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Beef Drop Flank

What is Beef Drop Flank

Beef Drop Flank is a cut of meat that is only seen in Asian Super Market. They typically look like a rolled red sushi in pink parchment paper. What most people don’t know, is that its one of the best braising meat available. The cut of meat is a combination of of Flank Meat, Silver Skin and Tendon. Usually you will only find the flank meat for sale in your typical supermarket.

Why Use Beef Drop Flank

Beef Drop Flank

The main reason why Chinese Chef use Beef Drop Flank is because of its contrasting texture. Typically flank meat is only used for stir fry. After cooking it for a short amount of time, the meat will become tough. Chinese chef figure, why not use the tendon as a way to mimic the fat.
The flank meat is the part of the meat that gives it the meaty texture. The tendon, will become soft and gelatinous and the silver skin will hold it all together. If you manage to cook it long enough, the beef drop flank will transform to an incredibly soft and delicious cut of meat. Which is why you only see this cut of meat used in stews.

How to Cook Beef Drop Flank

There are two ways you can cook Beef Drop Flank. The traditional way is to cook it slowly over hours. The tendon will eventually break down and it will convert to gelatin. Most people assume that is fat, but it is not.
The other way, which is my preferred way, is to use a pressure cooker. That 12 hours braise will be cut down to only 1-2 hours. That is a considerable amount of time saved for the same result. Of course some recipe calls for the whole stew to be braised for hours. However, if your goal is to just break down the meat, the pressure cooker should work just fine.

Recipes

One of the most common dish that is used with beef drop flank is Chinese Beef Tendon Stew. However, I never found the dish to be too appetizing due to the smell of the radish. Another one would be beef noodle stew, they would cook the dish for hours until the meat become soft. You can use this cut of meat in any dish where there is a long braise. Or if you just want a different texture to a stew, this can change your dish to something else.

Japanese Curry with Beef Drop Flank

I personally like using it in Japanese Curry. The texture of the meat adds a beautiful contrast to the hearty carrot and potato.

Ingredient List

1 lb Beef Drop Flank Cut into 1 inch Chunks.
1 Box S&B Curry Roux
Garam Masala
3 Potato
3 Carrots
1 Onion Minced
3 cloves of Garlic
6 cups of Water

Direction

1) Salt all Vegetables and meat.
2) Sear the meat in the pressure cooker.
3) The sweat the onion with the meat inside.
4) Add the Garam Masala, a little more oil and the garlic.
5) Add 6 cups of water the cover.
6) Bring the pressure cooker up to the high PSI rating
7) After 1 hour, it should be done. Check the meat for tenderness.
8) Slice up the Curry Roux and Dump it in the pot.
9) Add the Potato and Carrot and stew for 10 more min.
10) Plate and Serve once the potato and carrot are soft.

Technique Discussion

1) Salting all food before hand ensures that the salt penetrate into the food. If done at the last moment, the food will taste overly salty on the exterior and under seasoned inside.
2) Searing the meat will caramelize the sugar in the meat causing a maillard reaction. That will bring new flavor compound into the dish.
3) Small minced onion will ensure that it will melt away in the stew. It will also pick up any fond on the pot at this point.
4) Adding oil with Garam Masala wakes up the spice, since its oil soluble. The garlic will also add a bit more fragrance. You add the garlic at the end to prevent it from burning.
5) 6 cups of water is per the manufacturer recommendation. You can adjust it if you want the flavor to be stronger. I personally would just use more Garam Masala. Just be sure to not overfill the pressure cooker. There should be a line on that pot.
6) The pressure cooker at higher psi should reach close to a temperature of 250 degree farenheight. This is a lot higher than the standard boiling temperature of 212. It will expedite the break down of the tendons in the meat.
7) Slicing up the curry roux at the last moment makes it dissolve faster. It was also added at the last moment to prevent the roux from splitting under high heat.
8) The Potato and Carrot is added last to prevent it from getting overcooked.

Thoughts

I hope you give Beef Drop Flank a shot. They typically cost around 3-4 dollar per lb when its on sale. This is significantly cheaper than other cuts which might cost 5-7 dollar per lb. It adds a new contrast in texture that you might never have taste before. If you have trouble finding it, you can often find it at 99 Ranch or similar type of Chinese Store.

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