Talking with Joe the Butcher About Meat
Today I had a pleasant experience while shopping at one of our local supermarkets. I met a retired meat cutter with over 30 years of experience working in a different department because of a bad hip. His name was Joe, and he was a wealth of information. I hope to run into him to pick his brain and learn more about meat.
We talked about many topics, including grading of beef, cuts of beef, buying meat and all the "stuff" they put into our meat to keep them healthy and help them grow bigger and faster. Very interesting.
Eye of Round
One particular topic we discussed is how to cook a beef Eye of Round roast. I just cooked one the other night, and although it was so easy to cook and came out delicious, Joe had his tips for cooking.
First of all, the eye of round is a cut from the back end or hindquarters, also called the round. Next, you most likely have heard of the top round, also called a London Broil, the bottom round and the eye of round, which is usually sold as a roast or cut up into steaks. The eye of round is the most tender of the three.
The two most popular ways to cook the eye of round cut are to braise or to roast. Think of pot roast or economy roast beef. The eye of round is lean, so you have to be careful not to overcook it.
Joe had his own way of cooking a round of eye roast: season it, cover it with a layer of fat (bard), and tie. As the beef cooks, the fat will melt into the meat, keeping it moist and adding some additional flavor.
When I asked him what type of fat, he kept referring to a "chub," which, at the time, I had no idea was or what he was talking about. Doing a little research on the Internet, chub is a tubular casing filled with some ingredients. For example, a sausage may be a chub filled with sausage meat, but I also came across a chub of dough.
Joe must have been talking about a casing filled with fat that he would slice thin to cover the eye of round. I suggested bacon which he said would also work. Another suggestion was pork fatback, if you can find it.
What's the Difference Between Barding and Larding
Some folks confuse barding with larding, but they are different. Barding is what I just described above - wrapping lean cuts of meat with thin slices of fat. You can also bard a turkey or chicken. Anything you wrap with fat would be called barding.
Larding is inserting long strips of fat into the cut of meat to keep it moist when cooking. A larding needle is typically used to pierce the meat and sew in the strand of fat, usually port fat or bacon. The fat is inserted into the tool's hollow cavity and then threaded into the meat.