Bubbyswhollycow’s Weblog

A word about sourcing steer, and about what happens to cows/steer in the winter
April 24, 2009, 3:33 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It’s been close to a year now since we began purchasing whole prime steer (for prime cuts) and cows (for burgers) so we have now experienced many scenarios, and we have learned a lot.  Just to begin with, it has been rewarding to use whole animals, and we have learned a lot from doing it.  The bovines have provided us with an opportunity to come up with all kinds of dishes that we may not have thought about before.  Some, like steak and kidney pie for example, have proven unpopular to the American (NYC) taste bud.  They were fun to make anyway.  The kidneys, and much of the ofal, is a little gamey in these animals.  Mostly people use calf for liver, and there is a reason for that.  A 2 year old steer liver has a very strong taste.  Same with the kidneys.  The heart, which is also not so popular, is delicious sliced very thin, seasoned, and grilled or sauteed.  Heart chimichurri is really good. So far the Jaffes have been able to keep up with all of our steer ad cow needs, although we did learn something about what happens to steer in the winter.

Ken Jaffe does not have a barn to winter his animals in. His are a cross between Scottish Highlands, Black Angus, and Herefords. The Scottish Cow is used to harsh winters.  However, the muscles are pushed a little harder, and what little fat there is is burned up in the process of keeping warm.  The prime cuts from one of the steer we got after the winter were pretty tough.  We basically had to use them for burger or for pot roast.  It’s against one’s instincts to cook a strip loin at 225 for 5 hours, but we did it.

For his part, Ken Jaffe was very open-minded about this, and he charged us for a burger animal, which is less expensive than a prime animal.  This, of ciurse, required us working together, and required also for us to have a trusting relationship.  No one was yelling about “what the fuck is going on with these tough steaks,” or anything of the sort.  Neither was anyone saying, “you bought it, you eat it.” As one of Michael Pollan’s mottos is ‘shake the hand that feeds you’, one might be comforted in not only shaking but also trusting the hand that feeds you.  In fact, one hand feeds the other. Everyone is learning, ad everyone is grateful for the opportunity. And, best of all, everyone knows where the meat, and the money, are coming from. It is a good reminder to know that, pre-1935, there were probably a lot of tough steaks being served in February as well there should have been.