Best steak ever and a bit about ageing.

This is not really a story about the Deli Truck, but what follows was such a wonderful foodie experience I have to share this with all and sundry.

We all know that ageing beef is what brings out the flavour and the quality of the meat. We also know that the only form of ageing is dry ageing – hanging in a temperature and humidity controlled cool room for up to 60 or even 100 days, with cool drying air circulating around a large prime cut of beef. Wet ageing in a tough plastic bag, with the air pumped out, is quite simply a revolting way to “age” beef as it has no contact with the air and so relies on anaerobic bacteria to tenderise the meat, which at times, can taste sour and watery.

But very few butchers dry age these days because during this very slow process, the cut of beef looses up to 20 percent of its weight as water evaporates away. This is what makes it more flavoursome and deeply red-brown in colour. Of course the water that evaporates, as far as a butcher is concerned is profit evaporating as well, as the weight of the cut decreases. This is the reason so many butchers will not dry age.

But on the few occasions that I have eaten properly air dried aged beef (I like it at about 40 days) it is a true revelation. The raw meat actually smells sweet, the all important fat is white but translucent and the entire cut has a wonderful nutty cheesy flavour and the good bacteria has done its job and slowly broken down the connective tissue and produced a super tender very very tasty steak.

The next thing that happened is that a few steak houses in the USA (notably David Burke’s Prime House in Chicago) started ageing their beef in cold rooms with a wall of Himalayan salt bricks stacked to the ceiling. This had a couple of profound effects on the beef – firstly the salty air being circulated around the large fridges has a slight anti-bacterial effect which means the beef can be aged for a longer time and secondly the salt produced a stronger drying effect and bizarrely a sweeter piece of meat. Recently a small number of UK meat producers have decided to salt dry as well.

Prime Rib, Salt cured beef, Deli Truck, Catering, Kent catering, wedding catering

The beef ageing cellars at David Burkes Primehouse in Chicago. These ageing rooms are stacked with Himalayan Salt bricks.

So onto my special beef day – Late last week my foodie wife came home from a pre-Christmas visit to Fortnum and Mason with a 1 bone prime rib cut of beef from shorthorn cattle, off the Glenarm Estate in Northern Ireland. But here’s the revelation, the Glenarm Estate has started to age its beef with Himalayan salt bricks. This is not just sophistry – salt ageing really works. The beef smelt sweet and fresh with a slight mushroomy cheesy nose. The meat was dark and the fat translucent.

Aged Beef, catering, Deli Truck, Kent catering, wedding catering, wedding

Prime Rib from shorthorn cattle on the Glenarm Estate in Northern Ireland. This piece has been aged in a salt room for 28 days.

It was such a special piece of meat that I didn’t want to mess it up by overcooking, so I seared on top of the stove on all sides then put the pan in the oven at 180 for about 8 minutes. I put a temperature probe into the meat and pulled it from the oven when the core temperature reached 50 degrees. With a normal, supermarket, wet-aged, flaccid bright red steak this would be too rare – but in this piece of meat (after a 20 minute rest) this proved spot on. The ageing process had, to my eyes, part cooked the beef already. This was a wonderful special treat and a truly exceptional piece of beef. Well worth the trip to Fortnums to track down.

It’s also very expensive – this piece cost close to £30 pounds – but like all good things, you dont have to have it every day. I would gladly cut my red meat intake down to 5 or 6 times a year (instead of twice a week) so I could afford the best – and this is it.

NOTE: if you are well versed in cooking steak and use the finger prodding method to feel how it is done – you may have to change your methodology with meat like this. I found with this cut that the meat had lost so much water due to the ageing process that when prodded it felt very firm at all stages of cooking. So when it was very rare (checked with temperature probe) it felt almost well done. Something to be aware of….

NOTE: Always ask your butcher if his meat has been dry aged or wet aged in a bag (called the cryovac method) if it has been wet aged don’t buy it, but kindly ask if he can get dry aged beef. The more people that ask the more opportunity we have for getting better quality meat.

 

 

Great night at “tarte” in Brasted

We’re resting up today after an very very busy night at “tarte” restaurant in Brasted. A huge success with well over 100 customers satisfied by our food and the ministrations of the wonderful “tarte” wait staff. A great evening. we set up outside the restaurant on the High Street and first orders started at 6.30pm.

Deli Truck,

The Deli Truck set up outside “tarte” in Brasted about an hour before the crowds turned up all at the same time. Crazy first hour of service.

 

Deli Truck

The Deli Truck at the end of service -a very successful first night at Taste

We had started preparing for our one night only appearance at tarte 4 days before the evening – as we rested our pork shoulders (for our pulled pork) on our secret Texas rub for 48 hours before they went into our smoker for ten hours over oak and apple woods.

