The Best Steak Cuts

The Best Steak Cuts

The Best Steak Cuts

Im going to attempt to give a profile and factual data to each cut of beef that LemmonMade offers. These cuts of beef are listed in order by shear force testing. (tenderness)  I hope you will review this list and use it to make an informed decision. We serve the highest quality meat in the entire world, but if you take our premium product and use it for the wrong application you will probably be disappointed. A while ago I even had a customer call in and request a heel of round roast so she could serve it at a dinner party and impress her friends. She planned to serve it medium rare-like a prime rib roast. Multiple times we told her that was a poor idea, but she persisted.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone that is so bizarre your entire reality comes into question? After, the conversation I did a quick internet search to see if there was a possibility the heel of round could possibly be used to describe any other cut of meat on a beef. Wikipedia described the heel of round just as I would “one of the toughest cuts of beef” so- ultimately my opinion is just that-my opinion, so I will also include some facts about shear force testing in order to validate my opinion which is based on my experience.

I must also include that not all beef are the same and the conditions under which that animal was born, raised and harvested make a significant difference. I have had some beef where the round steaks were juicy and acceptably tender, but the vast majority are tough.

All of the beef that we sell is awesome for the intent that it was farmed, fabricated and marketed. Remember that awful heel of round I mentioned earlier? If that same tough piece of beef was pit roasted or smoked and slow cooked for 12 hours it would be an amazingly spectacular feast that really would impress, but it must be cooked accordingly. That $30 dry aged tenderloin could be cooked in a pot with potatoes and carrots and be delicious, but it wouldn’t be as good as a $5 bone in chuckroast for that application.

*** A note on shear force testing. The shear force tests which have been done in the past and will be done in the future cannot always be applied to the real world. Meat tenderness has a million variables and tenderness issues can often be overcome very easily by skilled cooking, cutting meat fibers thinner, marinating… the shear force tests are only reliable at comparing different muscles, cut to the same thickness and cooked in the same way- these tests don’t prove that you cant take a less tender muscle, and make it more tender. 

If we were to rank a variety of vehicles by speed, which is only one quality that a vehicle has, the first obstacle would be to agree what course would test the cars.  I guarantee the fastest car in a drag race, is not the fastest car in a rally race and meat tenderness is the same.  Different cuts of meat shine in different applications. Tenderness is not the only thing that goes into a quality eating experience! I personally like meat to have some texture- I don’t want to chew it all night, but I personally love an outside skirt, bavette and hanger steak over a tenderloin.

Tenderness data is interpreted from:

 https://www.beefcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/ranking-of-beef-muscles-for-tenderness.pdf

Many cuts of beef are known by different names. Some of this is regional, some is marketing. We will try to list all the names that we know them by.

 

  1. Tenderloin, filet mignon.

Muscle: Psoas Major

 shear force 3.07 (kg)

This cut of beef is found between the spine and kidney. It is the most tender cut of beef and generally the most expensive. It is well marbled but without excessive fat. It is a fantastic piece of meat. I cook this steak when I’m trying to get out of the doghouse and don’t want to do a bunch of dishes.

 

  1. Flat Iron, Top Blade steak

Muscle: Infraspinatus

Shear force 3.2

 

This piece of beef is a hidden gem coming from the chuck. In fact, it’s so well hidden amongst bone, sinew and tough muscles that it’s a very recent discovery within the beef market and perhaps it’s the only great thing that the beef checkoff has produced. You will rarely see this piece of meat in grocery stores because there’s only a couple pounds on every beef and are generally gobbled up by steak houses.

 

  1. Spinalis Dorsi (ribeye cap)

Muscle: Spinalis Dorsi

Shear force 3.23

This is the outer muscle of the ribeye steak or prime rib roast. (not to be confused with the lifter meat, which has no similar properties!) You will almost never see this piece of beef anywhere but the highest quality steakhouses. We only sell it when someone buys an entire rib-loin.

