Hawaii Culinary Education Foundation brought Bruce Aidells, founder of Aidells Sausage Company, and Ryan Farr, artisan butcher owner at 4505 Meats, from San Francisco to Hilo.
There is a resurgence of the butcher shops of the past in many cities around America. This “lost art” of cutting up a whole carcass makes one become creative to use everything, from bones to make stock to the various cuts of meat, many hidden between layers of fat or between bones. It makes one wonder why our selection of cuts is limited to whatever is packaged at the supermarket.
Jesse Hoopai from Parker Ranch talked about the whole quarter that Ryan Farr had in front of him, ready to use one of his three knives, all hanging from a knife holster, to beautifully carve out various cuts of beef. Black Angus, grass fed, no hormones beef are slaughtered at 30 months. Bruce noted that most grain-raised beef on the mainland is slaughtered at 14-22 months. The fat, a tinge of yellow, is typical of grass-fed beef, with abundant marbling. Because grass-fed beef tends to be smaller in size, that increases the cost per pound.
Bruce Aidells noted that a rancher needs to know everything about grass as what his herd eats affects the taste of the meat. Grass moistened by the ocean spray makes the meat have a salty taste, Guinea grass has more fiber, kikuyu grass moister, which all affect the finished product, your steak.
Ryan Farr cut away the front quarter and removed the rib-eye, prime rib, shank and neck, his favorite piece to braise. Each cut clean, with no jagged edges, the bones cleaned off completely of most meat, certainly a work of a professional!
Dry aging is important in beef and bison, as the dry aging evaporates moisture and the natural enzymes break down to tenderize the meat. Beef needs to age for 14 days, and after that, according to Bruce, there is no further tenderizing as the enzymes have finished their job. So, when you see that a steak is expensive because it has been aged for more than 14 days, remember, it does not get more tender after 14 days, so you should not have to pay more for that steak! Lamb does not need aging as the meat is already tender.
“The beef tenderloin, also called fillet, is the most luxurious beef roast. It is also the most expensive. But cost aside it’s a perfect roast for an elegant meal because there is no waste and it’s easy to prepare. It also take very little time to roast meaning the host doesn’t need to spend long hours in the kitchen and can enjoy her guests and join the party. A whole, untrimmed tenderloin weighs around 6 pounds and needs to be trimmed. Make sure that the butcher has removed the side chain and trimmed the tail and the side pieces at the butt-end to yield a uniformly cylindrical roast. Also make sure the silver skin, a tough membrane beneath the fat, has been trimmed away.” The tenderloin was tied and was ready for roasting. Bruce shared this wonderful recipe, using the ingredients from a Caesar’s Salad.
Roasted Beef Tenderloin with a Caesar and Parmesan Crust
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 anchovies, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Dijon Mustard
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup fine bread crumbs made from day old bread (sourdough French bread)
One 4 pound whole beef tenderloin, trimmed and prepared for roasting
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Season tenderloin all over with a light sprinkling of salt and pepper. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove roast from refrigerator before roasting and let rest at room temperature unwrapped for two hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. To make crust, place all ingredients in small food processor bowl, pulse several times to combine the ingredients. Lay roast into a roasting rack filled into a large roasting pan. Using a rubber spatula generously smear the Caesar/Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese mixture over the tops, ends and side of each roast.
Insert a cable type continuous read digital thermometer into the dead center of the roast. Set thermometer alarm to go off at 110 – 115 degrees for rare, 120-125 for medium rare. If you don’t have a continuous read thermometer start checking the internal temperature of the roast after 20 minutes.
When the roast reaches your desired degree of doneness remove from the oven and let rest for 10-15 minutes. The crust should be nicely browned with some areas a little darker and some a little lighter in colors. Using 2 forks stab the roast at both ends and gently place on a cutting board. Cut into 1/2 inch thick slices, taking care not to lose too much of the delicate crust and serve.
With the short ribs that Ryan cut and sawed off, Bruce Aidells made an easy short rib dish, which he said anyone could make.
“This recipe is lazy not because it relies on a convenience food, but because it’s so simple and foolproof. It’s perfect when you want to put a warm and comforting meal on the table and don’t have time or energy for a lot of cooking steps. It does take a couple of hours to complete the cooking, but this can be done while you are doing something else. Or even a day or two ahead.
When you are ready to serve, simply pull the short ribs from the fridge, remove the congealed fat and rewarm.” Cook’s Notes: “You can easily adapt this recipe for a slow cooker. Brown the short ribs first in olive oil, and then brown the vegetables in fat. Place everything in the slow cooker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct time and temperature for beef stew. Serve this dish with steamed bulgur or brown rice.”
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 pounds bone-in English-cut beef short ribs
4 cups diced onions 1 cup diced celery
1 cup diced peeled carrots
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 cup dry red wine, plus more if needed
1 cup homemade beef stock or canned low-sodium chicken broth, plus more if needed
2 bay leaves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine the rosemary, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoons pepper in a large bowl.
Toss the short ribs and arrange the ribs in a large Dutch oven. Spread the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic over the meat, then pour in the red wine and stock and add the bay leaves. Cover and bake for one hour. Remove the lid, stir so that most of the meat is on top of the vegetables, and bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes.
Stir and turn the short ribs to help everything brown evenly, and check to make sure there is still liquid in the pot. If not, add more wine or stock. Replace the lid and bake for 30 minutes more, or until the meat is fork-tender. If not tender, continue to cook, covered, checking every 20 minutes. Remove the meat and arrange on a platter. Discard the bay leaves and degrease the sauce. Boil the sauce to reduce if it’s too thin.
Season to taste with salt and pepper, spoon the vegetables and sauce over the meat, and serve.