Olympic Worthy Steak: The Picanha

When we first opened the shop we had this steak called the coulotte. A delicious steak, to be sure, but it required some explaining because this is not a cut you'll see at a grocery store. We sold a few and we ate a lot. It wasn't catching on a quite as we had hoped. And then a funny thing happened: lots of customers started asking if we carried this one kind of Brazilian steak called the picanha. In fact we did, we just called it the coulotte. 

Typically when customers begin asking for something en mass my assumption is that Oprah must have mentioned it on her show. "Everyone's going home with their own steak!!!" But in this case it seemed that there's a secret society of Brazil-o-philes that we had no idea about.

The picanha comes from the section where the sirloin meets the round. It has a healthy fat cap on it (especially on our grain finished Peterson cows) which adds to the deliciousness. This is a tender steak packed with a ton of flavor. We love it sprinkled with salt and with a crunchy sear on it.

Cook the fat side down first to render some fat and get the fat cap nice and crispy. 3 minutes direct on each side over a very hot fire should get the color you're looking for. Move to the indirect heat and cook to medium rare. Let your steak rest for 10 minutes and slice against the grain.

Gold medal stuff, people.

The French Onion Brat

Scott, our head butcher, had one request (okay he had way more than 1) when he agreed to mastermind this whole meat shop project. He wanted us to make a french onion brat. I'll be honest: I had no idea what that meant. For the first couple of batches we bought organic french onion seasoning from the coop across the street and added that, along with cheese curd, to our heritage breed pork. The results were delicious but that seemed a little bit like cheating.

So we decided to reverse engineer our very own french onion seasoning (notice I am not capitalizing French on purpose) and combine it with some caramelized onions. Genius! And so you end up with a completely miraculous bratwurst. Ridiculously savory, a tiny bit sweet, and then BOOM you're hit with some gooey mozzarella cheese curd.

This is the brat you serve at your backyard gathering and everyone needs to know where you bought it. Even cranky Uncle Edgar is totally going to be into this brat.

Available exclusively at the St Paul Meat Shop and France 44 Cheese Shop. Registered trademark and patents coming soon.

Wine & Grill Guide

 

This is a guest post by France 44 wine specialist, Karina Roe.

 

Road Construction and Winter. Mosquito Season and Winter. Too Hot and Too Cold. Whatever you like to call our seasons in Minnesota, our favorite is Grilling Season!

 

Although there are plenty of diehards out there that grill year-round through the sleet and snow, early spring is generally the time of year when GrillMasters get wheeled out of garages and scrubbed clean for another busy season of burgers, brats, steaks and kebabs. But all that masterful grilling needs an equally masterful wine to accompany it, right? We put together a fail-proof Wine + Grill Guide for all your cookout festivities this summer.

 

Grilled Beef: Whether it’s burgers or steaks, you’ll need a red that has the guts to stand up to the high fat and protein content of red meat. Try out wines with bigger bodies and firmer tannins, like the Alois “Campole” Aglianico, Shinas Estate “The Guilty” Shiraz, or a classic Cali Cab like Fortnight.

 

Grilled Chicken: For chicken, it all depends on how you make it. Are you grilling up lean cuts with a squeeze of fresh lemon and veggies on the side? Try out a fruity, lighter bodied Chardonnay like Brea from California’s Central Coast or a young Gamay from France like the Chateau de la Greffiere. Are you grilling up thighs, wings or legs? Go for a bigger option like a medium-oaked Chardonnay (try Seven of Hearts) or a Rhone blend, like Guigal or Rouge-Bleu’s Mistral.

 

Grilled Pork: If you’re going red for your grilled pork, go with a Merlot-based Bordeaux like Argadens or a domestic Merlot like Esser, or a fuller-bodied Cali PN like Sean Minor. For whites, bone-dry Rieslings are fantastic (grab Pfluger from Germany or the exotic Slovenian Verus Riesling), and you will never go wrong with a rosé of any sort!

 

Grilled Vegetables: Lighter Italian reds will go perfect with any grilled veggie dish! Go for the Marchesini Bardolino or the Santa Tresa Frappato, and make sure to serve them with a little chill. For whites, do one of our fantastic Austrian Gruner Veltliners, like Stadt Krems. And again, rosés are your best friend!

 

Grilled Seafood: Mineral-driven Chablis, French Sauvignon Blancs and aromatic whites like Albarino and Riesling are matches made in heaven for seafood on the grill! Try out the Roland Tissier Sancerre or Kentia Albarino for starters. Feeling more adventurous? Grab a bottle of dry Sherry—Fino or Manzanilla. Our favorites are La Guita Manzanilla and Valdespino “En Rama” Manzanilla.

 

These are just the beginnings of a long and successful grilling season. If you’re looking to branch out into the unfamiliar, our wine staff will help you geek out on some killer pairings for every occasion! Cheers to our favorite season!

 

Ground Beef Nirvana

Ground beef is a food that can easily be taken for granted. It's not quite in the boneless, skinless chicken breast of the meat world but it certainly is treated as a blank slate for seasoning, cheese, condiments, and any other number of adulterations.

We wanted a ground beef that would impress. Something that would stand out on its own as beefy, rich, and delicious. First we needed to decide which parts of the cow to use in our grind. A lot of ground beef is trim that is churned up without much thought to the where or why. Our experimenting involved pulling meat from various sections of the animal and seeing which ones cooked up most delicious.

There is a noticeable flavor difference in beef from the different sections of the animal. In the end we decided that a majority ground chuck was perfect for our everyday grind and that a combination of brisket, sirloin, loin, and short ribs was a super impactful blend for our premium grind.

Next we knew that we would want to offer a coarser grind than most commercially ground beef. This can help keep the fat in and also just has a nicer texture when biting into it a burger. We just like the openness of the coarse grind and how it avoids an overly chewy bite.

Finally we had to make some decisions on fat content. Fat carries flavor and juiciness so it was clear that a 95/5 or even 85/15 wasn't going to make the statement we wanted.  Of course we know there are some that still think fat is a bad thing so we couldn't go completely rogue. That means our Everyday is 80/20  and our Premium is 70/30. Decadence requires decadence.

Certainly we feel our Everyday grind is worthy of your hamburgers--it's plenty delicious. It's also the beef for your meatloaf, chili, meatballs, etc. However, we've converted scores of our customers to exclusively using our Premium grind for their burgers. It's a little more of an indulgence but we think it is 100% worth it.

Bought some ground beef from us? We'd love to hear what you think,

The Bone-In Ribeye

There's something quite primordial about the bone-in steak. Something visceral leaps in our hearts when we see a giant piece of meat attached to a giant bone. You know, something like this:

There's a reason why rib-eye steaks are a favorite of many of our customers: they're delicious. Tender, with the perfect amount of fat, these are luxurious steaks that convert non-beef eaters into believers.

Our suggestion is to take one of these big guys (one steak should easily feed two people or more), sear both sides in a hot cast iron pan, and finish in the oven until a perfect medium rare. It really is that easy and a similar experience at a restaurant would easily cost two to three times as much. And, as if you needed more convincing, we source some of the beefiest, humanely raised rib-eye in town.