How to choose your meat?
Standing in the meat section of the supermarket, trying to decide which cut of meat to purchase and how to cook it best, can be a challenge. In past issues of JOY of KOSHER with Jamie Geller Magazine, we tackled this issue with a complete meat guide that allowed our readers to gain true mastery on how to best cook every cut of meat imaginable.
To sum it all up, I would say that most roasts fall into two preparation categories:
(1) braising long and slow
(2) cooking on high heat for a short period of time
Most cuts, despite their price, fall into either of the two categories. Contemplating which roasts to prepare and how best to prepare them, I thought it would be fun to cook the most expensive and the least expensive roasts in each category the same exact way to determine if there will be much of a difference in terms of taste. Do I really have to shell out $100 for a standing rib roast or can I get away with serving a $45 silver tip roast that will feed the same number of eaters? I also compared a first-cut brisket (about $16 a pound) to a top of rib roast (about $9 a pound).
I prepared the roasts best suited for braising (brisket and top of rib) in a classic French bourguignon-style and added some pineapples for a unique depth of flavor. Pineapples also contain special enzymes that add tenderness to any protein, which also makes them a great ingredient to add to marinades. The top of rib and brisket come from different parts of the cow but look so similar and both call for slow braising.
OUTCOME: In terms of appearance and flavor there was absolutely no difference between the two. Served up on a random Friday night meal, I tested the roast among my unassuming guests and no one was able to distinguish between the two.
The top of rib sliced exactly like its more expensive counterpart—the first-cut brisket—and was just as tender. Another roast I would highly recommend for this recipe is the French roast AKA brick roast, which also slices beautifully and is extremely tender, cooked low and slow. A tremendous perk of this recipe is how well it freezes.
For roasts best cooked on high heat and served medium-rare, I cooked a silver tip roast (shoulder roast) and a rib roast using the same recipe and cooking instructions. A rib roast is the king of all roasts and a simple way of cooking steak for a crowd. It is a roast ideal for those who love a juicy piece of steak cooked to medium doneness. A silver tip is classically used to make roast beef and what is used for most roast beef sandwiches at classic delis. I roasted both utilizing one ingredient: fake bacon. Wrapping the roast in fake bacon allowed for the savory flavor to penetrate the roast and kept the roast tender as well.
OUTCOME: There really is nothing as good and rich as a rib roast, but the silver tip was a second-best choice, especially for the price, and it was the roast my children preferred. Another roast I would recommend for this preparation is the Delmonico roast. It is a special cut from a chuck roast that utilizes the best part of the chuck ideal for roasting. I prepared a silver tip the same way as the rib roast.
COOK'S NOTE: To achieve the perfect tenderness when roasting meat, you MUST allow the roast to rest AT LEAST twenty minutes so the juices have a chance to redistribute. If you do not wait, the roast will be dry.