Beef it is… confusing.

Like many people I have gazed down upon display cases housing all sorts of beef cuts, and been utterly lost. I knew the basics, marbling is good, funny smells are bad. However I never really understood where on a cow the cuts came from. Now thanks to an image passed along from that’s so yummy I can easily identify what goes where.

retail_beef_cuts11

Also thanks to Peta’s all animals have the same parts campaign I know how that corresponds to my body, which makes things even easier. Parts that get a lot of use are tougher cuts, this is the round and the shank, your arms and legs. Parts that get relatively little use are very tender, so the sirloin and the loin, your lower back.

The more tender a steak the better it is for grilling, the tougher a steak the better for the crock pot or other slow cooking method.

Recipes: Pan Fried Steak

Earlier this week I pan fried my first steak, and it was glorious. The recipe can from the Momofuku book that I have on permanent loan from a friend.

The idea behind the is deliciously simple when typed out, to quote David Chang:

  • Season it.
  • Sear it.
  • Roast it.
  • Baste it.
  • Rest it.
  • Slice it.
  • Eat it.

The book claims the process is much more complicated then this but it really is not far from the truth. The seasoning part is quite easy, I laid down a hearty base of kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.

Next is the hard part, sear the steak. This entails getting a cast iron skillet near smoking hot. As all of my Good Eats watching has taught me, the bigger and heavier the skillet the better. This prevents the skillet from dropping in temperature too much when you add the steak. I would estimate I had the skillet somewhere around 400°F as the fat started smoking immediately as it melted off. This is what makes the searing difficult, as you are not to touch the steak for two minutes on each side. No matter what you see leave the steak alone, no moving it, poking it or otherwise.

After searing the steak throw it in a 400°F oven for 8 minutes or more simply roast it.

While that is going on grab your unsalted butter, garlic, shallots, and thyme. Unsalted butter here will help to keep the salt content down of course, but also adds a bit of a sweet flavor to the dish. I chopped the ingredients but the recipe does not specify to do so.

After you are done roasting your steak it is time to baste it. Return the skillet to medium low heat and toss in the previously chopped ingredients. Get a spoon and constantly baste the steak in the resulting butter sauce. I went for two minutes on each side, and came out on the more medium side of medium rare.

The resting, cutting and eating are all pretty strait forward. The resting I have come learn is key to any good steak, and for that matter most meat. Ten minutes is recommended, and well worth the wait.

The results are delicious and I would highly recommend trying pan frying steak.

Some links to various version of the recipe: