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2023-07-10 08:44:02

Steak 201 - Butcher's cuts

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So you can cook an expensive tender beef cut like rib eye .

Excellent .

This is about how to cook some not so tender cuts , steaks with a lot more flavor , but they require some slightly more specialized knife work to make them easily edible knife work either before cooking , after cooking or both .

We're going to talk about the hanger steak .

The short rib , yes , short rib can be a steak .

And this one , the skirt steak , it's so small or is it ?

But um , but um , this is so it is fair use but da da da da .

This is the outside skirt steak .

There's an inside skirt steak and an outside skirt steak .

Both are cuts from around the belly of the animal , but the outside one is way better .

In my opinion , it's much more tender .

First thing I'm gonna do is cut it into shorter pieces , pieces as wide as my pan .

This also allows me to divide the meat into pieces of like thickness .

That thin one on the right is going to cook in literally seconds .

The thick one on the left will take like five minutes or so and now free to cook each segment for exactly the time that it needs .

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The first thing you'll notice is the very prominent and coarse grain of the meat .

The meat fibers running side to side .

Most of these more esoteric steak cuts are not steaks in the narrow definition of the term .

Remember the narrow definition is a single serving cut of meat cut against the grains that it has short meat fibers running up and down .

Instead of long ones running side to side , the tender cuts from the animal's back are from huge muscles that are thick enough to be cut against the grain .

These cuts from the belly are much thinner muscles and therefore simply cannot be cut into steaks against the grain .

Thus , necessitating some more specialized treatment from us to cook the grain structure also makes these cuts very good at absorbing a marinade probably because of the extra surface area .

Those offer , I marinate flank steak , which is a similar cut from the belly , but I never marinate a nice outside skirt steak .

I see no point .

It has such beautiful strong flavor all by itself .

Thanks to that fat .

That's what the flank steak doesn't have .

Look at all the fat on the skirt .

I wouldn't dream of trimming that off .

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I'm simply gonna cook it to the point where most of that fat has gone deliciously melty .

Sometimes you'll get skirt steak with this very tough membrane or sheet of connective tissue still attached .

You'll know it when you see it and it has to be trimmed off .

But this on the flip side , this is not that this is an inconsequentially thin membrane that does not need to be trimmed .

Don't bother .

You'll know the one that needs to be trimmed when you see it .

It's like a rubber band coating the meat .

This meat needs no trimming at all .

It just needs some pepper and salt .

Go easy on the salt because it's extremely thin meat and go easy on the oil .

It's plenty fatty as it is .

I'm using my cast iron pan and I've got it quite hot .

Remember the counterintuitive law of steak cookery ?

The thicker the steak is the lower the temperature you have to use and vice versa .

With an extremely thin steak like this , you need very intense heat .

If you want any chance of getting a golden crust on outside before the inside is overcooked , I'm putting the thicker , longer cooking pieces in first and along the edge of the pan where it's a lot less hot .

I'm putting that thin little Scooby snack right in the super hot center .

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And if things don't quite fit yet , don't worry , they will soon see I'm doing constant flipping , flipping every 30 seconds or so .

I'm 100% sold on that new fangled technique .

You can see the crust gradually build , I can already see some pink juice pushing out of the paper thin piece in the middle So that really needs to come out .

Remember , carryover cooking the phenomenon where heat from the outside of the meat continues to move into the interior during resting .

That effect is much more pronounced on a very thin piece of meat .

So you gotta pull a cut like this when it's probably still quite raw on the inside , it won't be raw after it rests .

That said I like to cook outside skirt steak to medium or maybe even medium .

Well , it's tender enough that it can take it unlike inside skirt steak and with really fatty cuts , it pays to give the fat more time to render and melt .

The fat will supply the moisture that you lose by cooking the steak to a greater doneness .

The thickest cut is , of course , taking the longest .

I'm looking to see plenty of pink juice pushing up .

By the way , you need intense heat for a thin cut , but I'm still not on high heat here .

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I'm on medium high because I have a crazy powerful electric stove top .

You want to see what high heat on my stove does to steaks that just tastes like a lump of coal .

Don't believe the chefs who say you got to crank your stove as high as it'll go .

Every oven is different .

Gas stoves are often less powerful and it simply takes experience to learn what's setting on your stove will get you a golden brown but not burned crust .

Ok ?

I'll let these rest for a few minutes .

And then I'm gonna cut them all in half with the grain .

Because the next thing I'm gonna do is slice them very thin against the grain .

And the resulting shorter slices will be perfect bite size pieces .

This is the crucial step .

You have to cut a steak like this across the meat fibers .

If you don't , it'll be inevitably chewy .

