A quick steak sandwich that is sure to please all of your guests from Pat LaFrieda. Make it at home or try one at The 50 Yard Lounge.
You’ve probably seen the name Pat LaFrieda around town, on the side of trucks delivering his company’s meat to restaurants, on TV as part of the Food Network show Meat Men, and as the brains behind the now-legendary Black Label Burger served at New York’s Minetta Tavern. The third-generation owner of Pat LaFrieda meats, he oversees a 500-person staff and supplies meat to some of New York’s finest restaurants.
The butcher, who will also be hosting an event during the upcoming Super Bowl-themed 50 Yard Lounge from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 (purchase tickets here), dropped by to chat about meat, and we took advantage of the opportunity to ask him about his personal favorite cut of meat.
"When it comes to meat in general, I would say lamb is my favorite thing to eat," he told us. "I love lamb rib chops, that’s a no-brainer."
But when it comes to beef, his favorite cut might surprise you: the outside skirt steak, which is larger and more marbled than its scrawnier neighbor, the inside skirt steak.
"It was formerly known as Romanian steak before many people realized its value, and it’s often mistaken at supermarkets for inside skirt, which doesn’t have nearly as much flavor," he said. "You kind of have to be an insider to know the difference. Often in supermarkets it’s just labeled as 'skirt' and by right they’re correct, but what type?"
So what makes the outside better than the inside? "The outside skirt has much more marbling, has 10 times the amount of flavor, and is about double the price," he added.
When it comes to cooking, LaFrieda always grills it, no matter the weather. "My barbecue runs 52 weeks a year. I don’t care how cold it is, or how much snow I have to clear off it," he said.
LaFrieda has a quick and easy way to get loads of flavor into the steak. "I like to do what I call a five-minute marinade," he said. "I don’t have much time outside of work, so I don’t have the patience or time to marinade things overnight, so I use a very simple mix of brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, and a little Worcestershire sauce to make a syrupy marinade." He lets it marinade for the amount of time it takes to get his grill up to 500 degrees (skirt steak needs to be cooked on a very high heat so the inside doesn’t overcook), and the end result is "unreal," he said. "It’s the most simple thing you can make, and the sugar tenderizes it."
So next time you see a skirt steak that’s wider than what you usually come across, ask the butcher if it’s an outside skirt and if it is, grab it. "Skirt steak is my favorite cut, my father’s favorite cut, it’s what we’d grill in the backyard on the weekends," LaFrieda said. "It’s not as tender as a rib-eye or New York strip, but if you know that, it’s OK."