Steak review

Our experts find it's not where you buy your steak that's important. It's knowing what to look for.
 
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02.What we found

Rump

Our experts picked Aldi and the premium butcher as offering the best quality rump, and based on the prices we paid, you could save at least $9 per kg by buying your rump from Aldi. Woolworths and Coles were close behind for quality but not price savings. Our budget butcher offered the cheapest cut, but it was also the poorest quality. According to our experts, the meat was dull in colour, unappealing to the eye, and with connective tissue throughout so it is likely to be tough when cooked.

Sirloin

The cheapest sirloin, at $18 per kg, was from Woolworths, and our experts were pleased with its bright red colour. Also known as porterhouse, New York or striploin, sirloin is a favourite for its firm texture and rich flavour. This type of steak should be trimmed of its fat and have a nice amount of marbling to give it good flavour. 

Scotch fillet

At about $35 per kg, the premium butcher cut rated best, followed closely by Coles, which was also comparatively expensive at $30 per kg. They both received top marks for their bright colour and acceptable level of fat, which makes the meat tender and full of flavour. The cheapest scotch fillet, at $15 per kg from Woolworths, also rated lowest. The experts said it had a dull colour, which suggests the meat had been cut for some time, and minimal fat, which could make it dry and tough when cooked. Also known as cube roll, boneless rib eye or rib fillet, scotch fillet is a juicy, tender and flavoursome piece of steak.

T-bone

Once again, Coles performed just as well as the premium butcher despite being cheaper by almost $10 per kilo. Our experts said the colour of the bone is a big indicator of freshness; it should have a fresh whitish colour. T-bone is the classic Aussie BBQ steak, consisting of fillet on the smaller side of the bone, and sirloin on the larger side.

Blade

Our budget butcher performed poorly here; the experts said the meat's dark colour suggested poor storage and age. It had minimal marbling but rather a large amount of connective tissue, which would cause the steak to be tough – not to mention, its dull grey fat would make the meat taste sour. Blade tends to be a comparatively inexpensive cut of steak, no matter where you buy it from.

Eye fillet

All the pieces performed reasonably well in this group. Naturally lower in fat, this steak has no outside fat cover, and with a little bit of marbling, this steak is juicy and very tender. Eye fillet, also known as fillet or tenderloin, is one of the more expensive cuts of steak but also one of the most tender.

Premium inconsistency

When you pay top price at a premium butcher, you expect to receive top quality. However, our review found premium butchers may not always give the best quality every time. In our first run our premium butcher didn't perform up to standard. We put it to the test a second time, this time also including meat from another premium butcher. This time around both premium butchers performed up to standard and were of high quality. For consumers, knowing what to look for in steak is a better guarantee of quality than simply paying more at a premium butcher.

WHICH PIECE OF MEAT IS BEST FOR WHICH PURPOSE?
Oven roast Pan-fry Stir-fry Grill / char-grill Braise / casserole Shabu-shabu (Japanese vatiant of hot pot) Barbeque Diagram
1 Rump Cuts-of-beef
2 Eye fillet  
3 Sirloin  
4 Scotch fillet  
5 Blade
3 T-bone *          

* T-bone - Eye fillet on the smaller side of the bone and sirloin on the larger side.

 

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Meet the experts


VinceV
Vince Vocisano has 11 years' experience as a butcher and owns Pappandrea Quality Meats in Smithfield, NSW.
DarrenO Darren O’Rourke has 20 years' experience in the hospitality industry and is a butcher at Victor Churchill in Woollahra, NSW

KeithI

 

Keith Ireland has been involved in the meat retail industry for 44 years, including 19 in retail shops and 25 as a TAFE teacher.
 
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