The first of the “middle meat” steaks, the rib section starts between the fifth and sixth ribs. The entire rib section runs from the sixth to the twelfth rib. This section is actually three muscles that overlap each other.
Since most fat is stored between muscles, the ribeye usually has more fat than the other cuts. Because of that, it has the richest flavor of all the steaks. They tend to be “soft” as well as tender. They also have a great balance between tenderness and flavor.
They are available as a boneless steak or a bone-in steak. The bone-in ribeye is referred to as a “Delmonico.” It is exactly the same steak, but it still has the bone attached.
This is sometimes referred to as a “top loin,” “strip steak,” or, in New York, as a “sirloin.” It is actually a continuation of one of the muscles that makes up the ribeye. Unlike the ribeye, the New York is primarily a single muscle. Because of that and its location directly in the middle of the back, the difference between the ribeye and the New York is a textural one. While very tender, this steak has a firmer texture than its next door neighbor. Choosing between these two is really a toss-up. They are both good, tender, flavorful steaks.
All of the steaks that we are describing run along the spine on top of the ribs. The filet actually comes from underneath the spine where it does virtually no work at all. Because of this, it is the most tender of all the steaks. If you remember the rule, though, you will realize that it will also be the least flavorful of all. If tenderness alone is your criteria, this is the one for you. Flavor is usually enhanced by such methods as wrapping with bacon, stuffing with bleu cheese or mushrooms, or topping with various sauces.
Because it is a small muscle, the filet is normally cut thick, around 1 3/4 inches. That provides a serving portion of around 8 oz. When cooking, it is treated as a “four-sided” steak. The cooking time can be 16 to 24 minutes. That will translate to 4 to 6 minutes per side.
This is the last of the “middle meat.” It runs from the end of the New York to the hip joint. It is the one that works the most, is the least tender, and has the most flavor. It is said to have gotten its name from Henry VIII, who pulled out his sword, tapped it, and dubbed it “Sir Loin.”
This can really be the “king” of steaks. With its inherent flavor, when you get one that is tender, it is unsurpassed. Even with proper beef, this can be tricky, but, if flavor is your criteria, this is the steak for you.
For some reason, the thicker you cut a top sirloin, the more tender it becomes. The Cattleman’s is a top sirloin that has been cut between 1 3/4 and two inches thick. Do not be afraid of them. They are the simplest thing in the world to cook. Simply place on a covered grill for ten minutes on the first side, and fifteen to twenty minutes on the second. Check it with a good testing thermometer and cook to an internal temperature of 135 degrees. This is probably the ultimate combination of both flavor and tenderness. We normally offer these in “USDA Prime” grade. We have never seen a bad Cattleman’s Cut!
This one is unique. There is one steak that is the transition point from the New York to the top sirloin. It has a “seam” of tendon in the center. If you hold it in one hand and press upward with one finger, it will stretch into a “ball.” With that little “seam,” it resembles a baseball. Thus, it got its name. A few restaurants got ahold of these and put them on their menus. They are extemely tender and flavorful, but, the problem is, there are only two “true” baseballs on the whole animal. That would make them more precious than filets. The solution was to create a “baseball style” steak.
The top sirloin actually consists of two muscles. If you remove the top one, you are left with a single muscle that is the more tender of the two. From that, the steaks are cut into thick, individual servings. They actually mimic a filet in size and appearance. They are, of course, much more flavorful than the filet. In cooking, they can be treated as a “four-sided” steak, or they can be cooked in the same manner as the cattleman’s.
Because they are extremely lean, we recommend that they be coated in olive oil before grilling. We offer an “Italian” baseball that is marinated in extra virgin olive oil, chopped garlic, fresh parsley, and cracked black pepper.
T-Bone & Porterhouse
These are cut, bone-in, from the loin section. The larger of the two muscles that you see is actually a “New York.” The smaller muscle on the other side of the bone is the filet.
The whole filet, as it sits below the spine, is large at one end and tapers down to a flat point at the other. The first few steaks that come off of this section have the larger sized filets. These are called “porterhouse” steaks. The name comes from them being the most prized steaks offered in “ale houses” in the 1800s. By definition, the filet on the porterhouse must be at least 2-¼ inches across.
As you progress down the loin, the filet becomes smaller and smaller. These steaks are referred to as “T-bones” because of the shape of the bone. Very simply, these steaks are simply a bone-in combination of New York/filet.
This is the only premium steak that does not come from the “middle meat.” The flatiron is actually one of the muscles that make up the “chuck,” or shoulder. Coming from there, you would not think that it could be tender. The fact is that it was found to be the second most tender muscle in the animal. It is second only to filet mignon. Its name comes from its size and shape. It is long and flat and varies in thickness from 3/4 to 1 inch.
Besides the incredible flavor and incredible tenderness, we love these things because they are so quick and simple to cook. Just 3-5 minutes per side over a medium hot fire and they are on the table.
The Grading System
We recognize three grades of beef. They are USDA Prime, USDA Choice, and “USDA ROADKILL!” (That’s our name for “USDA Select”). Choice and Prime beef are the only ones that we carry, and the only ones that our customers deserve!
Just what is the grading process? What is the grader looking for? He is looking for the first three of the essentials that we talked about in the beginning: youth, inactivity, and proper feed! First of all, grading is the second step. All beef is inspected for wholesomeness. From that point, it can optionally be sent to the grader.
These are the actual criteria he uses to make his judgment:
1. Conformation – This is generally the thickness of the muscle. Beef cattle are bred to have short, thick bodies. Dairy cattle are bred to be tall and long. The first thing the grader looks for, then, is that the muscle is thick and full.
2. Maturity – Without going into too much detail, there are areas which the grader can tell the age of the animal. It has to do with cartilage that, on an older animal, would have turned to bone. The second thing the grader looks for is youth.
3. Color and Texture – Having the proper color and texture can also help determine
the age of the animal. Again, older animals are not acceptable.
4. Intramuscular Fat (Marbling) – The presence of marbling is both an indication that the animal has been inactive and that it has had proper finishing on a high sugar feed.
THE BEEF BASICS: YOUTH, INACTIVITY, PROPER FEED, AND PROPER AGING!
The Dry-Aging Process
During the aging process, natural enzymes act to both tenderize the meat and develop complex flavors. In our dry aging program we age in a vacuum sealed bag for a minimum of 30 days. It is then opened and exposed to the air for a minimum of 14 days.
Exposing it in this manner introduces a certain amount of de-hydration. This greatly intensifies the flavor, deepens the color, and increases tenderness.
Only cuts that are naturally protected by fat and bones can be processed in this manner. The extra time, handling, loss of weight by de-hydration, and trimming and discarding the exposed meat make this an expensive process.
The extremely tender and intensely flavored meat is well worth the effort.
We also offer a selection of fresh seafood at Siesel’s Market. We receive shipments of fresh fish daily (except Sundays). We will offer whatever is best in the marketplace at the time. Special orders are available with a 24 hour advance notice. We also carry a large variety of frozen shellfish, such as Australian lobster tails, Mexican white shrimp, and jumbo king crab legs.