Friday expecting a knock-out, drag-down fight with top US allies over trade — a battle he believes he can win but which he’s unenthusiastic about waging in person.


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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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For Parkland seniors, families, graduation marks the start of a new path: Part 1

ABC News

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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‘The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part’: Watch Funny First Trailer

'The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part': Watch Funny First Trailer

The first trailer for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part begins on a somber note, as Lucy (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) talks about a "new life that has hardened and toughened us all." Except for Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt), of course, who still thinks everything is awesome!

Five years have passed since the events in the smash-hit The Lego Movie, so what exactly has changed? Watch the first trailer below and then check out our summary of everything we know about the…

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North Korea summit cancellation part of ‘downside risks’ for the economy, Fed’s Bostic says

Geopolitical turmoil and policy certainty making businesses more cautious, Richmond Fed President Raphael Bostic says.
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‘It was terrifying,’ recalls passenger on deadly Southwest flight: Part 2

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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Sony to showcase ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Death Stranding,’ ‘The Last of Us Part II,’ and ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ at E3

Sony E3 2018 showcase

Sony this week announced that its E3 2018 showcase will take place on Monday, June 11th at 6:00 PM PT / 9:00 PM ET, but also that it may look slightly different than it has in recent years. In the most recent episode of the PlayStation Blogcast, Sony Interactive Entertainment America CEO Shawn Layden seemed to suggest that the company will veer from tradition, noting that Sony will be taking “a different angle” when it comes to this year’s showcase.

First off, the event will be highlighted by four console exclusives: Death Stranding from Kojima Productions, Ghost of Tsushima from Sucker Punch, Marvel’s Spider-Man from Insomniac Games, and The Last of Us Part II from Naughty Dog. Layden says that Sony will take a “deep dive” into each of these PS4 exclusives.

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Sony to showcase ‘Spider-Man,’ ‘Death Stranding,’ ‘The Last of Us Part II,’ and ‘Ghost of Tsushima’ at E3 originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 11 May 2018 at 23:34:02 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.


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Scarlett Moffatt lands first movie role as Caitlin Moran reveals she’s writing her a part in new film How To Build A Girl

SCARLETT Moffatt has landed her first movie role.

The former Gogglebox star is making the transition from the small screen to the big screen with a cameo in author Caitlin Moran’s upcoming movie How To Build A Girl.

Scarlett Moffatt has landed her first movie role
PA:Press Association

The movie adaptation of her popular novel will star Lady Bird actress Beanie Feldstein in the lead role of Johanna Morrigan, who leaves her hometown to reinvent herself.

Caitlin, 43, took to Twitter on Wednesday to discuss the project, writing: “Can FINALLY talk about this – what we’ve been working on for the last two years.

“SCREAMINGLY excited. Oh, the first scene is a DOOZY. And Beanie is just … astonishing. The world is going to EXPLODE with love for her.”

Scarlett, 27, quickly replied: “Omg omg OMG” with two in love emoji faces.

Caitlin Moran is writing a cameo part for Scarlett in her new movie How To Build A Girl
PA:Press Association
The pair discussed the cameo on Twitter
Twitter

Caitlin tweeted back: “I KNOW RIGHT. You still want that cameo? GONNA WRITE YOU IN” to which Scarlett responded: “Omg yes yes yes!! Can’t even contain my excitement xx”.

How To Build A Girl is a semi-autobiographical tale and was Caitlin’s second novel.

The movie is being produced by Debra Hayward and Alison Owen for Monumental Pictures.

Of the film, Alison said: “We could not be more excited for Johanna Morrigan to burst onto the big screen.


Scarlett is making the move from the small screen to the big screen
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“We searched high and low for a girl who could match the boundless wit, sparkle and big heart of Caitlin’s super-heroine and feel incredibly lucky to have found her in the effervescent Beanie Feldstein.”

Beanie, 24, is best known for her role in Bad Neighbours 2: Sorority Rising and Lady Bird.

She also starred in the 2017 Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! alongside Bette Midler.