 

  1. Dakota, Denver

Muscle: Serratus ventralis

Shear force: 3.54

My personal favorite meat and potato steak. This piece of beef comes from the chuck and is loaded with flavor.

 

  1. Petite tender

Muscle: Teres major

Shear force

This little muscle is also located on the chuck and only weighs one or two lbs. Its generally very lean.

 

  1. Sirloin Tip steak, ball tip, knuckle

Muscle: Rectus femoris

Shear force 3.97

 

This is a real shocker to many including myself. To be fair, the tenderness test is done by separating the muscle and connective tissue and testing each muscle. The sirloin tip steak is generally three different muscles with connective sinew between them. Still the sirloin tip steak is a bargain.

 

  1. tri-tip

Muscle: Serratus ventralis

Shear force: 3.97

 

The tri tip has become the holy grail of grilling in California. This is a weird looking piece of beef that is too big to eat whole, but odd shaped and awkward to cut into steaks. The solution? Make sure you got a couple friends to help you out and just cook it whole!

 

  1. Ranch steak, arm steak

Muscle: Biceps brachii, Triceps brachii

Shear force: 3.98, 4.38

 

This lean cut of beef is another sleeper. Its lean, its tender its inexpensive. Cut around the connective tissue and you have an excellent steak forvery little money.

 

  1. Muscle: Longissimus

Common name: ribeye, strip, T-bone, prime rib, Delmonico, chuck-eye

Shear force: 4.07-4.2

 

Finally we have arrived at the real steak muscle! Surprised to see it so far down the list? If the longissimus muscles aren’t the most tender, why are they so popular and expensive? Because there’s a lot more that goes into a great steak besides tenderness!

 

All of these steaks have great marbling and… drum roll…they are big and easy to cut! Honestly this is probably why all these cuts are so popular and in demand. The loin, which is predominantly made up of spinalis (amazing marbling, and tenderness) and longissimus (mediocre tenderness and marbling) muscles is long and uniform in shape. On a big beef the loin can be almost three feet long, while most of the previous cuts of beef are tiny muscles and they are encapsulated in sinew. Most butchers don’t know how to get them out, or don’t want to work that hard. To further discourage a hardworking butcher, the average consumer won’t buy many of the earlier cuts of beef anyway because they never had those cuts of beef at Christmas dinner when they were growing up, so how can they be any good?

 

Currently there is a massive labor shortage in meat packing plants across the country. It takes lots of time and effort and messed up product to teach someone how to economically remove a flat iron, Dakota, petite tender… while just about anyone can chunk them up into a chuck roast and send them out the door for $6, or grind them into burger for $5. It’s a ton of extra work and if you only get $1 extra and then loose $2 in chuck roast you end up going backwards economically and that’s why you rarely see many of the most tender steaks on the shelf.

 

The good news for you is that you now know that many of the most tender steaks are much cheaper! Reading this article could save you thousands of dollars over your steak eating life.

So stop into our shop within The Market and buy yourself one of the steaks you’ve never had and then share a pic on facebook and tag us, so we can afford to continue cutting the worlds best meat at the worlds cheapest prices!

The Perfect Food And Wine To Pair With Beef

The Perfect Food And Wine To Pair With Beef

The Perfect Food And Wine To Pair With Beef

Getting ready to plan your dinner for the week? Or perhaps a home-cooked dinner date with your significant other? Maybe a nice, intimate family meal to jumpstart the week ahead? We’ve got you covered.

Today, we’ll talk about the best food and wine to pair with the ever delicious and healthy meat- beef. And if you don’t have it as a part of your weekly diet, well, now is the time to include it.

Don’t get us wrong- beef is delicious on its own. A simple rare steak has that power to into wonderful flavors in your mouth all on its own. But, there is absolutely no reason to take things up a notch and enter beefy heaven by pairing your beef with some interesting complementary side dishes and drinks.

