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Old 03-18-2008, 05:40 PM   #1
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Stew meat to stir fry...

I was in the store yesterday and stew beef was like a really good buy. so I asked the butcher whats the difference between stew beef and stir fry beef? He says it's just the cut. SO, I've been wanting fajitas and stir fry, and eventually some stew, so I get almost 4 lbs of stew beef. We are 2.
So this evening I get out my new, slicing knife and my new santaku and start slicing away at chunks of meat. Slice them down to like gummy bear sized slivers. Got some mary elizabeth seasoning mixes, south of the border and salsa verde for the fajitas and thai curry for the stir fry...
mixed the fajita spices with olive oil and then a shot of balsalmic vineger and the for the stir fry rice wine vineger ...

about halfway through the process I called a chef friend cause I got to wondering, what would happen if I cut the meat across the vein... cause, I have been eyeing a leg of lamb, knife in hand, she never answered that question, but she reminded me that stew beef is cheaper because it's generally tougher than stir fry meat.

Which is why I added the vinegar...

Oh yeah, I put both concoctions in bottles and pulled a vacuum on them. Whatever this is going to taste like, the flavor is going to be through and through.

Now my question is this. Are these two meats going to taste awesomely nasty?
I love to experiment with food. I will put darn near anything together unless I just know it wont work.
I eat spices... and spice mixes like the mary elizabeths finger dab by finger dab and I essentially take shots of lee and perrins... I love the taste of lea and perrins.

Now are these two meats, the fajita meat and the stir fry meat going to taste awesomely nasty?
Are they rescue-able? I have time to toss them out and start over again...
Anybody ever seen a cook book that gave like basic mixtures of spices to flavor a given nationalities food?

Was buying stew meat with the intention of slivering it to get stir fry and fajita meat a patently dumb idea?
I also have visions of buying stew meat and a leg of lamb and cutting it up to make other things like kabobs and stir fry and fakitas and running it through a grinder and making burger...
Do i need to get a grip and slowly back away from the knives?

I am smiling as I write this

I must say though that taking a good sharp, comfortably handled knife to some meat is relaxing, sort in the same way that firing a gun is.

Help!

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Old 03-18-2008, 05:59 PM   #2
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Stew meat is called 'stew' meat because it has to stew. No pun intended, it's tough, tough, and needs to cook long and slow before it's tender. For fajitas, you'd be better served with skirt steak.

It sounds like your pieces are small enough, which is a good thing. If they are not, when you bite into the fajita, you're going to pull the whole thing out in one bite.

All the skirt steak would need is a bit of olive oil, lime juice, fresh crushed garlic, fresh thyme and cumin. S&P to taste.

You'll find the same is true for your lamb leg. It needs long, slow cooking to tenderize it.
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Old 03-18-2008, 07:07 PM   #3
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well why do lamb chops cook so fast, dont they come from the leg?

I need to read my cook books, but sounds to much like asking for directions when lost, or reading directions when putting something together
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Old 03-18-2008, 10:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vilasman View Post
well why do lamb chops cook so fast, dont they come from the leg?
No, they come from the rib or loin area. Legs and shoulders of animals are tougher because they get more use while the animal is alive. More tender meat, from the back and rib, doesn't get used as much.

Check this out: http://starchefs.com/features/lamb/i...am_diagram.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by vilasman View Post
I need to read my cook books, but sounds to much like asking for directions when lost, or reading directions when putting something together
Cooking is chemistry - just ask Shirley Corriher or Alton Brown Would it help to think of it that way?

One of our exchange students gave me this book by Alton Brown: Amazon.com: I'm Just Here for the Food: Food + Heat = Cooking: Alton Brown: Books It's all about the science of cooking, and includes four fridge magnets that are diagrams of a chicken, lamb, pig and cow, like above, showing you where each cut of meat comes from. Might be worth a look.
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Old 03-19-2008, 12:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VeraBlue View Post
Stew meat is called 'stew' meat because it has to stew. No pun intended, it's tough, tough, and needs to cook long and slow before it's tender. For fajitas, you'd be better served with skirt steak.

It sounds like your pieces are small enough, which is a good thing. If they are not, when you bite into the fajita, you're going to pull the whole thing out in one bite.

All the skirt steak would need is a bit of olive oil, lime juice, fresh crushed garlic, fresh thyme and cumin. S&P to taste.

You'll find the same is true for your lamb leg. It needs long, slow cooking to tenderize it.
I agree with you VERABLUE. As I was reading the original post I was amazed that a butcher would tell a customer that stew beef and stir fry beef are the same except for the cut. Stew beef is, as you say, meant to be stewed or braised for a long time and slowly. It is a tough cut of meat, while stir fry beef is meant to be cooked very quickly over high heat so is a much more tender cut. Usually this beef is skirt or sirloin. Stew beef is for stewing, no matter how you cut it.
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Old 03-19-2008, 01:00 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vilasman View Post
Anybody ever seen a cook book that gave like basic mixtures of spices to flavor a given nationalities food?
I posted this recently: Combining acids & aromatics, etc.?

HTH.
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:39 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info, Gotgarlic...
Actually I have made fajitas and I just made stir fry and it wasn't bad or chewy or tough at all. I didn't put in any salsa in with the beef for stir fry and I can taste that it dosent have it but it was ok.

I wont make the same mistake twice, I will buy a better cut of meat next time, but I need to use this up.

I actually have the meat charts, in my better homes and garden cookbook, that is actually one of the reasons I bought that cookbook.

He was a grocercy store butcher perhaps he didnt fully know his trad
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Old 03-19-2008, 03:48 PM   #8
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cook a few pieces and see how they taste and the overall chewability. You be the judge.
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