Of Flanks, Skirts (Hangers), Briskets and all things delicious.

Greetings Carnivores,

I got a message on the weekend from my Sister, asking me the difference between the Skirt, Flank and Brisket and whether or not they could all be treated the same way.

The answer is  … yes, and DEFINITELY no.

Here’s the skinny.

Since the Flank and Skirt (sometimes referred to as “Hanger”) both come from the “Flank” portion of the hind quarter, yes … they can be treated the same way. They are often found in Asian and Latino recipes … can you say stir fry and FAJITAS !!

The humble Flank steak

The Flank steak (click here) is a flat muscle, found on either side of the carcass and is usually roughly a bit larger than twice the size of your hand. It can be as much as a couple of inches thick and is NOT well marbled with long muscle fibers running it’s full length.

Click here for a link to my friend Chef Jeff Parker’s flank steak recipe.  

The beautiful Skirt steak

Now, the Skirt steak (click here) is actually a part of the diaphragm that separates the vital organs from the digestive tract, and the entire piece could be as long a 2 feet, as wide as 6-8 inches and up to a few inches thick.

Click here for a link to Chef Jeff Parker’s awesome detail on Skirt (hanger) Steak … couldn’t have said it better myself Jeff !!

Ok so, both of these muscles are EXCELLENT on the BBQ as long as you DON’T overcook them. This is absolutely key AND … always slice them ACROSS THE GRAIN.

Now, the  Brisket (click here), on the other hand comes from the front quarter of the beef carcass.  (put your hands on your sternum and move them from the centre,  across your chest towards your arm pits)  This is the area the Brisket comes from.

There are TWO muscles in the Brisket portion … the ‘flat’ muscle is called the ‘point’ and the fatty ‘knob’ that sits on top is called the ‘deckel’.

The Brisket is DEFINITELY NOT a tender piece of meat … BUT, with all that beautiful, white fat, collagen and connective tissue; when you add the right blend of spices, a BUNCH of TLC, a LONGSLOW cook and a kiss of smoke … well, NOW you have a piece of meat that will make you wanna cry.

Heck … all those Texans have been doing something right with the Brisket for eons so … they “might” be onto something. (do ya think???)

These bad boys are not readily found in the big supermarkets basically because they pretty much all go from the processing plant into the making of “Corned Beef”. Don’t dispair, if you have a small butcher shop in your area, drop in and ask for it then, look up a recipe for Beef brisket on the ‘net’ and get busy.

REMEMBER FOLKS … YOU CANNOT RUSH THIS PIECE OF MEAT … it is a LONG, SLOW, LABOUR OF LOVE but … when it’s done right … oh my !!

Masters of the BBQ and smoker GAWDS,  “The Patrons of the Pit” (click here for their Brisket method) show you how to render the mighty Brisket into something truly beautiful (my mouth is watering).

There you have it Carnivores, and to my beautiful Sister … I hope I answered your questions. If not, I’ll see you on Sunday and we can continue this discussion.

I LOVE getting questions because they usually help me come up with Blog post topics so … keep ’em coming !! 🙂

In the meantime, stay tuned and … please click “follow” at the top of the page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new.

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential