Five things to do with secondary cuts of meat… and the big joke the butchers played on the rest of the world


Secondary cuts of meat. I’m pretty sure that was a term early butchers made up to keep societies elite away from the tastiest cuts of meat. So yes, secondary cuts is a term used to describe the tastiest pieces of meat from a beast. I can hear the laughter of many an old school butcher right now, but I’m onto you little butcher man. I know your game and I know where you live so don’t eff with me.

And your local butcher (maybe not the one from coles or woollies cos they have to live in glass cages and only eat meat pies) is a great person to ask if you want more information about these cuts of meat or even other recipes. Ask him/her (yeah, girls can be butchers now too) what his/her favourite way to cook certain cuts, etc. Chances are he would’ve tried every piece of meat he sells, and if he hasn’t he is probably not an actual butcher, merely two sideshow midgets (one standing on the others shoulders) in a striped apron, posing as a butcher.

Today I’m going to talk about some of my favourite ‘secondary’ cuts and what to do with them. I will probably also engage your sense’s with witty monologue. Maybe.

How could I best describe this to the average Joe? (Not that I think anyone who reads this is ‘average’. No siree. Beautiful and unique snow flakes. The lot of you. Apart from you that is. Yeah , you know who I’m talking to). What’s the first thing that comes into my mind… tastes like yum. Yep that’s the easiest way for me to describe these bits of meat. They also enjoy being bathed for hours in a nice drop of wine, as do I, so we are automatically great friends. Read on…

Beef Brisket

From the breast of the cow, it has a nice percentage of fat rolling through it for great flavour. And don’t be a pussy, a little bit of fat is OK, and a lot of it renders down after the long cooking process that this piece of meat is going to get treated to. It can also handle big flavours cos it isn’t a blubbering little girl like the fillet.

Beef Cheeks or Beef Shin

Both are very muscular cuts of meat, so once cooked, are gelatinous and beautiful. Kinda like a lamb shank, and can be prepared quite similarly. Braised in red wine and whatever else you have in the fridge or cupboard is my favourite. If you have never tried beef cheeks, you should. They’re kinda like sex – everyone should try it at least once and if you’re lucky, you can have it a whole heap. And cheaper than a Thai lady-boy… like 3 or 4 bucks a pop…

My brother Matt has one in the oven right now, and I am bloody excited to be sucking that juicy meat back. The beef shin that is. Not the lady-boy.

Pork Hock

Another muscular cut like the shin. Whack one of those babies in the pressure cooker with whatever Asian flavours you can conjure up and I’m gonna be a happy man each and every time you do it. Jenny cooked them for dinner a couple of posts back and here’s one I cooked last week, braised with tamarind, five spice and soy… mmm… nom nom

Beef Ribs

Treat them just like pork ribs, but get your rib on for under half the price.

Lamb Breast

As the name would imply, this is the breast of the lamb. Same as the beef brisket, it has a bit of fat rolling through it. Make a stuffing out of some nice stuff that would taste good with lamb – leftover currant and pinenut pilaf, or sautéed onion and garlic with dried figs and bread crumbs. Stuff it, roll it, cook it. Yep, we’re really ‘sticking it to the man’ now. Less then a tenner for that one.

Chicken wings

The cheapest piece of meat in the world. A lot of people buy them for dog food. Are you effing kidding me? Chicken wings are the best bit of the chook. Make a simple marinade out of sweet soy sauce, chilli sauce and tomato sauce and go for gold. BBQ, pan fry or roast in the oven. Crumb or dusk them with salt and pepper flour and deep fry them. Braise them in a curry. Simply roast them with sea salt and ground white pepper and dip them in homemade mayonnaise. I need to stop. I have to go and buy some chicken wings. Seriously.



The moral of this story? Well, i clearly can’t count to five very well, and my morals are fairly loose at the best of times so let me just say this. Get in your chariot wearing your best Victorian era clothes, with Buddy Holly glasses and a ‘flying V’ guitar, and head down to your local butchers. Drink a bottle of gin on the way and see what you come back with, if in fact you come back with anything at all.

3 responses to “Five things to do with secondary cuts of meat… and the big joke the butchers played on the rest of the world”

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