Normally before we head up to the Utah mountains for skiing, I
go to the butcher and get a load of meat to bring out here. Skiers eat meat. Other people pack skis and boots; we
pack quail and pork ribs. This year, time got away from me and we came to
Snowbird empty handed. And to make matters worse, there are no longer any
grocery delivery services. (Anybody who remembers last year’s Albertson’s rotten
banana fiasco, well even these guys won’t venture out their door anymore.)
I shouldn’t have worried….Kevin to the rescue! Our good
friend and ski buddy has a mammoth sized van and one recent morning we all
piled into the van for a shopping expedition into Salt Lake City.
First stop was Snider Bros. Meats and it is a marvel of a
butcher store. The store is huge (maybe not by western US standards, but by
NYC-girl standards its the biggest butcher shop I’ve even been in.) The meat
counters were so huge and chock full, it was overwhelming. I had to take two or
three trips around the counters before I could even start to put together my
order. It’s a 3rd generation business and the passion is still
there…it’s a marvelous thing to behold, this sort of satisfaction and pride in
This is a rhetorical question: how come good butchers seem
so proud and happy to share? We
had a long discussion about grass fed v. corn fed beef, his customers are used
to soft, tender meat and they don’t understand the high cost and different
We talked BBQ
sauce, we talked rubs, we talked about lamb cuts and osso bucco.
But the most exciting discovery was a cut of beef
that I’d never heard of before: the Tri-Tip. Apparently it’s a west coast thing and it also goes by the
name of Triangular roast. Kevin
had been singing its praises the night before our shopping foray so I made a
beeline to check out this mysterious cut. I started asking the butcher some more
questions and it turns out its his favorite cut of meat as well. The tri-tip is cut from the bottom butt
portion of the sirloin, and yes,
it’s triangular in shape, about 2 inches thick and around 2.5 pounds. Snider
Bros. Meat carries it plain and marinated and I opted for the plain since I
really wanted to just taste the meat.
The butcher also shared his favorite recipe (a roasted style tri-tip)
and cautioned us that it must be cut across the grain. I felt like I was back in Italy, or
Jefferies in NY, or the Italian Market in Philly where no meat is handed over
without a recipe and a story.
Another rhetorical question: Maybe more people would cook if
they received their groceries from people who actually cared about the product
instead of anonymous saran wrapped packages?
After literally loading up the van with vegetables, food,
wine, and flowers, we headed back up to our mountain retreat. To thank our
intrepid grocery guide, we had him over for a tri-tip dinner. I wanted a simple
preparation so that I could assess this cut’s potential, so we settled on the
classic Italian tagliatta con balsamico, or sliced steak over a salad with a
bit of balsamic vinaigrette. Tagliatta con balsamico sounds so much nicer,
don’t you think?
Generously salted, seared in a hot pan and then finished in
the oven for a few minutes, it smelled marvelous. Worried that it was too rare,
I began slicing the thinner triangle portion and put the rest back in the oven.
My dining companions gobbled the first few slices and we unanimously decided to
slice the rest before it got too well done. It is delicious! Think rib eye, but
softer because this cut is very well marbled. We ate the whole tri-tip… none of us thought it was
possible, but you know, you keep talking and you reach for just one more slice,
and then maybe there is one other little choice morsel….and then…well you get
Here’s my concern with this newly discovered cut: other
people are going to discover it and instead of being a reasonable $5.98/lb its
going to become fashionable…and expensive. So, we need to make a pact: we ask our butchers for this cut
but we don’t tell anyone else. OK?
Last rhetorical question: If going to the butcher store is
so much fun, why are butchers a vanishing breed? Spread the love and patronize
6245 South Highland Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84121
Totally agree – a good butcher is worth cherishing. In fact, I recommend you hug your butcher if he’ll let you!
Weve been in a Manhattan
mode lately. Something about whiskey and skiing, they just go together.