Meat the Press Mondays: Proper Grill Management

For Meat the Press Mondays, we bring you another episode of Prime Cuts TV.  Today’s episode focuses on proper grill management.  The ability properly manage a grill is essential especially when grilling various items at the same time or trying to cook several meats all to different temperatures.

We apologize in advance for the rough audio.  Unfortunately, the only time you can shoot a video about proper grill management is when the kitchen is busy therefore we had to have our hood fans on and other staff were working around us.  If you are viewing this post in a reader, you can view the video on Prime Cuts TV.

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Meat the Press Mondays: How to Fabricate a Whole Ribeye

Today on Meat the Press Mondays we teach you how to fabricate (cut-down) a whole ribeye.  This is a beneficial technique to know how to do as you can save a lot of money by buying a whole ribeye from your local wholesaler such as Costco, BJ’s Wholesale, or Sam’s Club.

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Meat the Press Mondays: Learn Your Cuts of Steak – The Beef Digarams

A few weeks ago we discussed some of the most popular cuts of steak.  For today’s Meat the Press Mondays we wanted to further your knowledge of the different cuts of steak by presenting you with the beef diagram.  These diagrams will show you where the cuts come from on the cattle as well as the typical shapes of these cuts.  There are a lot of different versions of these diagrams but the following two are the most simple but informative.

It seems that everyone I talk to has a different favorite cut of steak.  So, I’m curious to know what your favorite cuts of steak are and why?  Please post your responses in the comment section below.

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Meat the Press Mondays: Hen of the Woods Duxelle

So, we are taking a break from our regularly scheduled broadcast of Meat the Press Mondays due to the small issue of Justin forgetting to charge the battery (and backup battery) for the camera…woops :).  Next week we will return with some great new videos for you.

A couple weeks ago we highlighted the use of compound butters to enhance a meat.  Today we would like to discuss the use of a duxelle, specifically a Hen of the Woods mushroom duxelle, to make your next dish stand out.  We thought this would be great due to the popularity lately of our previous Fresh Fridays posts about these great wild mushrooms.

This year in New England agriculture has been one of mixed blessings,  we had lots of rain which translated to good watering of crops and aesthetic plants alike.  Some plants had trouble, mixed growing seasons, some did ok, or about the same as always, and some did especially well.  In the beginning of the year, the Hadley asparagus was a little on and off, with plentiful harvests and great availability one week, and then limited to no availability the next.  Fortunately, asparagus grows extremely fast.   On the other hand a crop that grows relatively slow, pumpkins, had a bad year here in New England.  The ground was just too wet for too long and the big orange fruits had issues with mold and rot.  Joe recently observed the price of a three pack of kind of crappy small/mediumish pumpkins at $14…not what we’re used to seeing at all.  But the real blessing from all the rain this year has been the abundance of wild mushrooms, in particular the Hen of The Woods type, which we thoroughly enjoy and have written about before.

This weekend at work we had calls from three different mushroom foragers asking us how much we needed.  Fortunately for our friends we are loyal customers and went with our regular mushroom man and we ended up purchasing some of the most beautiful Hen Of The Woods mushrooms that either of us have seen to date.
Hen of the Wood mushrooms are favorites of people that live in the area but many do not know the rich history of this mushroom.  For over four thousand years, these wild mushrooms, also know as “Mitake” mushrooms have been praised in Japan for it’s excellent health benefits, including:
  • Stimulating the immune system
  • Regulating the healthy functioning of the digestive system
  • Moderating blood sugar levels
  • Providing anti-oxidant support
  • Improving skin health
  • Assisting in weight control
  • Calming of the nervous system

Due to their abundance in Japan, this wild mushroom makes up one of the 4 major or so major mushrooms which are popular in the country.  Within the United States, Hen of the Woods are typically found in the Northeast but some have been found as far away as Idaho.  In the Northeast, Mitakes typically grow in clusters at the foots of big oak trees which is exactly where our local mushroom forager has been finding them for us.  These mushrooms can grow up to 50 pounds earning them the nickname of “King of Mushrooms”.  With mushrooms that can grow so big, there is only one thing to do and that is come up with recipes to use them in!

A couple weeks ago when we got our first Hen of the Woods mushrooms of the season, we ran a risotto special last time and it sold like hotcakes.  Joe doesn’t like to be repetitive, so this time around we ran a special featuring a Hen Of The Woods duxelle, which is just a fancy word for mushroom stuffing.  We used this stuffing in filet mignon, which was butterflied, pinwheel style (basically unrolling the filet like it was a roll of paper towels), spread a generous layer of my duxelle on the inside and then rolled back up, tied with butchers twine, and grilled the whole thing.  The result is a wonderful melding of mushroom and beef flavors in every bite.  Doing a stuffing like this is also especially nice because the juices released by the meat as it cooks are absorbed by the mushrooms, and mushroom juices are permeating the steak as it rests both before and after cooking, creating a delicious harmony of flavor.   This stuffing is especially good in game birds, pork, or even as a spread on crackers or in a puff pastry appetizer.  But if you’ve read any of our previous posts you well know that I am partial to beef, so naturally that is where my duxelle ended up this week.

