Our friends at Certified Angus Beef recently opened their gleaming new 7,000 square feet Education & Culinary Center in Wooster Ohio. The facility features a meat fabrication area, a cooler built to accommodate swinging sides of beef, an industrial-sized prep kitchen, and flexible space to accommodate large forums or special dinners.
During the opening weekend we stopped by for a visit, during which we experienced some of the best eats in Cleveland (more about that tomorrow), visited the cows in their natural habitats at working ranch, and took one of the first lessons taught at the CAB Center — a butchery class led by meat scientist Dr. Phil Bass. We donned out hair nets, kevlar gloves and aprons and heavy chains around our waists supporting a our knife holsters. We drew our "Texas butter knives" and got to the difficult and delicate business of butchery. We also talked with Dr. Phil about his favorite cuts.
“Hang on to something long enough and it will become cool again.” he explained. "Old-fashioned, bone-in versions of cuts, such as cowboy steaks, tenderloin and chuck short ribs are in vogue. The Slow Food movement has sparked an interest in the nostalgic butcher’s market, including these bone-in cuts that younger generations have never really seen."
His picks for the next big meat thing:
Tri-tip. "I'm originally from California and Tri-tip is a regional favorite there, which is finally gaining traction in other areas of the country." Tri-tip is a triangular section of the sirloin primal and can be found at the point where the sirloin meets the round and flank primals. "It's a tender, extremely flavorful roast cut which is perfect for grilling season."
Spinalis. "I love the spinalis" Dr. Phil enthused. The spinalis is the cap of the ribeye — the heavily marbled muscle that runs around a center-cut ribeye steak. "It's just a beautifully tender and extremely flavorful cut that just screams “EAT ME!” And he did indeed scream that last part before going on to explain that "This muscle obtains its tenderness in two ways: due to its location on the cow, it does very little work, and it tends to have a large amount of marbling and fat which gives great flavor.
Ranch steak. The Ranch steak come from the chuck and is often included as part of a traditional Arm or English roast. But when it's cut out on it's own, it's an economical, tender and very grill friendly cut.
Denver steak. "The Denver steak comes from the inner shoulder and is often used in ground beef, but it's a robust cut that could be really good and economical as a stand alone steak."