Huge Hunk of Meat
November 8, 2018 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I work in a residential facility for women, and we get a lot of donated food. Our most recent haul includes a 17.5 pound whole, boneless beef sirloin. It's just a huge slab of cow - it retailed for $116, for crying out loud. How on earth do we cook this thing?

Anyway, here are the parameters:
We feed 19 women, three children, and three staff members.
The women take turns cooking, and most of them have moderate to decent cooking skills.
We'll cook it on a weekend, so they'll have all day to work on it.
We have a pretty good stock of staples (spices, broths, etc.), but any extras we buy should be cheap.
It's a gorgeous cut of meat, and I'd like to do something a little more special than just cut it up and put it in a stir-fry. These are women who rarely get to enjoy anything fancier than hamburger.
Suggestions and recipes for side dishes would also be appreciated.
posted by SamanthaK to Food & Drink (13 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Chop it into steaks.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:31 PM on November 8, 2018 [13 favorites]

Steaks or a couple of sirloin rolls with an herb stuffing.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would strongly consider breaking it down into thick steaks if you have enough to go around. That way each person could get it done the way they like with less fuss. I don’t do much to my steaks. Liberally salted for an hour, then seared rare. Serve with a bit of butter on it.

If you do want to present it large, you can roast it or grill it, but sirloin doesn’t have a ton of the fat that makes large roasts shine.
posted by advicepig at 6:34 PM on November 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

A local chain of butcher shops makes a pre-made item called a “beef canoe” where two thin steaks are speared together with kabob sticks, and the middle is filled with cubed Swiss cheese and sliced mushrooms. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Very tasty.
posted by Autumnheart at 6:37 PM on November 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

Call around and find someone (a butcher, a chef) willing to take it on as a pro-bono project. Maybe get a local media outlet to write a blurb.
posted by amtho at 6:44 PM on November 8, 2018 [14 favorites]

I'd portion it into 5 or 6 pieces and follow this simple prep: Serious Eats Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin

I recognize that you have an entire sirloin as opposed to just the tenderloin, but it should adapt as long as the shape and weight of the meat is comparable. I have used this exact method with spectacular results.
posted by EKStickland at 6:47 PM on November 8, 2018 [3 favorites]

If you don’t feel confident to butcher and season those steaks, find a friend who is comfortable and get them to do it!
posted by jbenben at 6:50 PM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

I agree with chopping it into steaks. Then make baked potatoes with fixings and maybe creamed spinach and have fancy steakhouse dinner for everyone.
posted by quince at 9:28 PM on November 8, 2018 [1 favorite]

Call around and find someone (a butcher, a chef) willing to take it on as a pro-bono project.

Yeah... my first thought was of the people who have huge grills on trailers and haul them around the country to different barbecuing competitions. Maybe someone could pull one up right outside your facility and work their magic, for the glory.
posted by XMLicious at 9:33 PM on November 8, 2018 [6 favorites]

I'm voting with EKStickland.

Depending on the size of your oven, portion it into large chunks, season liberally with salt on the outside, and roast at 190C/375F for about 20 minutes per pound.

Sirloin roasts well and you'll get a moist roast beef that can be carved in slices (these will go further) or into individual "steaks" with minimal prep and effort. If you want to get fancy, rub the outside with herbs or powdered garlic (my go-to for flavourful crusts!) or mustard.

And don't forget to save the roasting and carving juice to make gravy with!
posted by ninazer0 at 9:52 PM on November 8, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ages ago, I suddenly had to cook tenderloin for 20-something people because the cook had fallen ill. I've never been an enthusiastic meat person, but it ended with the guests saying it was too good, because they enjoyed the food so much they forgot to talk ;-) I think sirloin is both easier and better.
The meat I was given was already cut into two large pieces, and after googling a bit today, I think that is a good idea. Inspired by an anecdote from one of my Italian friends, I cut off a half inch of each piece, and put them in a pan and browned them, then added a whole bottle of red wine, an onion, a carrot and some herbs -- probably thyme and bay leaf, maybe something else too. This all happened in Belgium, where wine is cheap, you can use water with a couple of tablespoons of vinegar instead, it's fine, really, I've tested it many times. From this came the gravy. I you have a good beef stock you don't really need to do this, but it is delicious. If the bone is on, your sauce will be even better than mine, with the gelatinous stickiness.
Then I slow roasted the beef. How slow is slow depends on when you start. The slower the better. I don't remember what I did then, since it was an emergency situation it probably wasn't very slow. Maybe 300 F. I must have put a bit of water in the bottom of the roasting pan to avoid too much burning. When the roasts were rare to medium rare (use a thermometer and the internet. Back then it said on the oven door how to do it), I took them out to rest for a while. Then I turned up the heat, maybe even the broiler, to brown them well on the outside fast. Then they got another rest before serving.
The family I cooked for were really into salads, so I made a couple of different salads and baked potato wedges as sides. (potatoes went in the oven with the beef but in a separate pan with olive oil and herbs) Today I'd go very French style and make a side of haricots verts in a vinaigrette with shallots and I'd boil lots of winter potatoes because the gravy is delicious and you want soft starchy potatoes with it. Another cheap and delicious option that is also very French is a puree of celeriac and garlic.
The gravy is just that delicious stock, with the fond from the pan(s) and a lot of butter whipped in.

This is really a feast, so why not make an appetizer of whatever else you have? Maybe garlic bread with a veggie top, or a vegetable soup, or raw vegetables with a dipping sauce? That way you can balance the meal even better, with some of the veg in the first course.
posted by mumimor at 12:32 PM on November 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

That's a fair amount of beef for the number of people (works out to 11.2 ounces per).

If this is a treat, maybe make enough 6 or 8 ounce steaks for everyone, and use the remaining as the basis for a really nice rouladen which you can supplement with additional protein like thick-sliced bacon or can be bulked up with vegetables and starches.

But if you don't have experience butchering, this can be difficult, so seeing if a local butcher would be willing to do it pro bono would be best, but if you have to do it yourself, use the longest straight-edged knife you have available - and make sure that it's sharp. At the very least, take a steel to it as necessary.

For 6-8 oz steaks, keep them at least 1" thick, but maybe slice each steak in half to hit oz.

For the rouladen part, you can cut the remainder into slabs with the grain running lengthwise. Freeze fully, partially thaw in fridge for about 4-6 hours, and slice cross-grain to get your raw beef slices with which to roll vegetables inside. Ere on being too thick rather than too thin. Stick a toothpick in each and slow cook/ dutch oven with stock and additional root vegetables. Save the liquid, reduce into a gravy.
posted by porpoise at 5:06 PM on November 10, 2018

We ended up cutting it into three roasts, rubbing with salt, garlic and herbs, and slow roasting it. They made a gravy with the drippings, and served it as steaks with mashed potatoes, steamed veggies, and a mixed green salad. It was a huge hit! They had as much fun cooking it as eating it. Thanks for all the ideas!
posted by SamanthaK at 5:08 PM on November 13, 2018 [2 favorites]

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