Finding a reliable, versatile, cheap, easy to cook, thoroughly delicious raw ingredient is perhaps the ultimate dream of the ambitious home cook. During late summer, autumn and winter back rib fits the bill perfectly.
Known as högrev in Sweden, depending on where you buy your beef, back rib is chuck, blade and perhaps a touch of neck: therein lies the problem with the differences between how countries butcher their meat. Whatever you call it, it’s a wonderful cut from behind the cow’s head and above its front leg. Containing around 20 percent, perfectly marbled fat it is the ideal cut for thinly-sliced marinated grill-steaks, minced beef and slow-cooked stews.
And at more than half the price of the so-called finer cuts of beef (shame on you sirloin and fillet) and with ten-times the flavour, it’s a smart choice for cooks-in-the-know.
I bought a chunk earlier in the week from a farmers’ market I walked past on the way back from a meeting. See what joys you discover when you skip the taxi. I used half of it in a simple stew, with red wine, onions, carrots and a few bay leaves. The other half I will probably mince up with a little smoked pancetta for Friday night hamburgers: a sure way to get the kids home from friends in time for dinner.
If I have time I like to use it slow cooked in a whole bottle of red wine, with bacon, mushrooms and button onions. The best way is to cut the meat in fist-sized pieces (not small cubes) and cook it at 160 for three or four hours: amazing. Maybe that’s an idea for Saturday’s dinner.