Though it may sometimes seem otherwise – especially in the middle of outdoor grilling season — there’s so much more to beef than steaks. There’s brisket and bones and roasts and the most wonderful braiseable cuts, to name a few things. These are the comfort cuts, the high-end celebratory cuts, the offal. This is what you return to, what you eat on the holidays (and again as leftovers), what you make to soothe a friend in need. Here’s how to cook it all.
You’re either a beef marrow fan or you’re not. If you’re marrow curious, we’re here for you. There are several ways we like to use marrow. Whole marrow bones can be roasted. Small marrow chips can be added to a pot to thicken stew or soup. You can also place them on top of a steak on the grill for something really special. This is really gilding the lily. For more ideas on how to prepare and serve beef marrow, check out Serious Eats, Michael Ruhlman, and Food52 (they go the classic and tasty route of using marrow in the broth for their risotto).
These palm-sized cubes of delicious beef are taken from the rib of the animal. They’re both fatty and tender and will melt in your mouth if cooked right. And, luckily, they’re pretty easy to cook. The basic method is to rub them with olive oil, salt, and spices, then sear all four sides, preferably in a cast iron skillet. When they’re browned, place them and some liquid in a slow cooker, the oven, or even an instapot, and let cook for a good long time at low heat. Pay attention to those spices and that liquid; that’s where you have an opportunity to make your beef short ribs amazing. Red wine is always a solid option, but you can also have some fun with it. Don’t rule out Dr. Pepper.
We were drinking bone broth long before it was a thing – and we’re pleased more people are joining us. Making beef bone broth – even if you’re not doing it as a health craze – is a methodical process. You can drink it as is or you can use it for soup. Our beef bones for broth and soup are primarily knuckle bones and joints. We cut them down with the bandsaw into manageable discs. Put them in a good-sized pot with water and whatever spices and seasonings you like. Let simmer for hours until the broth reaches your desired flavor and texture. To make a lighter broth or stock, cook it for less time. You can also use these beef bones for your dogs – no recipe needed!
What’s more comforting than beef stew? Our stew meat is flavorful chuck cut into small cubes. Basic stew is a delicious favorite for a reason. To make one you just season and brown the cubes on all sides in oil either in a stew pot or in a cast iron skillet, then transfer to a pot with some carrots, potatoes, and liquid and cook it low and slow for a while. Crockpots, pressure cookers, and instapots all work for stew. If you’re in the market for a twist on an old fashioned stew, try some Guinness instead of red wine, or ginger, cinnamon, chilies, star anise, and lemongrass for a spicy Thai beef stew.
TENDERLOIN & TENDERLOIN MEDALLIONS
Whole tenderloin is as lean as it is tender. It’s perfect for special occasions – tied up with butcher’s twine for a beautiful look and so it will cook evenly. It’s also not cheap, so there is some pressure not to mess it up. But never fear. The two most important things to keep in mind are to salt it well to enhance its flavor (remember fat equals flavor and tenderloin is very lean) and do not overcook! Here’s how: Sear the tenderloin first. Next, slow roast it in a low oven (approximately 225 degrees) for 2 to 3 hours, depending on its size. Finish it under your broiler if you want. For when you aren’t cooking for a crowd and want a real treat, we also cut small tenderloin medallions. These individual portions can be seared in a cast iron skillet for two minutes per side, then placed in a 300-degree oven for 6 to 8 minutes, depending on thickness. You want to serve them mid-rare. Once you get the hang of things, you might want to try this reverse sear method described in Serious Eats.
These are a weekend afternoon sort of thing when you’re doing stuff around the house, possibly with a roaring fire. Cooking beef shanks isn’t quick, but the results are well worth the wait. As they cook low and slow, marrow will emerge, joining tender chunks of beef that have fallen off the bone to create a rich, saucy stew. Salt and brown them before adding them to a pot (crockpots and instapots count) then cook for a good long while with whatever you fancy. We like wine, vinegar, broth, garlic, onion, and fresh herbs. Or try this Food and Wine recipe – pull the meat and serve it like a sauce over polenta.
Ground beef is a versatile thing of beauty. And we have various kinds of blends – coarse, lean, our standard (an 80/20 lean meat to fat blend), and even dry aged ground. All of it’s delicious. There are endless ways to cook grind: burgers, meatloaves, pasta sauces, tamales, dumplings. So there’s no one recipe to follow. But if you do always make burgers, why not try meatballs? Or maybe momos. Yeah, definitely momos.
Cross cut beef ribs are the same thing as your traditional short rib – cut from the rib plate of a steer – except they’re cut a different way. The result is a long, thin rib that almost looks like a strip of bacon, but studded with bones. Due to their frequent use in Korean barbecue dishes, these ribs are commonly dubbed “Korean-style short ribs.” We call them thin-cut short ribs. They’re also known as flanken. We wrote about our favorite recipe for cooking them in The Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat. You marinate them, then grill them (or sear both sides on high heat in a cast iron skillet) for less than 10 minutes – finger food at its finest. Don’t forget napkins.