Hen Of The Woods Duxelle

  • 1.5 lbs hen of the woods mushrooms, stems and leaves, evenly distributed and chopped to a small rough dice
  • 1/2 large onion, small chop
  • 1 leek white part only, small chop
  • 1 tsp garlic minced fine
  • 4 slices bacon, rough chop
  • 1/2 cup dry white cooking wine
  • 1 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1/8 lemon worth of juice
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Once you have all your chopping done this recipe is really easy. Start by rendering the fat out of the bacon on a large pan over medium heat.  When the bacon bits are crisp remove them and set aside.  In the rendered bacon fat add the onion and the leek, saute till  the onion and leek are soft and begin to almost brown,  add the garlic and stir to combine, next add all the mushroom bits, mix well, and when the mushrooms begin to sing to you, salt liberally.   Keep stirring, and when the mixture seems to be slightly reduced and looks a bit dry, add the wine, let this mixture reduce stirring occasionally, and when approximately, 7/8 of the liquid has reduced/been absorbed, add the lemon juice, parsley, and reserved bacon bits, mix to heat through, then taste to check for seasoning, add more salt and black pepper if needed.

The result should be sweet and aromatic from the onion and leek, and woodsy and rich from the mushroom, with a hit of salty savoriness from the bacon flavor, which will all be balanced with a slight fresh tang from the acid of the lemon juice. Now all you have to do is let the duxelle cool before stuffing your favorite food with it, use it liberally, and experiment with a wide variety of foods.  The duxelle will hold well in the fridge for several days, or if you can’t get to it immediately, do what my mushroom forager does, pop it in an old ice cube tray, wrap it tightly and freeze it.


You can download a PDF version of this Hen of the Woods Duxelle recipe

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Contributing Writer: Joseph M. Gionfriddo
Photo by: sweet little bunny

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Meat the Press Mondays [9/15/08]

For this week’s Meat the Press Mondays we are exploring compound butters as a way to improve a finished steak or a good white fleshed fish.  Compound butters are one of our favorite simple things to do in the kitchen lately.  It is essentially a technique used to flavor butter, which is then used to impart flavor to food in the cooking or finishing process.  The combination of flavors that you can give to compound butter are virtually endless.  Any food that tastes better with butter on or in it (i.e. everything) can benefit from compound butter.

There are a few simple steps used to make good compound butter.  The first and most important is to begin with soft, room temperature butter, preferably unsalted and not melted at all.  Place butter in a large mixing bowl and add any flavoring ingredients, seasonings, spices, etc.  Keep in mind that, except for in small amounts, such as a squeeze or two of citrus juice, liquids will not incorporate well with butter.  Using your hands and some disposable rubber gloves mix the butter and seasonings to thoroughly combine.  Next, with a rubber spatula, place the softened butter on a large piece of parchment paper.  Spread the butter lengthwise along the parchment paper from end to end keeping in mind the finished product is going to be a cylinder approximately the size of a paper towel tube.  Roll the parchment paper as you would paper towels and gather up the ends twisting in opposite directions, this will force the butter into an even cylindrical shape.  Place in the refrigerator until solid.  Your newly flavored butter is ready to use, cut off as much as you like and use with just about anything.

Here are a few recipes for some of our favorite compound butters:

1 lb unsalted butter
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
1 tsp minced garlic
1tsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Note: This is great used to top a finished steak.  Let the butter sit atop the steak while it is resting and the butter will become meltingly soft and maintain its creamy semi solid texture.

1 lb unsalted butter
zest from 1 orange, and 1 lemon
1tsp chopped parsley
1tsp chopped thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Note: This is a compound butter best used when roasting white fleshed fish,  when the fish is a few minutes away from being done add a few slices of this butter and let melt down the fish and mix with the pan juices us this as the sauce for serving the fish.

These flavorful butters are great on bread, proteins, veggies, in sauces, and as last minute flavor additions to almost any dish, savory or sweet.  Use your imagination, experiment and enjoy!

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Photo by joshbousel

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Meat the Press Mondays [9/8/08]

During last week’s Meat the Press Mondays we introduced you to several different cuts of steak.  Now, we would like to start breaking down each type of steak and providing you with some more information about them.  Today we have chosen the skirt steak.  The most common mistake when eating skirt steak is not cutting it properly.  This literally makes or breaks the experience you will have.  So, for today’s episode we explain the proper method of cutting into a skirt steak.  Enjoy!