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FDA commissioner to drug middlemen: You’re part of the problem

The FDA chief said he worries PBMs have been "complacent participants" in schemes to keep biosimilars off the market.
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Kim Zolciak Apologizes To NeNe Leakes After The Second Part Of RHOA Reunion – Here’s What She Said

Earlier we reported what happened during the second part of RHOA reunion for the series’ fans who didn’t get to see it yesterday. It also seems that Kim Zolciak felt sorry, or at least seemed to feel sorry about the […]
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The Wild Wild Country Team Knows They Left Out Part of the Story. But They Did it on Purpose

Netflix’s latest documentary series, Wild Wild Country, takes viewers through a tumultuous period in American history that had until recently been all but forgotten.

After gaining access to more than 300 hours of archived footage about Rajneeshpuram, a commune established in eastern Oregon in the early 1980s, brothers Maclain and Chapman Way knew they had to make a series exploring how the commune’s power grew — and eventually crumbled in violence. Rajneeshpuram sprang up in a remote area of Oregon after followers of the Indian spiritual leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, a bearded guru with a love of Rolls Royces, took over the area in an effort to build a utopia, much to the chagrin of local townspeople. But what began as a culture of peace and free love morphed, as the group struggled to keep control of the area, into a saga marked by poison attacks, attempted murders and rampant immigration fraud.

The Ways received the footage after finishing up their first documentary, The Battered Bastards of Baseball, which was based in Portland, Oregon. An archivist at the Oregon Historical Society alerted them to the story, giving them hundreds of hours of archived footage, the bulk of which news stations intentionally did not tape over, sensing an imperative to preserve the coverage of such a bizarre, divisive time in history. As they geared up to interview people involved on all sides of the conflict, the brothers found that their subjects wanted to share their stories as a warning for the future.

“They see it as different types of warnings,” Maclain Ways says, referring to the locals and the Rajneeshees, who are also known as sannyasins. “If you ask the sanyassins, a lot of them will tell you this is a warning of religious persecution and government overreach. If you talk to the neighboring ranchers of the Rajneeshees, they’ll tell you the story of Rajneeshpuram is a warning of cults and what happens when people become brainwashed and do destructive things.”

Wild Wild Country refuses to establish clear heroes or villains. The Way brothers wanted to let the Rajneeshees’ actions and the complaints of locals unfold without an added layer of condemnation. The group’s members, clad in uniforms of red, orange and purple clothing, quickly made enemies of the local residents of Antelope, Oregon, a small town located near the compound. As the commune grew into a city of its own, complete with an airport, malls and restaurants, the largely conservative Antelopeans became angrier and more resentful of the outsiders practicing their own form of spirituality on land they felt rightfully belonged to them.

The skirmishes only intensified as the Rajneeshees doubled down on taking over the local government, and although they went to illegal lengths to establish control — including attempts by a devotee to murder the Rajneeshee’s doctor and the poisoning of 750 people with salmonella made on the compound — the pushback from locals who tried to drive the followers away revealed the story to be more layered than the Ways initially anticipated.

“We were trying to tap into a conversation about, well, what is the difference between cult and religion? What are religious minority rights? Where is everyone’s line of tolerance where they have to say, ‘Enough is enough, we can’t have these people take over my town anymore?’” says Maclain Way.

One criticism of the show posits that it glosses over some of Rajneeshees’ more egregious actions. After all, commune members caused the largest biochemical terror attack in the country with the mass salmonella poisoning, engaged in suspicious intra-group violence and cooked up a plot involving multi-state immigration fraud in order to gain political control. Brief scenes in the series showing group members beating each other as part of purging meditation exercises are never fully explained.

But the Ways say they did not worry about any potential imbalances in the series because they trusted audiences to judge the Rajneeshees’ actions as negative without having to totally condemn the commune. “We are interested in showing this to a mature audience that would be able to kind of push themselves to then hear from the people who did these things themselves, about why they did it,” says Maclain. The series includes interviews with several former members of the commune, all of whom have different reflections upon their time there.

Jane Stork, one woman featured in the series, who moved her family from Australia to the commune in search of enlightenment, now believes Rajneeshpuram was a cult that sowed destruction in eastern Oregon. She later wrote a book, called Breaking the Spell, that details her disenchantment with the group. On the other end of the spectrum is Philip Toelkes, known in the group as Swami Prem Niren, an attorney who still considers himself to be a follower of Rajneesh and now runs his own “conscious coaching” business.

