Meat

Meat

By
Samantha Evans, Shauna Guinn
Contains
36 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849497657

Steaks: Forgetting the fillet

Both of us come from 80s working-class backgrounds, so the closest we got to steaks was one of our dads ordering very macho T-bone steaks, or a mixed grill, on rare family trips to a local restaurant. As we reached our late teens, the holy grail of steaks was seemingly the hunk of lean beef called ‘fillet steak’, which, apparently, we were supposed to order so rare a good vet could resuscitate it. Nowadays, the idea of lean steak is reserved for the health-conscious; the flavour-conscious seek out sub-primal cuts from loins and diaphragms of the harder working muscles. Have you ever heard a butcher declare his love of rump steak over fillet? If so, they were on to something: flavour through marbling. Here are some of our favourite cuts that pack the beefy flavour punch we crave when we want a steak, and how best to cook them.

Skirt / hangar / onglet steak

Cooking methods Grill, Dirty, Pan-fry

Found ‘hanging’ from the last rib bone, near the diaphragm of a cow, this is such a beautifully rich steak. About all you need to understand about this cut is that it was known as the ‘butcher’s steak’ because they used to save the cut for themselves. Sneaky butchers, we’re onto you! This is an amazing cut if you want to make your own Philly cheese steak – it stands up to the garlicky filling while delivering a full beefy punch. And because of its robust flavour, it can also take a good marinating. It’s also incredible when cooked ‘dirty’.

Picanha rump steak / top sirloin cap

Cooking methods Grill, Roast, Smoke, Pan-fry, Reverse Sear

The picanha rump steak has become quite popular on the UK barbecue circuit. It is a succulent and tender cut from the rump that is extremely popular in Brazilian churrascaria, and takes smoke particularly well. You can buy a whole hunk of this and reverse sear it on the smoker, cut it into steaks and finish them on the grill.

Bavette steak

Cooking methods Grill, Dirty, Pan-fry

This cut is from the flank muscle and sometimes called ‘flap meat’, but don’t let its name put you off. It’s grainy in texture and an extension of the T-bone; flap meat is officially part of the short loin section. Bavette steak will also hold up to a good strong marinade yet still pack a beefy punch.

Rib eye steak

Cooking methods Grill, Dirty, Pan-fry

The renaissance steak. This has crept back onto menus up and down the country. And for good reason. It’s packed with marbling and benefits from being part of the cow’s ribcage. The steaks can come anywhere between 5cm and 10cm thick, or they can be bought as a standing rib roast. Whichever way, rib-eye steak is absolutely delicious and very impressive looking. The only downside is that it is a bit more expensive due to its recent revival.

Feather blade steak

See our recipe on page 110 for cooking a feather-blade on the smoker.

Tri tip

Cooking methods Grill, Reverse Sear

See our recipe on pages 98–99 for cooking a tri-tip.

How to cook the perfect steak

The timings below depend on the thickness and type of steak. We encourage using an instant-read thermometer for accuracy. All timings are approximate and aim for a medium-rare steak.

Grill

About 20 minutes before grilling, remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your grill to high. Brush the steak on both sides with groundnut oil and season liberally with salt and pepper. When the grill is searingly hot, place the steak on top and cook until golden brown and slightly charred, about 3–5 minutes. Turn the steak over and grill for another 3–5 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the steak to a chopping board or a warm plate, foil tent loosely and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes before slicing.

Pan fry

The trick to this method of cooking steak is butter and movement. About 20 minutes before frying, remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your pan to high, add 1 tablespoon groundnut oil and as soon as it is sizzling hot, add the steak. Fry for 1 minute, flip, and fry for a further 1 minute. Repeat once more, then add a knob of butter. Using a spoon, baste the steak continuously on one side for 1 minute, flip, then do the same on the other side. All in all, you’re looking at 6 minutes all up. Season the steak with sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, transfer to a chopping board or a warm plate, foil tent loosely and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes before slicing.

Dirty

A quote from NPR’s Kitchen Window series, Dinner in the Fireplace:

‘As with so many great culinary discoveries, this one was an accident. Johanne Killeen and George Germon, co-owners of the famed Al Forno in Providence, R.I. first put it on their menu in 1985. Killeen says that one very busy night at the restaurant, Germon unknowingly dropped a steak in the fire. When he finally found and tasted it, a dish was born.’

Although they may not have been the first people to drop meat into the fire and eat it (we’re thinking cavemen), we’re glad they did.

About 20 minutes before cooking, remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit, covered, at room temperature. Heat your coals until they’re white hot. Place the steak directly on the coals and cook for 3 minutes or so, on each side, until golden brown and slightly charred. When you turn the steak over, make sure it sits on fresh, white coals. Generously brush one side of the steak with your chosen Steak Topper (see below), flip over onto fresh coals and cook for another 30 seconds or so. Transfer to a chopping board or a warm plate, foil tent loosely and allow to rest for 5–10 minutes before slicing.

Reverse sear (grill/smoker)

We’re going to add some delicious smoke flavour to your steak. Set your grill up for indirect heat, with the coals set to one side. Heat your grill to 99°C and add some oak wood chunks/chips. Don’t be shy with these as you’re only going to smoke the steak for about an hour. Season the steak with sea salt flakes and freshly cracked black pepper, put on the grill and close the lid. Maintain the temperature at 99°C and cook for 1 hour, depending on the thickness of your steak. In the final 15 minutes, get a full chimney starter ready so the coals are white hot. When the internal temperature of the steak reaches 43°C, set the steak aside on a plate. Add the chimney starter coals to your grill, heating the grill until it’s nice and hot. Sear your steak for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side to get some fancy line markings. Transfer to a board or warm plate, foil tent loosely and rest for 5–10 minutes.

Reverse sear (oven)

As with pan-frying, the trick to this is butter and movement. Remove the steak from the fridge and let it sit, covered, at room temperature for 20 minutes. Liberally season with sea salt fakes and freshly cracked black pepper. Preheat the oven to 135°C. Put the steak directly on a wire rack inside a roasting tray. Cook the steak for 30–45 minutes, depending on the thickness, until it reaches an internal temperature of 52°C. Keep an eye on the temperature at regular intervals. Allow to rest on a warm plate for 10 minutes. Now, get your griddle pan blazing hot on your hob. Brush your steak lightly with groundnut oil, and sear the steak for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side, bringing the internal temperature up to 57°C. Season the steak immediately and rest for a further 5 minutes.

Steak toppers

We’re fans of steak toppings to add an extra flavour profile. Simply take your pick of one of these toppers and smear as much as you like on your steak after cooking.

Chimichurri

Chilli & Smoked Garlic Butter

Chermoula

Louisiana-style Remoulade

Rustic Harissa

Bone Marrow Butter

Featured Recipes in this Chapter

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