12 (Mon) June 2017
Taste Test: 2 v 1+
(see most recently 5.026 Modeum)
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.
We bought a platter each of the 2 grade and the 1++ grade, both ribeye, for a side-by-side comparison.
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.