The ambiguity has led some viewers to feel conflicted about how much they empathize with the Rajneeshees — many people joked online about how the red outfits and free love lifestyle would have totally convinced them to join the commune had they been around in the 1980s. Audiences also felt torn over their love for Ma Anand Sheela, the Bhagwan’s tough-talking second-in-command at the Oregon commune, who played an integral role in the Rajneeshees’ darker plots and later pleaded guilty to attempted murder, immigration fraud and orchestrating the salmonella outbreak. She served 29 months of a 20-year prison sentence.

Sheela, now 68 and living in Switzerland, is the showstopper of the documentary and seems to have no regrets about her actions at Rajneeshpuram. The Ways, who had heard from state and federal officials that she was “pure evil,” say they were “definitely a little timid and a little scared” when they flew out to meet her. They found her to be “smart, cunning and charming” — almost exactly how she appeared in 1980s television appearances talking up the Rajneeshees — and say she clearly still cares very much about the past.

“She definitely feels there was a lot of religious persecution and bigotry toward her group,” Chapman says. “She was going to go to all lengths to protect her commune and her master.”

Other former Rajneeshees were less willing to talk, feeling that past attempts to document what happened in Oregon, including a documentary by Oregon Public Broadcasting, were unfair, says Maclain. But devotees and Antelope residents alike eventually came around out of a reverence for preserving history — and until the series debuted on Netflix, the story of what happened at Rajneeshpuram had long remained hidden in news archives. According to Chapman, the incidents are not ingrained in the collective American memory largely because no one died due to the Rajneeshees’ crimes.

“You look at Jonestown, you look at Waco, you look at the death tolls those events had,” he says, referring to two infamous cults whose members died in great numbers. “This one was just easier to forget about over time.”

Though the Ways started making Wild Wild Country in 2014, two years before Donald Trump won the presidential election largely on a platform of stoking fears about immigrants and religious minorities, the series hit Netflix as such topics continue to dominate national conversation. The timing didn’t go unnoticed by the bothers, and Wild Wild Country presents an American tale as old as time.

I joke around, but it was honestly comforting as an American to realize we have always struggled with these issues. What’s happening to our country isn’t just new right now,” Chapman says. “Every generation has dealt with these issues.”


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4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 2

There are so many things to consider before signing an Employment Contract for a new job that we’ve decided to include a second part to our original post, “4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract”.

In the first post, we discussed how, before signing your employee agreement, it’s wise to:

  • Review your job title and duties to ensure they match the position you interviewed for
  • Double check the salary listed is the one you agreed upon
  • Ensure you understand how overtime and time off benefits work
  • Familiarize yourself with any additional or restrictive clauses in the employment agreement (e.g. non-compete, non-solicitation, and confidentiality clauses)

In this second part, we’ll discuss considering travel requirements, clarifying work hours, reviewing employee benefits, and evaluating company culture before signing on the dotted line.

Consider the Travel Requirements in Your Employment Contract

Travel is something many people often overlook when they’re considering taking a job, but it’s important to keep in mind that traveling to and from work, in some cases, can be a large part of your day.

If you’re fielding multiple job offers where all other factors (like pay, benefits, workload, etc.) are equal, the commute could possibly be your deal breaker. Having a 30- or 45-minute trip doesn’t necessarily sound too horrible until you consider that both ways (to and from work) can mean up to an hour-and-a-half in your car or on public transit.

It’s also important to consider how commute times can alter (sometimes drastically) at different times of day (e.g. morning and evening rush hour, lunch time, etc.) and different times of year.

For example, in Maine or even upstate New York, a typical 30-minute commute can very easily become an hour or an hour-and-a-half in the winter.

One last thing to keep in mind is business travel. Some jobs expect no travel at all, while others expect the majority of your work time to be spent out of the office. This can mean traveling to various job sites or other cities, states, or countries for meetings and conferences. Before you sign your Employment Contract, you should ask about the travel requirements and you should clarify whether or not you’ll be compensated for travel time, meals, flights, gas, etc., and what that compensation will be.

Clarify the Working Hours for Your New Position

Sometimes there can be a difference between the hours you are expected to work on paper and an unspoken expectation of the hours you’re really meant to work.

