[Editor’s Note: Special day here at Uni Watch, as we’ll have two posts instead of our usual one. Our usual Monday-morning NFL roundup and the Ticker will be posted later this morning. For now, enjoy this World Series-themed entry. ”” PL]
Some World Series match-ups lend themselves to snappy names and obvious narratives. Mets vs. Yanks (2000) was the Subway Series; Giants vs. A’s (1989) was the Battle of the Bay or the BART Series; Royals vs. Cardinals (1985) was the I-70 Series or the Show Me Series; Cards vs. Brewers (1982) was the Suds Series; and so on.
But media outlets are struggling to find a good narrative involving the Mets and Royals. There just isn’t much of a rivalry between New York and Kansas City.
Or is there? It turns out there’s a serious, longstanding point of contention between New York and Kansas City if you know where to look. And is so often the case, the the place to look is the wonderful world of meat (click to enlarge):
On the left are a pair of New York strip steaks; on the right is a Kansas City strip steak (food stylists apparently love garnishing raw beef with rosemary). If they look very similar, that’s because they’re exactly the same thing. They are identical cuts of beef — cut from the short loin and also visible as the larger side of a porterhouse or T-bone — but with two different names, depending on where you’re located.
If you poke around on the web, you’ll find pages trying to pretend that there’s some sort of difference between the New York and Kansas City strips. Some say the KC strip is always served on the bone while the NYC strip is boneless (or vice-versa); others say the KC strip is always marinated while the NYC strip isn’t (or vice-versa); or that the NYC strip is typically cut thicker than the KC strip (or vice-versa); or that the KC strip is typically rimmed with more exterior fat than the NYC strip (or vice-versa); and so on. This confusion of contradictory info just underscores the much simpler reality: They’re the same exact thing.
It’s easy to see why both cities would want to lay claim to this steak. By any name, it cooks up great and is one of the best cuts on the steer:
Most sources seem to agree that the name “Kansas City strip” came first, and dates back to the days when KC was a bustling stockyard town, shipping beef all around the nation. “New York strip” apparently came later, as NYC became known as a steak town and this cut became the signature steak for many chefs around town. Both names have spread beyond their namesake cities to various other parts of the county. To my knowledge, nobody’s ever done a map showing which name holds sway in various regions of the country (as opposed to, say, the national soda map or the New Jersey pork roll map), but I’d love to see one.
My sense is that the NYC-based name is more common nationally, because that’s the name used by big mail-order operations like Omaha Steaks. Still, the KC-based name has its devotees as well. Just to make things a bit more confusing, this same cut also has several other names — Delmonico steak, hotel steak, shell steak, and a few others.
I want to make it clear that I have nothing against the good meat-eating people of Kansas City. They have lots to admire and be proud of, including a fine barbecue scene. But when it comes to steak, and especially strip steaks, New York is — and should be — where it’s at.
So with these two strip steak strongholds now meeting in the Fall Classic, I hereby declare this year’s World Series to be the Strip Tease. What’s at stake here is nothing less than strip steak sobriquet supremacy: The losing city will have to forfeit its titular claim to this great cut of beef and give full naming rights to the winning city. I myself pledge to abide by these terms: If the Mets lose the Series (a near-impossibility, but I suppose we have to account for any conceivable outcome, no matter how remote the odds), I will henceforth refer to this steak as a Kansas City strip and will encourage others to do the same.
Phil and I will get things rolling tomorrow night when we meet up at Uni Watch HQ to watch Game 1. I’ll be preparing steak for dinner, and they’ll most assuredly be New York strips — none of that Kansas City crap for us!
It’s on, carnivores. Oh, it’s so on.
(Stoop and butcher shop photos by Mary Bakija.)