I’ll start this post off with a warning: If you are not a fan of raw meat, and are one of those people that prefers not thinking about how your steak once moo’ed… this is not your post. Sorry.
One of our favorite things down here is shopping for meat. Unlike in the United States, there are virtually no prepackaged cuts of steaks or pork chops or what have you. Instead, you make friends with your neighborhood butcher, or carniceria.
Ours is lovely–they always have a variety of delicious looking beef and pork, with some chicken. They tolerate our language barrier, and we always learn something new when we visit them. The butcher has been one of the hardest parts of language learning down here–all of the cuts are slightly differently butchered, and have a very different name! T has made it his personal goal to learn all about Argentinian beef while down here, and to cook the best steak ever.
We had a great steak at The Argentina Experience in Buenos Aires, where T grilled our hosts about exactly how they cooked the meat. He’s determined to duplicate the process, so we decided to buy some meat in bulk the other day.
Essentially, we bought a hunk of meat as long as a cow. Officially, in English it was short loin 8 ribs, and in Spanish bife angosto con lomo 8 costillas. Whatever you call it, it was a LOT of meat.
T is the resident meat expert, and has done a lot of research into not only how Argentinian cuts of beef are different from their American counterparts, but how to best cook them, Argentina-style.
After we dragged our HUGE bag of meat home…
T cut the bife ancho (rib meat, or rib-eye steaks) and angosto (strip loin) into fat steaks for our fancy cooking technique he wanted to try. (More on that later!)
Then, T cut up the lomo, or tenderloin into smaller steaks. This is the part of the cow where filet mignon comes from–it’s naturally tender.
The only quibble we had with our meat was the lack of marbling–which is almost entirely due to the fact that cows down here are entirely free-range and grass fed. No corn or sugar finishing for these cows! It’s nice that the ground beef we get is so lean (and great for our diets!) but still means a slightly less tasty steak sometimes.
After we had successfully packaged up the meat, T took some of the lomo, or tenderloin, steaks, set them on a cookie sheet with a rack, and air cured them in our fridge for 24 hours.
After that, he coated them in coarse salt, and then cooked then, 20 seconds per side, in a cast iron frying pan filled with vegetable oil until al punto, or medium rare. The result? A crispy outside with a juicy center. Delicious.
Thank you, T for helping me write this post! I admittedly am not that great about remembering all of the cuts, much less in Spanish. I tend to do a lot of smiling and pointing at things that look vaguely familiar when I’m at the butcher. We’re looking forward to doing so many more cooking experiments while we’re down here–and hopefully we’ll remember to take photos and share what we learn along the way!