In the past year meat prices have been through the roof. Why? Of course it's all about supply and demand but what does it really mean? I'm sure you realize that last year’s vegetable harvest was minimal due to draughts across the country. This had a trigger effect on other edibles such as chicken and beef, in part because fodder prices rose as well. Secondly, farmers also slowed down their breeding of cattle as a result of the higher cost of food production.
Personally, it has been making me feel a bit guilty to eat beef when I consider the energy and time it takes to grow a pound of beef, and the amount of by-product wasted. To make a quarter pound of hamburger it takes, 6.5 pounds of grains and forage, 50 gallons drinking water and irrigating feed crops, 75 square feet of land from grazing and growing feed crops and 1000 BTUS for feed production and transport. That’s enough to power a typical microwave for 18 minutes.
Source: J.L. Capper Journal of Animal Science, December 2011
Nevertheless I have to admit that I still get a kick out of biting into a barbaric hunk of meat now and then. It's utterly satisfying and definitely reserved for special occasions in my life. Indeed the fact that there are now over seven billion people on our planet should make us even more mindful that something will have to change in the general population’s eating habits - and let's face it, this starts with ourselves. My commitment for now is that I'm eating beef once a week – not much compared with the average American consumption. The high prices of top cuts like filet mignon, tender strip steaks, porterhouse or T-bone steak are barely affordable anymore, so it’s an opportunity to reconsider those less desirable cuts such as top roast, brisket, flank steak, flat iron steak, hanger steak, chicken steak, blade steak, faux filet and so on. These cuts may have a gazillion different names in your local store but you'll recognize them by their relatively low low price tag! A few preparation and marinating steps in the kitchen are necessary to get the less tender off-cuts to the right texture. This way you'll be able to enjoy the welcome beefiness now and then.
Skillet Roasted Steak
(recipe makes four portions)
32 oz flank steak, trimmed
1/4 cup Kosher salt
1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
Black pepper from the mill, to taste Sea salt, to taste
2 tablespoons vegetable oil such as grape seed or canola oil
1) cut meat into four evenly seized pieces
2) In a bowl mix Kosher salt with 1 quart of water with a whisk until salt has dissolved
3) Put steak into the salted water and brine for 12 hours refrigerated
4) Pour salted water off the meat then add teriyaki sauce and marinate for 6 hours
5) Heat a skillet on high heat setting, then add the oil and the meat pieces. Cook meat for 6 minutes turn heat setting to medium, and turn meat over and continue to cook 3 more minutes
6) Transfer steaks to a plate and rest the cooked meat for 5 - 10 minutes - this distributes the meat juices in the cooked steak. In addition it keeps the juice in the meat when slicing
7) Cut steaks 45 degrees against the natural meat grain