So this is my first Sponsored Post and to be entirely truthful, I could not have asked for a better product!
Christmas time in Shanghai means markets! Unlike Europe, where the markets are outside in the blustering cold, Christmas Market’s in Shanghai usually take place inside lavish hotels and schools. My friend Michele and I decided to visit a market at the nearby Hilton Hotel back in November. There were lots of vendors that I hadn’t seen before, including Pavlos from Kastro Organic Olive Oil.
Pavlos told me his story… his Greek heritage and his passion for high-quality organic olive oil. Being Lebanese and very proud of my people’s olive oil, I was a bit hesitant at the idea of buying olive oil from a market vendor. But, knowing that my olive oil from the UK brought over in our shipment was quickly dwindling and what I would have to buy here in China is TERRIBLE I listened to Pavlos and gave it a taste. Oh my was it amazing! First the smell… like an olive tree orchard! Fresh and green are the two words that come to mind. The taste was even better than the smell. Seriously people, best olive oil I’ve ever had!
After blogging a recipe with Kastro Olive Oil, I sent him the link and a little message about how awesome the olive oil was. He then proposed that I write a post about his other venture, Monster Steaks. As a Lebanese person I love olive oil. As an American, I love steak. What Pavlos offers is the perfect Yin and Yang to my ethnically diverse kitchen. And when he told me the steak was dry-aged, I was giddy in anticipation.
(above photos courtesy of CityWeekend Magazine, The First Jiashan Market of 2016)
What sets Monster Steaks apart from other steaks?
- Monster Steaks are dry-aged. A process which not only enhances the flavor, but guarantees a superb level of tenderness not commonly found in regular cuts of steak. That’s because dry-aging it breaks down the collagen muscle fibers that makes the meat tough.
- The steaks are kept in a temperature controlled walk-in dry-aging room that also controls the humidity and airflow.
(Photo’s courtesy of Monster Steaks)
- When it comes to meat, they say the best thing comes to those who wait. This couldn’t be more true for Monster Steaks. Their steaks are dry-aged 30, 50, or 70 days. The longer a steak is dry-aged, the more moisture is lost, resulting the more tender and flavorful it will be. (p.s. a fresh steak can have as much as 72% water in it!!)
- Unlike imported steaks which arrive in China frozen, Monster Steaks are processed fresh and are sourced from a farm in Inner Mongolia. They use Simmental bred steers (male cows) that are fed a grain-only diet. Simmental cows are known in the steak world as a high quality breed similar, if not arguably better than Angus. According to Heritage Food USA
A naturally lean beef, Simmentals are known for their rapid growth, heavy muscling, and healthy size. These characteristics produce a hearty, tender cut of beef with minimal fat. Simmentals are meant to eat grass year round. The grass-fed diet yields a gamier, more pronounced flavor and is considerably less sweet than commercial beef. For this reason, our Simmental beef tastes undoubtedly different from its grain- finished cousins: it’s bold, earthy, and best when cooked to medium-rare.
I was sent a 30-Day Dry-Aged Ribeye Steak to taste and give my honest opinion on. It arrived Wednesday packaged in a small insulated bag with easy to understand instructions on how to store the meat until I was ready to use it.
Pavlos was more than informative regarding how the meat should be prepared and cooked, which is really appreciated. Obviously the steaks are not cheap… It is dry-aged so the last thing I want is to improperly cook this beautiful piece of meat. He suggested pan-frying it like a restaurant, a method that I was not familiar with. I wanted to grill like any good old American gal would do. But, since it’s beyond cold outside and I would have trouble regulating the temperature of an outdoor grill I decided to jump into the world of cooking a steak on a stovetop.
I spent the afternoon researching how to prepare the steak just like a restaurant would. When looking for the best source for properly pan searing a steak, you don’t need to go any further than Chef Gordon Ramsay. I watched a couple of his YouTube videos and I was confident that I was going to rock this Dry-Aged Ribeye! Here’s what Chef Ramsay and Monster Steaks recommend:
- Take the steak out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before cooking.
- Season with freshly cracked salt and pepper. Be generous with the salt. The salt will definitely enhance the flavors of the meat. “Don’t be shy with the salt. Monster Steaks can take the salt!”
- If you want grill marks on your steak, you’ll need a grilling pan to achieve those beautiful sear lines. But it’s ok. If you do not have one, use a regular heavy-bottom frying pan. I promise the steak will taste just as delicious!