But if you do cut against the grain , look at that these short little meat fibers just pull apart almost effortlessly .

That has such strong beef flavor .

I think it needs no marinade or any extra flavoring though .

If you want one , a common choice be chimi cherry .

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Basically South American pesto , you peel a couple of garlic , cloves .

Not too many because the garlic is gonna be raw and raw garlic is orders of magnitude stronger than cooked garlic .

Then a big pile of fresh herbs .

Most Uruguayan and Argentinian recipes I've seen call for parsley and oregano .

I hate fresh oregano .

So I use parsley and cilantro instead , but you can use whatever you want , then just chop all that up as fine as you can get it .

Some people do this in the food processor , but in order for that to work , you'd have to put in the olive oil and olive oil tends to go bitter in food processors for science reasons .

It's easy enough to hack this up by hand and a lot of people would include a fresh red chili in there .

I only have dried today but that's fine .

Pinch of salt .

A little pepper and then just enough nice olive oil to turn this into a sauce .

Then a touch of acid .

I think red wine vinegar is the traditional thing , but I use lime juice .

Sometimes this is not a vinaigrette .

That would be way more vinegar .

Timmy cherry traditionally has just a splash of acid though .

It's your food and you can make it taste however you want .

I think I put a little too much salt in there .

So I'm gonna dilute with a little more oil right now that just tastes like all those ingredients chopped up and combined .

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But after it sits for a few hours or overnight , the flavors really merge .

You're gonna spoon a little over your steak .

That's probably too much , very strong stuff , but very nice outside skirt steak .

It may be my single favorite piece of animal meat protein though .

My favorite source of milk protein these days is the sponsor of this video Magic Spoon cereal whom I'll now briefly thank some of you have noticed .

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But it ain't order yourself a variety pack like this .

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If you don't like your cereal , they'll give you a refund .

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Thank you , Magic spoon .

Ok .

Steak number two short rib , intercostal muscle .

This is known as possibly the best cut for braising long , slow wet cooking until it goes soft , short ribs are heavily marbled with fat which keeps the moist during long cooking .

And they have a lot of connective tissue around the bone which dissolves in a braze and may for a delicious sauce .

But unlike most other braising cuts , it doesn't actually have much connective tissue inside the bulk of the meat itself .

It's shockingly tender , especially if you get the biggest meatiest English cut , short ribs , you can find which will generally be from the ribs extending down from the chuck section or from the rib section .

Those are the ribs that come down from the rib roast or the rib eye steak .

So of course , that meat is tender , you just have to butterfly it to make it into a wide flat steak .

I'll show you two methods .

First , look at the bone , it'll usually be a little bit off center .

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And I really prefer to start cutting on the side of the bone that is closer to the edge , just cut down along the bone as close to the bone as you can get .

Then stop before you go all the way through .

Open up the meat like a book that flap of meat that was thicker on this side of the bone makes a better hinge to open this up .

Then I'm gonna cut this thicker side of the book into half its current thickness .

Again , stopping right before I go all the way through , then opening it up , you can make a few more little shallow slices to make it lay as flat as possible .

That's one way to do this .

Another way to do it is what's called accordion cutting .

You cut down along the bone as before then rather than opening it up , you just simply flip the meat around and make another cut straight down but not all the way through .

Then you can unfurl the meat like the bellows of an Accord .

That might be a little easier if you're doing three or four cuts to make super thin Korean style short ribs , for example , but I think either way is just as easy for doing the two cuts .

It takes to turn a short rib into a nice thick steak , salt , pepper and oil .

And since it's a nice thick steak , it counterintuitively needs less heat .

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I'm just on medium heat here again , flipping every 30 seconds .

But after my first flip , I'm gonna apply my culinary brick , otherwise known as a brick wrapped in aluminum foil for hygiene .

hygiene is so why I waited until that first side had a little sear on it before I put the brick on that way , the brick is not touching raw meat right now .

It's touching a sterilized surface .

So it won't now cross , contaminate the other side when I flip and I'll keep flipping every 30 seconds .

The brick isn't necessary but a butterflied cut like this might not really lie flat against the pan surface .

It'll sort of tent up around the hinges .

The brick helps you get even contact and thorough crust formation along the entire area of the meat and just like with the skirt steak .

I'm shooting for medium here rather than medium rare to give all that fat in there more of a chance to melt .

So , rather than looking to see the first little bits of pink juice surfacing , I'm looking to see lots of pink juice coming up and pooling on the meat that usually happens at medium out .

This comes , let it rest and then I'll slice this thin , it's tender but it's not super tender .

So thin , slicing helps and you can try to slice it against the grain .

