Meet the Butcher’s Cuts: Skirt, Flank, Flat Iron Steaks
You’re probably quite familiar with the ribeye, the New York strip and the filet mignon. But have you met the butcher’s cuts?
These lesser-known cuts bring a lot of value to the table, despite undeserved shade from marketers and over-cookers.
Meet the steaks that make the Snake River Farms must-try list — rated for overall value based on superior American Wagyu marbling, robust flavor and cooking versatility.
What Is a “Butcher’s Cut”?
There was a time not so long ago when virtually everyone bought their family’s meat from a local standalone butcher. Before supermarkets and online retail, butchers could cut steaks or chops to specified thicknesses, trim away extra fat to a preferred degree or prepare something special from a whole carcass or the primal cut. Butchers often held back certain cuts of beef for their own families — giving rise to the term “butcher’s cuts.” These were often taken from parts of the animal that were considered undesirable, like the diaphragm. Despite any squeamishness about their origins, these cuts often represent the highest overall value in terms of tenderness at a reasonable price — especially when they include the superior marbling of American Wagyu.
MEET THE CUTS THAT MAKE THE (BUTCHER'S) CUT
• Bavette - What’s in a name? Everything! This cut comes from a cattle’s underbelly and was originally called by the utterly unappetizing moniker “flap meat.” Switching to the French word for bib allows this cut to sound better on fancy menus, but there’s no denying its full-bodied flavor and pronounced grain by any name. Call it whatever you like, but cook it fast and dry, and never past medium-rare. The bavette also does well in marinades and adventurous recipes from Asian or Latin cultures.
• Flank Steak - This cut does not deserve the bad reputation it got from extra-lean examples that cooked up tough and dry. The flank region lies at the back of the belly, between the plate and the round. American Wagyu flank steak is remarkably tender and full of rich flavor. We hand-trim the naturally elongated shape to a uniform shape, making this an excellent choice for a fast, easy main dish that satisfies a crowd. Be sure to cut across the coarse grain for the tenderest bite.
• Flat Iron Steak - This cut may be the best-kept secret in the meat industry. Butchers and beef experts have long favored the flat iron for its incredible tenderness — it is a close second to its more popular cousin, the filet mignon, considered the most tender steak of them all. Generous in size, beautifully marbled and mouthwateringly juicy, serve up a simple herb-basted flat iron steak for a surefire wow that will impress the most discerning carnivores.
• Skirt Steak - Skirt steak comes from the plate region, which sits directly below the coveted rib section of a steer. Though long passed over for fancier cuts like the ribeye, this long, flat, boneless muscle is a chef’s favorite for making carne asada and fajitas. American Wagyu skirt steak features a wealth of rich marbling, unbelievably beefy flavor and oceans of juiciness. Marinate it if you like, then grill or sear in a cast iron skillet, and be sure to slice across the grain for the tenderest finish.