Meat 101

By Published On: February 26th, 2016Categories: Meat0 Comments on Meat 101
After all those fishes at Christmas I am craving beef!
Here’s the roast after it’s been tied, rubbed with herbs, stuck with garlic, and browned.

This beautiful 3 lb. roast came from my friends Duncan and Susan Blair’s small, family owned and operated grass-fed beef ranch right here in Santa Cruz County, Arizona. To learn more go to: Some of the best beef I’ve ever tasted.

Sirloin roasts are cut from the back of the cow toward the rump. In this diagram, they are the cuts next to the butt or rump.
Later in this blog I’m going to talk about a butchering workshop my husband and I attended put on by Rio Santa Cruz Ranch. Most of us buy a piece of meat neatly plastic-wrapped on a Styrofoam tray at our local grocery store and don’t think too much about the animal from where the meat came, but I think it’s important to remember the meat we are eating was once a vital, living being. Duncan and Susan’s beef are raised with love on what he calls the best salad bar in the west! Now, on to the recipe…

3 lb. Tri-tip Sirloin Roast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3-4 cloves garlic, sliced
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 Tbsp. butter
Several sprigs of rosemary for roasting
3 onions, cut into eighths
4 carrots, peeled and left whole
1-8 ounce pkg. portabello mushrooms, left whole
2 more cloves garlic for the roasting pan

Preheat oven 400 degrees. Tie the roast to ensure it does not fall apart when cooking. Rub the meat with herbs, salt, peppers and pierce the meat with the tip of a sharp knife and insert garlic throughout. Heat the oil and butter in a heavy skillet on high heat and brown all sides. In the same skillet, add the veg and top with rosemary. Place in 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Turn heat down to 350 degrees and cook another 45 minutes for medium rare roast.

I served the Tri-Tip Roast with the vegetables roasted with the meat, peas and butternut squash. So easy and very satisfying!

MEAT 101
Last fall my husband, Jerry and I attended a butchering workshop at the University of Arizona’s Meat Lab which is officially known as the Food Products and Safety Lab headed by Dr. Sam Garcia.
One half of a cow was donated by Duncan Blair for the demonstration and Dr. Garcia methodically butchered the cow discussing the where’s and why’s of each cut as he did. Truly fascinating!

Duncan Blair introducing Meat 101 and #25 which you see hanging.

The “class” took about 4 hours as Dr. Garcia answered many questions from a curious group of students…including me! In real-life butchering situations it would take about half that time and several people would be working at one time.

Dr. Garcia begins his work.

One of the things that amazed me is that the process of butchering a cow is very manual. An electric saw was used for cross cutting the carcass, but for the most part the butchering is done by hand with a very large knife. Dr. Garcia was continually sharpening that knife which hung, along with the sharpening rod, on a rope tied around his waist.

Tackling ribs.

And now it is done and ready for packaging. This animal’s live weight at slaughter was just over 1200 lbs., carcass weight approximately 600 lbs. That means the weight Quality grade was choice, exterior fat thickness was slightly greater than 1/2″. This all gets pretty technical so if you want to learn more, go to:

I also recently made Beef Wellington with 2 of The Rio Santa Cruz’s tenderloin cuts; one of my favorite cuts of beef. The tenderloin contains very little fat and is the most tender cut. To learn more about the tenderloin cut, go to: Filet mignon, used in Beef Wellington, is the small, tender round of steak cut from the thick end of a beef tenderloin. In French Filet Mignon means “tender filet” or “dainty filet”.

This diagram makes it a little easier to see exactly where the tenderloin sits.


I saved the smaller piece for another use.

For the Wellington, I tried a new recipe that my friend Joyce sent me on Face Book. It was very good, but I would change a couple things. First I will give you the original recipe and then I will suggest a couple, very minor changes.

Beef Wellington served with mashed sweet potatoes topped with
crushed pecans and cranberries and French-style green beans.

2 filet mignons
3 Tbsp. butter
6 oz. mushroom, cut in small pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup sherry
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 sheet of puff pastry, cut in half
1 egg, slightly bean to make an egg wash

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place butter in a skillet over high heat and brown filets on all sides. Remove from skillet. Spread 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard on each filet.

Add mushrooms, garlic, salt, and pepper. Let cook about 5 minutes. Add sherry and thyme sprigs and cook another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Roll out pastry dough to make a little thinner. Put the pastry dough on a sheet of plastic wrap. Place 3 Tbsp. mushroom mixture in center of pastry dough. Top with filet and another 3 Tbsp. mushroom mixture. Gently pull the pastry dough around each filet sealing completely. Use the plastic wrap to help secure the dough by twisting the ends of the plastic wrap to form a neat ball of filet stuffed dough. Brush the dough with slightly beaten egg which helps brown the pastry.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

What I’d do differently:
Liberally salt and pepper the filets before they are cooked. Unless you like your filet medium rather than rare, skip the browning step. Because the filet is sitting in a bed of mushrooms, visually it makes no difference and the meat will stay more rare while baking. I would cook the Wellington’s only until the puff pastry is nicely browned. The meat will continue cooking when removed from oven.
Use less Dijon mustard. A very light smear of mustard is good, but this was too much. Also add a light smear of anchovy paste. This enhances the flavor of the meat and will not make your meat taste fishy. I loved the mushroom duxelles, but would’ve added a few minced shallots. Otherwise, an excellent recipe. Thank you Joyce!

All for today on the meat workshop. Hope you enjoyed reading as much as I did writing!

MOOOOOOving right along….UNTIL NEXT TIME!





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