Beef and steak tips from Riccardo Giraudi
What’s the biggest misconception about beef?
Ah, that’s an easy one: Fat is bad. Marbled steaks are actually the best type of meat in the world. The intramuscular fat gives it an unrivalled tenderness and taste. It's the veins within the muscle that create this, so if you ever have the chance to buy this type of steak over another, go for this.
What’s your perfect way to prepare and cook a steak?
The way we do it at Beefbar. It’s a double cooking technique – it goes in a charcoal oven, which goes up to 400 degrees, then we let it rest for a while before putting it on an extremely high temperature (1000 degrees) that makes a char around the edges. Then you get the crust, the tenderness of the meat and the smoky flavours of the charcoal. For me, there is no better way to cook a steak than this.
Settle the age-old argument – in your opinion, what’s the best cut of beef around?
Well, my favourites are the cuts that not many people either know about or choose when they have the option. You’ve got your rib-eye and striploin, which people are familiar with, but for me the secondary cuts, such as the skirt steak, are what I love the most. These are the most tender and juicy part of the cow. So if I had to pick my favourite, I’d go for either the skirt steak or the New York flat iron.
To most self-proclaimed beef connoisseurs, sauces are a no-no, what’s your take on this theory?
It’s true. I don’t eat sauce with my steak either. I have creamy mashed potatoes, and at Beefbar we have 14 different types of mash that are a much better compliment to the steak than a sauce of any kind.
How would you convince a staunch “well done” steak eater to try it another way?
I completely respect anyone that ask for their steak “well done”. However, what they usually mean is that they don’t want to see their steak dripping with blood – I understand that. So when this happens I take the time to slice the steak, cook it “medium”, add some butter and then finish it off so it looks “well done”. If you just cook it until its completely burnt, then it really doesn’t taste of anything, so what’s the point in having it at all?
And finally, tell us something we don’t know about beef?
Ha! Well, do you know what tenderloin section is used for? It’s a filling muscle that – as the name suggests is very tender – because it’s barely used. Well, it’s the muscle that is used only when, erm, bovine procreate. This only happens once or twice a year, hence the fact that it rarely gets used. Hardly anybody knows this is what it’s for, but it’s actually true.