“We Ask Chefs” is a regular feature in which we ask local Tucson chefs a range of questions about chef life and food. Read their responses to the latest: “what is your favorite cut of beef?”
“I love a rich and delicious steak cooked over a wood fire. Prime rib eye is my go-to, but if I wanted to breakdown the rib eye even further, my perfect cut would be the cap of a prime rib eye; also know as the ‘butcher’s butter’ or spinalis dorsi. Our bone-in rib eye at PY Steakhouse takes on a funky, tangy and deep beef flavor throughout the 35 day dry-aging process. The outer parts of the rib eye, especially the rib-eye cap, are even richer in that transformation. This cut will not disappoint. It is the richest, butteriest, tenderest, beefiest bite of meat on the cow. Don’t forget the crunchy salt.”
View our September 2016 Tools They Use with Ryan Clark.
“Prime rib most definitely, medium-rare with some fresh horseradish. It’s hard for me to say no to that. Unless it’s ruined by too much rosemary.”
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with Ivor Cryderman.
“I’ll be honest, I rarely eat beef and rarely work with beef so it’s pretty hard for me to have much of a preference. When I do eat beef, I’ll eat rib eyes. They’re usually really buttery and tender and super easy to cook even if you’re still learning because of the thickness.”
View our April 2019 Nine on the Line with Aidan Gould.
“Hands down the king of all cuts is the porterhouse. The best of both worlds; the butter-soft filet and the tender [with the] steaky mouthfeel of the New York strip is all you will ever need.”
View our November 2016 Tools They Use with Gary Hickey.
“The tomahawk rib eye because it is so juicy and delicately soft. The fat provides an extremely exquisite savoriness to this piece of meat.”
“Without a doubt, the best bite of beef I’ve ever had was A5 Miyazaki Wagyu NY strip. Absolutely unreal. But, my favorite, hands down, is the rib-eye cap, deckle steak, spinalis dorsi, whatever you want to call it. It’s so damn good. It has the rich, beefiness of a rib eye and the tenderness like a filet. Mouth is watering thinking of it.”
View our April 2017 Nine on the Line with Roderick LeDesma.
“My favorite cut of beef is of course the brisket. My next favorite is tri-tip. We serve both at the restaurant and they are both our biggest sellers. Very popular with the barbecue crowd.”
View our December 2017 Nine on the Line with David Martin.
“The filet mignon has always been the king in my book, but I do also really love skirt steak as well as prime rib.”
View our October 2018 Nine on the Line with John “JP” Pratt.
“The humble brisket is a cut of many virtues. Granted, you can’t just slap it on the grill with a little S&P and call it a day, but with a little foresight and an investment of time and love, the brisket is killer.
The pectoral muscles support over half the weight of the steer, so they’re constantly getting worked out, and are high in myoglobin, which gives brisket a really beefy flavor. It’s also got a good amount of fat that renders while cooking, keeping it moist and rich. Plus, all the collagen in the connective tissue converts to gelatin while it cooks, giving it an unctuous mouthfeel.
All those flavor and texture building components shine in a wide array of dishes, from Taiwanese beef noodle soup to corned beef and pastrami to Texas barbecue, or you can even grind it for a killer burger.
Added bonus — it’s a winner on a budget. You get a great flavor to cost ratio on brisket at less than half the cost of those middle meat steak cuts.”
View our September 2015 Nine on the Line with Devon Sanner.
“My fave cut of beef ever is Ben Forbes‘ AZ grass-fed aged rib eye. Best piece of meat I have ever tasted. Thank you Ben for my meat-gasm xo”
View our March 2018 video with Coralie Satta, Women’s History Month Episode 2.
“This is a difficult question since I usually choose a different cut of beef for different preparations. My top would have to be flat iron, teres major, and hanger, in no particular order. Flat irons I like to butter-baste in a cast iron pan, teres I like to salt crust with herbs and throw into live coals, and hanger I like to lightly grill with some salt. I tend to not manipulate beef a whole lot since I want their natural flavor to come through, especially when it’s pasture-raised.”
“I have to say that my favorite cut of beef is a toss up between bone in short ribs and the rib eye. My mouth is watering already.
I love to order beef chuck short ribs from the butcher cut flanken-style, remove the bones, and tie the meat to the bone with some kitchen twine to make them look like little little steam ships. Then I brown each beefy ship with a little salt and pepper, set them aside, add some butter, and then saute up some finely chopped carrots, onions, celery, good olive oil, whole crushed garlic, bay leaves, leeks, fresh bundle of thyme and oregano, then add some crushed San Marzano tomatoes and some good red wine and let them simmer for about six hours. Then pull the ships out and reduce the sauce down and serve them on some garlicky creamy Parmesan polenta and charred broccoli with a little lemon… nom nom nom
Or much less work and all the fatty flava… the rib eye. We eat rib eyes often at my house. I make it the way my son Max likes it best, pan seared with brown butter, salt and pepper four to five minutes each side for medium-rare on a 10-ounce rib eye. Let it rest with a slice of butter on top and two dipping sauces on the side; Worcestershire sauce and melted butter with fresh garlic on the Microplane. and chopped fresh rosemary with lemon. We usually eat a big salad and rice or some grilled veggies on the side.”
View our August 2017 Tools They Use with Dominique Stoller.
“I am an Italian chef and therefore I am used to completely different cuts of meat. This, especially in the early days when I worked in America, caused me quite a few problems. Now I have gotten used to the point that I can cook my main dish on the menu — Brasato al Barolo, an ancient and sophisticated Piedmontese recipe — using sirloin tip roast (also known as round tip roast), a cut of meat that allows a slow and very long cooking, becoming perfectly soft and tasty. Precisely what a good Brasato must be.”
View our November 2018 Nine on the Line: Chef “La Fufi” Fulvia Steffenone from Caffe Milano.
“The best part of the beef for me is the knuckle. I use this to braise for five-plus hours. It’s the main ingredient for our Bitterballen and Kroketten, which are two of the Dutch items on our menu.”
View our July 2017 Nine on the Line with Marcus van Winden.
“I love to use chuck. It breaks down so well once I cube it for my Chorizo Barrio.”
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...