Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Steak By Any Other Name

Nick and I are looking to buy a house. It's been a few years since we've owned a home and one of the things we've missed most was a game room. I can't tell you how many evenings we spent in our house in Virginia playing pool and listening to music in our little billiards room.

With any luck we'll have an even larger game room in this house. Perhaps we'll have a big 'ol wet bar and a kegerator! Oh and we'll get to decorate it and....gosh, I seem to be getting ahead of myself here. What does this have to do with a post about steak? Well. I always thought that when we got the game room of our dreams we would decorate it with meat-cut-charts from all sorts of animals. That being said, you may not want to ask my advice next time you decide to redecorate.

I know it sounds crazy. But I've always liked them. I've always found them to be unique, interesting and honestly...educational!

I mean, how much do you really know about the meat you eat? I'm not going to get deep into the source and the farm and the feed today. I'm just talking about the pretty packaged meat you find in the meat department.

Cow's are big...really big. Some cuts and steaks can and do go by many different names depending on where you live, how your butcher was taught and so many other things. However there are also plenty of delicious cuts that don't always make it to the mainstream supermarket, name confusion or no. Honestly, there are many cuts that some butchers simply aren't familiar with.

When Nick and I moved to Philadelphia we had never heard of a Hanger Steak. One night at dinner Nick ordered it and so began our love affair with it. It's situated under the belly of the cow, right near the flank and skirt steaks we eat so much of...whether you know it or not. Ever had a fajita? It was probably a skirt steak. So why don't more people know about it? And why, oh why, does it seem that no butcher in all of Louisville carries it.

Not being content to live without hanger steak I decided to find out more about it and hopefully educate the local butchers...and in turn get them to cut me a big 'ol hanger steak for dinner. So sticking with my know-thine-meat motto, I did a little research, and in doing so, found a wealth of beefy information that I'd love to share with you.

Now, there are many, many beef cut charts out there but I felt this one was super duper thorough. Unfortunately it's so thorough that I couldn't fit it's screenshot in the post. But here's the link: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Articles/Cooking-Tips--Techniques-642/beef-cuts.aspx

It starts with the primal cuts (great name right?), and then breaks those cuts of meat down so thoroughly and so precisely that after reading you may feel as though you yourself could break down a cow. I mean, if you wanted to that is ;)

So read up...and then eat up. Isn't learning fun?!?

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