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Meat the Press Mondays [9/2/08]

Yes, we realize that it’s Tuesday but it’s Monday for anyone that had a long weekend (which definitely wasn’t us) so we thought it was fitting. 🙂  For this week’s “Meat the Press Mondays” we wanted to introduce you to the cuts of steak we utilize at our Argentinean steakhouse.  We will continue to branch out and introduce you to other cuts as well as preparation techniques, cooking tips, etc as the weeks go on.

The different steaks that we will be discussing today are: Filet Mignon, NY Sirloin, Boneless Ribeye, Skirt Steak, Top Sirloin, and Shortrib Strip.  We are going to discuss some of their traits as they relate to grilling. But remember, these steaks do not have to be cut as steaks at all and can be cooked in an almost infinite number of ways other than grilling.

Filet Mignon – The most tender (tenderloin), lean and, most often served the rarest.  This steak comes from one of the least used muscles on the cow, which is why it is so tender.  A filet mignon is typically cylindrical in shape.  It is a pricey cut and the average portion size is only about 8oz.  The reason for this is due to its tenderness, leanness, and the amount of interior area relative to exterior.  This is a great steak for those who love ruby red rare. On the other hand, while this steak is praised for its leanness and tenderness, this also means that there will be less flavor from fat.

Source: Xpressbus Flickr

NY Sirloin – Perhaps the most classic cut of steak, this steak has a fairly firm texture and a good amount of fat content for flavor without being too fatty or having a lot of grizzle.  This steak is typically served in 12oz portions approximately 1″ thick.  However, the size and thickness can vary greatly depending on the butcher. Generally this steak is served with something of a fatcap on one side which is done to maintain its shape while cooking and preserve moisture.  A NY Sirloin is a great all around grilling steak for any temperature from rare to well.  A suggested way to enjoy this steak is to take small bits of the fatcap, with each bite of lean steak, for added depth of flavor.

Source: Caminito Steakhouse

Ribeye – The favorite of many serious steak lovers.  This steak is seen in many forms and sizes, from grilled delmonicos, to roasted prime ribs, and is great both on and off the bone.  This steak has a soft texture, a lot of flavor, and is subsequently quite fatty. The fat in a ribeye is streaked throughout the steak, which helps the fat’s flavor to permeate into the beef when cooked.  Those who prefer a rare ribeye will find the fat a little chewy and dense, but when allowed to cook a bit above rare (not too much) the fat becomes more tender and is more easily enjoyed along with bites of the steak. For those who prefer a lean steak but still want to eat ribeye, just ask your butcher/server/chef for a leaner cut.  Within every whole ribeye there are approximately three or four fairly lean portions to be had for every eight or nine fatty ones. Since ribeye is typically sought after for its fattiness, lean cuts are regarded as inferior and should be fairly easy to obtain.


Skirt Steak – The favorite of many serious chefs, it is the outside skirt steak that is most commonly used for grilling.  This steak is extremely flavorful, tender, and has a lot of easily edible fat.  It is a long and thin steak, typically around 10oz, and less than half an inch thick. There is a very obvious, visable “grain” to this steak, and in between each grain are very thin layers of delicate edible fat which tenderize when cooked.  This steak can be tough if served too rare but when done just a bit above rare, it is like butter.  In our restaurant a skirt steak that is slow cooked to medium rare-medium, over the end of the night coals, is referred to as “bacon steak”… enough said! 🙂  There is a correct way to eat skirt steak that we want to teach you: Cut the steak into quarters with the grain, then cut thin bite sized slices against the grain.  This will be a much more tender and easier to chew, especially if yours is cooked on the rare side.


Top Sirloin aka: top butt – Top Sirloin is a round, large lean, yet grizzly steak with a subtle yet unmistakeably classic, beefy flavor.  It is typically (at least as related to Argentine cuisine) cut very thinly against its natural grain.  This is a steak with a lot of surface area and for that reason it is best cooked quickly to preserve moisture and juiciness.  There is a natural seam of fat that runs down the center of this steak which separates a few different muscle types, each with different textures.  Not an especially expensive steak but high yielding in numbers of portions per side.  This is a favorite steak of many Spanish steak lovers in the form known in our restaurant as Churascos.  In our restaurant it is served simply with rice and a flavorful chimmichuri sauce.

Shortrib Strips – These are classically Argentine.  They are steaks cut against the bone with each strip having about three or four cross cut bone segments inside.  The bone segments in this steak are surrounded by connective tissue that is broken down when cooked and for that reason this steak, as related to grilling, will be more tender at medium or above.  There is a great flavor to these steaks from the charring of the bones, the richness of the subtle flavor of the marrow, and the fatty, gelatinous flavor of the cooked connective tissue.  All of this permeates the meat  to produce a harmonious combination of multiple types of meaty flavors.  This steak is also very fun to eat if you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty and really get in there.  Eat your shortribs like a proper steak until you get all the way past most of the meat surrounding a bone segment then just cut it off the strip, pick it up and have at the bits of meat between the bones.  Enjoy the snappy, chewy, deliciousness of the surrounding connective tissue.

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