The Most Underrated Cut Of Meat You Should Try, According To Master Butcher Dario Cecchini - Exclusive

From a culinary standpoint, beef is a beautiful thing. There are so many different parts of a cow that can be eaten, and so many delicious things you can do with beef. From endlessly versatile ground beef and chuck, the star of so many tacos, chilis, and more; to the rockstar of a steak that is ribeye, delicious with nothing more than some salt, pepper, and heat; to a perfectly spiced, slow-cooked, melt in your mouth brisket that is sure to be the highlight of any weekend barbecue. But of course, there is so much more to beef than the average consumer would know from their trips to the grocery store or local burger joint.

No one knows the intricacies and the delicacies of beef like world-renowned Italian butcher Dario Cecchini, who's been called the Tuscan Bard of Beef. The eighth-generation meat master is well known for his deep-seated respect for his craft, stemming from his lifelong appreciation of animals. But as you might expect, his tastes reach far wider than the basic cuts of beef you'll get at the store. 

In an exclusive interview with Tasting Table, Cecchini revealed what he thinks is one of the most underrated cuts of meat out there, and why we should all give it a little more love. Fair warning –- and no surprise –- you'll probably have to go to an actual butcher to find this cut of meat, rather than relying on your local supermarket. But according to Cecchini, that's something we all should be doing more of anyways.

Don't be afraid to try beef knees, says Dario Cecchini

Dario Cecchini makes no bones about it (pun intended), telling Tasting Table that "the most underrated cut of meat is probably beef knees." If you don't know much about this little-known cut, you're certainly not alone. Beef knees are often dried out and sold as a meaty treat for dogs. But there are many ways this cut of beef can be enjoyed on our own dinner tables as well. Cecchini has fond memories of eating beef knees growing up, recalling that "my grandmother used to boil [them] for me." And if that's the way nonna is doing it, then there's no reason to change things. Most commonly, this tough meat works best when slow-cooked in water or stock, infusing its savory flavors into broths, soups, stews, and more.

For some inspiration from Cecchini himself, he says "I serve [beef knees] in my Solociccia restaurant as a warm beef salad called Tenerumi in Insalata." It starts with boiling the meat in broth along with vegetables and aromatics. Once cooked through, the meat is taken off the bones, and then tossed with a fresh vegetable salad, dressed simply with salt, pepper, olive oil, and vinegar to taste.

And as we mentioned, you probably won't find beef knees for sale at the grocery store, so if you decide to try them out, you'll want to hunt them down at a local butcher. Which is exactly what Cecchini wants consumers to do. We asked him if he had any tips for buying meat at the market, and he confessed, "I have to apologize, but I don't go to supermarkets. I only go to artisan butchers, and I advise you to do [the same]."

For the latest from Dario Cecchini, follow him on Instagram, and visit his website for info about his restaurants and butcher shop.