The Best Meats for Grilling According to an Iconic NYC Butcher
Florence Prime Meat Market, the quintessential West Village butcher, where I used to run into Ruth Reichl when she was still editor in chief of Gourmet Magazine, has been providing top quality meats to chefs, food writers and in-the-know home cooks since 1936. I asked the owner, Benny, to recommend his favorite cuts of meat for the grill, along with best accompanying marinades to keep things tender and flavorful.
Guess what he said? If you are using top quality, fresh or prime aged meat, marinades are not needed. We are talking about meat that is cut to order and wrapped in butcher paper. Then he spoke about vacuum packed meats, and how all the flavor rushes out when that pool of blood in the plastic spills out, and hopefully not on the floor! So, head to a real butcher, spend the extra money for fresh or prime aged, and great tasting meat, and support these long-standing family neighborhood businesses.
Benny’s favorite cuts for the grill:
- Beef: NY Strip Steak, Porterhouse, or T-bone.
- Pork: Double Cut Chops – medium rare. Benny says there hasn’t been an incidence of trichinosis in many decades. I checked this out with the CDC. They report greatest risk is from undercooked meat of bear, boar, wild cats (cougar), fox, dog, seals, walrus. Luckily most of us aren’t eating those!
- Baby Back Ribs: steam first in the oven for an hour (on a cookie sheet, with a bit of water–or wine or sake–covered in aluminum foil). Then brown on the grill.
- Chicken: Benny recommends quartering the chicken, pre-cook it with the skin on in an oven. Finish cooking on the grill. Best to under cook it slightly so it doesn’t dry out.
So, if you are in NYC, head to Florence Prime Meat Market in Greenwich Village for the real deal!
Florence Prime Meat Market, 5 Jones Street, 212-242-6521.
And if you need tips for cleaning your grill to get the most flavor out of all that delicious meat, get my tips on grill cleaning here.
Happy grilling everyone!