Friday, July 29, 2011

Cheap to chic grass-fed beef

I've been fairly consistent about getting my weekday ground beef from the farmers market, but I wanted to get something different for saturday night.  I enjoy staying home for a nice saturday dinner for several reasons:  I have more control over the quality and quantity of my food, my girlfriend doesn't have to worry about gluten contamination, and I am more comfortable about eating medium-rare beef.  The latter is especially appealing after recently reading Fast Food Nation.  Eesh   But I have to make sure that I can out-do any steak house.

The more enticing cuts of grass-fed beef can be prohibitively expensive for a graduate student.  So to lower the cost, I was looking for something esoteric.  A shoulder clod* costs much less than steaks and is even cheaper than some other roasts, AND it happened to be on sale.  You just have to deal with the toughness of the cut.

Shoulder clod (far) and neck bones (near; a previous post...)

The entire goal of this recipe is to cook low-and-slow while still achieving medium rare, as both will improve tenderness.  As you'll see, wrapping the nearly finished roast in aluminum foil and a kitchen towel will allow the roast to finish cooking (medium-rare) and maintain enough heat to continue tenderizing the meat.  You'll sacrifice the texture of the crust, but it's well worth it.

Roast Shoulder Clod

  1. Use a 2.5 lb shoulder clod roast.  Pat the roast dry and season liberally with salt and pepper, and a bit of garlic powder.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for 12-24 hours (although I only did 3!).
  2. Preheat the oven to 225°F**, and let the roast rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat some beef tallow, or other high-heat cooking fat, in a heavy-bottomed pan. Sear all four sides of the roast.        
  4. Place beef on a baking sheet and roast for 90 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 135°F (for medium-rare).  Remove from the oven and wrap roast in heavy-duty aluminum foil, and then wrap in a kitchen towel.  Allow roast to rest like this for another 30 minutes. 
  5. While resting, open a nice Cab that you essentially forgot that you had.  And fry-up some gluten-free squash blossoms, for good measure.

     5.  Slice as thin as possible.  Impossibly thin if you can...

Serve with some market vegetables.  Make sure to arrange food in a pretentious "man, I gotta' blog about this meal" sort of way.   

*From what I can tell, the shoulder clod that I bought was only part of a true shoulder clod.  Technically, beef clod refer to an entire beef shoulder.  Similar to the Boston Butt of a pig.

**I'm aware that it is generally a poor idea to rely on the oven in the summer, especially if you don't live in mild California.  This should work just as well on a grill or in a smoker.  However, if using a grill, roast meat on the unlit side of the grill and do your best to maintain this low temperature; this will mimic an oven.  

This post was submitted to Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday

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