Wet heat? Dry heat? Beef Roasts and Steaks 101

Greetings Carnivores,

It’s been a while for me and as such, Cyberspace has seen a significant void in the ‘ol Carnivore confidential blog but, I assure those of you whom have wondered … “Hey ??? Whatever happened to that guy??” Well … I’m ok.

The winter of 2014/15 was particularly tough up here in the Frozen, Great White North of Canada. We installed a new, wood burning, fireplace insert to help subsidize the high cost heating with fossil fuel then, promptly burned our way through 3x as much wood as we thought we might need to sustain us though the cold winter months.

Ah … the learning curve.

Between stoking the fire to keep the biting cold at bay from early December, well into the month of March (just made me want to hibernate), coupled with a SEVERE case of “Writers’ Block” (just couldn’t find anything meaningful to say), AND a major back surgery (I’m now the proud owner of a lower spine, fused with 6 screws and 2 steel rods) Well … like I said it’s been a tough few months.

Having said that, … the Earth has FINALLY turned on its axis, showing its Northern Hemispherical face to the lengthening hours of gloriously warm sunshine, the song birds have returned, and everything around us is waking up from a long winter sleep.

I too am feeling the rebirth of Springtime… even IF my aching, healing back will still not allow me sit in chair and type for very long.

So … let’s get on with it shall we?

Today I’m going to focus on Beef Roasts and steaks but, this discussion applies to Pork, Lamb, Veal wild game … everything.

You’ve heard me say that the amount of work a particular muscle does in life determines how tender it will be on the fork BUT … even a hard working muscle can be rendered fall apart tender with the correct cooking method. Click here:

Which brings us to the topic for today.

Cooking Beef roasts and steaks:

There are two types of cooking: Wet and Dry.

The important thing to remember is … which to use on which particular cut.

diagram

The Butchers Beef Carcass diagram

Dry cooking methods such as BBQ, Oven or Pan can be used successfully on the following cuts from the carcass chart above.

The Rib section:

Bone-in or boneless Rib Roast (Prime Rib, Standing Rib) or steak (including the Tomahawk and Rib eye, sometimes known as the Delmonico).

The Loin section:

Bone-in or boneless Top Loin Roast or steak (Strip loin, AKA New York Strip Loin) T-Bone Roast or steak, Wing Steak, Porterhouse Steak, Tenderloin Roast (Chateaubriand) or steak (Filet Mignon)

The Sirloin Section:

Bone-in or Boneless Top Sirloin Roast or steak, Bottom Sirloin steak.

Ground Beef actually fits into both wet and dry cooking methods since we all know how wonderful a burger on the grill is, as well as a slow cooked pot of Chili or Spaghetti sauce on the stove.

Everything else on the carcass drawing above fits into the wet category of cooking. The reason for this is the hard working nature of the rest of these muscles since they are all used for support and mobility.

The heavy fat and sinew density of these muscle groups means that in order to render them fall apart tender and wonderfully flavourful you must cook them low and slow with moisture and a lid.

I hope this sheds some light on the differences between these two methods of cooking and the particular ways these cuts, whether its a roast or a steak can be prepared.

Remember: There are no bad cuts … just bad ways of cooking certain cuts.

I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you make out … I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming. 🙂

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

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Fat’s where it’s at !!! Thick cut VS. the fast fry … here’s the skinny.

Greetings Carnivores,

Don’t do it!

PLEASE don’t ask me to cut you a “thinner” steak or chop !!

Unless you’re preparing Rouladen, Schnitzel or Scallopini, you are doing the meat a dreadful disservice by cutting and cooking it so thin.

For starters, it will be almost impossible to cook it ANYTHING but well done, but, … if that’s your Schick, then you might as well just eat shoe leather … bon appetit!

So, … this post is actually more about food science than anything else.  I don’t want to lose or bore you so please, stay with me on this one … I’ll try to move quickly enough so you don’t fall asleep.

Here we go.

Here’s the “science” part:

A number of important changes occur when you put meat to flame. Whether you’re using a smoking hot grill, a cast iron pan, or a low and slow method, it just doesn’t matter and here’s why:

Structurally, proteins are VERY large molecules made up of LONG chains of amino acids. The reason a muscle  is able to contract and relax is the same reason it’s tough and chewy when raw. Believe it or not, when you add heat to this equation you see the fibers denature or …

RELAX !!!

Ahhhhhhhh …your Light Bulb moment has arrived !!!

This is PRECISELY the reason a rubbery, raw piece of meat becomes soft and chew-able when it’s cooked.

Back to the THINNER steak or chop.

Now, we know that adding heat to meat (there … look at me rhyming) denatures the muscle fibers.

So, you ask “why then does it matter if the cut is thick or thin” ???

Here’s the deal … clearly, the process of cooking not only denatures BUT, it also REMOVES moisture so, as you cook a piece of meat, (unless you are using a slow cooker/crock-pot)  you are also REMOVING moisture … remove too much and … VOILA, … shoe leather.

So, … again Carnivores … PLEASE DON’T ASK ME TO CUT IT THINNER FOR YOU.

Keep the questions coming in folks, if I can’t answer them, I’ll dig deep and find the answer for you !! 🙂

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