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How to Butterfly a Steak

September 8, 2011 Le Cordon Bleu Austin 0 Comments

How to Butterfly a Steak

One of the most exciting aspects of cooking is learning a new culinary technique that you can use for a variety of different ideas and recipes. The Texas culinary scene is known for its love of BBQ and steaks. If you have ever wondered how chefs get those perfectly prepared thin cuts of steak or chicken you will probably enjoy learning to butterfly meats at home. It will take a little practice at first but you will find that i’s applications are almost limitless.

Butterflying is a culinary technique used to turn a thick dense slab of meat into thinner more spread out cuts. There are several reasons why a recipe would call for butterflying. If you are cooking out on a grill and want your meats to cook evenly butterflying your cuts will make them flat and even all over that way you will make level contact with the grill and won’t have to worry about one spot over cooking or staying raw. If you would like to make stuffed pork chops or chicken breasts you can butterfly the cuts first and pound them out between two sheets of saran wrap. This way you can roll the meat and stuffing together before baking. If you want to prepare dinner in a hurry butterflying a thick piece of meat is a great way to cut down on cooking time. Once butterflied, your food will cook in a fraction of the time and it will be much easier for you to check for doneness.

To butterfly a cut of meat you will only need two tools: a good sturdy cutting board and a very sharp chef’s knife. Follow these easy steps and you will have a perfectly prepared butterflied meat every time.

Step 1:
Lay the meat on a cutting board.

Step 2:
Using your sharp knife start slicing your meat down the middle horizontally. Try not to saw with your knife rather use short slashing strokes. It is important that you stay right in the middle so that one half is not thicker than the other

Step 3:
Cut almost all the way through your meat until you can open up your two halves and flatten out your meat. This gives it the appearance of two wing hence the term butterflying.

At this point you can either begin cooking or if you would like to roll a stuffing into your meat it can be pounded between saran wrap or wax paper until very thin. This culinary technique can also be used with shrimp and lobster; for shrimp use a smaller knife and slice down the curved part of the tail. To prepare lobster tail you will need a small pair of scissors and a knife. Starting at the far end of the tail snip the shell all the way up to about a half inch from the tip of the tail; try to avoid cutting through the meat. Use your fingers to pull the meat out of the shell while remaining attached to the tip. Pinch the shell closed and lie the meat on top. With your knife slice into the center of the meat lengthwise just a little bit and press the tail meat open along the top of the shell. This takes a little practice but it makes for an impressive presentation.

Whether preparing a quick weekday dinner or a holiday feast knowing how to butterfly like they do in the Texas culinary world is a valuable technique for you to master.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Austin offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Austin, Texas. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Austin for more information.

Find disclosures on graduation rates, student financial obligations and more at www.chefs.edu/disclosures. Le Cordon Bleu® and the Le Cordon Bleu logo are registered trademarks of Career Education Corporation. Le Cordon Bleu cannot guarantee employment or salary. Credits earned are unlikely to transfer.

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