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Want to be a 'cut' above the rest? Try ordering like a pro with this restaurant insider's meat guide


Next time you’re out for a meaty meal in Birmingham, try giving the sirloin steak a rest and choose one of chef Jonathan Carter’s underrated favourites…

Jonathan Carter has been in the hospitality business for 20 years. He was Sous Chef at the prestigious 3 AA Rosette Road Hole Restaurant in St Andrews, then worked his way up to Head Chef at Chimes Restaurant in the North West. After leading front-of-house management at The Rose & Crown in Warwick and The Almanack in Kenilworth, he’s now one half of Birmingham catering company Caviar & Chips.​

One of the joys of being a chef is having that bit of cheeky inside knowledge. Today I’m going to share some of my favourite cuts of meat with you. I call them ‘secret’ because only folks in the business seem to know how great they are!

Next time you’re at one of Birmingham’s steak restaurants, order one of these beauties and you’ll be a cut above the rest.

And if you want to cook them at home, try a good Birmingham butcher like Rossiters in Bournville or go a little further afield to Aubrey Allen in Leamington Spa.

1. Onglet Steak: The Butcher’s Cut

Onglet (or Hanger) steak was called ‘the butcher’s cut’ as it was thought only the butchers recognised its amazing flavour and texture, keeping it to themselves.

This French cut is taken from the belly close to the liver and kidneys and has a delicate yet pronounced flavour.

Where to order it in Birmingham

Anderson’s Bar and Grill in the Jewellery Quarter is committed to quality beef and rare breed meats. They work with a select group of breeders and get in different cuts of meat according to availability, with onglet (hanger) often available.

How to cook it at home

Because it’s a delicate steak, it needs care and attention to be at its best, so cook on a high heat in the pan for two to three minutes on each side until rare, then leave it to rest for ten minutes.

Season as it’s resting and serve with a rich dark sauce sliced across the grain – absolutely delicious!

2. Beef Cheek: The Rich, Meaty Cut

Ever seen a herd of cows? What were they doing? I’ll bet you they were eating grass.  Cows do very little else! Because of this, a cow’s cheek is one its most worked muscles and this means melt-in-the-mouth, rich, meaty goodness.

Where to order it in Birmingham

Renowned local chef Glynn Purnell does great things with ox cheek, so head down to the Michelin-starred Purnell's on Cornwall Street where you'll be able to see how a master does it.

How to cook it at home

Heat butter in a pan and seal the cheeks all over until dark, then put them into a stock pot or braising dish. Into the butter add shallots, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.

Splash in a glug of red wine, cook out for a minute or two then pour it all into the braising dish. Top with beef stock and cook for 140 degrees celsius for 6 hours. When it’s done it will fall apart without you even needing a knife. Serve with creamy mash and reduce the stock down to make a sauce.

3. Veal Shank: The Italian Cut

We’re going to travel to Milan, Italy for our next dish, the incredible Osso Bucco. It’s made with five centimetre pieces of veal shank kept on the bone. Shank (or shin) is another underrated cut of meat that goes wonderfully tender after patient cooking.

Where to order it in Birmingham

San Carlo on Temple Street recently introduced Osso Buco with Gnocco Romano, created by their group head chef Filippo Pagani.

How to cook it at home

Brown in oil in a hot pan after covering with flour, then remove and add onion, celery and carrot into the pan with a few bulbs of garlic.

Cover the meat with white wine and chicken stock, then cook for a couple of hours on a low heat, turning the meat every 30 minutes. Serve with saffron risotto for a really fancy finish!

4. Neck of Lamb: The Northern Cut

As a proud Lancashire lad the next dish takes me back to my roots. I grew up eating neck of lamb in the good old Lancashire hot pot. Neck of lamb is a good value cut that can be made to taste great in the hands of a good chef.

Where to order it in Birmingham

To experience this cut in a more exotic dish, head off the beaten track to Colbeh Persian Kitchen on Hagley Road where they serve Khoroshte Karafs (lamb fillet of neck cooked with celery, rhubarb and parsley).

How to cook it at home

Layer potatoes, sliced onions and lightly floured meat in a roasting dish, then repeat to the top layer, which should be potatoes brushed with butter. Pour in lamb stock to just under the top layer.

Cover with foil and cook at 170 degrees celsius for two hours, then remove foil for 30 minutes to ensure a nice crisp top layer of potatoes. Serve with pickled red cabbage and pretend you’re a tired mill worker after a tough days work!

5. Bavette Steak: The French Cut

We’re going to finish with another steak - indulge me. No fillet or sirloin here though. Bavette is a French cut more usually called a flank steak this side of the Channel.  It doesn’t quite have the depth of flavour of the Onglet for me, so if you find the Onglet too full of iron, this is the one for you.

Where to order it in Birmingham

Argentinian steak house Fiesta del Asado does Vacio a la Parilla, an 8oz flank steak cooked medium rare.

How to cook it at home

Best cooked rare over a high heat, and left to rest for a while. If I’m going to have steak and chips this is my go-to cut, with lashings of garlic butter and salty fries. Enjoy!

Caviar & Chips: Award-Winning Catering in the Midlands

My catering company, Caviar and Chips, does weddings, corporate events, parties and celebrations. You can choose from set options or we'll design a menu that’s bespoke for you. Mention ‘Dine Birmingham’ when booking to get 5% off your bill.

Find out more on our website

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