Beef Cut Basics from the Best Steakhouse in Bergen County
Looking at a menu or grocery shopping for meat can be very confusing if you are not fully aware of the different cuts of meat. Butchery is a precise art that adheres to specific ways of processing an animal. The process of taking cuts from an animal is very intentional and provides consumers with an exciting wide range of options. Whether you are looking for a lean cut, a fatty cut, a cut for soup or a cut for the grill, each cut has its advantages! At The Brick House, a variety of cuts are used, each chosen for maximum flavor and specifically for the particular meal in which they are featured.
What are the different grades of beef?
Beef cut basics begin with the quality of the meat. You will notice different “grades” of meat, classified as either USDA Select, USDA Choice, or USDA Prime. USDA stands for the United States Department of Agriculture, and they are the ones doing the inspections and assigning the grades. USDA Prime is the highest grade, with USDA Choice and then USDA Select following in that order. What factors give meat a particular grade? Let’s take a look at two important factors: marbling and breed of cattle.
What is marbling?
Marbling is a term you hear a lot in the world of beef aficionados, butchers and chefs. It refers to the white coloring you will see flecked or swirled into a hunk of red meat. Those white specks are what makes your steak taste delicious! The more marbling seen in a piece of meat generally indicates the more savory and satisfying your steak will be. The marbling provides for a tender bite that is less likely to get tough and chewy with cooking –though it’s still important not to overcook. This knowledge is very helpful as you browse the meats while you grocery shop or browse a restaurant menu. You can be sure that the chefs at steakhouses in Bergen County are keen on this information and utilizing it to create beautiful dishes.
What exactly does certified Angus beef mean?
Another term you hear a lot among chefs and meat lovers is “Certified Angus Beef.” Angus refers to the breed of cattle. Angus cattle generally have a high potential to yield tasty, well-marbled meat. The Angus cattle yield from Scotland, don’t have horns, and have a black hide—which is why you sometimes see “Black Angus” as a referenced label. The most popular breed of cattle in the US is Angus. Thus, most beef we encounter is technically Angus beef. Beef from the Angus breed does not necessarily mean it is higher quality. Beef that is “Certified Angus beef,” however, has passed 10 quality control markers established by the American Angus Association. These 10 quality control markers DO imply a very high grade of meat-based upon marbling, maturity, and consistency.
Exploring the different cuts through the best steakhouse in Bergen County
One of the best ways to discover all the different beef cuts is to dine out at a steakhouse. Bergen County, is lucky to be home to quite a few topnotch steakhouses, including The Brick House. What makes The Brick House so awesome? Their chef and their ambiance for starters.
Aldo Cascio, a well-seasoned chef from Sicily, specializes in Italian cuisine and fine dining. And the ambiance of The Brick House is in part thanks to the charming yet elegant historic landmark where the restaurant is housed. Between their passionate chef and their recently renovated space, they have established themselves as a top steakhouse in Bergen County and beyond.
Eating at The Brick House guarantees a dining experience founded in quality and culinary expertise. Their fish is from the daily fish market, their chicken from a local farm, and their steak is certified Black Angus (good thing we know what that means now!).
Check out the delectable Brick House menus here. In the meantime, we’ll review some of their menu items to help us understand the difference between the beef cuts—and offer some inspiration for home preparation too!
The first place you stumble upon beef on a menu is often in the appetizers. For example, a common Italian appetizer is Carpaccio –a thinly sliced raw beef. At The Brick House, their Carpaccio appetizer is served simply with olive oil, lemon, arugula and thin slices of Parmigiana. It is a light, yet delectable way to enjoy beef.
Just as the name implies, a T-Bone steak still has the bone in it. The cut is a cross section of the short loin. T-Bone is a great cut of meat because it is like you get two different steaks in one since both sides of the bone feature a different type of steak. On one side of the bone, you have the New York Strip and on the other side you’ll enjoy a buttery tenderloin.
