Beef up your next bar­be­cue

The steaks are high if you want to im­press your fam­ily and friends this bar­be­cue sea­son. Your next out­door gath­er­ing is sure to siz­zle if you fol­low this ad­vice from butcher ex­traor­di­naire Richard Gun­ner of Feast! Fine Foods, the ma­jor meat re­tailer for m

Central and North Burnett Times - - LIFE - Jen Gourley jen.gourley@apn.com.au

Q: I hadn’t re­alised un­til re­cently that there are ac­tu­ally more than 20 types of steaks. I think I’d be flat out nam­ing more than five. What steaks do you think typ­i­cally fly un­der the radar that we should try? A: There are quite a few, but my favourites, and the cuts I think every­one should be grilling this sum­mer, are on­glet or hanger, flat iron, skirt and flank. These cuts are well known in other parts of the world and se­ri­ously de­liver on flavour. Some of them re­quire al­tered cook­ing tech­niques to get the best out of them though, such as on­glet need­ing to be sliced across the grain to serve. We make sure we have tips and tricks on our web­site if you need to know more. feast­fine­foods.com.au. Q: What do you think is the best steak for bar­be­cu­ing, and how should it be pre­pared and cooked for the best re­sult? A: It sounds ob­vi­ous, but pick a cut best suited to the bar­be­cue. Too many times home cooks have tough or dis­ap­point­ing meat from the bar­be­cue be­cause they just didn’t pick the best cut for the job. That doesn’t have to mean you have to stick with the usual sus­pects like sir­loins, T-bones and rumps. Be ad­ven­tur­ous and try some of the lesser known cuts men­tioned above. There are a few tips for the per­fect steak. Start with the best beef you can buy. Not even per­fect grilling can res­cue sub-stan­dard prod­uct. If the bud­get’s tight, that’s where se­condary cuts can shine. Con­sider on­glet or flat iron and have a de­li­cious steak for sig­nif­i­cantly less. Heat your bar­be­cue till hot. We pre­fer to use the flat plate in our house­hold to get that caramelised crust. Brush the steak with ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and sea­son with salt flakes be­fore it goes on to the hot sur­face. Don’t crowd your bar­be­cue or pan as the steaks will stew and you’ll lose your lovely crust and get a dis­ap­point­ing re­sult. The other tip most of us know, but many skip, is rest­ing. A good rule of thumb is to rest your steak for half the time it spent cook­ing. Don’t cover it with foil as it will sweat and be spoilt. Rest­ing is so im­por­tant, so don’t be stingy with rest­ing time in your hurry to eat. Q: I’ve been given con­flict­ing ad­vice about how to cook steaks. What’s your ver­dict – flip meat more than once or just leave it in peace? A: You can flip your steak more than once, but only, and this is im­por­tant, only if you can turn it on to a part of the grill or pan that has not been cooked on. This will en­sure you keep that de­li­cious crust. If you have lim­ited space for your steak or steaks, then only turn them once. The other thing to re­mem­ber is, in my ex­pe­ri­ence, if you flip more than once, it seems to be eas­ier to over­cook your steak. By turn­ing only once, you can more eas­ily keep track of the time spent on the grill so you can get it just right. Q: What are some of the ad­van­tages of buy­ing meat from a lo­cal butcher? A: There are so many. The main thing is you can get to know your butcher, ask his or her ad­vice and talk about where the prod­uct in their win­dow comes from. Often a butcher has worked hard to source more in­ter­est­ing prod­uct as a way of main­tain­ing a point of dif­fer­ence over the su­per­mar­kets. It might be pro­duced by a lo­cal grower, be from an in­ter­est­ing her­itage breed or per­haps they dry-age their beef. They are also in a po­si­tion to cut your steaks ex­actly the thick­ness you want. Se­ri­ously, why would you buy your meat any­where else? Q: You’re a pad­dock to plate pro­ducer, and your busi­ness Feast! Fine Foods has been the ma­jor meat re­tailer for many of Aus­tralia’s best restau­rants, so you clearly know your meat. What’s your favourite pri­mary cut of beef and what is your favourite way to cook it? A: My favourite cut is known as hanger in the US and on­glet in France. It is some­times also called “the butcher’s cut”, be­cause it is just that good. It is sim­ply one of the most flavour­some steak cuts there is. It does re­quire some small tweaks in cook­ing though and is not a steak that suits be­ing cooked past medium. Cook it fast and hot with our tips for the per­fect steak above, but dou­ble your rest­ing time. This cut needs time for the juices to set­tle, so rest it for as long as you cooked it. Af­ter rest­ing, make sure you lo­cate the grain of the hanger and slice across it for a more ten­der re­sult. Don’t let that scare you, you are sim­ply slic­ing across the steak’s fi­bres. Bril­liant with home-made chimichurri.

A good rule of thumb is to rest your steak for half the time it spent cook­ing.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

GREAT STEAKS: Richard Gun­ner of Feast! Fine Foods shares his tips.

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