Winter’s Coming & the kids are playing Macklemore..again
“I’m gonna pop some tags
Only got twenty dollars in my pocket
I, I, I’m hunting, looking for a come-up”
C’mon you know the song! It’s kind of catchy and the lyrics are actually pretty funny. It seems to be on repeat in that car so after the tenth time it’s time to tune out and think about something (anything!) else.
The recent cold snap and the move from summer clothes to winter woolens arrived late but happened with a bang. The change in weather doesn’t only impact the clothes we are wearing and the sports we watch (although many seem to start in summer these days anyway) but also the food we eat. Comfort food moves back up to the top of most people’s lists. The summer BBQ dinner gets replaced by heartier meals that keep the cold at bay. Roasts, stews, soups & pies are the perfect end to a day when it’s dark & cold and you want something that will go well with a glass of red wine.
But “what cuts of meat do I use?”, “it’s so expensive” & “It will take forever” are the great deterrents to many. It shouldn’t be. So thanks to Macklemore and his $20 budget and me with a bit of time to kill while stuck in traffic, I started thinking of cheaper (Thrift) cuts that can be used to to make a great winter meal on a thrift shop budget.
The interesting thing about thrift cuts is that they aren’t generally well known. Not because they are new but because they have fallen from fashion due to our perception that they are tougher or lower quality. This is due the increase of buying our meat from supermarkets who don’t cut meat to suit your specific needs but to suit their profit margins (machine cutting & packing = faster but less attention to detail). Thrifty Cuts tend to be from harder-working muscles with more sinew and sometimes more fat and bone - one of the reasons they are cheaper - but also why they are so tasty. The thing to remember is that these cuts come from the same animals in our butchery that provide you with Eye Fillet or Rib Eye that you love and tend to use as a “go to”. The beauty of Free Range Premium Quality meat raised with true provenance, in stress-free rearing environments, and fed on only additive-free diets with no hormones or antibiotics is that it produces superb tastes and textures.
The Butcher Advantage - Knowing how to cut a thrift cut properly is almost as difficult as sourcing it.
A Master Butcher will have the skills to break down cuts like a Rump into individual muscles. (Note: A Rump Steak that supermarkets and many butchers will sell you is cut across the three main muscles and will sometimes appear tough as a result). It takes training & skill to separate muscle groups so that some will eat like a Fillet and others will need a bit more chewing.
If you buy diced meat from a supermarket, you may find when you cook it and taste a piece to see if it’s done it may well appear tender, but in amongst the rest of the meat will be all of the other muscles which will take longer to cook. Our master butchers (who also love to cook) will ensure that when they serve Thrifty diced meat for a pie or stew it will be from one cut or muscle so it cooks evenly.
So you know it’s about the quality of the animal & the skill of the butcher and it’s cheaper than your normal meat choices but what about preparation time? Sadly, I can’t speed the cooking process up (unless you buy our precooked options!) but the good news is that these meals are not fidgety, need turning,flipping or monitoring every 2 minutes. Prepare , pop in the oven and cook low & slow. You can go and do something else for the next 2 hours (like sitting in traffic on the way to sport listening to Macklemore!).. Here we go again
“Fifty dollars for a T-shirt, that’s just some ignorant bitch
I call that getting swindled and pimped
I call that getting tricked by a business
That shirt’s hella dope”
Examples of Thrift Cuts
- BEEF:Picanha (Rump Cap), Bavette (Flank), Onglet (Hanger ), Short Ribs, Silverside, Shin, Cheeks, Chuck, Tail
- LAMB: Neck Fillet, Shoulder, Shanks, Liver (Lamb’s Fry), Kidney, Breast, Flap
- PORK:Loin Chops, Pork Ribs, Shoulder, Boneless Leg, Pork Belly Slices, Porchetta
Google up some recipes or check out our recipes and see how you go, you won’t be disappointed!