Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Bovinae spinalis dorsi...let me count the ways

There is no doubting that cows are delicious, 
Haters be insane or at least highly suspicious.
They have a muscle that is ideal, 
For almost any spectacular meal.  
Worth cooking, that is,
Not some vegan crap or that tofu biz.
Chuck, shin or cheek are for stews and curries,
Ribs need no explainin' man, grill 'em, no worries.
Bones and off-cuts make for great stock,
Rump is so lean, you better fry in a wok.
Eye fillet is overrated, also know as the loin,
Sure it's tender, but costs plenty of coin.
There's tartare, Wellington or beef Stroganoff, 
But if you're looking for simplicity, you're much better off,
Grilling the tastiest, tenderest, muscle of the lot,
The spinalis dorsi is glorious, I'm kidding you not.
Spinalis, spinalis,
There is nothing good that rhymes with spinalis.
Maybe there is,
But this is getting tedious.

Yes, I know that was awful but the thought of beautiful animal flesh tends to turn me into a giddy schoolboy. I've never really been one for poetry - reading it and obviously not writing it. I figure if you've got something to say, just say it and dispense with the bullshit and flowery words.

Spinalis dorsi, also know as the rib eye cap, is without any doubt in my mind, the tastiest bit of the cow. Running down the spine of the animal, it doesn't do a lot of heavy lifting, so is beautifully tender, but also has great fat marbling, and therefore has outstanding flavour.

Boneless rib eye is called 'scotch fillet' in this part of the world. I don't know why, it just is. Only if it has a bone attached to it, is it called ribeye. Scotch is the only steak I'll bother with, either at home or eating out. While the larger eye fillet section is nice and tender, the outer rim that is the spinalis is riddled with fantasticness. 
Scotch fillet
separating the spinalis from the eye fillet
Sure, you can keep the two sections together, but I personally prefer cooking the spinalis a bit longer than the eye. Medium rare in both is ideal but that is tricky to achieve while they are connected. At least is is for me.

Kids usually get the fillet anyway - adults who earn the money to buy the spinalis dorsi, get to eat it.
ready for action
I'm a Heston fanboy, so I like to cook steak in a hot pan of fat, turning every 20 seconds or so - prodding with silicon tongs until the meat rebounds and tells me it is medium rarish. If I was expecting the Queen for dinner I might use a temperature probe, but she rarely visits these days.  

Of course resting the meat for at least 5 minutes after cooking is compulsory.
hot pan, careful not to crowd it.

yes, I do eat green stuff from time to time
Or rather, certain family members make me feel obliged to provide some green stuff. Fried in cow fat and topped with a dob of butter, of course.
the eye and spinalis meeting again to watch the golden sunset over the forest canopy


  1. YUM.... :-D i disagree about resting a cooked steak, though -- if you cook it just right, it will be over-done and cold if you don't serve it right up! i like mine rare, and if you don't just sear a room-temp steak well and fast on all sides and plop it on the table, it will be ... medium-well (EWWWW).

    1. G'day Tess. I try to cook until rare, with the expectation that it'll end up medium-rare by the time I cut into it. Can be hit and miss, but it works for me most of the time.

      Not to over-do the Heston-love, but I saw him do an experiment with two steaks, one rested, one not - both between 2 plates of glass and then one of his chefs jumped on them. The non-rested one's juices splattered everywhere, the rested one managed to retain most of the goodness.

      I should know by now, but I'm only guessing, that you might live in cattle country - so I'm not going to argue (too much) with a cow expert. Ha.

      Have a good one.

    2. "cow expert" i'm not, but i luv me my steak! ;-) i'm a city girl, though i've lived in "farming states" like Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah and Missouri.

      I figured that "down under" was cattle-country, too...?

    3. Yeah, lots of cattle here, but my experience with nice steak has only intensified in the last 5 or so years. Such a shame - all those wasted years eating chicken breast.

  2. Loved your article, and I do enjoy beef but mainly in casseroles or roast ..... perhaps to some this may be a crime.

    On the other hand Eddie has been known to cook a great steak ....... now that's a good idea!

    Anyway I thought your poem was ok.........

    All the best Jan

    1. Ha ha, it was rubbish, Jan - you are too nice.

      Love a good casserole and beef roast - no crime in those.


  3. I thought the first two lines were quite promising, sorta got sucked in by them and had to keep reading. I was expecting a little more Beowulf, bang-bang-crunch, since it is such an heroic topic.

    By a completely weird coincidence there was rib-eye (with the bone) for the first time ever at my local foodland the same day you wrote this. Expensive though. You may cringe, but since it had the bone I made it into a very tasty curry so I could stew all the niceness from the marrow &etc. It was tender and delicious and the one cut fed two of us plus leftovers.


    1. I only cringed a little bit - if the result was excellent, it doesn't really matter - you could have just invented rib-eye curry.


    2. Very yummy it was and I got to gnaw the bone afterwards. They are a bit like giant lamp chops, I'm pretty fond of those too --- sweet, tasty meat and juicy fat. I like using some of the leftover fat for my delicate complexion, I call it 'lamb-cream'. It makes washing the dishes a part of my personal maintenance routine, a good change from all of those stinky barrier creams you can buy. Satfat is really good for your hands, keeps them very moist and smelling nice.

      Borealis as a rhyme for spinalis?