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Apr 18, 2006 01:19 AM

Spinalis dorsi (cap of ribeye) report

  • p

Back in early March, I mentioned that I would soon be obtaining an entire *spinalis dorsi* -- the utltra-tender, ultra-marbled muscle running around the outside of a center-cut ribeye steak (see link to original post below). Thanks to everyone who chimed in with cooking suggestions.

It took a little while, but I finally procured it late last week. It was in two separate pieces -- one shaped like a long rectangle, the other more abstract, like a piece of meat that's been butterflied. They were nicely marbled, fairly grainy, and not particuarly thick, sort of like oversized hanger steaks. Total weight: ~3.5 lbs.

I froze the rectangular piece and invited a friend over to share the other piece. After much debate (broil? grill? roll into a roast?), we decided that the simplest method was the best: a few minutes per side in a super-hot cast-iron skillet. As you can see, it came out beautifully.

Okay, then -- you wanna know how it tasted. Let me tell you, folks, it did not disappoint. It was every bit as tender as a filet mignon, but with all the beefy flavor a filet never has. Ridiculously juicy, magnificently meaty. The best of all possible words.

Already making plans for the other piece,



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  1. 1. Sounds good.
    2. Looks good, especially with all those nice juices on the cutting board.
    3. Whether it was that good or not may not be apparent, as I see a beverage nearby, which of course did not impair anyones judgement. ;-)

    But Paul, please, let's keep this little secret about the cap to ourselves.

    Link: http://www.indefatigable-indolence.or...

    1. Woo Hoo!

      Congrats, Paul! I've been waiting for your follow up and am pleased that the results were worthwhile.

      Yes, I am jealous, and drooling, why do you ask?

      1. how much did that set you back per pound? looks great. Let me know when you want me to come over for left overs...

        3 Replies
        1. re: adamclyde

          >how much did that set you back per pound?

          I didn't pay for it -- got it thru special arrangement with a friend in the business. Under normal circumstances, I don't think there's anyone who'd sell you the spinalis dorsi unless you also bought the entire seven-rib section.

          So, yes, I understand just how lucky I am.

          -- Paul

          1. re: Paul Lukas

            The reason why this cut tastes so delectable is because it's protected by the fat layer while being broiled in a standard Prime Rib preparation. I worked with a chef in Yonkers (of all places) that used to use the Spinalis Dorsi as skewers on his tasting menu in private homes. He prepared them marinated and heated sous vide for a few hours. It took me countless Courvoisiers' one night to get him to finally part with this little secret.

            Temperature was important as there is a great deal of connective tissue in there. Remember that although the surrounding portion of the rib steak becomes the most delectable and tender, it’s also subjected to the highest amount of heat. That’s what really makes the cut so amazing.

            Actually, they make the original version you're all used to, off the prime rib roast, taste like shell steaks from Charlie Browns.

            I'm surprised there's not more discussion about this cut of meat on the Internet. He only got them because of some friends at the Hunts Point market. Any other discussions on this topic would be great.

            1. re: billyparsons

              humm.... interesting. In Chile this is the favorite cut for pot roast and is called plateada ("silver plated"). It is in the same price range as shoulder cuts, presently about $3.75 US/Lb. It is braised for up to 3 hrs, or cooked in a pressure cooker after browning and over-night marination. It wouldn't have occurred to me to broil it.... it really does take 3 hours of braising to become tender, but it looks like I'll have to try it grilled medium rare. (I can always braise it afterward if it's not chewable.