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Chefs vote speciality steak range a success

Chefs and Quality Standard meat suppliers are reporting increasing demand for the range of speciality steaks developed by EBLEX* last year. The speciality steak range was created by master butcher Dick van Leeuwen and master chef Pierre Koffmann with the aim of providing more cost-effective steak alternatives to the likes of sirloin and fillet, but that still perform in terms of succulence, flavour and overall eating quality.

There are 12 Quality Standard steaks in the range that are seam-butchered from under-used beef primals, each creating a different steak eating experience. From ‘Flat Iron' steaks to ‘Bavettes' and ‘Heel Pavés', the steaks are proving increasingly popular across all sectors.

One meat processor claimed that demand from the foodservice sector for the Hanger Pavé and Hanger Steaks in particular has seen them switch from exporting the muscle from which the steaks are taken, to selling it in the UK for a more profitable return. Sales manager for the South West-based company, David Whitfield said: "This range has proved very successful for our business, not only are we getting a better return for the body skirt itself, it has really improved overall carcase utilisation."

Meanwhile, catering butchers and chefs are benefiting from the range as consumers want more value for money alternatives when eating out. At his establishment in Lyddington, Rutland, head chef and proprietor Brian Baker now features the ‘Flat Iron' steak on three separate menus thanks to increased demand. Brian said: "I'm always looking for innovative ways to use different cuts of meat. I tried and loved the flat iron steak and realised that because many people will not be familiar with it, it clearly adds a point of interest to the menu. It is a flavoursome, juicy and sumptuous steak that contains no sinew or fat and cooks very well from medium rare to well done.

"In fact, our ‘Flat Iron Steak ‘Café De Paris', Pomme Frites & Watercress Salad' has become the best-selling meat dish on our menu since we opened in April 2009. We now serve, on average, 200 portions each week and it has proven so popular that it is available across all our menus; lunch, dinner and Sunday lunch.

"In the current climate it is important to be able to create new and exciting dishes and reduce waste. By using lesser known cuts of meat, we are able to maximise yield, minimise the effects on the economy and environment, and continue to delight our customers."

The full range of steaks, which need to be matured for a minimum of two weeks, include:

  • Hanger Pavé
  • Hanger Steak
  • Bavette
  • Skirt Steak
  • Pavé (Underblade)
  • Pavé (Underblade Fillet)
  • Pavé (Thick Flank)
  • Pavé (Heel Muscle)
  • Flat Iron Steak
  • Tender Top Steak
  • Centre Cut Steak
  • Ranch Steak

* EBLEX is the organisation for beef and lamb levy payers in England, and is a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB). Find out more at www.eblex.org.uk.

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