Sizzling savings at home
Matthew Kadey, MSc, RD
While a steak night out for a family of four can top three figures, the same meal rustled up at home can cost less than half that.
One of the best ways to save greenbacks during a sputtering economy is by trading in the tony bistros for simple home cooking. Not only can you save money, but you can choose the healthiest—read organic—meat for your grill. While a steak night out for a family of four can top three figures, the same meal rustled up at home can cost less than half that.
We’ve taken dishes commonly ordered at popular steakhouses and tweaked a few things so they’re no longer calorie and saturated fat landmines.
Pssst … they’re also bursting with flavour despite cutting the fat, so your family steak night at home is sure to garner rave reviews.
Here is your next fantastic four course steak meal.
Beef up your steak
Serve up a perfect steak by employing these expert tricks.
Give it a bath: Use marinades that mingle oil with an acid such as wine, vinegar, or juice. The oil locks in flavourful juices during cooking, while acids tenderize the cuts.
Hot flash: Sear meat on high heat for two minutes per side, then finish cooking on lower heat or in the oven. Searing seals in and caramelizes the juices.
Be patient: Before you dig in, let steaks rest for five minutes after cooking to relax the protein and redistribute the lip-smackin’ juices.
Trim after: Carve off the fat on the outside of the cut after grilling to help retain moisture.
A cut above the rest
You don’t have to splurge on filet mignon or rib-eye to get great tasting beef. Bargain cuts of meat tend to have the least amount of the saturated fat that can cause a traffic jam in your arteries.
Fat attack in 3 oz (85 g)
Cook it right
|Flank (aka London Broil)||mild sweet flavour with a bit of chewiness||6 g total fat, 3 g sat. fat||quickly and evenly cooks on the grill; cook to medium-rare and slice across the grain to preserve tenderness|
|Top sirloin||wonderful bold, beefy flavour and reasonably tender||3 g total fat, 3 g sat. fat||best rubbed with salt, pepper, and other desired herbs and spices, then roasted|
|Eye of round||juicy and full flavoured if cooked right; bottom and top round cuts are also lean, frugal choices||3 g total fat, 1 g sat. fat||moist and tender when roasted in liquid for several hours at low temperatures|
|Chuck shoulder||traditional pot roast meat with pleasantly intense flavour||6 g total fat, 3 g sat. fat||moist and tender when cooked using a wet method such as braising (pot roasting) and stewing|
Consider tempeh. A meaty cake of cooked fermented soybeans, tempeh is a perfect steak alternative. It grills well and absorbs marinades such as our flank steak marinade. Because tempeh is fermented, it is a stellar source of beneficial probiotic bacteria much like yogourt.
Worth the splurge
Consider grass-fed beef. Cattle raised on open pasture produce more flavourful steaks with a healthier fatty acid profile. Steaks from farm-raised game meats such as elk and bison are nutritious, environmentally sound choices and not at all gamey. They are available at farmers’ markets and forward-thinking butchers.