Tips for cooking delicious beef

Beef can be extremely versatile. The following tips will give you some new ideas.

Tips for cooking delicious beef

1. The truth about London broil

The name has a vaguely upscale sound to it, but in reality "London broil" signifies a rather tough cut, usually from the chuck or round. London broil doesn't exist in the same sense that a porterhouse steak exists, with the term meaning a certain cut of meat from a specific part of the carcass.

London broil is a term invented by a New York restaurant in the 1930s, and it remains in use because it's so useful — to the supermarkets. It's much cheaper than cuts such as T-bone, porterhouse or filet mignon. Flank steak used to be among those cuts called London broil, but then it became popular in its own right and the supermarkets realized they could charge more for it under its real name. Still, London broil can be flavourful, and its toughness can be mitigated as long as you know what you're up against.

Cook's Illustratedwriter David Pazmino found that he could tenderize the meat for grilling by sprinkling about 10 grams (two teaspoons) of salt evenly over both sides, wrapping it in plastic wrap and letting it sit in the refrigerator for at least three hours, but not more than 24 hours. After the grilling, slice the meat very thinly, on the diagonal.

2. Try rubbing coffee on your steak

Ever had coffee on your steak? Probably not, unless you've eaten at Rippe's steak and seafood restaurant in Seattle. In 2003 a chef and waiter came up with the idea of smearing Starbucks on their sirloin. It soon became a big hit, and Rippe's dubbed its creation Seattle's Signature Steak. Laure Dixon, a fine cook and wine connoisseur who lives in Nashua, New Hampshire, developed this version of coffee-dusted steak.

  • Start with a good cut of meat and good coffee beans. (Some like espresso best.)
  • Grind the beans to a fine powder.
  • Then use that as a dry rub on the meat, rubbing it in with your hands. Shake off any excess.
  • Then grill, broil or pan-fry the steak to your preferred level of doneness. After she takes it off the heat, Laure swipes the steak across a plate containing a fine olive oil, then sprinkles sea salt all over it.

3. Dilute that serving of beef

Do your arteries a favour and save the whole-steak approach for special occasions. For day-in-and-day-out dining, find ways to cook your steak with other ingredients.

Examples:

  •  Slice raw beef and sauté it with peppers and onions, fajita style.
  • Cook cut-up steak in a wok with lots of vegetables.
  • Top a salad with steak slices.
  • Or make shish kebab with steak cubes and veggies. You almost always eat less meat when you prepare it as part of a broader dish.

4. Cook your hamburgers however you want

Here's more proof that there's more than one way to do lots of things, despite what the experts say. Brothers Bob and David Kinkead, who are partners in the restaurant Sibling Rivalry in Boston, divide their loyalties when it comes to cooking burgers.

Bob prefers his cooked in a pan because he says grilling gives you the taste of char, not meat. David says cooking over charcoal or wood brings out the most flavour. One thing they do agree on: don't press on the burgers while they're cooking. That just extracts juices and dries them out.

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