Underneath the ribs of a cow, where you find the short loin and sirloin, lies the most expensive and enjoyed cut of beef –the filet mignon. The tenderloin is a distinctively shaped slab of meat with a wider end, called the Châteaubriand and a narrower end, called the Filet Mignon. This narrow end is cut thick and is extremely tender and buttery. You only want to splurge on this piece of meat when an experienced chef is preparing it just right! The Brick House offers this cut in two ways: as a classic filet mignon cut and in a sliced scallopini style. Try the classic offering first, followed by a more involved scallopini style. Here’s how they are described on the menu:
Filet Mignon: Plump, Lean, Butcher-Cut, Bursting with Flavor – Irresistibly Delicious
Brick House Beef Scaloppini: Tender Slices of Filet Mignon, Sauteed with Onions, Peppers, Mushrooms & Demi-Glace
Beef Short Ribs
Short ribs can either be from a pig or a cow, but it’s the beef ones you really want to go after! They are taken from the rib bone and a part commonly known as the brisket. Short ribs can be cut from the rib bone in two different styles; either parallel to the bone, which is known as English style and has longer bones, or cut across the bone, giving you only about an inch of bone between hunks of meat, which is known as flanken. Chef Cascio prepares Beef Short Ribs exactly as they should be most enjoyed! Straight from the menu as follows:
Braised Short Ribs of Beef: Served with Pearl Onions in a Mushroom Red Wine Reduction
Skirt steak, as the name implies, comes from an area of the cows abdomen. Specifically, it comes from the diaphragm muscles. This cut of meat is a long thin slab with visible fibers. It takes on marinades and sauces very well and stir fries or grills beautifully. Skirt steak is often found in Argentinian steakhouses or even Mexican restaurants in fajita form. To truly experience a delicious skirt steak, visit the top steakhouse in Bergen County: The Brick House! Check out their delectable menu listing:
Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak: Served with Chimichurri Sauce, a Melange of Olive Oil, Garlic, Oregano, Chopped Cilantro, Onion & Cayenne
We know a little bit about Porterhouse chop after familiarizing ourselves with T-Bone. Porterhouse, similar to T-Bone, contains both the well marbled New York Strip and Tenderloin on either side of a bone-in cut. What is the difference between T-Bone and Porterhouse if both contain either side of the same bone-in cut? Technically speaking, the tenderloin sides measured width is what differentiates the cuts. The tenderloin must be 1.25” wide to be considered a Porterhouse steak. For T-Bone, the tenderloin can be .5” wide.
Unsurprisingly, The Brick House takes their Porterhouse to the next level:
Double Center-Cut Veal Porterhouse Chop: Thick Chop of Pink, Milk-Fed Veal, Grilled to Perfection
So, it’s date night and you want a truly remarkable dining experience. You look up top steakhouse of Bergen County and come across the mouth-watering options at The Brick House. But then you remember your date isn’t a steak lover. You scour the menu options on The Brick House’s website and realize that clearly Chef Aldo Cascio is a master of seafood and poultry as well. You read the description of scallops and immediately know that not only can you take your date there, but you can really wow them with a spectacular meal. Check it out:
Seared Jumbo Sea Scallops: Sauteed with Shiitake Mushrooms & Finished with a Brandy Cream Reduction
Upon further browsing of their menu, you notice a fun section of meals entitled “Brick House Specialties For Two.” These options would be a fun and romantic way to dine on some fine Italian specialties together – like Chef Cascio’s Cioppino:
Brick House Cioppino: Traditional Italian Fish Stew With Local Flavors, Calamari, Mussels, Clams, Shrimp, Lobster Tails, Scallops in Red Sauce Over a Bed of Linguini Pasta.
A top of the line steakhouse should be able to please everyone in your dining party. Enjoying a good steak is largely about sourcing the best cuts of meat, but also largely dependent on a master chef who can prepare a dish either simply or uniquely. The chef will then be able to use this mastery across the board for both steak and other protein options. Now that we have gone through the basics of different beef cuts, you can more confidently order at the top steakhouse of Bergen County. Come dine at The Brick House! We’ll be happy to serve you.