Have you heard of a petite tender steak? A flat iron steak? Meat and Livestock Australia invested plenty of time and money spruiking them and other lesser known cuts during Beef Australia 2018 in Rockhampton.
MLA’s team of high-profile chefs and butchers at Beef, led by celebrity chef, Curtis Stone, championed beef’s “hidden gems” - a range of relatively cheap and potentially tasty cuts that were either hard to cook or hard to remove from the carcase.
Mr Stone said from a chef’s perspective, the best-known and more tender beef cuts were the easiest to cook.
But they didn’t have as much flavour as tougher cuts to cook like brisket, chuck, ox tail, tongue and cheeks.
“All the stuff that doesn’t get as much airtime but eats brilliantly when it’s cooked right - whether that’s smoking, braising or stewing or whatever it may be."
However, it was in the MLA’s dedicated cooking and butchering precinct, The Butcher’s Kitchen, that visitors to Beef could see petite tender and flat iron steaks being deftly butchered from a “clod” (shoulder blade) and then were offered freshly-cooked samples to taste.
These demonstrations were done by MLA end user training facilitator and butcher, Kelly Payne, while Sarah Strachan, Meat Standards Australia program manager, spoke about MSA grading.
Their key message was that non-loin beef cuts like blade may be perceived as low quality but for MSA graded carcases, they often had a higher eating score than more fashionable cuts like rump.
Mr Payne dissected a “clod” (which had a MSA rating of 4 star) into the bolar blade (petite tender) and the oyster blade from which he skillfully sliced two flat iron stakes.
The secret to producing both cuts was removing all the tough connective tissue and sinews which Mr Payne said could see 50 per cent of the meat and connective tissue end up in the trim bucket.
“But we are starting from a low-cost base,” he said.
He described flat iron steak as the “poor man’s tenderloin” which sells for around half the price of sirloin.
British celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, has been praising flat iron steaks in England, declaring them better and much cheaper than fillet.
At Beef Mr Payne cutting the petite tender steak into medallions which looked similar to cube rolls (scotch fillet).
He also sliced up a whole rump to produce a range of cuts including a rump cap, pillow steak and eye rump.
Rump caps can be sliced into portions which resemble more expensive sirloins.