Poor Man’s Rib Eye. The Chuck Eye Steak
People are always looking for a nice steak to grill, but with beef prices rising it’s getting difficult to buy for a reasonable price. Typically a grilling steak is classified as the middle meats which includes loin and rib meat. Well what if you’re on a budget and are looking for the next best thing?
Look no further then the chuck eye steak. The chuck is mostly used for roasting but the chuck holds a little secret. When butchers are breaking down whole beef they separate the chuck, which is behind the neck of the cow, from the rib. Butchers make the separation between the 5th and 6th rib. Ribs six through twelve are where you get rib eye steaks. The chuck eye steak comes from the area of the 5th rib. Now you know why its called the chuck eye.
When at the meat department you will look for a package called “chuck eye steak” and not “chuck steak” and here’s why.
A butcher can’t just grab a whole chuck and make a simple cut to get you a chuck eye steak. He or she must take a roast-sized cut from the end where the 5th rib was. Once cut, the butcher has to know where to seam out the chuck eye from the rest of the roast. The rest of the chuck can now be cut up for roasts or chuck steaks. So from a large chuck, a butcher will only get two chuck eye steaks. Chuck steaks are not good for grilling like a steak. It’s better when thin and used for carne asada or pan fried.
When buying a chuck you want to make sure there is not too much fat in the middle. If there is, then the steak is not worth the money, so just wait until next time. If there is excess fat at the bottom of the chuck eye, then the butcher is trying to make a little extra off of you so you may ask if he can cut the fat off or cut you a new steak. The butcher may not want to go through the trouble of cutting a new check eye so they may just cut off the extra fat.
When cooking the chuck eye steak you must remember that its not a rib eye but it is close. Because it’s not, you don’t want to cook it well done or it will toughen up and be best only for the family dog at that point. I like to marinate it for a few hours then take it out of the refrigerator for about 20-25 min. Remember that if your house is hot then you may only be able to keep your meat out of refrigeration for 10-15 min. I then cook the meat until it gets to an internal temperature of 135-140. Take the steak off the gill and let rest another 10 min.
That’s all there is to it. You just have to know what to buy and how to cook it and you can still have a nice steak at a nicer price.
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