You may have heard us throwing around the words “whole beast butchers” when describing what we do at FFMM. So what does that mean exactly? It means we buy whole carcasses from our suppliers. It means we take responsibility for an animal giving its life, by trying to sell every scrap we can from said carcass. Most butchers in this country are simply picking up the phone and ordering boxes or pre-cut meat. Fillet, sirloin, rump etc. They know these things sell, you see. But bear in mind that a fillet accounts for less than 2% of a carcass (sirloin is less than 5% and rump about the same) and you start seeing the problem. That’s a shitload of animals for a couple of steaks.
I don’t blame the butchers. I blame the people repeatedly asking for the same cuts. Over and over and over again. They create the insatiable demand for these cuts, which provides the market. As long as there is a need for ground up beef (and there’s a myriad of ways to hide ground up beef), the industry ticks along.
Which is why we want to shake things up.
By buying a whole carcass, we need to introduce the public to cuts they may not have heard of. We need to educate them on how to cook these cuts. We believe you can’t sell a bunch of weird cuts unless you know what to do with them. We do this out of necessity but we also do this out of pride and a desire to show that often the cheaper cuts are the better cuts. They’re easy to cook, packed with flavour and are more affordable as an extra kicker. In an effort to get the peeps to broaden their cooking horizons, below are some cuts, which we believe deserve a chance in the spotlight. Next time you’re hovering around the meat counter, skip the fillet and keep these in mind.
1. Denver steaks
We seam this muscle out from just below the shoulder blade. Once portioned into individual steaks, they are well-marbled and rich in flavour. There’s no connective tissue to negotiate, making them super easy to cook and eat. Our best? In a pan with some utter and thyme.
2. Tri tip
As part of the much larger “rump”, this one can be enjoyed as a roast, or portioned into steaks. It’s got enough fat to get a decent colour when roasting and will cost you less than some of the more “fancied” options.
3. Rump cap/picanha
As with the tri tip, this one gets seamed out from the rump. We recommend asking for it to be cut into individual steaks, as the direction the grain runs in can get tricky. (You want to cut your meat against the grain). It has a large fat cap and, as a result, does very well on a fire over medium heat.
Cut from the belly of the animal, towards the rear. It has a loose/coarse grain which means you can get a pretty robust marinade to penetrate deeply into the meat. It also gives you the option of serving with a chunky salsa. Cook over a fire until medium rare and slice against the grain.
5. Skirt and flank
Both offer a big, beefy flavour. Both can be cooked in less than five minutes. Both belong in a taco and in your dreams.
With the weather closing in, curries and stews become a big part of your weekend plans. Beef neck has well-developed muscles which translates into a rich, deep flavour and a sticky consistency. An amazing cut. Treat it exactly like oxtail.
7. Short ribs
Our favourite option to get into a rich braise, right now. That said, they do just as well cut into thin strips through the ribs, perfect for a braai grid. Marinade in ginger, soy and sherry vinegar and cook hot and fast if you’re going that route.
The only thing left to do is to head to your nearest Frankie Fenner store or Order Here.