Sunday, September 9, 2012

Grilling vs Simmering - How to choose your Beef!

Canadians love their beef! In fact, it is estimated that on average, we each consume 46lbs of it annually! It's popularity is due to the versatility that it offers to our everyday meals, not to mention its outstanding flavour. While spring and summer are popular seasons for outdoor grilling, fall and winter lends itself  to slow cooked roasts and stews.  With so many ways to prepare beef, the most confusing task for many is choosing the perfect cut! The good news is that making the choice is easier than you think!


Perfect Slow Cooker Pot Roast
Family Fall Favourite!
 
Two popular ways to cook beef is to either grill it or simmer it!  One tip that most people may be unfamiliar with is that Beef packaging actually states whether the cut of meat is a grilling or  simmering cut of beef.  A benefit to labelling is that it allows you to swap out different cuts of meat for the same cooking method.  For example, can't find your favourite Top Sirloin Grilling steak, simply swap it out for any other cut that states grilling, like a Strip Loin Grilling steak!
 
Steaks that are classified as grilling usually do not need to be marinated.  They can simply be seasoned and cooked immediately on a hot grill.  However, Marinating steaks can still be grilled!  Marinating is a way to use a less tender cut of beef (flank, inside round) and tenderize it while infusing it with your favourite flavours!  A bonus is that marinating steaks are often less expensive to purchase than non- marinating counterparts (T-bone, tenderloin). A great thing to keep in mind when feeding a crowd!
 
  • Grilling Steaks: T-bone, Porterhouse, Striploin, Tenderloin, Tri-tip, Rib-eye, Bottom Sirloin, Tri-tip Recipe.
 
  • Marinating Steaks: Sirloin tip, Inside Round, Eye of the Round, Outside Round, Flank, Sirloin tip
 
Don't have a BBQ? Simply prepare your grilling or marinating steak and broil in the oven or sear on stove top in a cast iron skillet!
 
 
Simmering  beef is a great method for fall and winter warming meals.  Think of pot roasts, classic beef stew, beef and vegetable soup etc... These cuts of meat are best prepared low and slow, usually in a cooking liquid.  Cooking these simmering steaks in the oven or a crock pot allows you to have ample time on your hands to get on with your daily chores.  Again these are cuts that are economically priced for healthy and hearty family meals.  An added bonus is that everything you pay for gets consumed - no bones to discard of at the end of your meal!
 
  • Pot Roasts: blade, cross-rib, top blade, bottom blade boneless, brisket, shoulder
  • Simmering Steaks: stewing beef cubes, blade, top blade, bottom blade boneless, brisket country style
For me, choosing a cut of meat depends on how I want to spend my time cooking and how much money I'm willing to spend on any given grocery shop. When I am in the mood to splurge, my favourite grilling steaks include Tenderloin and Rib Eye. When I want to stretch my dollar further I opt for a marinating steak like flank. Once marinated for 12-24 hours, I throw it on the grill for a tasty and lean cut of beef that feeds the whole family! In most cases, grilling steaks take little time to cook but need to be watched while on the BBQ or under the broiler.  When I choose a simmering steak or pot roast, I know that a longer cooking time is required, luckily it is mostly unattended.  During the winter months I throw all the ingredients for a hearty stew into my Crock-Pot and let it simmer all day while at work.  There is nothing like coming home after a long day, to a house filled with the smell of a warming winter stew!
 
So what is your favourite cut of meat?  Do you prefer to grill or simmer?

 
 

 

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