Deli Truck

Our special rub is used to flavour the pork for 48 hours before cooking . Made up of paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, cumin, oregano and a few other things…

The burgers we made came from one large piece of Black Angus top side.

Del Truck Burger

We cut the topside from a 10 kilo lump into a five 2 kilo strips so we can hang them in our commercial fridge in the Deli truck. This dries the meat out and ages it for a couple more days. The dryer meat means a much better texture to the burger – it holds together better – and great flavour.

 

deli truck, burgers

The topside has been minced and formed into largish 7oz burgers. Thie went well with our other menu items for our night at “tarte” in Brasted – We served our famous spicy pulled pork sandwich and our cajun blackened Sea Bass.

 

Deli Truck, menu, catering

OUr menu board on the truck for the night.

A garden Party for 100 people in an idyllic setting

The organisers of this very stylish birthday party wanted a relaxed atmosphere in the garden and they got just that. With outdoor lounges and coverings for a shill-out area, a fully staffed wet-bar and the Deli Truck – the feeling was informal, chic, elegant and fun. And the guests certainly had fun.  Guests started dropping in from 4.00 PM until 9.00 PM, with mosts staying on to drink and talk the night away until well into the small hours.  We served a hot menu selected by the hostess from the truck with an accompanying buffet of salads and our home made lemonade – later we served freshly brewed coffee and tea.

Deli Truck Gsrden party

The menu was chosen in consultation with the hostess (it was her husbands 50th birthday) and turned out to be a real winner. We ended up cooking our spectacular burger which everyone seems to have heard about and always wants. We accompanied this with our 12 hour smoked pulled pork which was a huge hit and chicken breast stuffed with chorizo and parmesan cheese, then poached in chicken broth, white wine and butter – served with a dollop of home made pesto on top. More details on the Menu are listed below.

"deli truck" menu

A big thanks to the most gracious and delightful hosts for their many kind words and support. We had a ball.

deli truck lemonade catering

Deli Truck catering staff

I’ll leave the final words to the hostess who emailed us 48 hours after the party. She said “Thank you for such wonderful food and ambience at our Garden Party – wow what a wonderful day. Everyone was blown away by the Deli Truck and I am sure you must have run out of your info sheets. Thank you also for organising such thoughtful and helpful assistants – it meant we could both relax and enjoy the company of our guests.”

Deli Truck for the public – one night only at “tarte” in Brasted

“tarte” of Brasted and the Deli Truck  are bringing American style Gourmet Street Food to Brasted as a special summer celebration for one night only. “tarte” is well known for introducing innovative new menus and guest cooks to its Brasted eatery just opposite the village green.

On Saturday the 16th of August you will be able to enjoy the  renowned New York Style Deli food from the Deli Truck, while tarte will provide sides, desserts, wines and beers.

All the food on the Deli Truck is made in house, even the BBQ and Burger Sauces are made by us.

No Additives, No preservatives, No Chemicals. All our meat is sourced from Batchelors the Butchers in Sevenoaks and is guaranteed to be from the UK.  Table reservations are recommended and take-aways are also available. Contact tarte on 01959 565446

The Deli Truck has been hailed  by one London critic as producingsome of the best modern American street food in the UK”.  So enjoy one of our hand ground double cheese and double bacon burgers – or our authentic 8 hour smoked pulled pork sandwich or our spicy cajun blackened fish sandwich. 

tarte is opposite the Village Green on the High Street in Brasted (TN16 1JE) next door to the White Hart Pub. You’ll see the Deli Truck parked outside on the A25. Service will get underway at 06:30pm

All the disposables on the Deli Truck – that includes cups, plates, knives forks and spoons are all biodegradable at least and in many cases are fully compostable as well. our plates are made of sugar starch and will compost in just 6 weeks our cold drink cups are  made of plant starch and are fully compostable and biodegradable. But we don’t rest on our laurels – we are forever striving to bring you better quality food, with less additives and funny chemicals. We have just started our own gardens for suppling organic lettuce for our burgers and salads – and we hope this is just a start. 

Preparing our beef for Burgers

deli truck, hamburger, rib eye,

Our prime rib eye beef after being trimmed of connective tissue and fat ready for either our famous steak sandwiches or as a component in our hamburger mince.

Started preparation for our show day at BMW tunbridge wells next Saturday the 29th. Stripping a Rib Eye of any connective tissue as it will be (extravagantly) going into our burger mince. Many of you have asked about my burger mix. I use 30 percent rib-eye (its expensive), 40 percent short rib and 30 percent flank or brisket. This mix of Scottish beef makes a very tasty tender mince. Photo below shows the rib-eye after cleaning up of connective tissue. In the background is our jar of homemade BBQ sauce. This takes ages to make as you have to dry fry many different spices before cooking begins – but its spicy hot and awesome. You can taste all of this next Saturday at BMW Tunbridge wells Cooper. your all welcome to come between 1100 and 1600. See ya’ there.