half a beef - what cuts to request?
I'm getting half a beef from a beef-raising co-worker who does things the old German Lutheran farmer way. Her family has used the same butcher forever, and I can specify what cuts I want. My parents used to do this, and I have a totally empty deep freezer, so I know its a lot of meat and I'm ready.
What cuts (beyond just having them do whatever they normally do) to specify. Some people around here have most of it ground up, but I really don't want to do that.
Any general tips? Any wonderful things I need to not forget to ask for? Should I ask for part of the tail?
You want all of it you can get; even the tail - if you're interested in making stock with the "you can't cook it any other way" parts.
What half did you buy? No,. I don't mean the right half or the left half, I mean did you buy two hind quarters, two front quarters, of a side? That'll make a difference.
From the chuck I would cut boneless short ribs and medallions, a seven bone chuck roast, shoulder (flat iron), shoulder eye, top blade steaks. From the rib I'd cut rib roast, rib eye stead, rib eye roast and, of course ribs. Short ribs from the front portion of the rib cage. From the loin, porterhouse steaks, T-bone steak, top loin steak, tenderloin roast. Sirloin would be tri-tip roast. The rest of it would go into package stew meat and/or ground beef.
I love bone-in rib steaks, they're my favorite. One thing you don't usually see at the butcher is the 'tomahawk' rib steak with about 8-10 inches of frenched bone attached, like this
It makes for a dramatic presentation.
Meaty parts of the shank. OK, not veal, but still much better in a nice braise than turned into hash meat.
The feet - cleaned up and cut into pieces, make a nice base for cow-foot soup or stew (maybe your partners won't want theirs and you can scoop them up).
Same with the cheeks, a nice braised beef cheek will warm you up come winter.
Definitely the tail - I'm thinking Jamaican ox tail!
Don't let 'em throw out the heart or liver!
Tripe...well I eat the occasional menudo...thats up to you.
Kidneys...again, thats up to you.
Oh, bones. whatever is scraped free of meat for the grinder, have them cut the bones into manageable pieces - as much as they can (again, your partner may say 'nah, I don't want 'em, you can have 'em"). Freeze these on trays then bag them up so they're individually frozen. Stock for soups, stews, and assorted dishes as well as marrow.
for some reason i find hanger steak really hard to find, though probably one of my most favorite cuts...it's from the diaphramatic pillar and has to be specially requested of the butcher