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April 21, 2005

At the grocery store, beef was on sale in a big way. Full sirloin primals*, ranging from 10 to 15 pounds, on sale for $1.79/pound. Since ordinary ground beef was selling for $2.59, I figured the worst that could happen was that I'd have ten pounds of inexpensive ground beef. I searched through the refrigerated bin for a small one with minimal fat. No sense paying for something I wouldn't be eating.

I asked the butcher what my carving options would be with such a hunk of beef, and he was good enough to show me the right places to slice to get steaks and roasts, and even a combination thereof.

Armed with this knowledge and, as soon as I got home, my trusty toadsticker chef's knife, I went to work on the sirloin.

I knew I was in trouble when, after trimming off the fat that can never be completely avoided, I realized that half an hour had passed. Half an hour? How did that happen?

Following the trimming, slicing the steaks off was simplicity itself. Separating the remainder into roasts, however, was a challenge. Frankly, I don't know how the guys working behind the meat counter do it. OK, OK, sure — they do it all the time, but still... this wasn't easy. It was like performing surgery while wearing boxing gloves: you can see where you have to cut, and you can see the little bits you ought to remove, but actually doing it is a different matter altogether.

It's a good thing I never wanted to be a butcher.

Suffice it to say, however, that I now have about 8.5 pounds of beef bagged and tagged in the deep freeze, and about 3/4-pound of fat in the garbage.

There was a nice 12-ounce steak too, but it seems to have disappeared.... along with the horseradish. It's pretty odd how that happens, isn't it?

* If you watch Good Eats, you know what a "primal" is. If you don't watch, shame on you. The primal is the large chunk of cow from which the cuts one normally buys — sirloin steak or rib roasts, for instance — are butchered.

Posted by Russ at 11:01 PM, April 21, 2005 in Miscellany

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Fed-ex has a nifty dry-ice overnight pak and Hogonice will accept sub-pound fat shipments.

Posted by: Stephen at May 3, 2005 12:48 PM