Inching our way closer to grilling season I have seen several articles about the best cuts of beef for the grill.  I was not going to jump on this bandwagon, after all it’s being covered everywhere.  Until…my dining experiences in Atlanta this week.  On Wednesday evening the Dinova operations and restaurant relationship teams had a fabulous dinner at MADE Kitchen.  We indulged in tapas, paella, and skirt steak. Yes, my favorite cut of steak!  Only to be followed on Thursday by another wonderful dining experience at Kozmo Gastro Pub.  Hanger steak was on the menu so I just couldn’t pass it up.  So there you have it, two carnivorous evenings in a row, enjoying my favorite cuts of steak.  How can I resist this meaty topic?

Because of the high cost, and perhaps fancy name, filet mignon has been the special occasion steak for years.  Sure it’s tender, but filet lacks the big beef flavor and great texture that can be found in much less costly cuts.  By the way, chateaubriand is cut from the filet, so will be very similar in flavor and texture; and even more expensive. 

Skirt steak and hanger steak are great examples of less expensive steaks that deliver big flavor.  Both are carved from the same area of the cow, the lower belly region, “hanging” from the rib and loin.  Hanger steak has been referred to as the “butcher’s cut”.  This expert knows his way around a cow and so the most flavorful steak was put aside for his family.  Each animal only yields about 1 – 1 ½ pounds of hanger, therefore it’s not widely available.  In France the hanger steak is known as “onglet” and is frequently the star of steak frites.

Skirt is a little tougher than hangar but no less flavorful.  In Northern Mexico skirt steak is charred, chopped, and rolled up in warm tortillas with a little squeeze of lime and fresh salsa.  In both of these cuts you will see a distinct grain that must be respected.  Always cut across this grain, carve with it and you’re left with tough strings of meat.   These savory cuts are best cooked to mid rare to medium.  Don’t try braising or firing to well done, there isn’t enough fat to keep it moist. 

The next time you fire up your grill go for the flavor, try skirt or hanger.  You may have to visit the local butcher to find these tasty morsels but I assure you it will be worth the trip. 

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