This doesn’t mean that an employer might expect you to underreport your hours or leave off any overtime (although this does happen), it just means you might have to consider how your work life might intermingle with your personal life.

Many people work a standard 9 to 5, Monday to Friday job (or some such variation), and when everyone punches out, the day is done. But there are certain employers that expect their employees to check their work emails after hours and on weekends or to be on call at all times in case of work emergencies.

Before you sign your contract, you should ask about what’s expected of you in terms of being on call. Are you meant to put in your 40 hours in the office and keep an eye out for phone calls or emails from your boss on Saturdays?

Some employers expect you to work your 40 hours and nothing more, while others expect you to be at their beck and call. It’s best to clarify this before you accept the position so you know exactly what you’re getting into on day one.

Review and Understand the Benefits Plans

In today’s economy, employee benefits are an important factor when workers are contemplating employment opportunities.

The U.S. Department of Labor released a report in 2017 that detailed the percentage of employers (across the civilian, private, and local and state government sectors) that offer some form of benefits (retirement, medical care, and life insurance) to their employees. The results found an average of 72% of employees had access to these types of benefits and an average of 65% of employees used the benefits.

Typically, employers who offer benefits plans include some form of the following:

  • Retirement plan
  • Health insurance
  • Vision and dental coverage
  • Life insurance
  • Short- or long-term disability

With the majority of employers offering benefits, applicants and job hunters have the chance to compare benefits packages so they can make judgments about which job offer they might take. It’s a good idea to review the employer’s benefits plans, make sure you understand them, and see how they measure up to other plans from your current job or another position you might be contemplating.

Evaluate the Company Culture

One final thing you should reflect on is what the working environment is like. People struggle and thrive in very different environments, so it’s important to consider how you’ll fare in a specific environment before you sign up.

Determining a company’s culture can be a hard concept to navigate, so here are some questions you can ask yourself to get started:

  • What kind of people will you be working with?
  • Do you think you’ll get along with your co-workers?
  • Do the people look content to be at work? Or are they all visibly stressed and discontent?
  • Will you fit in?

One last question you might also ask yourself is “Do I care about the company culture?” because it’s not something that matters to everyone. Many people can put up with working in an environment where they aren’t always content if other factors (like pay or benefits or the company’s mission) outweigh their needs for contentment. Hopefully, you’ll never have to choose between your personal happiness and a paycheck, but it’s a choice that some people have to consider.

Taking the Next Steps in Your Career

Receiving a job offer is a thrilling experience, but it can come with many uncertainties that you’ll want to clarify. Don’t be afraid to evaluate the implications of accepting the offer before you sign the contract. There’s no harm in being a little cautious and ensuring you understand everything you’re getting into before taking a new job.

What are some other things you consider before accepting a job offer?

The post 4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 2 appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 1

When you’re reading over your job contract, you should make sure you understand everything from your job duties to your rights as an employee—you don’t want to run into any surprises after signing on the dotted line.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some things you should consider before signing an Employment Agreement.

Job Title and Duties in Your Employment Contract

The first thing you should check in your Employment Contract is that your job title and responsibilities match the position you interviewed for. If the description doesn’t match your expectations, bring it up to your supervisor or the HR representative walking you through your orientation before you sign.

It’s possible that there was just a clerical error, but if that’s not the case and you suspect your new employer’s expectations are different than what you thought, you can take this opportunity to voice your concerns or leave before you’re bound to a written contract.

For instance, some employees find themselves in circumstances where they interview for a “Manager” position but find their job title changed to “Lead” on their contract.

While a small change in wording like this doesn’t seem like much, it can affect things like wage increases because a team leader is often below a manager within a company’s structure. Moreover, being a lead versus a manager might also affect your job responsibilities.

Reviewing Your Salary Before Signing Your Contract

Salary is something many people take for granted when looking over their employment contracts.

You’d think the salary you agreed on in your job offer would be the same as the one included in your contract, but mistakes can happen. It’s best to be safe and check before signing your job agreement.

If your salary is different than you expected, it’s important to determine if there is an explanation in the contract. For instance, part of your salary might be divided into commission or bonuses or other benefits granted by your employer.

