Is There A Butcher In The House?
June 25, 2013 5:57 PM   Subscribe

I have received a gift of some beautiful beef and I have no idea how to break it down for cooking or storage. I don't want to freeze the whole pieces because they are huge and I'd have to thaw them before cutting them up. That's probably not the right way...

If I remember the terminology correctly I have have two "chucks" and two "short ribs". The chucks are pretty rectangular, about 4 inches thick and about 6 to 10 pounds. The short ribs are kinda triangular, about three inches thick and a good 4 to 5 pounds. All of it is beautiful, lightly marbled and appears to be boneless.

I know my way around the kitchen, but I've never had to break anything down other than poultry.

Do you have any ideas or advice about how to cut this up for storage? Are there any particular things I should be doing with this beef like smoking, marinating or brining?

Many thanks in advance!
posted by snsranch to Food & Drink (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I would just cut it up in 1" thick slabs and then freeze with a piece of butcher paper between each one (like pre made hamburger patties are) with the whole thing wrapped in saran wrap than that with butcher paper (this seems to greatly lengthen the time before freezer burn sets in). You want to cut it across the grain (look at the muscle fibers-they have a definite direction they run it) as this makes it the most tender to eat.

You don't want to marinate or anything until you are ready to cook and eat it.

I wouldn't smoke the chuck, it is too good a cut of meat. smoking/bbq is for bad, gristly fatty cuts of meat and this makes the best q as it turns to gelatin and moistens the muscle fibers and holds on to the smoky flavor, but this takes time and low (220 degF or so) heat.

Chuck does make really good ground meat for the best 4th of July burgers if you have grinder or can borrow one. Chuck also makes really, really good pot roast in a crockpot cooker. They can also make ok steaks if you cut thin across the grain. Short ribs are good for BBQ but they aren't brisket (note:this is personal preference). I don't know what else you use them for though.
posted by bartonlong at 6:50 PM on June 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

The short ribs are kinda triangular, about three inches thick and a good 4 to 5 pounds. All of it is beautiful, lightly marbled and appears to be boneless.

This part doesn't make sense. I've bought and cooked a lot of short ribs, and they are definitely not boneless; they have big, obvious rib bones running through them.

If what you've got really is short ribs and you just overlooked the bones. I'd suggest you break the slabs down by slicing them into single-rib sections, cutting between the ribs. I usually eat short ribs in cooler weather, braising them in some sort of stock, and it only takes one or two ribs' worth to make a serving.
posted by jon1270 at 4:54 AM on June 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks guys! I've gotten everything broken down and properly wrapped and stored.

It ended up being a pretty organic process in that the meat guided me right along. I have no idea what I actually piece ended up as little roasters (the chuck?) and one turned out to be some really great steaks. I have no idea what the "short ribs" are...they look like a slab of beef bacon and are indeed boneless. (?)

Anyway, thank you! We'll be having some great BBQ and grilled beef this summer!
posted by snsranch at 6:39 PM on June 26, 2013

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