Online stores offer you more high quality choices and assure you that your steak arrives fresh at your door. They often provide great recipes that bring out the best of the beef.


You can start by searching the internet using such keywords as "prime grade beef", "choice grade beef", or "premium hand cut steaks". Take a look at what cuts of meat each company is offering and the guarantee that goes along with your purchase. Compare prices (with shipping costs) but make sure you are comparing comparable grades and cuts of meat. That bargain priced steak you saw at the supermarket is probably cheap for a good reason - it's not as fresh or as good of quality beef and was probably frozen at some point


Choosing the right cut of steak


Cuts of steak can be broken down into three sections. Starting on the upper back and moving down to the mid-back are the ribs, the short loin and the sirloin. The rib area contains cuts such as the Rib-eye Steak, the Rib Roast, and the back ribs. This is the least tender section of the three. The short loin area produces the T-bone, Top Loin Steak, Tenderloin and the Porterhouse. The Sirloin gives the Sirloin Steak, and the Top Sirloin. Other steaks like the chuck, round, and flank come from those areas and tend to be tougher cuts of meat. Strips steaks, such as New York Steak are cut from the T-bone area.


If you are looking for the most tender cut of beef, it is the tenderloin. Other cuts from this area are filet mignon, chateaubriand and tournedos. Though these are the most tender they are also less flavorful. The rib-eye, or rib steak can be a little less tender but far more flavorful. Small streaks of fat throughout the meat mean more flavor. So with more marbling you get less tenderness but more flavor. Finding a balance between the two, gives you the best steak. Top loin and sirloin are slightly less tender but have more flavor than tenderloin. With cooking cuts of meat such as these there is no need to marinate or even cook past medium rare


Some of the most flavorful but least tender cuts of beef are tri-tip or flank steaks. These are also favorites on the barbeque. Your best bet is to marinate these cuts before cooking. Also, leave the fat on until after the meat is cooked


Time to Order


Once you've decided on the cut and the quantity of steaks you desire, it's time to place your order. Or for that hard-to-buy-for person who loves grilling, time to send that gift.


Many online food sites offer gift boxes with assorted steaks or monthly gourmet gift plans. If you are not sure which cuts of meat to order, take a look at the steak assortment packages. These will give you a good idea on some desirable combinations. And remember, since beef is a food product, you usually do not have to pay sales tax. see: http://www.a1-food-gifts.com/steaks.htm


How much should you order? Some companies offer free shipping with a noted minimum purchase amount but make sure you are not ordering more meat than you have room for in your freezer. Orders are placed over secure servers but if you are still not comfortable using your credit card online, call the 800 number provided to order


Food shipments are always packaged with cooling packs and often shipped overnight or 2nd day air. Be sure to get your steaks into the fridge or freezer once they arrive (hint: if you’re placing an order but heading out on vacation soon, delay the shipping date till your return).


 Besides the ease of having great food delivered right to your door, it’s always exciting to receive a package, even if you did order it for yourself. And if you feel that way, think about the lucky recipient of your steak gift box.  Now it’s time to enjoy. Choose one of your just delivered, fresh, tasty steaks and fire up the BBQ.

Nicole Martins is a writer to A1 Food Gifts, a buyer's guide to gourmet food gifts. Read more about steaks online or visit this site at: http://www.a1-food-gifts.com