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But the butterflying tends to give you a steak where the grain is running in multiple crazy directions .

So just do the best you can a little finishing salt .

Maybe that's smoked sea salt .

Shockingly good steak .

The fat in this cut has a slightly gamey flavor that really reminds me of lamb , especially when you gnaw on all that delicious stuff around that bone .

Now , the beef cuts we've been talking about are often known as butcher's cuts .

Little odd scraps that butchers historically kept for themselves because only they knew how to deal with them and only they knew how good they are .

The third and final cut we'll discuss is kind of the archetypal butcher's cut .

The hanger steak sometimes simply called butcher steak .

This is the favorite steak cut of Joseph Egloff , the rancher whose cows I am cooking today , he raises grass fed beef here at Rocking Chair Ranch in Monroe County , Georgia just north of where I live in Macon Rain or shine the hanger , I think has extremely beefy taste .

It comes from just above the diaphragm of the animal above the brisket on the top side .

That's why they call it the hanger .

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It kind of hangs down from the diaphragm and there is only one on every animal so it can be hard to find .

Certainly a key to excellent steak cookery is to find a butcher or a rancher whom , you know , and whose work you trust .

And I trust Joseph , he butchers his animals on site , so he knows exactly what he's giving me .

The smaller hanger here is from a somewhat younger animal .

It would be a little bit more tender , but I'm going to cook this bigger one from an older animal .

It'll have beefier flavor .

I just thought it in a bowl of cool tap water .

It took 40 minutes in there and here it is , this is gonna take some more advanced home butchery to prep .

First thing to do is trim off the silver skin .

That's this rubber band like connective tissue .

Here , you can clearly see and feel how it's different from fat .

It will not melt during cooking .

It's got to come off and you can do that with any sharp knife .

But if you have a really thin knife like this , that's probably better .

And this is from a little in Ohio called Warther knives made from a stamped blade rather than a forged blade are generally really thin and they'll help you slip under that silver skin and shave it off while removing as little of the meat as possible .

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I'm no blade master .

I find it often helps to get a strip of silver skin started and then pull up on it and then you shave through the rest .

That's a pretty foolproof approach .

If in elegant .

What I don't want to do is trim off any of the fat .

If I can avoid it , the fat is delicious .

I'm just trimming silver skin .

There we go .

There is a remaining band of connective tissue and it is running straight down through the middle of this meat .

It is one of the chet animal pieces you will ever encounter .

You could simply cook this thing whole , let it rest , then carve it down the middle and shave off that tissue before slicing up both sides .

I prefer to take it out now so that I can cook both sides of this individually .

They benefit from separate treatment because as you'll notice they're not the same size .

That's not an anatomical aberration .

This is a standard asymmetry on the animal .

One side of the hanger is way bigger than the other .

So I'm gonna separate them by slowly unzipping the meat along the seam of that connective tissue .

I don't want to waste any of this precious meat .

I'm cutting right along the white part until I've got the half separated .

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That bigger piece is now totally clean .

I just have to peel the connective tissue from the smaller half kind of looks like a strip of bacon .

Alrighty , pretty minimal trimming waste there .

I'm pleased with myself .

Ok .

Now I've got these pieces that kind of look like little tender loins and in fact , the smaller one I'm just gonna cut in half and I'm gonna pan , roast them like loins , cutting in half again , helps them fit in my pan and gets me two pieces of more consistent thickness .

The thinner half will require less cooking time .

This bigger side you could certainly roast or grill whole as well .

But I'm gonna butterfly it into four thin steaks .

First up is this part that kind of hangs off to the side .

I've seen people basically discard that as trimming .

That's crazy .

Take it off , cut it to half its original thickness and stop right before you go all the way through .

Open her up .

And that is a perfectly lovely little steak right there .

I can get some bigger ones out of this .

I'll cut this into three trying to get three pieces of roughly equal mass bearing in mind .

The middle part there is much thicker again , just slide the knife in there and cut it to half its thickness .

Open it up and give it a few shallow cuts to get it to lay nice and flat .

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Then some people go the further step of scoring this against the grain to give it a little more surface area , maybe tenderize it a little bit .

I don't think that really does very much .

This technique of butterflying chunks of hanger into individual thin steaks is something I really associate with French bistros , the French call hanger angle .

And it's one of the classic cuts for steak .

French bistro steak and fries .

I've seen them cut even thinner in that context with like three cuts like this , three flaps each , a third of the steak's original thickness .

I find that pretty tricky to do , but maybe you're better with a knife .

There you go .

There may be only one hanger on the animal , but it's not just one steak .

It's like 4 to 6 portions .

Lordy .

Look at how beautiful that meat is .

