The Next Big Thing In Steak: The Vegas Strip

Originally Published: April 26, 2012, Gourmet Live Blog
by Kemp Minifie

You heard it here first! There’s a new steak on the butcher block—the Vegas Strip Steak—and I’m betting it’s going to be the next big thing since the flat iron.

It was discovered by Dr. Tony Mata, a meat scientist whose business card says “Meat Geek” in big, beefy, well-marbled letters. He’s the guy responsible for the petit tender, a muscle from the shoulder clod that looks like a baby tenderloin. Mata’s pedigree also includes work on the flat iron, the ranch, and the Denver steak cuts.

For fun, Mata started fiddling with obscure muscles in the steer six years ago, but it wasn’t until late 2009 that he stumbled upon the Vegas Strip. In tenderness and appearance, it’s a lot like a New York strip, but it’s from the front end of the steer, not the pricey midsection, which means it’s got great flavor at a fraction of the price.

For the Vegas Strip, Mata partnered with Oklahoma State University’s Agricultural Products Center, and Chef Rick Gresh of Chicago’s David Burke Primehouse. “I knew I needed a chef,” said Mata. “Meat scientists are lousy cooks.”

Mata and Gresh just debuted the steak at The Protein Innovation Summit in Chicago a week ago, where it was a huge success. I can personally vouch for the beefy flavor and tender chew of the steak: Mata sent me a couple of Vegas Strips last year, and my husband and I fought over the last few bites. So get your steak knives ready. Mata’s already lined up two suppliers, with more to come.

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