In praise of teres major (and chimichurri)

photo 2(4) (480x640)It pays to listen to people who love good food. Case in point, teres major, a cut of beef that most folks (me included) haven’t heard of. I’d seen it for sale at the butcher’s, but it wasn’t until a friend, Steve Shuler, mentioned that this bit of steak from the shoulder was as tender as filet but had a lot more taste that I decided that I had to try it. Steve’s an avid cook and barbecue expert, so I knew he could make a better-than-educated statement about the beef — he’s a smart guy, even if he’s a South Carolina Gamecocks fan (nobody’s perfect).

So I headed down to H.A.M. to grab a slab of teres major, slapped some salt and fresh-cracked pepper on it, and hit it with a hot cast-iron skillet. The pieces are long, like a tenderloin, and slice into perfect medallions. The result? Meltingly tender beef bursting with flavor. It’s like a ribeye and a filet had a wonderful secret baby that only a few people knew about. Apparently this little bit of beef is a pain in the neck to harvest from the animal, so it isn’t common. Lucky for Little Rock, we have an uncommon meat market at our disposal — uncommonly good.

To pair with the steak, I made a quick chimichurri sauce, something that one of our other butchers, Travis McConnell of Butcher and Public, got me hooked on. This is a simple, fresh sauce that goes well with any sort of meat and adds a light burst of wonderful flavor and color to any dish.

Chimichurri

  • IMG_07181 cup fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 small onion (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Juice of one lemon (or lime)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • salt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse the onion and garlic in a food processor until they are roughly chopped (not pureed). Add the parsley, cilantro, and spices, then pulse again until they have been roughly chopped and incorporated. Dump everything in a bowl and add the olive oil, stirring to mix thoroughly. Taste, then adjust the salt, pepper, and acid to your liking. Serve.

I love discovering new things to cook, and this cut of beef is one of the best discoveries yet. I’ll have to echo Steve’s recommendation, and I urge you all to try it if you haven’t. It’s relatively cheap, and the flavor is beyond fantastic. Happy cooking!

photo 3(1) (480x640)

 

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