When planning a weekly meal list and choosing to feature beef on the menu, most Brits would instinctively consider home comforts like roast beef, spaghetti bolognese or cottage pie. The likelihood of opting for cuts such as beef cheek, short rib or brisket don’t normally make the cut to make it into your top three go-tos, or potentially even top 10.
However, these former ‘off cuts’ of beef are some of the cheapest available to purchase and can be hard to mess up when cooked low and slow. Consumers may be put off by the high prices they see in restaurants for meals featuring these cuts and assume that would correlate to the ingredients’ prices. So why is it that cheap cuts are expensive in restaurants?
While the cut itself may be cheap, chefs look to add value to the dish and show off their culinary prowess. Beef cheeks, for example, are one of the hardest working muscles in the animal – just imagine chewing on grass all day – meaning they store a healthy amount of connective tissue known as collagen. When cooked correctly and left for a long time, the fibres break down to create a tender and succulent piece of meat, perfect for chefs to build up a rich flavour profile.
By championing the less popular and cheaper cuts, chefs are able to take advantage of unfamiliar sounding meals, meaning they can charge consumers a tax for inquisitiveness.
What’s more, since these dishes are becoming more popular in restaurants, restaurants are able to charge more – the supply and demand effect. The increase in popularity is stemming from the uptake in the American BBQ trend and reducing waste from the nose to tail phenomenon.
While these delicious cuts may be expensive in restaurants, they’re not expensive to cook at home! So read on for our recommendations for how to elevate a cheap cut to a priceless meal at home.
Beef cheeks hold lots of delicious potential and with their ability to absorb flavour, they should be on its way to becoming a new staple in your kitchen. They may not be available in every supermarket but should be available upon request in most local butchers. In combination with chipolatas and a few more simple ingredients, beef cheek can make the perfect ragu. Check out this slow cooker recipe here for the full details.
Brisket is a cut of meat from the breast or lower chest and is best when cooked low and slow. While this cut of meat might not be the one if you’re looking for a quick meal, it will certainly go down a treat if you give it the time.
This slow cooker brisket pot roast will make cooking your wintery Sunday dinner a breeze. Simply sear your brisket in a pan with oil then pop it into the slow cooker on a Sunday morning along with seasoning, beef stock and a good glug of red wine.
This cut is a small rib bone portion, which is surrounded by meat and very little fat. Short rib is particularly popular in Korean, Chinese, and Jewish cuisines. Similar to the beef brisket, they do need a longer cooking time for proper cooking and juicy tenderness.
This slow cooker recipe for delicious short ribs with to-die-for gravy only uses ingredients you probably already have in your cupboard.
Make sure you share pictures with us on social media if you try of these winter warmer meals!