The big apron, the long forks, and the tongs are staples of the manly art of barbeque. They have also long been the go-to gifts for dads. They’re great, but let’s face it: they get old. Fathers know there’s much more to cooking meat than slabs and sauce. If you want to explore unique meats, take a look at these lesser-known cuts of beef and how to cook them. Then, surprise your spouse and kids with a masterful meal.
The hanger steak is also called butcher’s steak, based on the notion that butchers used to keep it for themselves. Hanger steak comes from beneath a cow’s diaphragm; it “hangs” down low under the cow. Hanger steak is surrounded by organ meats and thus has a robust, beefy flavor. Before you cook it, you must trim a layer of silvery connective tissue. Hanger steak can handle a hearty marinade. Pan sear it and cut it across the grain to avoid chewiness.
Another candidate for a strong marinade, the flap steak comes from the rear of the loin. If you don’t marinate it, you can slow cook flap steak with braising or in a stew. Flap steak is lean but flavorful. Cut it across the grain in long strips, and then use a sharp knife to cut the strips in half.
Flat Iron Steak
From the shoulder with the gristle removed, this steak is tender and well-marbled. Grill or pan sauté it, or use it for creative kebabs.
Break away from the grill and get out the slow cooker. Short ribs need a long, slow braise or stew. The cut comprises meat from the chuck, brisket, plate, or rib sections of the cow, and slices them across the bone. This leaves just one or two inches of the bone. The English cut runs parallel to the bone and results in a rib cut of about 6 inches.
Short ribs have a lot of connective tissue and fat. When braised in wine, stock, or water, the fat, collagen, and marrow melt, creating a rich gravy. Once finished cooking, the meat falls off the bone. Recipes abound, usually incorporating onions, carrots, garlic, and herbs like thyme and rosemary, along with plenty of red wine.
While beginner chefs know steak basics, these lesser-known cuts of beef can provide a flavorful, gourmet experience straight from dad’s kitchen.