by Joyce Parslow, P.H.Ec., Director Consumer Relations, Canada Beef
Canadian beef is world-class in quality and availability. Beef is raised in each and every province. Cattle feed on grass and forage for the most part with a blend of grains such as barley, wheat or corn mixed-in as they reach maturity. Breeds and feeds give Canadian beef the flavour and tenderness you expect in a great steak.
Making the Grade:
Canadian beef bought in-store is federally or provincially inspected for safety – no compromises. The best in beef is given an 'A' GRADE quality designation. Just as in hockey, look for Canada AAA as the top in the league, followed by double A (AA) and then single A.
Canadian steaks are sorted into three basic cooking categories. Package labels identify the cut and the recommended cooking method (e.g. Top Sirloin grilling steak, Flank marinating steak). Grilling Steaks are ever tender – simply season and sear; Marinating Steaks are best marinated before grilling, but require advanced planning. These steaks often have the boldest beefy flavour and can be value-priced; Simmering Steaks are not BBQ steaks – best simmered low and slow in a winter stew.
TIPS to ensure no mis-steaks:
Cedar Planked Steak with Charred Garden Salsa
(from the Canada Beef Test Kitchen)
Cooking steak on a cedar plank imparts fantastic wood-smoke flavour reminiscent of deli-smoked meat. Here, the marinade doubles as the base for the fresh salsa – just be sure to *remove what you need for the Salsa, before using the remainder to marinate the meat.
1-3/4 cups (425 mL) barbecue sauce (your favorite brand)
1/4 cup (50 mL) lemon juice
2 Tbsp (30 mL) prepared horseradish
6 sprigs fresh rosemary (leaves only) coarsely chopped
1 Flank Marinating Steak or Top Sirloin, about 1-1/2 lb (750 g)
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 can or bottle (440 mL) beer
2 cups (500 mL) grape tomatoes
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 ears of fresh corn, husked
4 green onions, trimmed
1 EACH sweet yellow and sweet red pepper, seeded, cut into large chunks
2 Tbsp (30 mL) vegetable oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
In large re-sealable freezer bag, combine barbecue sauce, lemon juice, horseradish and
* Remove 1/2 cup (125 mL) and set aside for Salsa. Pierce steak all over; place in bag with marinade. Seal.Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.Soak plank for at least 2 hours in enough beer and warm water mixture to cover, weighing down with heavy jars to submerge.
2.Heat plank in closed barbecue over medium-high heat until plank crackles and smokes, about 3 minutes. Brush top side with oil. Remove steak from marinade. Pat dry with paper towel; discard used marinade. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Place on plank.
Cook in closed barbecue, without turning until digital instant-read thermometer reads 145°F (63°C) for medium-rare, about 15 minutes. Remove steak from plank. Let rest for 10 minutes before carving across the grain into thin slices.
Alternately thread grape tomatoes and garlic onto soaked wooden skewers. Brush vegetables all over with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat in closed barbecue, starting with corn, until charred all over, turning occasionally. Let cool slightly. Cut kernels from cobs. Coarsely chop remaining vegetables. Combine with reserved barbecue sauce mixture. Serve with steak.
Makes 4 to 6 servings
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