8.158 Taste Test: 2 v 1+

8.158

12 (Mon) June 2017

Taste Test: 2 v 1+

3.5

at Deokeunjib

(see most recently 5.026 Modeum)

-Nonhyeon, Seoul-

with the Family, and the Folks

Korean beef – hanwoo – is graded on the basis of marbling, in ascending order from 3, 2, 1, 1+, 1++.  The higher the grade, the higher the price.

At this restaurant, which is sells meat at butcher shop prices, the 2 grade costs KRW 8,999 per 100 grams, compared to KRW 16,000 per 100 grams for 1++.   The same cuts would likely sell at triple to quadruple prices in a pure restaurant setting.

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We bought a platter each of the 2 grade and the 1++ grade, both ribeye, for a side-by-side comparison.

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WINNER: 2.  The 1++ was certainly more succulent, given all the marbling.  But the 2 was reasonably tender, as any decent ribeye would be, and I tend to prefer meat with a bit of chew.  Flavor-wise, they were both excellent: clean, rich, beefy.  In the end, after we started mixing them up on the grill, they were indistinguishable.  Factoring in value, the 2 thus came out on top.

The results here are in line with previous side-by-side taste tests of meats (see also 6.089 Standard v Speckled Ribeye, 4.214 Korean v American Beef), which similarly gave a slight edge to the pricier cut but concluded that the marginal return wouldn’t justify the higher cost.

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