What is kalitiran? When first asked the question many months ago, a little out of context, duhhâ€¦ I thought it might be salitre or salt peterâ€¦ I have to admit that my command of even the English names of cuts of meat is highly limited, so asking me the Filipino translations is not a good idea. Now I know it is a cut of beef. But the problem is, which cut is it? The internet is searched for basic information these days, but I have to say it often yields incorrect, inaccurate, incomplete, misleading or simply uninformed data that needs to be cross-checked with some other sources to ensure a reasonable degree of accuracyâ€¦ If you do a search on kalitiran, kalitiran is referred to as either beef chuck, brisket, possibly flank steak, etc. Actually, the best hint of what it really was came from Chef Chris who thought it was meat from around the bones of the legs of the cowâ€¦ At any rate, I came across a package of frozen kalitiran a couple of weeks ago at Cash & Carry Supermarket for a very reasonable PHP200 for 2/3 of a kilo and it looked good so I bought it.
Back home, I whipped out my two favorite meat reference books, The Meat Buyerâ€™s Guide (published by the North American Meat Processors Association), a clinical and visual guide to cuts from all types of legged animals that cost me more than a cow would in some countries, and The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly. I was rapidly confoundedâ€¦all I could figure out is that the kalitiran probably did not come from the upper two-thirds of the cow or what is commonly referred to as the Chuck, Rib, Loin and Round of the cow. I was now down to the lower sections. Finally, after much research, it simply dawned on me that I should call my favorite and brilliant butcher (who will remain unnamed as I donâ€™t want a deluge of folks to discover himâ€¦heehee, selfish, I know) and ask him what kalitiran was and in an instant he answered, â€œshin-shank sir.â€ And that put an end to that mystery. The kalitiran is apparently the litid rich (tendons?) meat around the foreshanks and hindshanks of a cow. It is what surrounds the bone and is sliced and sold without the bones. It is tasty and great when cooked very slowly (and possibly when grilled over hot flames very quickly). Countries such as Australia and New Zealand donâ€™t seem to consume much of their supply (a by-product of all the good cuts of beef they have) and instead export the kalitiran cut to Taiwan, Korea and other places that appreciate this fantastic cut of meat… like here. Recipe coming upâ€¦