I have recently finished two articles on food scheduled for publication in December and January, and as part of the “research” for one of those articles, I found myself at my favorite purveyor of meats, cheeses and other imported ingredients, S&L Fine Foods, and was thrilled to be amongst the first people to have a sneak peek at their newly arrived stock of Meyer Natural Angus Beef. The container from the U.S. had only been unloaded a few hours before, so this was like seriously straight off the boat… Meyer is an esteemed brand of U.S. premium beef, angus cattle raised from birth without hormones or antibiotics, free to roam part of the day and certified “humane” and raised on a vegetarian diet (kind of ironic, I know).
Sinan, the proprietor of S&L, took out several packages of beef, and some of the plastic wrapper/bags was hard to see through, but other visible pieces clearly displayed a marbling of fat that was to die for. I was so excited when he took out a package of meaty ribs that I asked if I could purchase it for home consumption. But the meat was so new that they hadn’t even finished a price list for the goods, so none of it was for sale, yet. Bummer.
Instead, Sinan had the butcher take out some back ribs, less the meatiest parts, and asked if I would like to try those. They were part of a portion that they earlier used to sample the beef, to make sure it was top quality. This was the equivalent of getting a non-prime cut, but of the finest flavor profile. Think of a giant roast beef on the bone… the meat is superb, but the parts around the bones, that you gnaw on like a cave man are the most tasty and succulent pieces… He refused payment, despite my protestations, and I accepted the generous sample. Back at home, I took this photo and can only describe the piece as beautiful. Rarely do I wax poetic about a raw piece of meat and bone, but just look at this stunning vision! :)
I waited a couple of days before cooking the ribs, battling with instinct on the one hand that said perhaps these had to be marinated and slow-cooked or roasted in an oven before grilling them over coals vs. just going straight to the coals version. Sinan had suggested the latter, but I was worried they would be tough, chewy and dry. I decided to go against my gut and started up a charcoal fire and let it go 15 minutes past its prime, parted the coals so the heat was indirect, and simply salted and peppered the meat, brushed it with a bit of oil and laid it on the grill. Despite the lack of coals directly under the meat, oil still caused a flare-up or two, but nothing unmanageable. Flipped the piece over and total cooking time couldn’t have been more than 12 minutes or so…
After resting the meat, unintentionally longer than I should have, some 15 minutes as a dinner companion was late, I cut up the ribs and they were medium cooked, and wonderfully flavored. Delicious! A bit on the dry side, but I suspect that’s the cut of meat (or should I say bones with meat), and I would certainly not pass up another chance to enjoy this simple but delicious preparation. I can’t wait until the Meyer beef is finally available to customers… This year’s beefy Christmas Holiday Meal is definitely going to be a Meyer Natural Angus Beef product. :)