The Great Steak Debate

New York

By Kunal
March 9, 2015 9:00 am

Sponsored by

America is home to many tasty steaks.

And a man, if he has a hankering, can dial up a web browser and order those steaks whenever he pleases.

But which steak, among all those purveyors, tastes the best?

To answer that question, we and our friends at Audi recently threw the #GreatSteakDebate with Chef Marc Forgione at American Cut.

We invited eight of the nation’s preeminent purveyors.

We invited six of New York’s top foodies to be judges.

We hosted 120 readers.

And then we held a blind taste test.

The goal? To find out which New York strip steak our readers and judges preferred.

The purveyors, and the results, are below.

Read on, dine well.

The Great Steak Debate

The Judging Process

InsideHook invited 120 readers and six judges to the #GreatSteakDebate. 

Each purveyor shipped 17 14-oz. boneless New York strip steaks. Five of the purveyors sent dry-aged, three sent wet.

The kitchen prepared all steaks in the same manner. The steaks were served to the dining room in two services, four 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.

The Great Steak Debate

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. 

The Great Steak Debate

We should note, of course, that there is no Platonic ideal when it comes to steak.

The best steak is the steak that you, personally, think tastes the best.

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.

The Great Steak Debate

The Great Steak Debate

San Francisco, CA
Winner, Judge’s Choice 

Grass-fed and 28 days dry-aged, Belcampo prides itself on sustainable farming methods and a “traditional approach to meat.” They control all aspects of production in-house — from raising their cattle on 20,000 acres of free-range land to butchering at their USDA-certified facility — for a true farm-to-table experience. Visit them at one of their five California locations.

Bunn Gourmet
Springfield, IL

The Bunn family has been providing the Midwest (including one former President Abraham Lincoln) with the highest quality meats and fixings since 1840. Their Black Angus cattle are both grass and grain-fed (hormone-free) to produce robust, handsomely marbled USDA Prime and Choice steaks that are then aged to perfection and sent out for delivery.

The Great Steak Debate

Chicago Steak Company
Chicago, IL
Winner, People’s Choice

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.

New York, NY

What’s a conversation on NY Strips without a hometown entry? Enter DeBragga, who have been dry-aging and hand-cutting steaks to order in the Tri-state area for almost a century. Their focus is on sustainable farming practices and naturally raised cattle: no hormones, no antibiotics and the highest animal-care practices in the industry.

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 

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.

Omaha Steaks
Omaha, NE 

Ninety-eight years young, Omaha Steaks is a fifth-generation, family-owned shop that specializes in grain-fed, naturally aged steaks. All their steaks are “flash frozen” ahead of delivery — a seldom-seen practice that locks in the peak freshness and flavor of every cut.