While Ribeye and NY Strip are the most popular cuts of steak, there are a few cuts of steak that butchers love. Learn what they are and how to prepare them.
Greg Bardwell is the head butcher at one of Brooklyn’s most beloved butcher shops, The Meat Hook, where every cut of meat is taken extremely seriously. Their steaks come from grass-fed and finished cows from Kinderhook Farm and Gibson Family Farm, and everything Bardwell and his team preaches and practices at The Meat Hook is rooted in a profound understanding of their products, and their source. For example, the team at The Meat Hook ensures nothing goes to waste, whether that means using bones to produce a homemade stock, or repurposing scraps to craft exquisite sausages.
With this understanding of using all parts of the animal, Bardwell also insists that certain cuts that he thinks are superb, often go overlooked.
Bardwell told us that, unsurprisingly, The Meat Hook is gearing up for Labor Day by stocking up on Ribeyes and NY Strips—their two most popular cuts of steak. “This is what people are most familiar with, and because of that, they’re often sold out,” Bardwell said. However, Bardwell and his team love recommending cuts of meat that aren’t as common. Recently, those have been Bavette and Top Cap. He loves these because you can sear them quickly, yet keep them rare or medium-rare in the center with ease.
Bardwell also loves LA Galbi and Flanken Short Ribs. He says with these cuts, you don't need to worry about achieving rare or medium-rare, all you need to look for is a deep caramelization on the exterior. The Carbon Steel Grill Frying Pan is perfect for these cuts, as it lends the perfect kiss of the flame onto your meat.
In order to make your life a little easier while handling the grill, Bardwell recommends tempering your meat. This means making sure everything is out of the fridge ahead of time, so your meat cooks evenly. He also suggests salting your meat one hour before cooking. That might seem like a long time, but this allows the salt to penetrate the meat and gives it so much more flavor. Bardwell also likes to add pepper after cooking to keep the fresh flavor prominent and not risk burning it on the grill or in the pan.
Bardwell recommends creating a balance around the meat as well. This means pairing all of this with a citrusy cocktail (perhaps a marg) to cut through all of the fat of the meat. He also suggests blanching vegetables and then grilling them so that they all cook evenly. Wrapping a few root vegetables in foil and throwing them directly on the coals is another great way to serve a side dish without too much work.
But most of all, it’s important to buy meat from people who treat the butchering experience with care and dedication, just like butcher shops The Meat Hook and Porter Road do. By taking that extra step when purchasing meat, you can guarantee the flavor of your steak is going to stand out.
“At The Meat Hook, we do it right,” Bardwell said. “Buying meat can be super intimidating, so we try to cut that out from the start and have a super personal vibe. We’re obsessed with everything meat-related and want to help make sure the customer feels confident and comfortable when buying meat from us.”
“We just want you to have what you need to grill up something delicious this Labor Day,” he said.