Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tender is the Loin 1

Tender is the Loin 1

Clearly one of my favorites, the tenderloin episode is tough to compete with. How can you get a $20+/lb tenderloin for around $8/lb? I’ll give you a hint it has to do with another one of my favorite places Sam’s. Now the first and most important part of this is, you have to have a plan going in. This is not a spur of the moment lets have steaks tonight. If you are going all in on the tenderloin you have a lot of meat to eat in the next 2 weeks so you should have a game plan going in. Fortunately, AB has a plan for you in Tender is the Loin 2. For right now Ill just stick with the basic prep and how to make the best steak you’ll ever eat.

First pick yourself out a nice fat tenderloin from Sam’s Club, Costco, whatever. Now I like to get the ones that are not too big / $$, but I do like them to be nice and round which will make for nice round steaks at the end. I also look for not too much fat, and a smaller head roast. Now for the cutting, vegetarians may want to leave the room for a minu… well maybe I’ll catch you on the next blog.

First the cleaningHose everything down with your favorite all purpose cleaner, and make it nice and clean. Then spritz it down again with a 10% bleach sol’n cutting board knives bacteria is not your friend here.

Get all of your stuff organized. I like to have a stack of Qt sized zip top bags, a trusty 6Qt food service container, a stainless bowl for scraps, a large food service cutting board, and 3 knives: a boning knife, an large butchers knife, and a very large slicer. You could probably do without the slicer (Cara refers to it as my sowrd).

Slice open the bag, over the sink, (which you also cleaned and sanitized… right?). Pull it out of the bag and give the tenderloin a through rinse down with the sprayer. Pat it dry with some paper towels.

Now, set your clean dry slab of meat out on the board and prepare to disassemble.

Slip your fingers in the side to separate “the chain”.

Carefully slice off the chain leaving as much of the tenderloin in tact as possible.

Pack and label the chain in one of your zip top bags, remove as much of the air as possible, and pop into your food service container. I usually like to leave this in the fridge while I continue to work.

Similarly, remove the head roast from the other end. Bag it, Tag it, and into the fridge.

Now what you have left is basically fillet mingion. If you were in a fancy restaurant the would just start slicing this up and slapping it on plates. At least that is the state I always receive mine in. But I think we can do a little better. After all this is for us to eat, and “your extra effort will be rewarded.”

First to the silver skin, it is sitting right along the top staring you in the face. Slip your boning knife just underneath and slowly pull as you move your knife along. Since this is so tough it is pretty easy to separate it from the meat as the knife will not easily cut through it. Get off as much as you can, while removing as little meat as possible. Whatever is left is much less than you will get at the fancy steakhouse.

When you are finished filp the whole thing over and take a look at the fat. Trim off the excess fat while again not removing any of the delicious meat.

Now for a quick aside about fat in meat.
As I was discussing with some friends a couple of weeks ago in the afore mentioned fancy steak house, there are actually 2 types of fat in meat. My friend was complaining that her steak seemed really fatty and she did not like steaks with fat, while my other friend contended that the fat was what added the flavor and tenderness. Well it turns out they were both right. The fat on the outside of the muscle will usually just ball up when cooked, and then just sit there on waiting to be bit into and gnawed on. This is the “chewing the fat” fat. Now the good fat is actually interspersed in the meat. When cooked this fat will melt “like butter” and season and tenderize the meat. Woven into the meat like a fine tapestry this is the “fatted calf” fat.

Now that our tenderloin is trimmed and beautiful it is time to make it into steaks. Take a moment to contemplate how many steaks you want how large you want them, etc. Get your biggest knife, and slice in long smooth strokes. I went with two, 1.5 in thick steaks cut from the center of the loin.


Bag and tag the rest of the tenderloin and refrigerate.
Now for the cooking, the sky is the limit and it is very hard to mess this up. The loin love it hot and fast, so crank up the grill, or heat up that pan. Also you want the meat to be as close to room temperature as possible before it hits the heat. I coated mine in salt and gave them 45 min to think about what they had done while I cleaned up the kitchen.
This time I coated them lightly in coffee, grilled for ~12min, and served with Kailua sweet potatoes, and a Kailua cream sauce. The AB Steak au poiuve is also superb.


Monday, September 7, 2009

Almost Good Eats

Almost Good Eats

If you are one of my many (4) faithful blog readers then I’m sure you have noticed a large number of food related blogs, and if you know me at all you know I am a little (lot) obsessed with Good Eats on Food Network. If you have never seen it, you don’t know what you have been missing out on. The shows focus on a single food item and consist of 50% science, 50% history, and 50% cooking (it is a power packed 30 min). If you have seen the show then you have probably realized that most of my cooking blogs are either loosely or directly based on good eats episodes.

Recently I have decided that there are enough of these that they probably deserve their own blog with just the food, and without all of this baby jibber jabber. On this new blog hopefully you will join me for my delicious triumphs, and horrible disasters.
So please enjoy…

Almost Good Eats