Cambria Style

The Butcher’s Cut

  • Written by Amanda Lecky
  • December, 2014
  • Photography by Steve Henke

Picking the perfect steak is easy with these professional pointers

FOR RICH, JUICY FLAVOR LOOK FOR PLENTY OF “MARBLING,” OR FLECKS OF FAT THROUGOUT THE MEAT, LIKE IN A T-BONE

STRIP STEAKS ARE IDEAL FOR GRILLING. HAVE YOUR BUTCHER CUT THEM AT LEAST 1” THICK, AND DON’T TRIM THE FAT

GRASS-FED BEEF HAS LESS FAT AND WILL COOK FAST—SOMETIMES TWICE AS FAST AS GRAIN-FED BEEF—AND MAY BE TOUGH BEYOND MEDIUM-RARE

The Cuts - THE CLASSICS

TENDERLOIN [3]
Cut from the center of the loin, the tenderloin, also known as the filet or filet mignon, has an exceptionally tender texture, very little internal fat—and a correspondingly mild flavor.

RIBEYE [2]
Cut from the roast at the top of the rib, the RibEye Steak, also known as Delmonico steak, is a boneless cut that's richly marbled and full of flavor. (When the bone is attached, it's called a rib steak; when the roast is intact, it's known as standing rib roast or prime rib).

STRIP [3]
Also called New York strip, Kansas City strip, top sirloin, or shell steak (when sold bone-in), the strip steak is cut from the loin of the steer. It has a tightly grained texture that results in a nice chew and full, beefy flavor despite having less marbling than the rib-eye.

T-BONE [3]
Some consider the T-bone, also sold as the Porterhouse steak, to be the best of both worlds: It consists of a tenderloin steak and a strip steak joined in the middle by a t-shaped bone.

The Cuts - CHEF FAVORITES

FLATIRON STEAK [1]
From the shoulder of the beef, it's both extremely tender and super-flavorful.

CHUCK EYE]
An extension of the ribeye muscle from farther up the shoulder, this cut has more flavor and more chew than the ribeye (and it's less expensive).

RIB-EYE CAP [2]
The fattier, more loosely grained top section of a rib-eye steak, this is a favorite quick-cooking cut of the chefs and butchers alike.

TRI-TIP [4]
From a triangular section of the sirloin, the triangular tri-tip steak is richly marbled and full of flavor.

HANGER [6]
Named for its position on the cow ("hanging" off the front of the belly), this sleeper steak is also known as butcher's steak—possibly because it's the cut the butcher traditionally kept for himself. It has a loose texture and a rich, beefy flavor.

“A good butcher or restaurant should be able to tell you where the meat came from and be proud of the quality. That’s the key to finding a great steak.” – CHRIS CARTER, Butcher Porter Road Butcher, Nashville, TN

A BUTTER-AND-HERB MIX IS THE PERFECT COMPLEMENT FOR THE LUXURIOUSLY TENDER TEXTURE OF TENDERLOIN STEAKS, OR FILET MIGNON

WHEN YOU’RE SERVING A REALLY SPECIAL CUT, KEEP THE SIDES SIMPLE:PAN-ROASTED ONIONS LEND CARAMELIZED FLAVOR WITHOUT COMPETING WITH THE STAR

IF YOU SEE “DRY AGED” ON A MENU, SAY “YES PLEASE”: THE PROS CONCUR THAT THIS TECHNIQUE PRODUCES STEAK WITH BETTER FLAVOR

CRUMBLED BLUE CHEESE IS A CLASSIC STEAK TOPPER
OTHER TASTY OPTIONS: CHIMICHURRI, BERNAISE SAUCE, OR COMPOSED BUTTER

ROAST MARROW BONES TO ENJOY THE IRRESISTIBLY RICH FILLING, OR USE THEM TO SERVE SAUCE, OR SALT AND PEPPER

WHEN PAN-COOKING, ADD AROMATICS LIKE ONION AND FRESH HERBS TO INFUSE THE MEAT WITH EVEN MORE FLAVOR

PAIRINGS

WINE | Weinert ‘CARRASCAL’, MALBEC, ARGENTINA $18
The pairing of wine to steak greatly depends upon the cut, but Malbec fits almost every ‘meat’ situation.

BEER | Brown ale’s gentle roastiness and caramelization matches the savory, succulent taste of pan-seared or char-grilled steak. Low bitterness and earthy hops make it the perfect partner to a tangy blue cheese topping.

READ MORE: FROM THE HOW TO COOK ARTICLE