Kari Underly: A Key Player in the Movement for New Cuts of Beef
Kari Underly was born to be a butcher; both sets of grandparents were butchers, her father was a butcher, so it made sense that when she needed a job to pay for college she could go into butchering. While the average grill enthusiast may not know Underly by name, perhaps you would recognize two new cuts of beef she helped bring to market; the Denver Cut and the Flat Iron Steak. Both of these are flavorful, low cost alternatives to well-known cuts that bring high prices at the meat counter such as the Denver’s cousin, the New York Strip.
Underly is on the leading edge of a movement within the meat industry to find new cuts of beef that are full of flavor, but until now haven’t been available commercially. In fact, she wrote an entire book, which was nominated for a James Beard Award, all about getting the most out of your meat. The Art of Beef Cutting is great for anyone who wants to dive deeper into their beef, and perhaps save a bit of money without sacrificing flavor or tenderness.
Back to the trend towards “new” cuts of beef. In some cases, such as the Denver Cut, it was simply a matter of finding a piece of meat that wasn’t being used on the cow and learning how to cut it to create a tender, flavorful steak.
In other cases, particular cuts of beef have been pushed to the wayside because people didn’t know how to cook them without turning them into shoe leather. This was the case with Skirt Steak. The Skirt Steak brings all of the beefy flavor of more expensive cuts, and, if you cook it right, it can be just as tender. Check out SeriousEats.com for a great guide on how to get the most out of this inexpensive cut.