Recommend not purchasing these if you invite me for dinner.
I recently received a very nice present of some boneless beef strip steaks. Now, before I go any further, I am very grateful to have received these delicious steaks. We grilled some the other day and they had good flavor and were tender.
However, several of the steaks were what is in the industry commonly called "vein steaks".
As you can see in the picture above there are two boneless strip steaks. Both were part of our present. These could have been cut from the same whole boneless strip. The steak on top is a steak that was cut more toward the rib end while the steak on the bottom is cut more from the sirloin end.
As you can see from the picture diagram below, the short loin is in between the rib and the sirloin. The strip comes from this short loin. And as previously mentioned, these steaks were cut from opposite ends of the strip.
The arrow in the bottom picture of the steaks is pointing to connective tissue (gristle) that is called "the vein". A vein of gristle running between two different muscles. The bottom muscle (below the arrow and gristle) is a continuation of the same muscle that you see in the steak on the top. The muscle on top of the gristle (vein) is the start of the muscle that will become the sirloin steak.
These two muscles are held together by this connective tissue. As the live animal continues to move, these two muscles will move independently of each other but held together by this connective tissue. Thus, the connective tissue will become thicker over time
This "gristle" is very difficult to chew. In fact, I would say it is for the most part it is not at all palatable. Not only that, but the two muscles involved here, because of their location in the animal and their use as the animal walks or moves, have a tendency to be a little less tender as, let's say, a center cut strip steak.
Now, don't get me wrong, this steak would be good. It can be prepared the same as you would any other strip steak without the "vein" However, if I am going to buy a boneless strip steak, and the store is charging me the same price for the center cut as they are for the vein steak, then I will purchase the center cut.
The store would have to discount that vein steak more than a $1.00 per pound before I would even consider purchasing this as a steak. The store can remove the gristle and fat and use the lean cuts for a stir fry or some other cut.
If we were going to have company or were planning to give some steaks as a gift, this vein steak would not be purchased by me.
And I first stated, please don't ask me for dinner and serve me a vein steak. I would think that you didn't care about me.
Hope this provides you with some knowledge to help you make better meat purchases.