Butchers are a cunning bunch. There are a handful of cuts that most customers don’t know to ask for; they’re known as “butcher’s cuts” – and are often a delicious tasting chunk of meat. So we're going to let you in on the secret cuts that butchers have been keeping to themselves. Read on, take notes, then hightail it to your nearest butcher.
Aka Flap Meat, Bavette, or Faux Hanger – it comes from the bottom part of the sirloin. It has a delicious rich flavour and, when cooked properly, a satisfying texture.
It’s a good alternative to hanger and skirt steaks, and similarly will improve with being marinated or tenderized. Cook it quickly over high heat, and be sure to let it rest after cooking. Slice it across the grain.
It's chewy but cheap, but this cut is more and more popular because it does so well with marinades.
The Tomahawk steak should certainly stir those ancient caveman genes. The Frenched-style bone makes for a dramatic and elegant, yet slightly primal – impression. The Tomahawk Steak is an on-the-bone ribeye; with the entire rib bone left in to enhance the taste of this flavoursome cut.
As with rib steaks, it has lots of inter-muscular fat, which gives it loads of flavour when cooked. Grill it and use a meat thermometer until the optimum temperature for medium-rare (58ºC) is achieved. It needs to be properly rested after cooking, for at least 10 minutes, to allow the heat from the bone to redistribute across the meat.
You’ll find this cut above the steer’s heel, inside a large muscle group called the campanella. The butcher will need to peel back the layers of sinew and silverskin to find the merlot steak. It’s beautifully tender; cook quickly at high heat. Best at rare or medium-rare.
The Hanger steak is thick strip of meat from the underside of the steer. It hangs (hence the name) between the rib and the loin. It has a robust flavour; but needs to be prepared correctly.
Try to avoid cooking the steak directly over a dry heat. It will therefore benefit from a good marinade, to ensure the hanger steak remains moist and juicy.
This little meaty nugget is nestled inside the cow’s aitchbone. It’s very small - it usually weighs no more than 180 grams. It looks a bit like an oyster shell because of the webs of fat running along it. It's best cooked quickly at high heat, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Intense flavour!
Flat Iron Steak
The flat iron steak is a long flat steak from the top blade and is a tender, juicy cut - robust with strong beefy flavour. Its great value; its tenderness is up there with fillet, but at a lower price.
You can grill it or pan sear it, just don’t overcook it. I like to grill it, with just salt and pepper.