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Working Ranch - November/December 2017

S LINCOLN “Our local meat guy brought a whole chuck roll so we could break it down and we landed on the opinion that we really liked the Denver steak.” Customer response has been positive. “We were ecstatic that guests loved it,” said Chef Hanak. “We defi nitely have sold quite a few of them.” “That’s great to hear,” says Bloom about customer response at Maggiano’s. “There are not a lot of jewels left in the beef carcass that we haven’t uncovered over the last two hundred years, but this is one of them.” teak lovers know the names ribeye, tenderloin, and even fl atiron, but lately beef industry insiders have been talking about the Denver steak. While it’s a relative newcomer to the scene, it is beginning to make waves. “The Denver cut is the fourth most tender muscle in the whole animal,” explains Chef Dave Zino, Executive Chef for the Beef Checkoff. “Tenderloin is fi rst, then the fl atiron, and the spinalis through the ribeye cap is number three. Then the Denver steak.” In the mid-2000s, the Beef Checkoff funded research that “discovered” the Denver steak. Researchers explored the chuck roll to fi nd a well-marbled cut if they separated the chuck underblade and trimmed away the connective tissue. It takes time for new cuts to garner wide attention, so the industry spends resources promoting them. “Developing and presenting new cuts of beef is part of what we do,” said Greg Bloom, Executive Director of the Colorado Beef Council. “Getting it commercialized is diffi cult. The Denver Steak is probably about ten years behind the Flatiron.” Despite its positive attributes, fi nding a Denver steak in most restaurants or grocery stores is a challenging task. Independent meat shops can yield results, but supply and demand is at work. Without large-scale demand, meat processors will not make the effort to separate the Denver steak from the chuck roll. According to beef offi cials, it takes at least two or three national chain restaurants offering a new cut to raise demand high enough to get processors on board. “That is the driver,” notes Bloom about large chain restaurants. “Without that, it will never take hold. You need major volume to put on an assembly line to make it work for a packer who is all about effi ciency.” One national chain stepping up is Maggiano’s Little Italy, who added the Denver steak to their menu in 2017. “We wanted to make sure we could offer dishes that were new to most guests and also some dishes that were affordable,” said Chef Jeffrey Hanak, Senior Director of Culinary for Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurants. “You can grill it, you can broil it, you can skillet cook it. Whatever the dry heat cooking method you prefer, the Denver Steak will work,” says Chef Dave Zino of the Beef Checkoff program. Top Well-marbled, fresh Denver steaks can be challenging to fi nd for the consumer looking to grill them at home. Smaller independent butchers and meat shops are the best bet until consumer awareness and demand increases in the future. Above Maggiano’s Little Italy restaurants currently offers an eight-ounce Denver steak with potatoes and vegetables for less than $25.00. “We offer steak at a value,” said Chef Jeffrey Hanak, Sr. Director of Culinary for the restaurant chain. “The Denver Steak is something we crafted so you can enjoy without breaking the bank.” ROGERS MAGGIANO’S LITTLE ITALY RESTAURANTS BEEF CHECKOFF PROGRAM NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2017 I WORKING RANCH I 65


Working Ranch - November/December 2017
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