That was four decades ago, "or 75 pounds ago for me," says Spike Sabine, the Drover's bearded and bullish restaurant manager. He's consumed enough of his own food to understand its appeal: "The whole deal is, 'I'm coming to Omaha and I want the biggest, baddest good steak you can put in front of me.'" He serves me exactly that—the whiskey strip, a 14-ounce New York strip steak that's marinated in bourbon, soy sauce, and garlic before it's seared on the grill to brand it with grate marks—"that's your presentation side"—then cooked over open flame. It's winey and briny, with a yielding texture, a slightly sweet finish, and no trace of the minerality or pronounced chew of the steaks I am used to eating back home. The reason, Sabine explains, is that "this is wet-aged beef," shipped and rested in its own juices in Cryovac packaging. Compared with the dry-aged beef common in New York, which hangs for several weeks, or even months, in chophouse meat lockers before serving, wet-aged steak doesn't taste better to me—just different. But Sabine is clear in his preference. "It's more tender, it holds its juices better; it doesn't even look like dry-aged." He likes Nebraska beef but not just because it's local. After the first six months of pasturing, "it's corn-fed, not grass-fed," he says. "It has better marbling." Whatever its appeal, Nebraska beef is a $12 billion industry. At the Drover, I heard a saying repeated to me often during my visit: "When the manure hits your nose, that's the smell of money."