Cheaper cuts of beef can save the day in lean times

09/04/2012 9:19 PM

09/04/2012 10:30 PM

So what's it going to be — another boring round of burgers and chicken?

Instead, how about some sizzling-hot beef cuts that often take a backseat to T-bones and rib-eyes? Sirloin, flank and skirt steaks are what Randy Emert, executive chef at Henry

Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, recently recommended to participants in a grilling class at Trevarrow Inc., a distributor of residential kitchen equipment, in Auburn Hills,

Mich.

Emert said people shy away from these cuts because they tend to be tougher, a problem that can be addressed with marinades. And he pointed out that these steaks are less

expensive than others and often leaner.

"It's all about knowing the proper marinade for each one, not overcooking them and slicing them properly," Emert said.

He recommends oil-based marinades for sirloin and acid-based marinades (made with wine or vinegar) for flank and skirt steaks.

It's important to wipe off the marinade before grilling, Emert said.

"If you don't wipe it off, the meat will stick to the grill and any herbs will burn," he said.

At the class, Emert grilled whole cuts, and sliced them into individual pieces.

The pieces can be eaten right away or become starting points for recipes like fajitas, steak tacos or one large, yummy steak sandwich that can be cut into portions to feed a

crowd.

Grilled sirloin chilled properly and sliced cold is "a great addition to a cold meat plate for sandwiches," Emert said.

Make sure the grill is nice and hot when you cook the steaks.

"Once you put the steak on, you need to hear it sizzle," Emert said.

No sizzle?

Pull the steak off quickly because the grill isn't hot enough. Once it is, put the steaks back on and grill one side, then turn them over and finish the cooking over low or

indirect heat.

And don't put the cover down.

"The purpose of grilling is to get a nice crust on the steak," Emert said.

Grill them to medium-rare or no more than medium.

"When the blood or juices from the steak come up to the surface, it's a good sign that the steak is medium-rare," Emert said. Or judge by touch. The steak shouldn't feel too

soft and squishy.

And last, always slice against the grain — or, as Emert put it, "thin to win," no more than ¼-inch thick.


Marinated skirt steak sandwiches

Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)

Total time: 35 minutes

Serves 8

Ingredients

Marinade

¼ cup white balsamic vinegar

¾ cup olive oil

1½ teaspoons minced garlic

1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

1 teaspoon cracked black pepper

1½ teaspoons minced shallots

Meat

1 skirt steak (about 2½ pounds)

1 loaf French bread, lightly grilled

Mixed greens

Grilled red onions, optional

Cheese slices, optional

Tomato slices, optional

Instructions

In a glass measuring cup, combine all the marinade ingredients. Place the skirt steak in a glass baking dish or plastic sealable bag. Pour the marinade over. Cover dish or seal

bag. Marinate no more than 3 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Oil the grates.

Remove the skirt steak from the marinade and wipe off the marinade.

Grill the steak about 3 to 4 minutes per side or until medium-rare or no more than medium.

Brush the inside of the bread with some olive oil and grill until just lightly browned.

If grilling the red onions, put them on the grill before the steak and grill about 5 minutes on each side.

Place some mixed greens on the bottom of the bread and place the whole grilled skirt steak on top. Scatter some grilled onions, cheese and tomato slices on it.

Cut the loaf into individual sandwiches and serve.

This is adapted from a recipe by Randy Emert, executive chef, Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. It is tested by Susan M. Selasky of the Detroit Free Press.

Per serving: 343 calories; 28 grams protein; 24 grams carbohydrates; 14 grams fat (4 saturated); 50 milligrams cholesterol; 353 milligrams sodium; 1 gram fiber; 36

percent calories from fat.


Sirloin with olive oil marinade

Preparation time: 15 minutes (plus marinating time)

Total time: 45 minutes

Serves 6

Ingredients

Marinade

1 cup olive oil

¼ cup soy sauce

1½ teaspoons minced garlic

1½ teaspoons minced shallots

1 tablespoon minced carrots

2 tablespoons minced onions

1 tablespoon minced celery

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped

Meat

2 pounds sirloin, at least 1-inch thick and trimmed of excess fat

Instructions

In glass measuring cup, whisk together all the marinade ingredients. Place the sirloin in a glass baking dish or plastic sealable bag. Pour the marinade over. Cover dish or

seal bag and marinate at least 3 hours.

Preheat the grill to medium-high. Remove sirloin from marinade and wipe off the marinade. Grill about 5 to 7 minutes on one side or until you get nice grill marks. Turn over

and finish the grilling, about 5 to 7 minutes more for medium-rare, depending on the thickness and size of the steak. Remove from the grill and let the steak rest at least 10

minutes before slicing.

This recipe is from Randy Emert, executive chef of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

You've grilled your way through this seemingly short summer. Now Labor Day — the unofficial end to the outdoor cooking season — has past.


Thai steak sauce

Makes 2/3 cup

This sauce doubles as a basting sauce for steak, brushed on as it cooks, and an accompaniment for the finished dish.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons tamarind paste

¼ cup water

1 tablespoon Thai fish sauce (nam pla)

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

¼ cup ketchup

2 tablespoons sweet chili sauce

1 tablespoon Indonesian soy sauce (kecap manis)

Instructions

Put the tamarind paste and water in a pan and bring to a boil. Add remaining ingredients and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

This recipe is from Paul Gayler's "The Sauce Book: 300 Foolproof Sauces From Hollandaise, Hoisin and Salsa Verde to Cranberry, Caramel and Crème Patissiere" (Kyle Books,

$22.95).


Teriyaki

Makes ¼ cups

Ingredients

½ cup shoyu (Japanese soy sauce)

2 tablespoons mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons black treacle or molasses

Instructions

Put all the ingredients in a small pan and bring gently to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until syrupy. Let cool.

This recipe is from Paul Gayler's "The Sauce Book: 300 Foolproof Sauces From Hollandaise, Hoisin and Salsa Verde to Cranberry, Caramel and Crème Patissiere" (Kyle Books,

$22.95).


Parsley butter

Ingredients

1¾ stick good-quality unsalted butter

Salt and cracked black pepper

Pinch paprika

3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Juice of ¼ lemon

Instructions

Put the softened butter in a bowl and season with salt, pepper and paprika. Add the parsley and lemon juice and beat together well. Let stand 30 minutes, then roll the butter

in waxed paper or foil in sausage shape. Twist the ends and tighten to form a bon-bon shape. Chill in fridge or freezer until ready to use.

To serve, remove butter from the paper roll and let soften slightly for 2 to 3 minutes, then cut into slices ½-inch thick. Place butter on cooked steak and let it melt.

This recipe is also from Paul Gayler's "The Sauce Book," a compendium of sauces from around the world.

Here are Gayler's tips for making compound butter:

Ensure the butter is at room temperature and soft before beating

Flavoring ingredients should be chopped small before adding them to the butter.

Let butter stand for 30 minutes before rolling in paper, to allow flavors to permeate.

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