When the hell did skirt steak get to be $20 per pound?
Minimum. Want the local stuff raised without antibiotics and all that jazz? Get ready to pay more.
The reality is that none of the cuts that were considered "cheap" even a few years ago—we're talking hanger, skirt, and flank steak—are even affordable anymore. Meat fans have wised up in a big way to the wonders of these thin, flavorful, and grill-friendly steaks, and butchers have upped the prices to reflect that.
So, where are the new butcher's cuts?
That's the question we posed to David Diaz, head butcher at The Meat Hook in Brooklyn, NY. The Meat Hook ain't your average grocery store butcher counter. It's a place that smells of rich, meaty funk in the best, most sanitary way possible. You'll find Diaz behind the counter, breaking down one of the 5-7 whole cows that The Meat Hook brings in every single week. That whole cow thing is the key to offering cuts you've never heard of. Because Diaz isn't getting pre-packaged portions of beef, he's able to offer options that might be less recognizable to most shoppers. The good news? They're just as delicious and much less expensive.
They may go by other names, but you'll be able to find any of these five true butcher's cuts at a whole animal butcher near you.
1. Faux Hanger
You'd think with a name like faux hanger, this steak would be a substitute for hanger steak. Wrong. Diaz and his team recommend it when they run out of skirt steak, or if people come in looking for an alternative. The cut is taken from the bottom sirloin butt, right next to the beef tenderlion. Like skirt steak, it's extremely thin and cooks very quickly, so you'll want to sear this in a very hot pan or cook it on the grill. Faux hanger also benefits from tenderization, so consider tossing it in your favorite marinade. You might also see this one labeled as bavette or sirloin tip steak.
Nearly every butcher has a different name for this cut, but Diaz and his team refer to it as the entraña steak. That's how you'll see it on the menu at Argentinian steakhouses, where it's incredibly popular. This very thin steak has almost no fat and is actually taken off the top of the faux hanger cut. Like its adjacent cut, the entraña isn't very tender, so you'll want to marinate this one as well.
Surprise: This cut looks like an oyster. Just as with the "oyster" on a chicken, this cut of beef comes from the backbone just above the rump. Unlike the faux hanger and entraña, the oyster steak is very tender and, as a result, Diaz warns not to overcook it—things will get chewy quickly. But the oyster steak doesn't lack any flavor thanks to its great fat content.
4. Top Cap
If you opt for the top cap, you'll want to make sure your butcher trims away most of the fat that surrounds this cut that's taken from the cap of the top round. It's most similar to flank steak and can be seared or served raw as a steak tartare.
More about these flavorful summer streak cuts.
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