We look at how to prepare, cut and cook one of Ireland's favourite foods.
Leave a thin layer of fat on steaks and roasts during cooking to preserve juiciness. Trim fat after cooking.
Pat beef steaks, cubes and pot roasts dry with paper toweling for better browning.
To make cutting strips for stir-frying easier, partially freeze beef to firm only do this if the beef hasn’t been previously frozen.
Salt beef after cooking or browning. Salt draws out moisture and inhibits browning.
For tender cuts, dry heat methods such as broiling, roasting, sautéing/pan-frying, and grilling are best. Moist heat methods, such as braising and cooking in liquid, are better choices for less tender cuts.
High heat can overcook or slightly burn the outside of beef cuts while the inside remains underdone. For tender beef, cooked to the desired doneness, use medium heat with dry cookery methods and low heat for moist cookery methods.
Turn steaks and roasts with tongs. Do not use a fork, which pierces the beef and allows flavorful juices to escape.
Turn ground beef patties with a spatula. Do not flatten them, causing flavorful juices to escape and resulting in a dry burger.
Less tender cuts of beef should be marinated to enhance tenderness. The cuts include: round steak, rib-eye steak, shoulder steak, brisket and flank steak. Tender cuts of beef can be marinated for flavor.
Marinate in the refrigerator, NEVER at room temperature.
Marinate in a zip-lock plastic bag or in a glass dish.
Turn meat occasionally during marinating so that all sides are equally exposed to marinade.
Allow ¼ to ½ cup marinade for each 1 to 2 lbs. of beef.
If a marinade is to be used later for basting or served as a sauce, reserve a portion of it before adding the beef.
Marinade that has been in contact with uncooked meat must be brought to the boil before it can be used as a sauce.
For flavor Only, Marinate for 15 minutes to 2 hours. For tenderising, marinate for at least 6 hours. Marinating longer than 24 hours can result in a mushy surface texture.
Neck or Shoulder
This area of the animal contains a lot of muscle and is a highly exercised area. It containc collagen which melts during cooking giving the meat a very intense flavour.
It’s best to cook this by braising, stewing or as roasting as a casserole. It’s a meat which is also used a lot in Aisan cuisine where it’s usually marinated well before use. This is the best cut for mincing, casseroling or braising. Very good flavour, ensure it is trimmed well.
Rib Tender and flavorful ribs can be cooked any number of ways. Ribs are best roasted, sauteed, pan-fried, broiled, or grilled. Roast on a high heat or cut a rib from the joint for the barbecue, one rib will serve two persons.
It is this cut of meat where you get a rib-eye steak from
Short Loin Cuts from the short loin may be sautéed, pan fried, broiled, pan broiled or grilled. This is the cut where you get the infamous T-Bone Steak from which is also called the Porterhouse Steak—a very popular steak cut from the rear end of the short loin. The T-Bone consists of both tenderloin and the tip of the sirloin. The tenderloin is often served separately as filet mignon
T-bone Steak—cut from the middle section of the short loin; similar to the porterhouse steak; has a smaller piece of the tenderloin; usually grilled or pan-fried
Tenderloin—often considered the most tender cut of beef; responds well to sauces, meaning the meat does not overpower the flavor of the sauce. It can be cut as the whole strip, or into individual steaks for filet mignon
This is the area where the hip is connected to the spine of the animal. These tender cuts respond well to sautéing, pan-frying, broiling, pan-broiling or grilling. Look for sirloin steaks with a clear, red color.
Beef normally is purplish-red, but when exposed to oxygen it takes on a cherry-red hue known as the “bloom.” While the exterior is bright red, the interior of the meat will retain the darker color. Vacuum-packed sirloin steak also shows this purplish color.
Flank This meat is lean, muscular and very flavorful. Flank is primarily used for flank steaks and rolled flank steaks. It can also be used for kababs.
Flank Steak—this steak has a great flavor, and should be sliced thin against the grain for maximum chewability. Use to make the classic London broil and steak Diane.
Short Plate This section is best used for stew meat, where its rich, beefy flavor can be appreciated.
Round The round consists of lean meat well-suited to long, moist cooking methods.
Top Round—this is the most tender part of the round; it can be prepared as pot roast or cut into thick steaks for braised dishes
Rump Roast—a very popular cut for pot roast, but can also be roasted at low temperatures
Shank/Brisket Traditionally used for corned beef, brisket is best prepared with moist heat. Suitable preparation methods include stewing, braising and pot-roasting.
Foreshank—excellent stew meat
Brisket First Cut—a leaner cut of the brisket, for those who want the flavor but not the fat of a brisket pot roast
Brisket Front Cut—fork tender and succulent, a pot roast made with this cut is truly mouthwatering
Heat a heavy nonstick frying pan 5 minutes over medium heat.
Season beef (straight from refrigerator), as desired. Place beef in preheated frying pan. Do not add oil or water. Do not cover.
Pan broil according to chart, turning once. (For cuts 4 inch thick, turn occasionally) Remove excess drippings from skillet as they accumulate. After cooking, season beef with salt, if desired.
This cooking method is best for thin, tender beef cuts. Lean cuts, such as cubed steaks or floured and breaded cuts, may require additional oil to prevent sticking.
Heat small amount of oil in heavy nonstick frying pan over medium heat until hot.
Season beef (straight from refrigerator), as desired. Place beef in preheated frying pan. Do not add water. Do not cover.
Pan-fry to desired cooking temperature, turning occasionally. After cooking, season beef with salt, if desired.
Preheat oven for 40 minutes.
Place beef (straight from refrigerator) on rack of broiler pan. Season beef, as desired..
Broil, turning once. After cooking, season beef with salt, if desired.
Cook beef and vegetables separately, then combine and heat through.
Partially freeze beef for easier slicing. Cut into thin, uniform strips or pieces. Marinate to add flavor or tenderize while preparing other ingredients, if desired.
Heat small amount of oil in wok or large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot.
Stir-fry beef in half-pound batches, continuously turning with a scooping motion, until outside surface of beef is no longer pink.
Place roast (straight from refrigerator), fat side up, on rack in shallow roasting pan. Season roast, as desired. Do not add water and do not cover.
Roast the meat accordingly. Transfer roast to carving board; cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let roast stand 15 minutes. (Temperature will continue to rise 5 to 10° F to reach desired doneness and roast will be easier to carve.)
Braising Beef The cooking liquid may be reduced or thickened for a sauce, as desired.
Slowly brown beef on all sides in small amount of oil in heavy pan. Pour off drippings. Season beef, as desired.
Add small amount ( ½ to 2 cups) of liquid (e.g. broth, water, juice, beer or wine).
Cover tightly and simmer gently over low heat on top of the range or in a 325° F oven according to chart or until beef is fork-tender.
When shopping, select beef just before checking out.
Immediately freeze any beef you don’t plan to use. Label each package with the date, name of beef cut and weight or number of servings.
Beef can be frozen in its original transparent packaging for up to two weeks. For longer storage, prevent freezer burn by rewrapping the beef in moisture-proof airtight material such as a freezer bag, or heavy-duty aluminum foil. Squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing.
Refrigerate leftovers promptly after serving (within two hours after cooking). Divide large quantities of food into smaller portions or spread out in a shallow container to chill more quickly.
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