 

Food Pairings

First, let’s talk about food. There is a way to bring out that amazing beefy flavor no matter what cut of beef you work with, or how you cook it. This is by complementing your beef with a few select side dishes that go perfectly well with the beef.

Here are a few:

Steaks

What better pairing with a grilled steak than more grilled dishes? Try out some grilled potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, corn, okra, asparagus, carrots, and zucchini, or spice it up with some grilled vegetable skewers. If you’re looking for something that screams fresh, how about a carrot slaw, herbed cucumbers, or pickled yellow squash?

There are also a few salad options to choose from, like a tomato chickpea salad, potato salad, miso salad, cucumber salad, snap pea salad, and so on. But, if you want something more savory, take your pick from baked eggplant, baked summer squash, lemon quinoa, stir fry beans, and tomato and squash gratin.

 

Stews

Ever had a good beef stew? Then you know it’s filled with that wonderful but subtle and delicate flavor. Getting the most of that flavor means getting creative in your sides, from baked delicacies, to veggies and salads.

For soft and airy breads, the best options are baguettes and dinner rolls. But, if rice is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with white rice, brown rice, and rice pilaf. Stews also go well with salads, like greens, brussel sprouts, caesar, wedge, and tomato. Or, you can try some mashed potatoes or mashed cauliflower. Of course, there are also other wonderful options, like roasted potatoes, polenta, and couscous.

Tenderloins

Another yummy cut of beef is the tenderloin, which can be cooked in many different ways, and beautifully paired with dozens of different sides, like the classic no fail rice and mashed potatoes, or the delicious yorkshire pudding.

If you want a bit more complexity, you can also get lovely flavors from cheesy broccoli gratin, bean and mushroom casserole, or some grilled and roasted veggies, such as roasted sweet potatoes and squash, baked potatoes, roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted plums, and grilled carrots. For the freshest, tangiest flavors, try out some leeks in vinaigrette, turnips with parmesan and breadcrumbs, grain salad, tomato and feta salad, or some green beans and cucumber.

Wine Pairings

Beef is an amazing meat to pair with wine, not just for special occasions, but for an everyday meal. However, not all wines go with all beef types. Of course, the first rule is to pair red meat with red drinks- in this case, beef with red wine.

But, which red wine would work best greatly depends on the beef cut, how well it’s cooked, and the cooking method used.

When it comes to wine, full bodied reds like Cabernet Sauvignon go better with rare beef which has all that intense beefy flavors, while the more delicate reds Bordeaux are more compatible with thoroughly cooked beef.

Moreover, the type of sauce also affects how well the wine will blend with the beef’s flavors. For one thing, wine infused sauces are better paired with full-bodied wines, while classic gravies go perfectly with classic wines. And then there are fresh and creamy sauces that would go well with fruity wines like Malbec.

To a lesser extent, the side dishes and vegetables also influence the wine’s taste. The best practice is to focus on one element- meaning, elegant and complex side dishes with simple, classic wines, or just one or two side dishes with a special bottle.

The Benefits of Buying Your Meat From The Local Butcher

The Benefits of Buying Your Meat From The Local Butcher

The Benefits of Buying Your Meat From The Local Butcher

If you consider yourself as a certified meat lover, you should be making the most of this mouthwatering journey- but, more often than not, the meat you can get from a supermarket just doesn’t cut it.

The best solution is for you to find a local butcher that you can trust and get your supply of high quality meat from, whether it’s for weekly visits to get fresh meat, or to stock up on freezer meat every season.

Not quite convinced? Well, here are the reasons and undeniable benefits of why you should buy your meat from your local butcher:

Local butchers always offer a wide selection of quality products.

The Benefits of Buying Your Meat From The Local Butcher

 

The most important thing that distinguishes your local butcher from the nearby supermarket is the freshness of their products. Live animals are slaughtered in their in house facility every couple of days, then cut and ground on the day of your purchase (a lot of local butchers even cut the meat right in front of you), so you know that what you are buying is as fresh as it can get.

Plus, you know exactly where your meat is coming from. Local butchers take great pride in sourcing only the best meat- all natural, humanely raised, free range, antibiotic and hormone free, and right from their trusted local farms and producers.

In terms of the selection itself, local butchers do not shy away from offering rare and lesser known cuts that you will have a hard time finding in your nearby supermarket (especially since they have a tendency to display only the popular ones in the name of profit), and even wild game meats so you can spice up your palate.

You are sure to get reliable and trusted personalized service.

Local butchers are the best when it comes to providing a friendly atmosphere supplemented by approachable and reliable staff whom you can get to know and trust. From their personalized recommendations and tailored information on everything meat related, you know you are taken care of.

One thing that you can get from local butchers and not from supermarkets is the option to request for custom cuts that are perfectly tailored to your needs and specifications. You don’t have to make do with the standard cuts, sizes, and packaging that the supermarkets offer.

And, you get first dibs on seasonal specials, new samples of their processed concoctions, the best artisanal meats, and many more.

It expands your culinary experience.

Purchasing meat from a local butcher is not a simple transactional process, like your weekly grocery trips to the supermarket. From selecting the right meats, to seeing them cut and prepared just the way you like it, to getting much appreciated help from the staff who are always ready to guide you on how to pick, prepare, cook, and serve your meat perfectly, your trip to the butcher is sure to be an enlightening culinary experience.

Moreover, with all that helpful guide and the wide selection of products, you can abandon your apprehensions, and rather, explore and experiment on different cuts and types of meat, whether it’s a wild game meat or a particularly rare cut that you’ve never cooked before.

It’s money well spent.

One misconception when buying from a local butcher as opposed to a supermarket is that it’s more expensive. This is not necessarily true. Sure, in some instances, the costs may seem a little higher, but you are paying for the personalized service and the freshness of the meat, plus, you are getting better quality meat cut in just the way that you’ll get as much out of it as possible.

Besides, you can easily find the right cuts and sizes that fit your budget range. Your local butcher will happily cut your meat however you desire, or offer you a lesser known meat cut that is just as delicious but less expensive, so you don’t have to spend big bucks just to be able to eat gourmet restaurant quality meat.

And, most importantly, when you buy from a local butcher, you are supporting the local industry- small local businesses, from the farmers and producers, to the butchers and meat processors- so you know your money is going to the right place. 

Meat Map- Pork

Meat Map- Pork

Meat Map- Pork

Top Cuts
 

  • Pork shoulder– also called pork butt, a tough, fatty cut of the pig’s widest body part, can be sold either bone in or boneless (more common), and can be cooked by braising, roasting, or barbecuing
                                                                                                                                  Pork Shoulder
  • Pork chop– the retail cuts from this meat hailing from the loin perpendicular to the spine, is versatile in that it can be either bone in or boneless, or thick or thin, and can be fried, grilled, or slow roasted
                                                                                                                                    Pork Chop 
  • Loin– this large cut comes from the pig’s back, is lean and tender, and is best cooked by roasting over medium heat

    Pork Loin 

  • Baby back ribs– technically a cut of the pork loin that is deboned, is extremely tender, and can be cooked by braising, baking, or barbecuing

    Baby Back Ribs

  • Sirloin– an unevenly shaped, muscular but tender cut that is deeply flavorful and delicious, can be cut into chops, and is best marinated and grilled

    Pork Sirloin

 

Bottom Cuts

 

  • Picnic ham– a tough and fatty bone in cut located just right under the shoulder, and is best cooked by braising or smoking to make the meat tender and juicy, while the fat cap can be made into delicious cracklings                                                                                                                                  Picnic Ham
  • Country style spareribs– technically not a cut on its own as it comes directly off of the picnic ham, this is the frontal part of the spareribs containing both dark and light meat, which can be braised or stewed                                                                                                                      Country Style Spareribs
  • Spareribs– the ribbed area coming from the belly of the pig which can be bought in a regular or St. Louis retail cut, is best with the cartilage removed and cut up into squares, and can be braised, smoked, or grilled
  • Pork belly– a long strip of the pig’s underbelly with a lot of fat that makes it versatile and therefore great for braising, curing, or making into bacon (by curing and smoking), giving off wonderful flavors no matter what cooking style

    Pork Belly

  • Ham– a generous cut of the rear leg of the pig which is lean, cheap, and great for roasting, but is more commonly turned into sumptuous ham, by curing, smoking, and processing the tender and flavorful meat.                                                                                                                                         Ham
  • Hock- raw, untreated front or rear hock can be braised, but this cut is usually sold already smoked and brined, which is then called ham hock                                                                                                                                     Hock-raw

Lesser Known Meat Cuts That You Must Try

Lesser Known Meat Cuts That You Must Try

Lesser Known Meat Cuts That You Must Try

We all love a good T-bone, spare ribs, tenderloin, and the ever famous filet mignon., but there are dozens of other meat cuts that just might surprise you with their rich, meaty flavors and slide off the bone tenderness. And, a lot of these cuts are cheap, too! 

                                                                                                          Lesser Known Meat Cuts That You Must Try

 

If you are looking to experiment and try out various meat cuts until you find what suits you best, here is a guide on some of the lesser known meat cuts that you definitely must try. Whether you are looking for amazing flavors, or more affordable alternatives to expensive cuts, we’ve got your back.

Beef Cuts

  • Denver steak/ Underblade roast- the tender rib meat from the cattle’s shoulder is deeply flavorful and considerably cheap. It can be cooked whole or as individual steaks, and are great for grilling, smoking, or even par-freezing.
  • Chuck flat- right beside the Denver is the chuck flat, which is just as tender but much less fatty. It works as a wonderful and more sustainable substitute for the more popular flank steak. There’s little difference in the flavor and texture, but a lot in terms of price.
  • Flap meat/ Vacio steak/ Bavette- this underrated cut is an extremely flavorful and tender (but mildly chewy) piece of meat found in between the loin and the belly, and covered in lots of fat. This meat cut is best for grilling, either as a whole large chunk (we’re talking an easy 4 pounds) or as individual steaks. It’s also a nice alternative for hanger, flank, and skirt steaks.
  • Top sirloin cap- this is a very rare but sizeable cut of tender, fatty beef located between the loin and the round. The top sirloin cap can be purchased as a two inch triangular piece of meat. It is composed of three different, rarely used muscles which make it extremely tender, and can easily be cooked by grilling (as steaks) or roasting (as a whole chunk of meat).
  • Hanger steak- another rare cut rich with beefy flavors is the hanger steak, which lies among the cattle’s organs such as the diaphragm and kidneys. If you are looking to marinate and grill steaks, this is the best way to go. Although a bit rare, it’s quite known and sells out quickly in local butcher shops.
  • Top round cap- aside from the wonderful top sirloin cap, there is also the top round cap, which resembles a skirt steak (and can be cooked as such), and is usually made into ground beef. It’s deep grains make it perfect for marinating, which can then be grilled or broiled.
  • Sirloin tip center- hidden among the tough leg muscles of the cattle is the most tender cut of the cattle’s round, which is filled with deep, beefy flavors, and is great for grilling or roasting, and partnered with savory flavors and garnishes.
  • Beef shank- this chunk of meat from the cattle’s lower legs is extremely tough, but once it’s braised, all the fat breaks down and the meat absorbs a ton of wonderful flavors. More importantly, the beef shank is the source of the coveted bone marrow, which gives off that rich, buttery flavor.

Other Meats

  • Skirt steak- when talking about lesser known pork cuts, there is always the skirt steak, or better known as the secreto. It’s a tiny piece of meat (around 4 to 6 ounces) nestled in between the belly and the spare ribs. It’s wonderfully thin and easy to marinate and tenderize.
  • Lamb shoulder- if you are into game, lamb is a wonderful meat for that amazing flavor, and the lamb shoulder gives you just that. It’s extremely versatile, and definitely cheaper than most other cuts of game meat. It’s got a lot of fat and connective tissue which are easy to tenderize over braising or slow-roasting, giving you that delicate, luscious flavor.

One thing that you have to keep in mind is that these cuts may come under a different name, depending on where you are located. Moreover, it’s best to ask your local butcher whether they carry these cuts and are willing to offer them. At the end of the day, it really depends on your butcher what kinds of meat cuts you can get.

How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

How to Care For Different Kitchen Knives

When it comes to meat, no tool is more important to a butcher than his set of knives. Each one serves a specific purpose and have a different look and feel, but all must be carefully and properly maintained to keep them in top notch condition. 

Whether you are a butcher or a home cook, the same goes for you. That is, unless, you are fine with accidentally ruining a good piece of meat because of a dull knife, causing a bit of food poisoning due to a rusty knife, or generally just making your kitchen accident prone

We’ll let you in on some facts about the different types of knives and how to take care of them. 


The Different Types of Knives and How to Take Care of Them

 

Types of Kitchen Knives

These are some of the most common knives that you should have in your kitchen for just about whatever cutting and slicing you have to do, from bread, to vegetables, to meat.

  • Bread Knives- these are long, serrated blades with an offset handle used to cut through crispy crusts without crumbling the bread into pieces
  • Chef Knives- these are perhaps the most common knives found in every kitchen, have wide, tapering blades, and can be used for most tasks such as cutting, slicing, chopping, and mincing
  • Boning Knives- these are available in many different options, from long to short, and flexible to stiff, and are all designed to cleanly separate meat from the bone
  • Butcher Knives- these are slightly curvy knives with granton edges to break down meat into different cuts and even trim fat and silverskin
  • Cleavers- these are big, long, knives with wide and thin blades, that, despite the intimidating appearance, are mostly used to chop and slice meat, and also cut up vegetables
  • Paring Knives- these are short bladed knives designed for delicate tasks such as peeling vegetables, chopping fruits, deveining shrimp, and cutting cheese
  • Slicing Knives- these ones feature long, straight blades with curved ends, and are designed especially for cooked meats such as hams, turkeys, and steaks
  • Utility Knives- these are slightly longer than paring knives and have scalloped edges perfect for slicing fruits and vegetables

Aside from these common kitchen knives, there are also a lot of specialty knives for various purposes such as slicing cheese, preparing sushi and sashimi, shucking oysters, and so on, but most are for butchery. 

There are breaking knives and cimeter knives for breaking large meat into smaller pieces as well as trimming off fat, while flank and shoulder knives are specially designed to cut precise flank steaks. Meat carving knives are also available to handle cooked meats. 


Taking Care of Your Knives

 

A knife is basically a piece of stainless steel blade with a handle that is made out of either wood, plastic, or steel. It is important to ensure that these two are always intact, and that the blade is always sharp. 

To preserve the structural integrity of your knives, the best practice is to use them for the purpose they were designed to be used. Not doing so can not only ruin your food prep, but break the blade, or make it come loose from its handle. 

That said, knives should be washed regularly (by hand, not through the dishwasher) with warm, soapy water, then dried thoroughly and air dried to avoid rusting. 

When it comes to storing your knives, try to avoid using a knife block. That’s just a bad recipe for moisture, dirt, and mold buildup. Even though your knife may not be showing signs of rust, the insides of the handle can be slowly decaying and you are none the wiser. Magnetic knife holders or knife racks are better for safe storage. 

It should also be sharpened regularly with a good quality sharpening stone or knife sharpener. Remember, a sharp knife is safer and works better than a dull one, and makes your food better, too.

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