Barbecue Master Aaron Franklin's Favorite Cut Of Steak - Exclusive

Meat is the name of the game for Aaron Franklin, the barbecue mastermind behind Franklin Barbecue in Austin, Texas. Depending on what day you visit the barbecue restaurant, you'll find brisket, pork spare ribs, pulled pork, turkey, sausage, jalapeño cheddar sausage, and beef ribs on the menu. Is your mouth watering? We don't blame you. While there's certainly a plethora of extremely delicious meat options at the barbecue spot, one notable exception is steak. But just because steak isn't featured at Franklin Barbecue, doesn't mean Franklin doesn't enjoy preparing a cut or two at home.

During an inclusive interview with Tasting Table, Franklin shared his belief that no two steak cuts are created equal. According to Franklin, there's a huge difference between different beef cuts and different grades of beef, not just in the differing methods of steak preparation that are required, but also in the subsequent quality and taste of the meat. If you look at a cut of steak that's from a younger cow that was given growth hormones, you can see that "their fat didn't build right." As Franklin explains, "They've got subcutaneous fat, not good marbling. It takes time to develop flavor and it takes time to develop good fats." With that in mind, what cut of steak does Franklin prefer to eat? "Bavette steak is one of my all-time favorite steaks," he reveals. "That's a lower sirloin. Here in the States, it's called flap steak or flap meat at the grocery store."

What is bavette steak and what makes it so good?

Aaron Franklin wrote about his love for the bavette steak in his second cookbook "Franklin Steak" (available for purchase here) with his collaborator Jordan MacKay. A bavette steak is very similar in taste and texture to a hanger steak or a flank steak but is significantly less expensive. Franklin prefers this cut of steak because "it's a versatile piece of meat... [that] take[s] on smoke nicely." Given this quality, bavette steaks taste wonderful when cooked on the grill, but they're also excellent when prepared in a skillet with a pat of butter, which is Franklin's go-to method.

Another one of the aspects of bavette steaks that Franklin loves is that they're small, lean cuts of steak. "[They don't] have a lot of fat that doesn't render out. [They have] a good, fibrous texture," he says. The smaller size is a benefit because the steak can be easily prepared and enjoyed by one person. Now what about the taste? Beyond their satisfying consistency, bavette steaks are desirable because of their strong minerality, which allows the steak to take on flavors nicely. Bavette steaks are easy to prepare, are small enough to serve one person, and don't have a tremendous amount of fat, so you can enjoy them often.

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