The expert: Jody Storch, meat buyer and third-generation member of the Peter Luger Steakhouse family, with restaurants in Brooklyn and Long Island, N.Y.
The product: Prime beef.
What I want: Dry aged beef. It's more expensive, but it ... seals in the juices and tenderizes the meat.
I must have: Beef with a rosy pink color as opposed to dark purple - it just seems to have a sweeter taste. The texture must be silky, not gummy. Now I know most people see lean as a good quality ... but I'm just the opposite. ... Marbling gives beef its wonderful flavor. Read carefully when you go to the supermarket; unless the package has the official "USDA Prime" stamp, it's not the genuine article.
One thing I hate: Misinformation. Let's get that topic - mad cow disease - cleared up. It's a USDA requirement that the spinal cord be removed before processing, which is almost beside the point because cuts of beef come from muscle. And prime beef typically is 12 to 18 months old. (The recent problem involved a 6-year-old Holstein, a dairy cow.)
Savvy shopper: I really recommend you establish a good relationship with your butcher. When you buy your meat in a place where you're satisfied with the quality, well, you know you're not going to get a bum steer.
My pick: A dry aged porterhouse offers the best of both worlds. One side's a tender filet mignon and the other a succulent sirloin ($15.99 a pound).
Next best thing: Rib steak ($14.99 a pound) or a newer cut like the flat iron steak (from the top blade). It has a robust beefy taste and sells for about $6 a pound. ... Try a place like Whole Foods Market.
Laurie Squire is a staff writer for Newsday, a Tribune Publishing newspaper.