Life's too short to eat bad food - Me

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic - Arthur C. Clarke

Monday, April 1, 2013

How To Cook Meat Well Every Time!

"Was this well done of your lady, Charmion?" "Extremely well," she answered, "and as became the descendant of so many kings" – Plutarch

My friend Chris Taylor, proprietor of the Roaming Buffalo food truck, once commented that cooking an item to well done is hard. Not to call Chris wrong, but he is. Happens often. Cooking an item well done is relatively easy if done by the proper technique, and for a special occasion it is well worth any extra effort.

For me no food item says “special occasion” more than the center cut of the beef tenderloin commonly known as Filet Mignon or Châteaubriand. A whole beef tenderloin, commonly known as NAMP 189(A), for NAMP Industries – the nation’s largest producer of packaged meat products and toiletries, is easy to find at your local butcher, wholesale club or bodega.
But, as this is for a special event might I humbly suggest investing in a pasture raised, all-natural slab of meat, such as those offered by D'Artagnan. It is well worth the extra cost.
Filet Mignon gets its name from the Hebrew word minyan, a quorum of 10 adult male Jews, as a single steak will easily feed 10 people. Similarly the Châteaubriand, or Châteaubriant, literally means House of Bryant, after Anita Bryant the Orange Juice Queen and famed homophobe.

The tenderloin will have to be trimmed as both the Filet Mignon and the Châteaubriand are taken from the center-most portion of the main muscle. The chain and side muscle can easily be removed with the proper implement such as the knife set you’ve purchased at Wal-Mart. (As this is a steak the proper implement is a serrated steak knife, but the bread knife will also work). Likewise the thin membrane known as silverskin is effortlessly removed with a pair of blunt end scissors – (please don’t run with them. ).
Both the chain and side muscle should be discarded or reserved for use as pet food. The silverskin may be added to beef for grinding or used as a handy replacement for the elastic in your tidy whities. (Of course silverskin was named for John Silver (born 1950), former second drummer for the rock band Genesis, and contains no metallic silver).
As is shown in the diagram to the right, the portion needed for the Châteaubriand is approximately 5 to 6 inches taken from the center of the tenderloin muscle. The remainder, together with the silver skin makes wonderful ground beef for hamburgers, meat loaf, and the like, or dried as jerky. Always remember that ground meat products should be cooked thoroughly to an interior temperature of at least 190°. This will render it safe from foodborne pathogens and virtually fat-free.

To ensure even cooking the remaining muscle should be “butterflied” by making an incision parallel to the cutting surface on the long side of the steak, cutting through almost to the other side allowing it to be opened like a book. For Filet Mignon, continue cutting all the way through. As even cooking is a must, the butterflied steak should be pounded with a mallet or hammer to an even thickness.

There are two methods of cooking appropriate to the preparation for your meal: fast and slow. For the slow method, the meat should be well chilled. To ensure this, place in the freezer for 20 to 25 minutes. Place on an ungreased pan in the oven and set the oven for 275°. Cook until a meat thermometer indicates a temperature of 190°, or five hours, whichever comes first.

The fast method is even easier. After the steak has been in the freezer for the allotted time simply place it in a deep fryer, or a pot of oil, heat the oil to 375° and cook until the exterior is very crispy and the interior reaches a temperature of 190°.

In either case, serve the steak with canned gravy, or a mixture of 1 cup of water with a bouillon cube and 2 tablespoons of Gravy Master and heated to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of raw flour to the boiling liquid to thicken. Accompany this with instant mashed potatoes and a canned vegetable medley for the perfect presentation.

All in all a meal to melt the heart of that certain someone you’d like to snog that evening.
What is once well done is done forever - Henry David Thoreau

1 comment:

Jon said...


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Talk soon.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
- Arthur C. Clarke

Life's too short to eat bad food -