3 cuts of beef, 3 recipes
Today, I will present to you my 3 favorite beef cuts!
Not only will I do that, I will also tell you how to successfully keep these pieces of meat extra juicy and how to flavor them.
First, one of the things you must know is that each piece of meat reacts differently when it’s being cooked, depending on the length of its fibers and the amount of fat that it possesses, which is why they all have to be cooked the right way. Don’t worry, though, I will give you plenty of tips to ensure that your piece of meat tastes delicious, every time.
The rib steak
Let’s start strong with a recipe that I make with my favorite piece of meat of all time, THE ultimate steak: the rib steak!
The rib steak, a beef cut, is made from the fattest part of the animal. It is located on the top part of its back and, even though the beef works hard, it doesn’t move its back much. This means that this piece of meat is really fat, tender, and that it has fewer fibers than a brisket, which supports 60% of the beast’s weight.
There are two kinds of rib steaks that you can buy: one that’s boneless (a sirloin steak), and one that has a bone. If you choose between the two, pick the one that has a bone. Why? Because there is a lot of fat and flavor in the bone (there is actually so much fat that it allows the meat to baste itself and “soften up” when it cooks). Also, while we are on that subject, it is also recommended to keep the bone on the meat to age a rib steak because of all the flavors that it gives to the meat.
When I work with this fatty piece of meat, I usually use a “classic” rub in order to not change the taste of the meat too much. I also limit myself to one ingredient: my “upscale salt and pepper” and favorite seasoning, the House of BBQ Experts’ Texas spice mix and rub! (By using a dry marinade, I also make sure that the piece of meat doesn’t burn.)
The cooking method is not complicated at all:
- Spread (without necessarily rubbing) some of House of BBQ Experts’ Texas spice mix and rub onto the rib steak.
- Turn on the BBQ’s infrared burners (if it doesn’t have any, make sure that there is a zone in the BBQ that is extremely hot, whether the BBQ works with propane, pellets, charcoal or another combustible) to maximum heat and sear the piece of meat on the grate for approximately 2 minutes on each side (I say approximately because when you cook, you should not necessarily cook according to the time, but rather on the internal temperature needed). Turn the piece of meat over when it unsticks easily from the grate and has a nice caramelization*.
- Turn off a burner to create an indirect heat zone and place the piece of meat there. (Go grab a beer as well in order to occupy and prevent yourself from opening the BBQ’s lid while the meat cooks. Just like a human, a steak needs warmth and tenderness. 😉)
- Let the meat cook until it reaches the desired internal temperature**. (Personally, I aim for an internal temperature of 135°F; at this temperature the fat has melted and the meat isn’t overcooked.)
- Remove the meat from the BBQ and let it rest. (FYI, the more time you let your meat cook in an indirect heat zone, the less time you need to let it rest.)
- Serve, savor this delicious meat, and enjoy its amazing taste!
* If your piece of meat sticks to the BBQ’s grate, there are 4 possible explanations:
- The grate is dirty (it needs to be cleaned)
- The meat needs to be seared longer (it is normal that it sticks to the grate when the caramelization process starts)
- The meat was seared for too long (it burned and stuck to the grate)
- There is too much (if any was applied) marinade/sauce (it is important to remove the surplus of marinade/sauce that’s on top of the meat)
** When it comes to cooking temperatures, I have a great trick for you to remember them all. Imagine that you are driving at 120 km/h on the highway. As the speed you’re going to is over the limit allowed, you might end up seeing some lights in your mirror… red and blue lights. Well, at 120°F, the steak is red outside and blue inside. If you’re driving over 120 km/h and get pulled over, well your ticket will be even more salty… The same principle applies to meat: as soon as you bring the temperature up 10°F, the cooking intensity goes up a level and the meat becomes more and more cooked. If you end up driving at 160 km/h, your car, just like your meat, becomes “well cooked” and shouldn’t be going to a higher level in order to not burn…
It’s important to mention though, that the temperature chart that’s between 120 and 160°F applies to all land mammals. In the case of chicken and turkey, however, an additional 10°F is needed to cook these meats well.
- 120°F = blue
- 130°F = rare
- 140°F = medium
- 150°F = medium well
- 160°F = well done
- 170°F = well done (poultry)
The flank steak
Let’s keep going with the second recipe! This time, it uses my second favorite beef cut, the flank steak! Although you don’t have to, I suggest that you cook this piece of meat in the opposite way that you cooked the rib steak to maximze its juicy taste.
- Spread (without necessarily rubbing) some Steven Raichlen’s Malabar steak rub marinade onto the flank steak.
- Preheat the BBQ to 300 or 400°F with an indirect heat zone. (I recommend the “slow cook” option [300°F], as it allows you to take your time and even drink a beer while you cook. 😉)
- Let the meat cook and check its internal temperature with the House of BBQ Experts’ Thermomax. (Because a flank steak is a pretty thick piece of meat, it is also possible to use a WIFI or a Bluetooth thermometer [like an iGrill] instead, which can let you know the meat’s internal temperature while you’re watching TV, for example.)
- When the piece of meat’s internal temperature reaches 10°F under the desired cooking level (personally, I like it rare, so I aim for an internal temperature of 120°F in this step) pour some of the House of BBQ Experts’ Espresso sauce on both sides (you can put as much as you want, but the more you put on it, the less time the meat shall be seared in order to not burn).
- Turn on the BBQ’s burner to the maximum and sear the piece of meat on the grate for approximately 2 minutes on each side (this will allow the meat to get the missing 10°F that it needs to reach the desired temperature).
- Serve, savor, and enjoy the moment!
The filet mignon
The last recipe that I want to share with you uses the third (and nonetheless!) cut of beef that I prefer: the filet mignon!
The filet mignon is an extremely tender piece of meat that does not have lots of fat to begin with. So, to give it flavor, this recipe requires you to inject it with a very “fatty” liquid: a mixture of butter and cognac. You’ll see, it’s amazing!
- Place the filet mignon in the refrigerator.
- In a bowl, put an amount of butter that’s equal to approximately 20% of the piece of meat’s weight, and melt it into the microwave.
- In that same bowl, pour an amount of cognac that’s equal to the amount of butter in the bowl. Mix everything and let the mixture cool.
- Just before the mixture hardens, “insert” it into the House of BBQ Experts’ competition injector’s syringe.
- Once the filet mignon is pretty cold, take it out of the refrigerator and cover it with some of the House of BBQ Experts X Monette Outdoors’ 49th parallel spice mix and rub or with some of Steven Raichlen’s Santa Fe coffee rub and inject the mixture in it. (Although the first dry marinade is the one that I prefer spreading over my filet mignon, both of them have coffee as their base and are excellent choices. Also, I am telling you this now, the mix of sweet, salty and bitter flavors of the dry marinades goes beautifully with the fatty and salty ones from the liquid mixture; the result is incredible!)
- Turn on the BBQ’s burner to maximum heat and sear the piece of meat for approximately 2 minutes on each side (in other words, until the meat easily unsticks from the grate).
- Turn off a burner to create an indirect heat zone and place the piece of meat there.
- Let the meat cook until it reaches an internal temperature that’s between 110 and 120°F. (If you truly like the taste of meat, you can even take the meat out of the BBQ when it’s at 110°F; the inside is almost raw then, but the meat is hot and delicious!)
- When the filet mignon is ready, add a bit of maple butter on the top of it so that it melts and drips onto the sides of the meat to create a beautiful crust. Place a slice of blue cheese on top of it and sprinkle some green onions (preferably grilled on the BBQ) over everything.
- Serve, and savor each bite!