There’s really nothing that beats a good steak, cooked to perfection and paired with a superb glass of red. But what does it actually take to get that tender cut of beef to your table? You may be surprised.
Scott Croyle, Executive Chef at Jacksons Restaurant + Bar knows that it’s not just the preparation method of the steak that matters, but the cut, grade, and source. That’s why we’re proud to serve Iowa Premium Prime filet mignon, a product unmatched in flavor, tenderness and juiciness from a company that champions sustainability and supports family farmers.
Understanding USDA Grades of Beef
First, it’s key to understand the three grades of beef as defined by the USDA (usually seen marked on menus or stamped on grocery store packaging)—Prime, Choice and Select. From USDA.gov:
- USDA Prime – Highest quality, produced from young, well-fed beef cattle. Abundant marbling. Excellent for broiling, roasting or grilling.
- USDA Choice – High quality, but with less marbling than Prime. Tender cuts are excellent for broiling, roasting or grilling. Less tender cuts are good for braising, roasting, or simmering.
- USDA Select – Uniform in quality and leaner than Prime or Choice. Fairly tender, but, because it has less marbling, may not have as much juiciness or flavor. Great for marinating or braising.
“The Highest Degree of Marbling I’ve Ever Seen”
When it comes to choosing a grade of filet mignon, there’s typically no reason to choose Prime over Choice. By nature, the filet cut is already so tender that the difference between Choice and Prime is negligible. At least that was the case until we discovered Iowa Premium’s line of USDA Prime filet.
“For a filet, I was never a big fan of using Prime over Choice,” Croyle explains, “…until I saw these. The marbling almost looks like a Kobe steak. It’s the highest degree of marbling I’ve ever seen.”
“Marbling” refers to various amounts of intramuscular fat in a cut of meat, and is what gives it a marbled pattern. The more marbling that is present, the more tender the cut of meat will be. Black Angus cattle are known for yielding beef with impressive marbling making for an unbelievably delicious steak.
Photo courtesy of Iowa Premium.
Sustainable Family Farm-Feeders
The difference in taste and tenderness starts with Iowa Premium’s dedication to sustainability, partnering with “family farm-feeders” in the Midwest to source their black Angus beef. These farmers not only raise cattle, but they also grow the corn they feed to them (thus the name farm-feeders).
“Corn and cattle are a sustainable combination. Cattle eat corn and in turn cattle manure adds nutrients back to the soil to grow corn,” Iowa Premium states on their website.
The cattle graze on rolling green pastures for the majority of their lives, and then are finished on a nutritionally balanced diet of locally-sourced corn, which is what imparts the beef’s characteristic flavor.
These sustainable practices, combined with high standards of humane animal care, hand selection of quality cuts, and a high-tech facility are what make this brand of beef truly remarkable.
“Iowa Premium is simply the best out there right now,” says Croyle. “I haven’t seen anything better.”
What Guests are Saying
With Jacksons being adjacent to the Hilton Garden Inn Pittsburgh/Southpointe, our guests are well-traveled and educated when it comes to food. We love surpassing their expectations of what “hotel restaurant food” should be like, and frequently surprise guests with our filet mignon, in particular.
Croyle recalls one world-traveler friend who came in and tried our filet, describing it as the “second best piece of meat he’s ever had.” (Of course, we’re sure he just didn’t properly remember the “best” one he had tried!) We get this feedback all the time, with many guests from all over the region—and the world—who try our filet.
You Be the Judge
The Iowa Premium Prime Filet is simply one of those things you must try at least once in your lifetime. Order it from our dinner menu grilled and served with potato pancake, fried leeks, horseradish butter, and bordelaise for $38. Or, select it as your entrée with our popular Four Course Chef’s Tasting Menu, and add-on your choice of appetizer, soup or salad, and dessert for $59.
Source: Iowa Premium