Omaha Steaks does not make the cut according to Wall Street Journal Reviews

Omaha Steaks earn top honors in advertising expendatures but fail to earn any top honors in the consumer research review.Google Adword links for Omaha Steaks found on almost every related keyword
By: IJR News
Oct. 26, 2012 - PRLog -- Consumer Review’s own website advertises for Omaha Steaks and they still bash them, indicating possible oversight on Omaha’s own online advertising division.

IJR news also commends consumer research on this review.

In researching this report, Consumer Research  found more than a dozen steak reviews. Some tests include more than 100 cuts of pricey beef and panels of professional chefs while other reviews amount to little more than a handful of steaks mail-ordered, cooked and tasted by one unabashedly carnivorous reviewer.

They  found the best reviews of steaks ( in publications that sample five or more brands in blind taste-tests. The top sources, Cook's Illustrated, The Wall Street Journal and Consumer Reports, taste steaks from both mail-order sources and supermarket chains in a variety of price categories.  Cook's Illustrated is the only publication that reviews four different cuts of beef: porterhouse, strip, tenderloin and filet mignon. The Wall Street Journal tests New York strip, porterhouse and Kobe-style beef (also known as Wagyu). The Wall Street Journal tests New York strip, porterhouse and Kobe-style beef (also known as Wagyu). Although excludes supermarket brands from its steak reviews, it does a good job rounding up beef of various types, including grass-fed, "natural" and dry-aged. Slate's Mark Schatzker says that he ordered rib-eyes from the "best suppliers [he] could find," but he omits some of the top names in steak: Lobel's and Peter Luger's. Not only are steaks from these purveyors highly rated in comparative reviews,  each has over 100 years in business.

They read a small number of steak reviews that focus on a single category of beef, such as grass-fed, natural or Kobe-style. Reports on grass-fed and natural beef are informative, but the quality and texture of grass-fed beef can be inconsistent, so it's hard to know whether the steak you receive will be tender or tough. And although no one could fail to be impressed by David Rosengarten's diligence in rounding up and tasting more than 100 cuts of Kobe-style beef (where cows are often massaged daily and fed sake), Kobe beef is ultra expensive and may be out of reach for the average steak buyer.

Mail-order steak is a luxury food, and, as such, it commands a high price. Yet reviews say that some steaks are not worth the cost. Omaha Steaks is the most popular and heavily advertised purveyor of mail-order steaks, and yet Omaha meats do not earn the highest ratings in any of the reviews we read. Paul Lukas' review in Money magazine gets right to the point: "While Omaha pioneered the category, it's not a premium vendor." Cook's Illustrated, meanwhile, pans Omaha meat's regular boneless strip as "thin" and "grainy," and the company's Private Reserve strip fares even worse, earning comments like "tough," "stringy" and "chewy." No reviewer rates Omaha beef as the best mail-order steak.

Steak: A brief overview
Many factors influence a steak's quality and texture, including cattle breed, feed, grade, age and cut. Beef carcasses are graded on the basis of marbling, or the amount of fat running through the meat. The more fat, the higher the grade. Although there are eight government grades for beef, most mail-order steak falls into the top two, prime and choice. The best mal-order steak,

Purveyors make it easy to tell what category their beef falls into. Reviews say that if you can't afford a top prime cut like rib-eye or strip steak, you should look for a lesser prime cut, such as flank steak. The steak will be of better quality than even a more desirable cut of lower-grade beef, such as select filet mignon.

What about steak from the supermarket?
Prime beef is rarely found in supermarkets; most of it goes to upscale butcher shops and steakhouses. One exception is Costco, which sells prime steak online for far less than other mail-order sources (*est. $27 per pound for strip steaks, plus a 5% surcharge for non-members). Reviewers say that these steaks aren't as tender or juicy as similar cuts from other mail-order companies, including Lobel's, and the flavor is milder. Then again, if you buy in-store, you can select your own steak (see Important Features for buying tips) and save a bundle on shipping.

Experts say you should be wary of supermarket-branded steaks, such as Wal-Mart's Genuine Steakhouse and Rancher's Reserve from Safeway (*est. $11 per pound for boneless strip steaks), that don't mention the beef's grade. Wal-Mart's Genuine Steakhouse (*est. $10 per pound for strip steaks) brand includes both choice and select cuts -- the leanest, least expensive grade of beef. In addition, Wal-Mart steaks may contain as much as 10% of a sodium solution, as well as beef broth and sodium phosphate, a preservative. In industry terms, Wal-Mart's beef is "case-ready," meaning that it's butchered before shipping to stores. The important consideration here is that Wal-Mart's steaks come from the same grade beef as other supermarkets, so there's little reason to pay extra for Wal-Mart Genuine Steakhouse than for a good cut from a local butcher or even a supermarket.

Mail-order steak companies
Lobel's steaks are top-rated by The Wall Street Journal and Cook's Illustrated among others, although reviews differ as to which cut is best. Independent reviews have Brandt Beef amon the top.

For instance, Cook's Illustrated, calls Lobel's Natural Prime Dry-Aged tenderloin (*est. $220 for one 3.5 pound whole tenderloin) "rich" and "meaty" and the boneless strip steaks (*est. $53 per pound) "juicy," if a little chewy. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal's Charles Passy describes the strip steak as "perfect -- in looks, taste, and texture" and says that its "buttery flavor was beyond compare." The Lobel's porterhouse steak (*est. $60 per pound), which he calls "juicy," "well-marbled" and "aged to perfection," earns similar raves from testers at Cook's Illustrated, who call it "buttery and smooth -- like steak sushi." What's more, reviews say that online ordering is hassle-free, and steaks arrive on the date requested. Key to Lobel's success, experts say, is its policy of shipping fresh, never-frozen beef that's been dry-aged for four to six weeks. This gives beef a complex flavor that some reviewers describe as nutty, wine-like or even cheese-like.

The only downsides to ordering from Lobel's are the price of the steak itself and the cost of shipping. Steak from Lobel's is substantially more expensive than supermarket meat, including prime cuts from Costco. Adding to the expense is mandatory FedEx priority overnight shipping (*est. $27).

The steak purveyors in Consumer Search Fast Answers are top-rated most often by reviewers, but a few others suppliers earn high marks in one or two reviews. One of these is Peter Luger's (*est. $35 per pound for boneless strip steaks), the New York City steakhouse. Peter Luger's porterhouse (*est. $35 per pound) is food writer Ed Levine's top pick, and it earns high marks in a 2003 tasting at Cook's Illustrated. A more recent Cook's Illustrated review, however, prompted us to exclude Luger's from Consumer Search Fast Answers. In a May 2008 tasting, a Luger's porterhouse finished dead last, behind a supermarket steak. Tasters called it "watery," "bland," "dry" and "stringy," although a few said they detected the "funk" of long-aged beef. Like Lobel's, Peter Luger's only ships via FedEx Overnight.

Specialty steak cuts and types
Steaks that claim to have health benefits or minimal impact on the environment are growing in popularity, as is the super-premium category known as Kobe-style, or Wagyu.
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Tags:Best Online Steaks, Omaha Steaks, Online Steaks, Buy Steaks, Quality Beef
Industry:Online steak reviews, Food
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