It’s crucial that you understand exactly how you’re meant to be compensated for your work and if economic incentives based on job performance (like tips, commission, or bonuses) affect your salary or hourly wage.

You should also take time to familiarize yourself with how often you’re paid (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) as the pay period can differ from company to company.

Some employers even offer advances, which might not be something you’re aware of before signing your contract and could come in handy later if you’re ever in a financial pinch.

Although many employers pay their employees through a direct deposit system, there are still those who use checks. Be sure to double check the manner in which you’re paid in case you have to plan cashing your check into your regular routine.

Overtime and Time Off Benefits at Work

Many employers offer overtime pay and time off allowances (like vacation and sick time), but they can differ from job to job. Some employers pay out overtime (usually an increased wage like time-and-a-half for each extra hour worked) and others will bank overtime which can either be used later in the form of time off or can be cashed in at your regular hourly wage.

When looking into overtime, you should consider:

  • When overtime kicks in: Does it kick in after you work more than 8 hours in a day? Does it only take effect if you work more than 40 hours per week?
  • How much your wage increases if the time isn’t banked: Is it time-and-a-half? Double-time? Does it increase as your overtime hours increase?
  • How to cash in banked overtime hours: Do you get time off? Do you cash it in as your hourly wage? Do you cash in an overtime (increased) wage? Can you do a mix of both time off and payout?

Be sure to look at your state laws on overtime as well, as there may be regulations on when and how overtime is calculated.

You should also ask about the time off procedure if you’re unsure. Is it divided up into sick time, personal time, and vacation, or is it just one lump of time that you can divvy up however you’d like?

Keep in mind, some employers require you to work a full year to build up vacation and sick time before you’re entitled to use it. Others simply require you complete your probation period (usually three to six months) before you start using your time off benefits.

Additional and Restrictive Clauses in Your Employment Agreement

There are some clauses that appear in many Employment Agreements that you should familiarize yourself with.

Non-compete: A non-compete clause prevents the employee from unfairly competing against the employer during employment and after it ends. For example, an employee cannot open a competing business while employed with the current company.

Non-solicitation: A non-solicitation clause is a stipulation that prevents an employee from recruiting any of the company’s employees or contractors after said employee has left the company. Although poaching is popular in many industries, a former employee who is bound by a non-solicitation clause cannot participate in this practice without the risk of getting sued.

Confidentiality: A confidentiality clause keeps employees from divulging the company’s confidential information to anyone outside of the company or who is not privileged to that knowledge. This gets many people in trouble especially if they leave one company for a competitor and pass on client, supplier, or employee information to the competitor.

It’s important to read through these clauses in your contract and keep them in mind should you ever leave your current employer. The last thing you need is a lawsuit against you for passing on the names of your former employer’s major clients because you didn’t know the potential consequences.

Beginning a New Chapter in Your Career

Starting a new job is an exciting experience that can present you with new challenges and opportunities. Though it may be difficult, try not to let your excitement get to your head while you’re reviewing your contract.

After you look over your Employment Contract, write down any questions you have so that you can go over them with your manager or the hiring manager. You may feel obligated to return your signed contract quickly, but you’re entitled to take time to review it carefully to make sure that you understand what you are signing.

What’s the first thing you look at in an Employment Contract? Let us know in the comments!

The post 4 Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 1 appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE :

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!

Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 1

employment-contract-work-agreement

When you’re reading over your job contract, you should make sure you understand everything from your job duties to your rights as an employee—you don’t want to run into any surprises after signing on the dotted line.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss some things you should consider before signing an Employment Agreement.

Job Title and Duties in Your Employment Contract

The first thing you should check in your Employment Contract is that your job title and responsibilities match the position you interviewed for. If the description doesn’t match your expectations, bring it up to your supervisor or the HR representative walking you through your orientation before you sign.

It’s possible that there was just a clerical error, but if that’s not the case and you suspect your new employer’s expectations are different than what you thought, you can take this opportunity to voice your concerns or leave before you’re bound to a written contract.

For instance, some employees find themselves in circumstances where they interview for a “Manager” position but find their job title changed to “Lead” on their contract.

