We’re launching a new series of ‘how to’ guides so we can share our best culinary tips with you all.
If there’s anything you want to know to make your cooking more enjoyable, send us your comments and ideas.
This week, our Corporate Chef Bruno Le Gac shares his expertise on what to look for when you’re buying beef. He’s also got plenty of tips on how to cook the meat you’ve chosen.
Find a good butcher
Before going to your butcher to buy beef there are a few basic questions to ask yourself:
- How do I want to cook the meat?
- How much do I want to spend?
- How much time do I have?
What you want to prepare will determine the cut you need to buy. The most important thing to me is to find the right butcher. Meat in general is a very specific produce, and you need to trust the person who is selling it to you.
A good butcher knows where his meat is coming from, how long it has been resting in the cold room, what he should serve you according to the circumstances and the answers to your three questions listed above.
Looking for something to serve at a summer BBQ with friends? Go for a nice, thick prime rib. Nicely marbled with thin layers of white fat and aged to perfection. Important: once cooked, the meat has to rest for at least 10 minutes before being sliced and served.
Cooking for the kids
Preparing a quick lunch with the kids at home? Flank steak is a great option. Thin and easy to prepare – use a cast iron grill-pan - it’s a delicious and juicy cut. Great with sliced shallots just sautéed in butter and sprinkled with freshly ground pepper.
Romantic dinner for two
Planning a romantic dinner with a nice bottle of Bordeaux? A thick cut of a good quality tenderloin is your best bet. Real meat lovers will prefer rib-eye, a slightly less tender but more tasty cut, although arguably less romantic). It doesn’t come cheap but it’s pleasure guaranteed.
Portion sizes – 180g per portion is nice. 200g is for big appetites. 250g is for rugby players…
Prime category red meat is always best served medium rare. If you prefer your tenderloin well done, I would recommend you open it ‘butterfly’ style for a quicker cooking time.
Got a family gathering to cook for? A nicely roasted sirloin, sliced in the dining room with a beautiful professional knife is an elegant dish that will please everyone. It cooks ‘by itself’ which gives you time to take care of your guests.
For a less costly option, but not less pleasurable, go for gelatinous cuts such as cheeks or even shortribs.
They are at their best when braised in the oven in a rich sauce with red wine, baby onions and mushrooms. It takes time to make, and it’s more of a winter dish, but the reward is worth it. Serve it with your homemade mashed potato, and sprinkle with fresh thinly chopped chives.
Want to create some more of our chefs’ amazing dishes yourself at home? Every Friday, we post some of the most amazing, delicious and popular recipes in our culinary section.