Time to warm up the grill!
By: Keith Underwood, Assistant Professor & Meats Specialist, SDSU Extension
Grilling season has begun and it is time to clean up your grill and begin my favorite time of year. I love being able to cook outside and enjoy the outdoors with family and friends. With that in mind, I thought I would share some non-traditional beef options that may be available at your local grocery store or meat market. The beef industry has identified cuts from the beef carcass that are highly palatable but not commonly thought of as our traditional steaks. Out of these efforts numerous new cuts have been developed and are referred to as value cuts. I would like to broaden your horizons by highlighting a couple of these cuts that are real diamonds in the rough.
The first value cut, and one of my favorites because of its strong beef flavor and its highly tender properties, is the beef flat iron steak, which is the most successful value cut the beef industry has unveiled. The flat iron steak can be found in most super-markets, grocery stores and numerous restaurants that feature beef on their menus. The flat iron steak, which is fabricated from the infraspinatus muscle located in the front shoulder, is the second most tender steak in the entire beef carcass. This steak is best when prepared with dry, fast cookery methods such as grilling and broiling. I would suggest cooking this steak to a medium degree of doneness but not past medium well because it is not a highly marbled cut and may become dry when cooked to a higher degree of doneness.
The second value cut would be the chuck eye steak or the Delmonico steak. This is a great cut which offers tenderness, an excellent beef flavor, and affordability. This steak is fabricated from the most posterior end of the chuck eye roll, again from the shoulder of a beef animal, and is comprised of the same muscles as the popular rib eye steak. These steaks are smaller than a rib eye but often market for about half the price. The Delmonico steak is excellent when prepared by dry, fast cookery methods such as grilling and broiling. This steak is excellent when cooked from rare to a medium degree of doneness and can handle higher degrees of doneness as well. This beef cut is a must try for anyone who likes rib eye and New York strip steaks.
The final value cut that is gaining popularity is the beef boneless country style ribs. This is the beef industry’s competitor to pork country style ribs offering a great beef flavor with moderate tenderness. These cuts are recommended to be prepared by braising or grilling with an overnight marinade that can increase tenderness such as an acid based marinade (vinegar or lemon juice base) or is excellent when roasted, also increasing tenderness. I find the beef boneless country style ribs are more convenient than a traditional roast because they can be cooked with a dry or moist heat cookery method. This cut also offers an option to make a quicker meal compared to a common roast.
If you are hosting a grill out in the near future or are just looking for something different to try I would strongly encourage anyone to give the flat iron steak, the Delmonico steak (chuck eye steak), or the beef boneless country style ribs a try. These values cuts are a sure bet to impress anyone by providing a great eating experience at an affordable price making it easier to enjoy beef more often.