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Mets vs. Royals: The Strip Tease


[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.)

Comments (57)

    Congrats on the Mets’ series appearance and on the clever appellation for it.

    In my experience a link is a ribeye.

    Up in this corner of Canada it is a New York strip, and it is always sold off the bone. Never heard the term Kansas City Strip until this morning. And now I am hungry.

    A new study came out this morning linking red meat to cancer. I’m not going to listen to that study. 🐮🍖

    I always put a little steak sauce on my plate, but rarely does it actually touch any meat. On the off chance I overcooked the steak, or the cut is abnormally tough despite proper cooking, which happens much more frequently with steaks I buy here in Wisconsin than used to happen out east, a little HP Sauce can be a lifesafer.

    But what really makes a steak is the mushrooms. If you’re cooking it right, you’ve got a couple of minutes to kill after you put the steak on your plate and before you can eat it. So you throw the skillet back onto a burner on high and fill it with sliced mushrooms. You let them sear on one side for about a minute. Then you toss them around so they’re flipped, and you throw a pat of butter in and immediately follow that with a splash of red wine, which together will prevent the butter from smoking as it melts and boils. Stir it around a bit as it reduces, which it will do in seconds, then pour the whole thing over the top of your steak.

    And if you really want to reward your taste buds, while you were making the mushrooms and pan sauce, you let some thin slices of blue cheese melt on top of your steak on the plate. Preferably something American, like Iowa’s Maytag Blue.

    If you put an egg on something, doesn’t that make it “Royale”?

    Maybe an egg on a KC steak could prompt a “Royales” logo.

    (maybe it’s cheese, not an egg?)

    Great proposal – having lived in KC, but also loving NY, I approve (as if that means anything.)

    KC has a fallback though – burnt ends. Mmmm.

    FWIW, I prefer the ribeye. ;-)


    Good timing to ask this question. We got a meat bundle from our local butcher that has some Denver Steaks in it. Looks to be a “newer” cut of steak, from the shoulder. Paul, any suggestions on best cooking practices with this cut? Was thinking cast iron…

    Ah, the Denver — the meat industry’s latest attempt to find new steaks on the carcass.

    Cast iron should do fine. But if you don’t want to smoke up the kitchen, melt some butter over medium heat and add the steak when it starts to foam. Coupla mins per side, and finish it in the oven if it’s thick. You’ll still get a decent crust (altho not quite as good as with super-hot bare cast iron), you’ll have the wonderful smell of melted butter, and you won’t set off the smoke alarm.

    It’s seems like it’s been a long time since we’ve had Culinary Corner around here. That was a pretty regular feature for a while, and I do miss that bit.

    In the political world, the now-traditional wager between civic leaders is announced.

    Governors Cuomo and Nixon will wear the opposing team’s jersey for an entire work day. Also, Nixon will send ribs if the Mets win and Cuomo will send bagels if the Royals win. (Probably other things in those gift baskets, too, but those were the only two things mentioned in the ESPN story.)

    In Mexico, it’s called the NY strip. Maybe because it has more appeal to travel to NY than Kansas City? No offense to anyone from Kansas City

    Being a lifelong KC resident, in my opinion, I’ve never noticed a real regional theme to it when it comes to ordering at a restaurant. For example, I once saw it called a “KC Strip” in Beverly Hills, but just up the road in Santa Monica I saw a “NY Strip” on a menu. Same thing in Chicago, where I’ve seen both at different places. I’ve seen “KC” in Portland and Nashville, but “NY” in Las Vegas and Atlanta. A restaurant probably just calls it whatever the chef was taught to call it in culinary school. I think butcher shops around the country would be an interesting study. They’re probably a better representation of the local vernacular for those types of things. And I don’t know what the hell Omaha Steaks’ problem is. I guess they’re still mad at us for screwing up the Kings.

    Go Royals!

    How many cow’s does New York have?

    Why should any urban metropolis have a claim to a cut of meat. It simply makes no sense. The names should relate to where they come from and not the people that import and eat them.

    Kansas City didn’t have any cows either when the steak got its name. It was a cattle destination town, not a ranching town. Originally, the point of cattle drives was to get the meat on the hoof onto rail cars at the western end of the line, which inched farther west every year, which were then driven to New York and other eastern cities for slaughter. With the invention of refrigeration, a few western cities such as KC and Chicago became centers for processing, with refrigerated cuts of meat then shipped east.

    There was a time when you could find a lot (of formerly alive cows) in the Meatpacking District but not so much anymore. It’s not the same

    I guess I am the only one who loved UCLA and the Cornshitters hats, shirts and britches this past weekend.

    Yes you are. But now Adidas can say, “If we can please just ONE person, it was all worth it.” ;)

    I enjoy when things are named after New York exactly zero percent of the time. But still, “Kansas City Strip” just doesn’t sound right. Turns out there is such a thing as too much alliteration. Or maybe it’s the non-alliterative K at the beginning that makes it sound wrong; “Sioux City Strip” sounds so nice I’m tempted to just start calling it that. Anyway, I’ve always preferred to call it a New York Strip, which I’ll continue to do even if justice prevails and the Royals win the Series.

    Either way, I’ll honor the valiant 2015 Cubs by rubbing my next New York Strip with Chicago seasoning just before I sear it.

    Alliteration is a pet peeve of mine. The less the better, so I’m Calling It New York Strip.

    This is also a match up of the two original cities of the Battle of the Bay series, obviously with the A’s coming from KC and the Giants coming from NY.

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