Havin' a Cow: The Types of Steak, Part One
When it comes to cigars, few things go better than a steak. In fact, some restaurants even have steak and cigar nights, nights where meat eaters and cigar smokers pair up two of their greatest loves. People lucky enough to have a cigar smoker's palate will attest that there is just something about a good smoke and a good slice of meat: move over mashed potatoes, beef belongs with a side of Montecristo.
As much as cigar lovers may agree with the above assertion, many may not be aware of the vast variety of steak offered. From cube to T-Bone, there is more to steak than meets the (rib) eye. The following is our first lesson on this subject...my sincere apologies to all the cattle.
Chateaubriand Steak: A Chateaubriand steak is a thick cut from the tenderloin. According to Larousse Gastronomique, a French encyclopedia of gastronomy, this type of steak was originally cut for Francois Rene de Chateaubriand, a diplomat and author who acted as an ambassador to Napoleon. A Chateaubriand steak, because of the large amount of meat it contains, typically serves two.
Chuck Steak: A chuck steak - perhaps called a Charles steak by some - is cut from the neck to the ribs and is usually rectangular in shape. With a thickness of an inch, a chuck steak contains parts of the shoulder bone and is sometimes known as a 7 Bone Steak. This name is not, however, dictated by the amount of bones a chuck steak contains, it is simply called so because chuck steak bones make the shape of a seven. This type of meat is often broiled, grilled, or used as a pot roast.
Cube Steak: Sometimes referred to as a minute steak (a nickname that does not help improve its reputation with the ladies), cube steak is typically top sirloin or top round made tender through manual pounding (such as with a meat mallet) or through an electric tenderizer. Many chefs use specialized techniques, believing that simply pounding the meat ruins the flavor. Cube steak has made a name for itself through chicken fried steak, the dish it is used for most often.
Filet Mignon: Cut from the tenderloin, filet mignon is one of the priciest and most tender cuts of meat. However, some people believe that to technically be filet mignon, this type of meat has to do more than the average beef: it also has to be wrapped in bacon (which, consequently, makes us think it would be more aptly called filet "pig-on"). This bacon wrap is used because the cut of meat for filet mignon has no layer of fat around it. The bacon, serving as a fatty layer, adds flavor and gives the meat the protection it needs to keep from drying out.
Flank Steak: A flank steak is cut from the cows underbelly, making the cut relatively tough (cows obviously perform "eight minute abs" when no one is looking). Because of its firmness, flank steak is often marinated and made tender through other means. The London Broil, a dish that gave the flank steak a name for itself (and a British accent), is particularly popular. In this plate, a flank state is marinated, grilled or boiled, and cut into thin strips.
Flat Iron Steak: When it comes to beef, a flat iron steak is relatively new, like a piece of meat that just debuted with the latest spring fashions. Cut from the cow's shoulder, this steak was discovered when researchers at the University of Nebraska set out to find underrated (and thus under consumed) pieces of meat. What they found was the flat iron steak, once connective tissue was removed, is second to only the tenderloin in tenderness.
This concludes our first article on steak. Stay tuned for next week when we "meat" again for another lesson.
Jennifer Jordan is a senior editor for iturbocharge.com. Possessing an infatuation with pop culture – and a gift for stalking – she keeps up on the latest news of the musical world.