Another Public Service Announcement:
I’m sure you’ve been intrigued by the new “flat iron” cut of beef, especially if you’re trying to buy more sustainably raised and butchered cowflesh. Our local supermarket, Market of Choice, seems to be extraordinarily fond of this budget cut, promoting it in roasts and marketing it in the big saver packs for the budget-conscious consumer. I would imagine other higher-end groceries are doing same.
The flat iron cut comes from the shoulder, or chuck, part of the cow. It’s also called a top blade steak. The flavor and chewy texture on one side is reminiscent of a thick, juicy, meaty flank steak; the other side is more tender and mild, but still with excellent flavor. Butchers often recommend marinating it and not eating it well done: very good advice.
With all those positives, why is it considered a “waste” cut? Well, if you’ve tried it, I am sure you’ve seen why it’s a bargain for premium meat, and why it hasn’t been sold until recently. There is a piece of gristle that runs down the center of the steak lengthwise, kind of like a T-bone but smaller and grosser, that makes eating it difficult. The image shows it well in the upper-right corner.
But why let a little gristle come between friends? I found it quite easy and profitable to buy flat iron cuts whole, in a roast the size and shape of a — wait for it — flat iron, then carefully cut the meat into kabob chunks about 2 x 2 inches. As kabobs, flat iron cuts grill beautifully.
I experimented with broiler kebabs this winter, and learned that butchers are absolutely right about keeping the meat at medium or rarer — they turned to burnt chewy sawdust when I became distracted in dinner preparations one evening. Ack. But grilled or broiled medium rare, they are quite delicious.
As for a marinade, I’ve treated these steaks as I would a porterhouse: just a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper. They are also delicious with a spice rub, some za’atar, or pulverized onion. Serve with lemon wedges, rice pilaf, a dilled cucumber yogurt salad, and a smile.
Have you found other ways to utilize this cut that you’d like to share?