Where’s The Beef?

 Last week, my brother and his family were in town. For one of the evening meals, my mother served steak. One of the topics of conversation centered around the beef; we were trying to remember which cuts were best.

Recently, I’ve taken to writing down the names of different cuts to try and others to avoid. This helps me at the grocery store, when I am faced with shelves of different foam trays of beef wrapped in plastic.


Some stores have diagrams of an animal with dotted lines marking the different cuts. In South America that was helpful, to know how to ask for something in Spanish. However, here in The States, when I look at a diagram, I start thinking “too hard” about how the muscles are used by the cow and whether or not that will make the meat tougher. Either that, or I can’t imagine that there really is any meat on those legs. Then, I try to remember if the cook book said that it was the back or the backside where you get steaks from…

Last night I pulled a Top Sirloin Steak out of the freezer to defrost in the refrigerator. I had only purchased one tray of beef on the last shopping trip, because I want to try the cuts one at a time so that I remember (and because, believe it or not, I don’t always find spending $ on food very easy).

By mid-morning, the meat had defrosted. I unwrapped it, then tenderized it with a metal mallet. The seasoning was pretty simple:

salt, black pepper, onion powder, dry oregano & basil.

Ruth Reichl (author of Tender at the Bone) recommends that before cooking a steak, you should let it come to room temperature, so I stuck the beef on a tray in the toaster oven (turned off) while I prepared the rest of our lunch (sauteed onion slices & chopped garlic, chopped Roma tomatoes, halved cherry tomatoes, and green beans).

I had some fat leftover from frying bacon, so I decided to use it to cook the steak in. I let the meat fry for several minutes on one side before flipping it, adding the sliced onion and chopped garlic, and covering the pan with a lid.

I set a bottle of steak sauce on the table, but returned it to the fridge after tasting the meat. Delicious.






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