With the rising price of groceries, we figured it would be fitting to speak with Chef Yos, meat expert and affiliate of Kosh.com, to hear his take on budget-friendly cuts of beef. Enjoy reading his expertise below. Perhaps you can apply some of his suggestions to your Sukkot cooking!
Photo courtesy of Kosh.com.
NOTE: This interview has been lightly edited for grammar, length, and clarity.
DD: Great cuts of beef are usually expensive, especially now when costs are so high. Are there any cuts of beef that will get you more bang for your buck?
CY: That would be the mock tender and London broil, which are bigger pieces. These are both great cuts of beef to serve for the holidays. There are always stew meats as well.
DD: This month, many people are hosting and having big crowds of people over for meals. Which beef would you recommend for a large crowd that won’t break the bank? How do you recommend preparing it?
CY: For roasts, I would say the chuck-eye roast is a great bang for your buck. A much better bang for your buck is a shoulder roast. A chuck-eye roast can be treated like a rib-eye roast, since it still has some marbelization. You can roast it in the oven, dry. A shoulder roast needs more time to break down. I braise it, which means that I cook it slow and low covered in liquid.
DD: Are there less popular cuts of beef that are cheaper and under-utilized?
CY: Yes – that would be the mock tender. You can buy it as a roast and cut it into medallions. If you cut it right, it can make a beautiful plating. London broil is cheap and overutilized in the Kosher world. It’s easier to hold for Shabbat day if made in advance.
DD: Do you have any recipes to share for these cuts of meat?
CY: On the mock tender, I recommend braising it – it breaks down all of those hard fibers so it’s an easier chew. You can braise the meat many days in advance of yuntif, freeze it and then warm it up right before yuntif.
DD: Are there any cuts of meat that you wouldn’t recommend cooking in advance to serve on yuntif?
CY: The more expensive meats – such as lamb chops, prime rib and veal chops – are not great make-ahead meats. Those are ones that you want the perfect temperature on. Those are better served on the day they are made.
DD: Are there certain stores or resources that offer more affordable prices for meat? Are there specific days of the week when meat prices decrease?
CY: There is no such thing as sale days in the kosher meat market. I would push online – prices are always consistent. Some examples of websites where you can order kosher meat include Kosh.com, which I am affiliated with, and growandbehold.com. Grow and Behold operates using sustainable practices and can be a good choice if you’re a vegetarian buying and preparing meat for others. Kosh.com is a newer website and is a great way for people who live out of the tri-state area to access skirt steaks and other fancy kosher meats that they wouldn’t have access to otherwise.
DD: If one were to splurge on a cut of beef for the holidays, which do you recommend and why? How do you recommend cooking it?
CY: My personal favorite would be a rack of lamb because it is easy to cook, it cooks quickly and people love it. I would also recommend a rib eye roast. It’s amazing meat and will be a lot more expensive, but it will feed a lot more. Everything is a give-and-take, so you have to assess your own personal needs.
For a rib eye roast, I would put it in the oven at 500 degrees for 30 minutes, and then turn it down to 250 to 300 and let it go for a little longer. I would take it out at 137 or so [internal reading]. For a lamb roast, I would sear it on a cast iron skillet and then finish it at a lower temperature in the oven. I’d pull it out around 130 degrees [internal reading].
Monitoring the meat’s temperature is very important. Even the same oven changes temperature overtime. I tell everyone who calls me to cook according to temperature rather than focusing on cooking for a set period of time… If you’re already spending all that money on a rib eye roast, you may as well spend a few dollars on a thermometer.
DD: Is there a trick to making cheap beef more tender and tasty?
CY: Low and slow is the trick for cheaper cuts. Most people think veal is expensive. Veal breast is a cheaper cut of veal that can be perfect for Shabbat or yuntif lunch. It is my favorite budget-friendly cut of beef. There is so much fat in that cut, it will never dry out. Preparing veal breast is an overnight cook: season the meat on a Friday afternoon before Shabbat (or erev yuntif), and place it in a 200-to-225-degree oven, covered, overnight. Take it out the next day for lunch, and the meat will be succulent and beautiful for lunch time. London broil is also a tasty cheaper cut of meat.
DD: What are your favorite side dishes to serve with beef? Do you have any simple, easy recipes to share with our readers?
CY: I am a big fan of tri-colored carrots that I like to roast in the oven with salt, pepper, and silan (date syrup). Another side dish I enjoy is sweet potato mash; I add rosemary and garlic confit. It also freezes well. When you’re eating mashed potatoes with a brisket, it can help break up the fat in the meat nicely.
DD: Do you have anything else to add about beef that you’d like our readers to know?
CY: I would love readers to know about Kosh.com. It’s a great way to get different cuts of kosher meat if you live outside of the tri-state area.
Also, cooking delicious meat is all about starting with better quality beef – American beef is always going to be better quality, better tasting, and have better fat distribution. Americans finish feeding animals with grain, which improves the marbilization (distribution of fat) within the meat. Animals that are only grass-fed are smaller and have less meat on the bone. That’s part of the reason why I started kosh.com. American beef – there’s nothing like it. You want to avoid imported meat.
DD: How can our readers follow more of your work if they are interested in learning more?
For more Chef Yos, watch his show, The Marble & Grain Show, here!
Dena Don, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and writer based in New York City. Dena is trained to help children, teens and adults with a variety of nutrition-related concerns, including weight loss, weight gain, eating disorders, IBS, pregnancy, diabetes, high cholesterol and others. She currently works within a practice that accepts most insurances. To see more of Dena’s work, check out her Instagram page @theartsypalate. Please email Dena at [email protected] with any questions you may have or if you’re interested in working with her!