Scottish genes, Danish passion and Finnish greens combine to make the “world’s best steak”.
The ‘world’s best steak’
Last week I joined the judges panel in the World steak challenge. There were more than 200 entries from 22 countries with the “world’s best steak” prize being awarded to the sirloin cut of a Scottish Ayrshire, raised on grass in Finland and produced by a Danish company.
A couple of hours after the winner was announced, I got to see the last packaged (uncooked) cuts of the winning steak on the presentation table. I stood in front of it and without warning the steak disappeared from the presentation table into thin air only to magically show up in my fridge a short while later.
Cooking the ‘world’s best steak’
The night after the world steak challenge was hot and humid, I twisted, turned and stirred in my bed. What if the winning steak wasn’t really in my fridge? What if it suddenly goes bad or somebody else steals it? I tumbled out of bed into the kitchen, peeked into the fridge and smiled at the steak, which was basking in the fridge’s radiant glow.
I picked up the steak and examined it. A small area of the mostly pink toned steak was showing the lightest shades of brown. It was a school night, it was well past bed time, but this was happening now. I took the steak out of the packaging and tested my patience by resting it for the longest 40 minutes.
The steak was soft and densely marbled like Wagyu. In fact I can’t remember seeing a sirloin so heavily marbled that wasn’t Wagyu. The steak was about 150g and just over half an inch thick. Because of the high marbling, I cooked it for 2 minutes each side, leaving it to rest for 4 minutes.
Eating the ‘world’s best steak’
I sliced the steak to reveal a heavenly looking medium cooked steak. I took a piece and bite into it. I instantly swore, sat back and melted into my chair.
This was a bloody marvellous steak. It had the buttery sweetness of Wagyu that gave way to a delicious beefiness. The initial taste was a lot like eating high-end Wagyu, such as Kobe beef, but this steak was not as tender. Whereas Wagyu melts in the mouth this steak had more of a chew. However, each chew delivered a sucker punch of taste.
This steak would silence the loudest vegetarian and convert the most committed vegan. There are few pleasures in life like the pure indulgence of a premier steak and this steak is worthy of its title.
Producing the ‘world’s best steak’
I started to fantasise about this steak and had to understand what the secret behind it was. I spoke to John Sashi Nielsen, the producer of the “world’s best steak” and owner of JN Meat International, to understand the method behind this fantastic steak.
John told me that if there are any secrets then it is the ability to select the right cow, the right breed and to raise it in the right environment. The winning cow was raised in Finland because of its clear air and high water content in the grass. The Ayrshire breed was chosen, despite being a dairy breed, because it produces highly marbled beef.
You can find JN Meat International’s steak in restaurants and stores across Denmark and we hope to see it proliferate across London and the UK shortly.
The world steak challenge
The annual world steak challenge is a competition to find the best steak. It is now in its fourth year and accepts entries from around the world. In 2018, the event took place on 4 July and there were over 200 entries from 22 countries. Steak Society had the honour of joining a group of expert international judges from across the beef industry in eating an exceptional amount of beef and determining which steak was the best.
The first round of judging was by expert judges. The entries were split between panels of judges. Each steak to be judged was presented raw and cooked. The only identification a code. We had no way of telling the breed or origin of the cow. The steak was ranked on a set of criteria including marbling, taste and tenderness.
The steaks that earned the highest rating from the expert judges were then judged by consumers who were also blind judging, but had paid to take part in the event. The top scoring steaks then won prizes for their categories.
You can find more details on the world steak challenge here.