Beef continues to hold strong with consumer demand remaining consistent. Inflation may be shrinking consumer and restaurant budgets, but many are turning to secondary cuts of beef like hanger steaks, skirt steaks, and chuck flats.
Beef suppliers like Sterling Silver® Premium Meats are helping provide underused cuts of beef that have grown in popularity recently. Trusted suppliers like Sterling Silver Premium Meats make a point of partnering with chefs to give inspiration and helpful notes on how to best use various cuts of beef giving chefs an edge in a competitive market.
Secondary cuts of beef are taken from more active parts of the animal and can offer more robust flavors but may rely more heavily on the proper cooking method. While some consumers and servers may believe secondary cuts are less expensive because the cuts are not as good as primary cuts, Chef Dave Cuntz—who has more than 30 years of experience—believes this is not a problem of quality, but a challenge surrounding education. Cuntz also explores how using these often overlooked cuts can show the talent of chefs and restaurants.
According to a report by Midan Marketing, flank steak sales are up 7.6 percent, and skirt steaks are up almost 11 percent. Consumers are showing increased interest in affordable cuts of beef they may not be as familiar with.
“I don’t call them secondary cuts because then servers would be less likely to sell those cuts, but the idea is to get out there and educate servers,” Cuntz says. Price-friendly cuts of beef can benefit both restaurants and consumers given the opportunity. Sterling Silver is one supplier that works with restaurants and chefs to educate them on the different cuts of beef and how best to use them.
Secondary cuts offer greater flavor and the costs are lower and it doesn’t compromise on the quality of beef because it’s coming from the same premium animal. “My menu has a wide variety of steak cuts,” Cuntz says. “Everyone loves a great steak whether it’s Prime Rib, Bistro Tender or Clod Heart. I get great price points on all cuts and steak will always be a part of my menu and of course, it’s Sterling Silver so it’s even better.”
Cuntz furthers his explanation, saying how underused cuts like the Chuck make the best southwestern dishes like pulled beef for making my tacos. So many different ways to utilize underused cuts, it makes cooking so much more exciting figuring out what to make, it’s why I love what I do, you can come up with new ways to prepare beef and isn’t it awesome what it has to offer.”
Consumers have an interest in new and exciting flavors now more than ever. Secondary cuts of meat in particular are good for experimenting with trendy flavors and spices, according to Cuntz, as hanger steak, chuck flat, and skirt steak may even take better to those experimental flavors.
“Skirt steak takes on any flavor,” Cuntz says. “If a chef hot flash grills skirt steak, it’s delicious, and then if they serve it with beans and rice and some quesadillas, it’s just awesome.” Beef is a versatile meat, but when it is expensive it is in consumers and operators best interest to know how to use and value each unique cut of beef.
“I think underutilized cuts need to be called the more flavorful cuts, and the more versatile cuts,” Cuntz says. “Chefs don’t want to cut a filet up and chop it up, chefs want to cut a ribeye up and chop it up. The best thing about secondary cuts is they give you diversity on your menus.”
Secondary cuts like chuck flat, are great for meals that depend on robust, beefy flavors that have other bold flavors and ingredients included. “The versatility of the chuck is beyond belief,” Cuntz says. “You can get steaks out of it, partially freeze it and thinly slice it on a slicer, or cut it into thin steaks, which is great for sandwiches, just amazing flavor.”
As spicier, unique, and ethnic foods are trending, it is important to put more price-friendly and versatile beef options on menus. This would benefit consumers, chefs, and operators as inflation makes consumers and operators more reticent to purchase pricer cuts of beef, and chefs have the opportunity to create more versatility across menu items.
It is important to have a trusted supplier for everything. For beef, it is even more essential to know a trusted supplier is selling high-quality beef. Sterling Silver Premium Meats knows beef and is trusted by chefs nationwide, including Cuntz.
“Sterling Silver knows everything about the animal, down to the end product,” Cuntz says. “No one else has a story like that.”
For more information on Sterling Silver Premium Meats visit their website.