An Israeli startup is testing 3D-printed, plant-based steaks for market, Reuters reported. The company, Redefine Meat, hopes to fill a niche in the ever-growing alternative meat market. If it’s not for you, these grilling tips for meat might be.
According to Reuters, a company founded in 2018 is already making trailblazing advances in the meat substitute industry. “Israeli startup Redefine Meat plans to launch 3D printers to produce plant-based steaks mimicking real beef next year in a bid for a slice of the fast-growing alternative meat market,” the article said. “Meat substitutes are increasingly popular with consumers concerned about animal welfare and the environment, boosting sales at Beyond Meat, Impossible Foods, and Nestle. Redefine Meat, based in Rehovot, south of Tel Aviv, will first market test its ‘Alt-Steak’ at high-end restaurants this year before rolling out its industrial-scaled 3D printers to meat distributors in 2021.”
If the thought of a meat alternative—especially one made in a 3D printer—makes you bristle, not to worry: There are still plenty of ways to utilize the animal-based variety like a pro.
Measuring Meat Doneness
The late chef Bill Briwa, chef-instructor at The Culinary Institute of America, taught several lecture series for The Great Courses before his untimely passing in 2018. One of those courses focused specifically on mastering outdoor cooking—something about which grill fanatics need to know plenty. There he applied his knowledge and experience to help the everyday gourmet get their start.
One of the most common issues for cooking meats is how to tell when the meat is cooked without cutting a big, ugly mark into it. The answer, Chef Briwa said, is at your fingertips.
“To tell when meat is done cooking, relax your hand and poke yourself in the heel of your palm, and your relaxed palm will feel like raw meat. If you touch your thumb to your first finger, your palm firms up almost imperceptibly, and it goes from feeling like raw meat to rare meat. If you touch your thumb to your middle finger—do not press, just touch it—your palm firms up again, and that’s what medium meat feels like.
“If you touch your thumb to your ring finger, your palm feels like medium-well meat. If you touch your thumb to your little finger, your palm is very firm, and that’s what well-done meat feels like.”
Putting the “Value” in Value Cuts
But what if you don’t know where to start? Part of being a household chef is choosing which cut of meat to cook, and this is an interesting topic in the food industry.
“A number of years ago, the beef industry was only too aware of the fact that consumers were clamoring for a limited selection of familiar and tender cuts that represent about 40% of the meat available from the entire animal: New York Strip, filet, T-Bone, porterhouse, ribeye, and prime rib,” Chef Briwa said. “With the popularity of these cuts, availability decreased and price increased.”
As this happened, the industry took a second glance at some overlooked and underrated cuts of meat that were readily available, inexpensive, and delicious. Three of them that have found new popularity in homes across the nation include flat iron steak, hanger steak, and teres major.
“The flat iron steak is a cut from the shoulder beneath the blade bone,” Chef Briwa said. “Tender when sliced thin and richly marbled, this cut has a tough piece of connective tissue that separates it in half, but this tough tissue is most often removed by the butcher before it’s sold.”
Next is the hanger steak, which Chef Briwa explained is an internal muscle that controls the diaphragm. It’s also often called “the butcher’s tender,” since butchers often keep this cut for themselves. Chef Briwa advised slicing it across the grain when eating.
“The teres major, or the petit tender, is a cut from the chuck, or the shoulder. It is similar in shape to the beef filet, but it is about a quarter of the size. The similarity doesn’t end there, because after the filet, the teres major is the most tender and leanest cut on the animal.
“Search for these cuts and you will be rewarded with great-tasting grilled meats that don’t bust your budget the way filet or strip steak might.”
This article contains material taught by Chef Bill Briwa. A popular chef-instructor at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), Briwa worked in the hospitality business as a professional chef and culinary instructor for experts and laypeople around the world for more than 30 years.