A little salt , pepper and oil on one of those little bistro steaks , by the way , one of the reasons I'm kind of loving my cast iron pan again is that the temperature is just about perfect for steak when you see the residual oil on it just starting to smoke .

That's a great rough indicator .

Flipping every 30 seconds watch that crust slowly build flipping often instead of once gets you more even cooking and it's easier .

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There's no surprises if your heat is too high or too low , you're going to see immediately if there's a little burning going on , you'll see it and you can turn the heat down before it's too late with these coarse grain steaks .

I find the visual trick of just looking for pink juice to be particularly effective .

It's really easy to see as it pools in those grooves when I see a good amount of juice surfacing .

I know this is medium rare going on , medium , let it rest a little bit .

And people say that Hanger steak has the beefy flavor of skirts with all the tenderness of tenderloin .

That's crazy talk .

It's tender but it's not as tender as tender wine .

You still need to slice it thin against the grain .

And I'm doing it with my knife at a shallow angle on the bias .

As they say that gets you prettier wider slices instead of thin little strips .

I cannot describe how delicious that is .

It is so worth the extra butchery work quite tender .

if the muscle fibers are short and the wide open grain structure would be particularly good at holding on to a nice pan sauce .

So let's talk about sauce .

I think there are two reasons .

Pan sauces aren't nearly as popular for steak as they are for pork and chicken .

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The first is simply that good beef has a strong flavor and just doesn't need sauce as much as chicken breast does .

But the other reason is that in order to get a nice sear on a thin steak , you generally have to burn the fond in the pan like that's burned .

I don't want to dissolve that into a sauce .

It would taste bad .

But let's consider these loin like pieces that we cut .

These are a lot thicker and the thicker the steak , the lower the heat you generally want to use .

So we can cook these more gently and incidentally not burn our fond in the process .

This is like medium low heat on my stove .

I'm just rolling them around frequently until I've got a decent crust built up on the outside , then I'll just start butter basting .

You can do that with a spoon , but I find it works just as well to simply keep flipping the meat around in the butter .

This creates something like a roasting environment in the pan omnidirectional heat .

That'll help you cook something thicker like this through .

Since this is like a little roast more than a steak , I might use a thermometer to judge doneness .

But you can also just poke and peek .

And if you're gonna do that , scissors are great snipping .

It is way easier than trying to saw through something with a knife while it's still in the pan .

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Yeah .

Still quite raw in the center .

But one of the flaws of poke and peak is that you're looking at the meat pre carryover cooking .

Remember that the inside will keep cooking as you let it rest on the board .

I see a lot of pink juice pushing out of the side on that big one .

I'll bet that thinner piece is done by now .

I'll just give the thicker piece another minute or so .

I love cutting meat into smaller pieces of relatively uniform size for precisely this reason .

Now , while those rest , some shallots , I chop these up earlier .

Nice and fine , I think shallots are the classic Allium for pan sauces in part because the layers are thin .

So the pieces are small and they cook really quickly , pan sauce has to be quick or your meat will go cold when those are brown and soft , they'll deglaze with a little red wine .

I'm using a wooden spoon so I can scrape the pan without chipping my seasoning layer .

If you don't want to use wine , I'd suggest water followed by a big splash of balsamic vinegar .

And if you're a lucky duck like me and you have a couple of ice cubes of homemade Demi gloss in the freezer now is a great time to use them .

I have a whole video about this stuff .

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In the description , I use a modified version of chef John's method which uses beef plus chicken wings to simulate the traditional and much more expensive veal joints .

If your sauce starts to look over reduced , like this does consider adding water instead of more wine , too much reduced , red wine can get pretty bitter .

Now , I'll simply turn off the heat and when the bubble has all but stopped , I'll stir in some butter .

If I didn't have the Demi gloss in there , I'd probably compensate by using like twice this much butter .

You mix the butter into a sauce off the boil and a thick luscious emulsion will form .

If the sauce is really boiling , the butter will just separate into water with oil on top off the heat while we carve our little mock tenderloins into thin medallions .

Look how pretty that is .

I'll pour the juices from my board into the sauce .

God man overboard .

Well , I guess I'll just have to eat that one .

I might tear some parsley into this at the last second .

There's enough heat in there to wilt it down .

But without turning it brown and then we can spoon that right over again .

That coarse grain structure of the hanger gives you all these little ridges in the meat where the sauce can flow .

Absolutely delicious .

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I hope I've given you some courage to graduate to these slightly more challenging cuts .

They're not always cheaper .

Thanks to jerks like me popularizing them , but they are so much more flavorful than the big tender cuts .

Give one a try and see for yourself .


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