Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Beef. It's What's For Dinner.

Tonight we had our first "Ranch" steak. The beef council came out with some new cuts of beef a while ago (a year, maybe?). Sure, they acknowledge that the new steaks were there all along. It's not like the cows suddenly came up with new parts! (We certainly don't want to go there, do we? Along with "frankencorn" we'd have "frankencow"...makes me shudder) But the industry has done some research and found that nice cuts could be found in the shoulder area.

One of the beauties of these new cuts is the cost. Since they are from the shoulder you pay "shoulder" costs. I picked up ranch steaks for $5.99/lb at Lowe's Foods today. So for about $8.50 I had plenty of steak for our family of 4. I grilled them on my little smokey joe and they were fantastic! I wish I'd taken a picture but I was asleep at the switch. We had a bit of excitement in our neighborhood while I was grilling and while I listened to the police and fire sirens and followed the Life Flight helicopter as it looped over to the High School to land, I let the steaks sneak up to 155 degrees. This was about 15 degrees over what I wanted, so in the flurry I just yanked 'em off and we ate them.

Yes, 145 degrees is about what you want for those ranch steaks. Cook them to 140 and let them rest while they rise to 145. The Iowa Beef Council says they are best if they are marinated first, too. But you can do just about anything with them...grill, skillet-cook, broil, stir-fry. Ours were a tad tougher than I prefer but I figure that had to do with the sirens and the helicopter. I plan to try them again soon.

I went to the Iowa Beef Council website and downloaded this nifty guide to the New Steak Cuts. I recommend you do too. Tuck it somewhere for handy reference.

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