While a small change in wording like this doesn’t seem like much, it can affect things like wage increases because a team leader is often below a manager within a company’s structure. Moreover, being a lead versus a manager might also affect your job responsibilities.

Reviewing Your Salary Before Signing Your Contract

Salary is something many people take for granted when looking over their employment contracts.

You’d think the salary you agreed on in your job offer would be the same as the one included in your contract, but mistakes can happen. It’s best to be safe and check before signing your job agreement.

If your salary is different than you expected, it’s important to determine if there is an explanation in the contract. For instance, part of your salary might be divided into commission or bonuses or other benefits granted by your employer.

It’s crucial that you understand exactly how you’re meant to be compensated for your work and if economic incentives based on job performance (like tips, commission, or bonuses) affect your salary or hourly wage.

You should also take time to familiarize yourself with how often you’re paid (e.g. weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, etc.) as the pay period can differ from company to company.

Some employers even offer advances, which might not be something you’re aware of before signing your contract and could come in handy later if you’re ever in a financial pinch.

Although many employers pay their employees through a direct deposit system, there are still those who use checks. Be sure to double check the manner in which you’re paid in case you have to plan cashing your check into your regular routine.

Overtime and Time Off Benefits at Work

Many employers offer overtime pay and time off allowances (like vacation and sick time), but they can differ from job to job. Some employers pay out overtime (usually an increased wage like time-and-a-half for each extra hour worked) and others will bank overtime which can either be used later in the form of time off or can be cashed in at your regular hourly wage.

When looking into overtime, you should consider:

  • When overtime kicks in: Does it kick in after you work more than 8 hours in a day? Does it only take effect if you work more than 40 hours per week?
  • How much your wage increases if the time isn’t banked: Is it time-and-a-half? Double-time? Does it increase as your overtime hours increase?
  • How to cash in banked overtime hours: Do you get time off? Do you cash it in as your hourly wage? Do you cash in an overtime (increased) wage? Can you do a mix of both time off and payout?

Be sure to look at your state laws on overtime as well, as there may be regulations on when and how overtime is calculated.

You should also ask about the time off procedure if you’re unsure. Is it divided up into sick time, personal time, and vacation, or is it just one lump of time that you can divvy up however you’d like?

Keep in mind, some employers require you to work a full year to build up vacation and sick time before you’re entitled to use it. Others simply require you complete your probation period (usually three to six months) before you start using your time off benefits.

Additional and Restrictive Clauses in Your Employment Agreement

There are some clauses that appear in many Employment Agreements that you should familiarize yourself with.

Non-compete: A non-compete clause prevents the employee from unfairly competing against the employer during employment and after it ends. For example, an employee cannot open a competing business while employed with the current company.

Non-solicitation: A non-solicitation clause is a stipulation that prevents an employee from recruiting any of the company’s employees or contractors after said employee has left the company. Although poaching is popular in many industries, a former employee who is bound by a non-solicitation clause cannot participate in this practice without the risk of getting sued.

Confidentiality: A confidentiality clause keeps employees from divulging the company’s confidential information to anyone outside of the company or who is not privileged to that knowledge. This gets many people in trouble especially if they leave one company for a competitor and pass on client, supplier, or employee information to the competitor.

It’s important to read through these clauses in your contract and keep them in mind should you ever leave your current employer. The last thing you need is a lawsuit against you for passing on the names of your former employer’s major clients because you didn’t know the potential consequences.

Beginning a New Chapter in Your Career

Starting a new job is an exciting experience that can present you with new challenges and opportunities. Though it may be difficult, try not to let your excitement get to your head while you’re reviewing your contract.

After you look over your Employment Contract, write down any questions you have so that you can go over them with your manager or the hiring manager. You may feel obligated to return your signed contract quickly, but you’re entitled to take time to review it carefully to make sure that you understand what you are signing.

What’s the first thing you look at in an Employment Contract? Let us know in the comments!

The post Things to Consider Before Signing an Employment Contract: Part 1 appeared first on LawDepot Blog.

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SPECIAL NEWS BULLETIN:

http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

Please help American Consultants Rx achieve it’s biggest goal yet of donating over 30 million discount prescription cards to over 50k organizations in an effort to assist millions of Americans in need. Please click here to donate today!