One of the blogs I read daily is Serious Eats, it has tons of fun stuff and has developed a good community. Over there they have started a new challenge and this weeks is to cook a beef “off-cut”. I decided to give it a whirl and while at the Krogers on Friday purchased something labeled “Beef Chuck Eye Steak”. It was $5.99 per pound and the package I bought was just under a pound so it was right at $5.
$5 for steaks for two? That’s great isn’t it? Right there on the package it said “good for grilling or broiling” but it also said that it needed to be marinated and “don’t overcook”. Now, my steak-fu is not in the black belt territory. If I have a steak belt at all it has a very subtle Outback Steakhouse logo embroidered all over it, because steak is not my forte (or fort-b). But hey, if you have a good cut of meat then all you need is a little salt, pepper and heat correct?
Hmm, lets examine that statement. The crucial element in that is “a good cut of meat” I believe. And after my little cooking adventure today, I would not classify the “Beef Chuck Eye Steak” a good piece of meat. Now, it came out looking pretty good:
But it wasn’t anything to write home about, barely something to write here about. But I am human, so I figured that I would go ahead and relate the less-than-successes along with my triumphs. Who wants to read nothing but “MAN I AM AWESOME” all the time. Even good cooks screw the pooch once in a while. And this wasn’t exactly pooch material, I mean, I ate it.
I did as instructed and marinated it overnight. The recipe is not forthcoming because it isn’t tweaked enough yet; and I don’t want some poor Internet wanderer to try this out and decide it sucks and therefore I suck. It is a work in progress but the ingredients were: Canola Oil, Apple Cider Vinegar, Fish sauce, Oregano, Chopped Garlic Ground Ginger, Ground Coriander, Black Pepper. Squoosh in zip-top bag and leave overnight. Cooking was under a broiler set on high (it is raining), 4 minutes on each side.
The cut of meat has two distinct lobes with a thin strip of connective tissue running between. This strip is not very strong and as soon as I started handling it, cohesion started slipping. In the package it looked like a nice, compact steak. But out of the package it quickly became evident that the plastic wrap and tray was what was keeping that shape. Once in the zip-top bag it started to elongate and show that the thickness of the “steak” was very uneven.
Getting it out of the bag and onto the broiling pan in one piece was difficult, the two lobes kept trying to fall apart. Wrestling with this bad boy on the grill would have been a nightmare. The varience in thickness also caused irregularity in cooking. The cooking time was 4 minutes on each side, but if I were to do this again 2 minutes might have been a better bet.
I did overcook it, but in the thicker areas where there was a little pinkness the meat had a nice tenderness. But not super tender. There was some good flavor, but not great. I put the second half of the meat in the freezer and I think when it comes time to bust it out and cook it I might treat it like a teeny tiny pot-roast. Your own personal pot roast if you will.
I cannot see any point in buying this cut of meat. If you want a good steak, save your money and buy a good steak. If you want to save money, buy a cheap Chuck Roast and braise the bejeebus out of it. So says me.