Beyond the Porterhouse

Underappreciated cuts of meat

By Aida Mollenkamp

Love it, cook it well, eat it responsibly.

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Your questions answered.

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How to Buy, Freeze,
and Prepare Meat

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Innard Workings
Chris Cosentino wants you to eat the nasty bits.

Beyond the Porterhouse
Ten underappreciated cuts of meat.

Food prices keep escalating, and while we believe meat that’s healthy for you and for the environment should cost more, your budget and your conscience don’t always see eye to eye. Experiment with some of these less expensive, still flavorful cuts.

1. Tri-Tip. Tri-tip was used only for ground meat until people discovered how tasty it is roasted. The cut usually comes in a two- or three-pound portion, making it ideal for an intimate dinner party. Try this low-fuss Harissa-Marinated Tri-Tip Roast to see what we mean.

2. Flank Steak. Minimal fat, almost no connective tissue, and a fibrous texture are what make this cut ideal for long marinating and quick cooking. The best-known preparation of flank steak is London broil, but we like it even better made into Carne Asada.

3. Skirt Steak. Like flank steak, skirt steak comes from the cow’s belly and is quick to cook. For a change of pace from fajitas, use it to make Oleana chef Ana Sortun’s delicious Grilled Skirt Steak with Caramelized Butter and Cumin.

4. Brisket. This is best cooked whole and extremely slowly. If you don’t have a barbecue in your backyard, try slow cooking it over the stove in this Braised Brisket with Beans and Ancho Chile recipe.

5. Chuck. It seems as though chuck was created explicitly for the pleasure of pot roast. We make Pot Roast with Porcini and Beer any time cold weather sets in.

6. Ground Beef. It’s terribly versatile, and you know you love a good burger. Try Roy Finamore’s Real Good Meat Loaf.

7. Stew Meat. Like ground meat, stew meat can come from many parts of the cow. It’s delicious when cooked slowly and in a moist environment—sounds like time for Borscht.

8. Pork Shoulder. This is one of the most adaptable and affordable cuts of pork. It holds up well to big flavors, like those in our Red-Cooked Pork.

9. Pork Belly. Every culture has a way of preparing this cut. And if you don’t feel like cooking it, make pancetta.

10. Heart. Some of the more adventurous parts of the animal, collectively known as offal, are also the best priced. Consider this Heart Tartare, Puttanesca Style recipe by offal aficionado Chris Cosentino the perfect jumping-off point.

Aida Mollenkamp is a former food editor at CHOW.

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