- Place your pan on high heat for the best color and flavor.
- Use olive oil on the pan. Olive oil is more stable than other types of oil, which means it’ll hold up better under the high heat required for pan searing.
- A big question when it comes to pan searing steak is how long should I cook it? Since you are cooking a dry aged steak which has less moisture than a fresh steak, it’ll need less cooking time. Keeping your heat at high, the steak should cooked 2 minutes on each side for rare, and 2 1/2 minutes per side for medium rare.
- The steak should only be moved twice during the cooking process: When you put it on the pan and when you flip it over. That’s it. I don’t care how tempting it is- Don’t move the steak!
Now that you know more about the benefits of Dry-Aged Steak and how to prepare it, let me tell you about the dry-aged Ribeye I received:
- The meat was beautiful with perfect marbling. Not like the kind of meat that you buy at your local butcher. It’s a solid slab, not mushy, no slimy texture. The look and feel of the raw ribeye was exactly what you would expect from a premium quality steak.
- I don’t know about you, but I seriously dislike the puddles of blood most steak leave behind in the container. It’s gross and messy! Ugh… drops of meat blood on the countertops means having to bust out the bleach. Yucky!! But, this was not an issue with Monster Steaks. After leaving the steak on the counter for 30 minutes to bring it to room temperature, no blood leaked out of it. I had it on a plate, then on a slate board for a picture, and then back to the plate for seasoning and not a drop of blood anywhere. Nothing. Nada. Not a drop. In this bloggers humble opinion, that’s how a real steak should be! (It’s a terrible picture, but look how clean that plate is! )
- Now, if you ask an American what kind of steak they want their answer is going to be a big, fat juicy steak (we’re not French lol! Just kidding I love French people!). What Monster Steak offers is a beautiful, generous 1″ thick piece of ribeye steak.
Post cooking review:
- It was seriously unreal how easy it was to cut through the meat. Slicing it was like slicing through room temperature butter. The knife just glided right through the steak. No need to bust out your circular saw to cut through it.
- The meat did not have a gummy texture and there was no gristle getting in the way of this tender cut. In other words, I didn’t have to gnaw at the steak to swallow it.
- There was very little blood in the plate after slicing it. Another added bonus of dry-aged steaks.
- The best way to describe the flavor of the steak is to compare it to a roast with perfect beefy flavor all the way through. It had an unmistakable rich and savory flavor that you rarely find in steak here in China.
I was more than impressed with the quality, taste and service from Monster Steaks. If you’re a steak lover and hate to pay outrageous prices charged at upscale steakhouses in Shanghai, then you really need to place an order with Monster Steaks. I really cannot say enough good things about them.
After one bite you’ll be sold too! Trust me!
How to contact Monster Steaks:
Wechat ID: Pavlosfanbowei
Phone Number: +86 15121005004
30-Day Dry Aged Ribeye Steak
Working with a premium dry-aged piece of meat I definitely want to highlight the natural flavor of the meat so I used very little added ingredients. Just a sprig of rosemary, garlic, butter and olive oil.
- 1 1/2T High Quality Olive Oil
- 1 Garlic Clove, with peel on, lightly crushed
- 1 Sprig of Rosemary, Thyme or other aromatic herb
- 1oz Butter
- 330g Monster Steak Dry Aged Ribeye Steak
- Set your timer for 2 minutes and 30 seconds (for medium rare. I had my timer for 3 minutes to have it a little bit more done than medium rare, but not quite medium).
- On high heat, heat a heavy bottom frying pan or a grilling pan until it’s VERY HOT. Swirl around the olive oil and continue heating.
- Once your the oil starts to smoke, carefully lay the steak away from you in the middle of the pan.
- Start timer!
- Tilt the pan around so that the steak can soak in the olive oil.
- Add butter, garlic and rosemary (or other herb) to the pan. Rub on the steak.
- With a spoon baste the steak.
- After 2 minutes and 30 seconds, carefully flip the steak over.
- Continue basting, tilting the pan as needed to spoon the juices.
- After 2 minutes and 30 seconds, remove the steak from the pan and set on a wooden board to rest.
I know some people are skeptical about sponsored posts. They can be one-sided and leave out the negatives. Personally if I feel that the quality of the product I am being asked to try is subpar, I wouldn’t post it. In other words if I’m not excited about a product it’s won’t make it on my blog. I promise.
While the steak was provided for free from Monster Steaks, all thoughts and opinions about Monster Steaks are my own.