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Bob Hart’s tips for getting the most from your beef

Article image for Bob Hart’s tips for getting the most from your beef



There are a couple of simple ways to lift the quality of the beef dishes you produce on your barbecue, whether it’s gas or solid-fuel powered.


The obvious one is to ensure you know all the right moves. And that. after all, is what we’re here for.


The other – obvious, but often neglected – is to ensure that the beef you buy is the right cut to use for what you have in mind, and is aged beef of excellent quality.


In short, if you want to cook the perfect steak, don’t expect it to happen if you pick up so fresh, pale and sad-looking steak of dubious origin from a local supermarket. Steak, remember, is something you buy from an expert and trustworthy butcher, not from some bargain-basement operation pushing discount prices but ignoring quality and excellence. Trust me…


And while you are at it, try one of my absolute favourite cuts of meat on the barbecue, and you may learn something about the contribution a butcher can make in the process.


The cut I mean is a glorious thing called a tri-tip – simply the point of the rump which, depending how the butcher cuts it for you – will weigh something in excess of 1kg. It’s your call, remember.


This is a prime cut and if, when you request it from your butcher (you are unlikely to find it in any supermarket), he looks at you blankly, you have learnt something else: you have discovered that you need to find a better butcher, IMMEDIATELY! Ask around, and somebody will tell you about one…


The perfect way to cook this cut is to slowly smoke-roast it in, say, a Weber kettle. But if you own only a gas barbecue, that can also work spendidly. Just be patient, and cook it at around 200C.


You must however, have an instant-read digital thermometer to master this, and many other, dishes, so I suggest you invest immediately. The best of these is one called a Thermapen, but there are cheaper ones that work quite well. Your barbecue shop will help.


Just remember, a tri-tip is cut from an active muscle and to keep it moist and tender, as well as about as tasty as a cut of beef can be, it must not be overcooked.


I cook mine to an internal temperature of between 45 C and 50C and then rest it, in a warm (not hot!) place, loosely tented in foil for at least 15 minute, and more if you like.


To serve it, slice it thinly across the grain and serve with plenty of horseradish. And if you are up to knocking out a batch of Yorkshire puddings to go with it, you’ve nailed it!

Peter 'Grubby' Stubbs