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Jenise

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So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:41 am

Long long long ago, I worked with a gal whose father had been a butcher. And she talked about this steak he would bring home. She didn't have a name for it but said there was this very small piece on the chuck primal that was as tender and flavorful as a rib-eye, and her father wouldn't sell them but save them for the family. Each cow only yielded 2 or 3, so he never had enough in his small shop to sell them to anyone else. Most butchers/markets, just grind it into the burger meat she said.

I had no idea what she was talking about. But around 20 years later I was living up here and in the market one day overheard the butcher trying to talk a customer into buying a package of them, and I recognized from what he was saying the story I told above. I reached out my hand and said "I'd like those!"

And I've been looking for them ever since. They're a rare find, some markets indeed don't bother separating and labeling them. But one of the markets near me does--trick is getting to them before someone else does. I don't see them often but I'm never in that store even just for milk that I don't cruise the meat section hunting for Chuck Eye steaks. I'll buy and freeze them for later if I can't use them right then.

Because they're so rare we rarely share them with anyone. But I did share them with my best friend Margot and her husband, preparing them Cowboy style. Cowboy means I dredge each in a mixture that's one third each finely ground coffee, sugar, and kosher salt. The marbelling in the chuck eye steak is so perfect that when the fat melts on the grill, it carmelizes the dredge and creates a sensational, flavorful crust. It reaches an even more delirious height when cooked on lump charcoal. When I served them to Margot and Dave, both beef fanatics, they were stupefied: THIS IS THE BEST FUCKING STEAK I'VE EVER EATEN, one of them said. Then they demanded to know the cut so they could repeat this at home.

I hesitated.

I mean, I struggle to find them myself, did I want to share my secret and risk getting them even less often? (At present, I haven't found any in over six months.) But I did share--after swearing them to secrecy and threatening a painful death should I ever find out they told anyone. Now they treasure-hunt the steaks just like I do. We've tried to game the system: is Monday better than Tuesday? Is 11 a.m. too early, 1 a.m. too late? Nothing's worked. In fact, Margot called one day to ask how many I scored that day. None, hadn't been to the store. UH OH, she said, telling me that Dave had just been to Haggens and asked if there were any in back that hadn't been put out yet. No, he was told, "but we did put out four about an hour ago and a lady who looks for them constantly got to them already." Of course, they presumed it was me. It wasn't, but damn! More competition!

So now if we find them we usually share. And tonight's the night: Dave scored some so we're getting together tonight for Cowboy steaks and big red wines.

Yes, they're THAT good. If you love a rib eye, you'll love these. And they're usually about half the cost. Just beware, they're addictive.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Oct 13, 2018 3:54 pm

A little research and here it is: The rib primal and the chuck primal are separated at the sixth rib. The chuck eye steak is the continuation of the rib eye steak but taken from the fifth rib. Hence, there are only two per carcass (one left, one right).
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Jenise

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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Sat Oct 13, 2018 7:37 pm

Yes! Btw, posting about this got me lucky: today I found four steaks!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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John Treder

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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by John Treder » Sun Oct 14, 2018 12:24 am

Hmm. I'll have to ask the guys over at Willowside Meats.
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Barb Downunder

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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Barb Downunder » Sun Oct 14, 2018 3:04 am

Can’t you just order them from the butcher?
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:53 am

Barb, yes and no. I've asked but none around here have offered to set them aside for me. When they cut up a chuck roast, the eye steaks are separately packaged and go out in the display case for anyone to take. We're getting into the best part of the year, though, a lot more pot roasts being made so more chucks and therefore more steaks.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Barb Downunder » Mon Oct 15, 2018 6:21 am

Jenise I find that really weird. Are they not in the retail service sector? If they already do the cut and package it why can they not do a package to order? Particularly if you made an advance order, they should be able to tell you what days they break down bodies and when the product would be available fresh, or they could offer to cryovac your order for you. Speak to the meat manager if you need to buy from a grocery store.
They should be bending over backwards for discerning customers like you.
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:59 am

Barb Downunder wrote:Jenise I find that really weird. Are they not in the retail service sector? If they already do the cut and package it why can they not do a package to order? Particularly if you made an advance order, they should be able to tell you what days they break down bodies and when the product would be available fresh, or they could offer to cryovac your order for you. Speak to the meat manager if you need to buy from a grocery store. They should be bending over backwards for discerning customers like you.


They do the cut, but it's a byproduct of the need for chuck roasts and there are only two steaks per cow. The amount of chuck needed fluctuates with the demand for that cut which fluctuates with the weather, holidays, and other local influences. Monday is probably a more reliable day than any other, but even then, you have to get there before any other cognizent person. Many stores don't even bother packaging the chuck eye--make a special label just to sell two steaks when people have all those other plentiful cuts to choose from? Nah, too much trouble. Any given Costco for instance probably goes through a zillion chucks a week, but they don't package the chuck eye individually.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bill Buitenhuys

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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:03 pm

So I was in with a local butcher this past weekend to pick up a bone in pork loin, and I asked about chuck eye steaks. He gave me a big smile, said that he just includes that piece in the case along with the rest of the chuck (mostly in roast form), but that is the piece he takes for himself when he wants steak at home. Today I got a phone call from him that he just finished some butchering and has 2 chuck eyes set aside for me. I know what is for dinner tonight.
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Tue Oct 23, 2018 2:47 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:So I was in with a local butcher this past weekend to pick up a bone in pork loin, and I asked about chuck eye steaks. He gave me a big smile, said that he just includes that piece in the case along with the rest of the chuck (mostly in roast form), but that is the piece he takes for himself when he wants steak at home. Today I got a phone call from him that he just finished some butchering and has 2 chuck eyes set aside for me. I know what is for dinner tonight.


Awesome! You're going to love these! (Just don't tell anyone.)
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Bill Buitenhuys » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:22 pm

You were right! I did love them! (Does this break the "Don't tell anyone" statute? And that cowboy rub then grilled over coals, really made it. Lill still prefers the texture of a sirloin, but me, being a ribeye fan, loved the chuck eye for flavor and texture. Being so much cheaper than a ribeye doesn't hurt either!
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Re: So who knows, or cares about, Chuck Eye steaks?

by Jenise » Mon Oct 29, 2018 2:34 pm

I love top sirloin too, so I don't blame Lill. But like you, rib eye is my fave and these are as good and possibly even better. I love that you did the Cowboy dredge too!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov

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