Mat Kemp from butchers Turner & George shares his favourite underrated cuts
Are you in need of a meat eating masterclass? Mr Hyde has you covered. We asked Mat Kemp from highly respected butchers Turner & George to share his favourite underrated cuts, so you’ll never find yourself answering “um, thank you” when a waiter asks “well done?” ever again.
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“This is a favourite of mine, also known as hanger steak. I say it as Anglais, my dad says it like omelette – I think it’s a matter of opinion really. It’s a cut from above the diaphragm that nobody used to want, so butchers would end up keeping it for themselves. It’s technically offal. It comes in strips with a lot of fat on them and has this really deep flavour – you want to cook it well on the outside and leave it pink in the middle. Or there’s the Neil Rankin way, where you shake it up in a wet jug with roasted cauliflower.”
Get it from the pros: Beef Brew (N1) serves it sliced against the grain for maximum tenderness. Can’t argue with the science.
“I’ve only recently got into pluma Iberica – a cut from the back of the neck of Iberico pigs, which are delicious things mainly found in Spain. It’s really soft and you can cook it just to pink. I do it with just some salt and pepper, and it’s amazing. Really soft, really tasty, with these lovely little bits of fat running through it. People have similar pigs over here, but for some reason, the climate or whatever, it doesn’t seem like this cut really exists here.”
Get it from the pros: Barrafina (W1D) offers a mighty chunk on a bed of moist confit potatoes.
“The rump cap is a very popular cut in Brazil, where it’s known as the picanha. We started doing it at Turner & George after working for Brazilian chefs. It’s taken from the top of the rump and has a lovely layer of fat on it. You want to slow cook it at a low temperature for a long time so that it breaks down and gets soft – 50 or 60 degrees for hours, that’s the secret. Different cuts are more or less popular in different places for various reasons – sometimes taking out one cut precludes doing another. We slow-cook meats here but generally through roasting rather than smoking them over a fire. It’s just a cultural thing.”
Get it from the pros: Wood-fired meat masters Zelman (W1F) show their expertise with the sliced picanha.
“The bavette, or flank steak, seems to be gaining popularity. It comes from a flap inside the cow’s flank, and looks really nice, almost like a hand fan. You want to cook it quickly on a charcoal grill – it’s very tasty and easy to cook. You might not find these cuts in a supermarket, but any independent butcher will be delighted to help you. People sometimes find butchers’ shops intimidating, but just because someone is giant and holding a knife, doesn’t mean they’re a horrible brute. We’ve got a massive bloke who’s absolutely lovely.”
Get it from the pros: Everyone should visit the intimate Argentinean spot Buen Ayre (E8) at some stage. Make the grilled flank steak your reason.
“A cut I had never really considered until my wife introduced me to her amazing beef shin pie. She cooks it down slowly in a pan in home-made chicken stock with some carrots for 12 hours until the bone literally falls out. Then she pokes the marrow out and mixes it in, takes the meat out and renders the liquid down with no filler, then eventually puts it all back together with some shortcrust pastry. The fat breaks down, the beef breaks down, the carrots caramelise and it all becomes this sugary, meaty, incredible pie.”
Get it from the pros: Padella’s (SE1) beef shin pappardelle is as epic as pasta gets. It’s dishes like that which cause the round-the-corner queues.
This content was first published in Mr Hyde’s free weekly Food & Drink newsletter.
(Images: Getty/Turner & George)