The Great Steak Debate

One night. Eight of the country's best steaks. Herein: our readers' favorite.

By The Editors
July 8, 2015 9:00 am
The Great Steak Debate

Sponsored by

Last month, we invited eight of the nation’s preeminent purveyors to RPM Steak in Chicago.

We invited six of the Windy City’s top foodies to be judges.

We hosted 80 readers.

We plied them with wine and cocktails from our friends at Carnivor Cabernet and Casa Noble tequila.

And then we held a blind taste test.

The goal? To find out which rib eye our readers and judges preferred.

The purveyors, and the results, are below.

Read on, dine well.

The Judging Process

InsideHook invited 80 readers and five judges to the #GreatSteakDebate.

The Judges:

Monica Eng, Host, Chewing the Fat
Daniel Gerzina, Chicago Editor, Eater
Michael Kiser, Founder, Good Beer Hunting
•Michael Renaud, Creative Director, Pitchfork Media
Chef Doug Psaltis, Executive Chef, Partner, RPM Steak

Each purveyor shipped us 14-oz. boneless rib eyes. Some wet-aged, some dry. Some grass-fed, some grain.

The kitchen prepared all steaks in the same manner. The steaks were served to the dining room one at a time, pre-sliced and labeled by a letter: A through H. Each patron tasted two slices of each steak and kept tasting notes in a #GreatSteakDebate booklet.

Patrons received voting cards and stamps. At the end of service, they stamped the letter of their favorite steak. The votes were tallied by our staff.

We awarded two prizes: a Judge’s Choice, and a People’s Choice.

The prizes take the form of The Golden Brand, a custom-made golden branding iron. 

We’ve listed the participating purveyors in alphabetical order, below, and noted which of the purveyors won a Golden Brand. 

That said, we heartily recommend each of these purveyors. If you order from them online — and you should — you will be happy.


Chicago Steak Company
Chicago, IL

If it’s red, marbled and used to go “moo,” you’ll find it at Chicago Steak Company. Every steak is aged 4-6 weeks and individually numbered and registered to ensure the utmost quality. Don’t sleep on “Coach Ditka’s Favorites,” a collection of premium meats handpicked by Iron Mike himself.

Crystal River Meats
Carbondale, CO

Family owned and operated in the heart of the Rockies since 1999, Crystal River’s goal is to “sustain the earth through creating healthy food.” Every stage of production — from growing the hay to butchering the animals — occurs within a 200-mile radius of Carbondale. Their beef is 100% grass-fed and dry-aged for 15 to 21 days for a tender, savory finish.

Greensbury Market
New York, NY

The 100% grass-fed beef from Greensbury Market offers greater nutritional value than its grain-fed counterparts. Read: more Omega-3s and fewer saturated fats without compromising flavor. They pride themselves on sourcing their meat from “sustainable, American, family-owned farms” where cattle graze together on open, clean pastures.

Kansas City Steaks
Kansas City, MO

Kansas City Steaks has been one of the most reliable names in American beef since opening their doors in 1932. Their corn-fed Kansas City Strips are wet-aged for 28 days for a consistently bold and juicy finish. Other offerings include roasts, steakburgers and a host of traditional KC BBQ-ables.

Main Street Meats
Farmingdale, NY 
Winner, Judges’ Choice

Based on Long Island since 1946, Main Street supplies some of the top hotels, restaurants and private clubs in the Tri-state area with hand-selected, USDA Prime beef. All cuts are aged 35 days in one of their custom, on-premise dry-aging rooms for a nuanced, beefy flavor. Oh, and BTW: Main Street’s own Lee Seelig happens to be the author of a children’s book called I Love Going to the Butcher. Check it out.

Master Purveyors
Bronx, NY
Winner, People’s Choice

Started in 1957, this New York-based family of “meat connoisseurs” has been a longtime supplier of the wet- and dry-aged prime USDA Angus beef for the likes of Peter Luger’s, Keen’s and Wolfgang’s. You know, the perennial “best U.S. steakhouses.” Each cut on MP’s new site comes with an aging history, thorough product description, preferred cooking method and even tasting notes.

Pat LaFrieda
North Bergen, New Jersey

Originally established in Brooklyn, Pat has been supplying meat to consumers, restaurants and hotels since 1922. Sourced from small farms across the country, they’re the largest supplier of prime beef in the country’s largest prime beef market. At any given time, the aging room contains 5,000 primals of America’s best Choice and Prime Beef, and they specialize in custom cuts and portions.

Snake River Farms
Boise, Idaho

Family owned and operated in Eastern Idaho, Snake River Farms raises its Wagyu/Angus cattle with the highest attention to detail, using a traditional Japanese feeding process four times longer than the national average. Sustainability, environmental responsibility and the well-being of the animals are paramount, resulting in juicy, tender, perfectly marbled cuts of American Kobe beef.