The Best Way To Buy Fresh Steaks, According To Pat LaFrieda - Exclusive

There are a lot of tips out there when it comes to picking out a steak at the grocery store or butcher shop. Look for the right thickness. Keep an eye out for the ideal amount of marbling. Get to know the various types of steak cuts so you can pick the right option for both your cooking plans and the amount of people you want to serve. However, when we spoke with Pat LaFrieda III — who currently, as the third generation in his family, oversees the Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors empire — in an exclusive Chowhound interview, his tip for buying fresh steaks was a little unexpected. He said to look for fresh steak, but cautioned that "fresh" doesn't necessarily always need to mean "local."


LaFrieda — who, as a supplier to well-known restaurants and hotels, definitely knows his meats — stressed that, while there's a lot of focus on eating local, great meat doesn't have to be sourced from "within a few miles of your home," to be great. You can identify truly fresh meat just by looking for a particular marker on the packaging.

How to identify steak in the store

According to LaFrieda, "America has the best meat sources in the world... The idea that we can get meat fresh, never frozen, seven days a week, usually in almost any town, that's something we take for granted... As long as that package in the retail store has a USDA number on it, an establishment number, that means [it's] traceable back to its origins. So I think country of origin is really important, and meat that's fresh is important."


Once you've purchased that USDA-marked, traceable, fresh-never-frozen steak, LaFrieda said you can feel free to freeze the steak for later use, at home. However, he advised steering clear of freezing the steak multiple times. In other words, don't buy frozen meat, defrost it, separate it, and then freeze it again.

Pat LaFrieda recently teamed up with Thermador to educate home cooks about the brand's induction cooktops. Learn more at the company's website. You can also have premium cuts of meat shipped to your house directly from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors.