Friday, July 01, 2005

Small Mystery Solved

On our last cruise the dinner menu had two entrees which were available every night in case you didn't care for the other 5 or 6 which were offered that evening. One was salmon and the other was "ranch steak". On a cruise based in a foreign country with a chef from France or someplace, I knew I didn't know what a ranch steak was, but I didn't think much about it. If pressed, I would have guessed some form of NY strip. I saw some and that is what they mostly looked like. Now it turns out that the price of beef has risen to the point where some 20,000 restaurants are now offering "new steaks" which are carved from parts of the cow which were heretofore considered less desirable than the classic top loin and filet mignons. Here is a guide to the new menu offerings. A Flatiron or Flat Iron steak is from the shoulder and also called top blade steak. It can be broiled or cooked in a skillet and is said to be the second most tender steak after the filet mignon. One problem is the grocery stores sell a shoulder top blade steak which is not a Flat Iron and you really want the latter. It is recommended you consult the meat manager if confused. The Ranch Steak is a shoulder center steak and it is recommended that you marinate it to improve tenderness. If you see a Western Griller it is a bottom round steak and you gotta marinate strongly or braise (cook in liquid) in order to chew it. We have little round steak-looking cuts of meat where we shop that are nice and lean and they call them "beef tenders" or somesuch which I now learn are from the beef shoulder and despite their name are not as tender as the filets they are cut to imitate. Now I am off to look for some Flat Iron steak to cook this weekend.

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