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