Saturday, March 26, 2011

Kingsford University: Manhattan Fillet 101

Quick!  Off the top of your head give me three words that describe a perfect steak.

Chances are two of the words were thick and juicy, right?

The problem is that if you cut a NY Strip steak to 1 1/2 to 2 inches thick, you end up with over a pound of steak and that is just too much to eat for most people.  I learned just the trick for that at Kingsford University - The Manhattan Fillet.

Snake River Farms' Executive Chef, Alan Turner, gave a demonstration on working with cuts of beef.  One of the new cuts was breaking down an American Waygu beef strip loin into the Manhattan fillet instead of strip steaks.  The resulting cut yields 10 oz fillet and a 6 oz petite fillet.  This gives you the thickness you crave AND the portion size that you want, while saving money too. 
Chef Turner shows the Manhattan Fillet at Kingsford U

I brought my Flip video camera but had left it back at the hotel room.  Still kicking myself over that one.  So as he talked, I scribbled notes furiously.

The notebooks they gave us came in handy!

Last night I applied the lessons learned  when Alexis brought home a 10 lb strip loin.  It was packaged as USDA Choice and certified Angus but it was more like Select to me.

Like Darth Vader said to Admiral Motti  "I find your lack of marbling disturbing."
See the difference that their American Waygu beef makes? 

First order of business is to find the "good end" of the loin.  Just like the "first cut" from a whole ribeye, a strip loin has a better part for steaks.  One end of the strip loin is what Turner called the "nerve end" and that has a bit of connective tissue.  You can see the grain of meat change there and you can feel it.  If you look at my drawing in the notes, that circular area is the nerve end.  Cut that off and use it for steak sandwiches or a small roast.  

Then, using a very sharp knife, slice the "tail" off of the strip loin and save.

Slice off the top strap and save.

Trim off the excess fat and silverskin.  Save the fat.

At this point, Chef Turner sliced the loin lengthwise.  I went the route of cutting the thick Strip steaks first.

Then I broke them down into the two fillets each.  

Because of how I cut them, my fillet were 8-10 oz fillet instead of the two sizes Chef Turner does.

I ended up with twelve fillets, worth the $60 cost alone.  But I also had a 2lb roast leftover.  I picked the lean meat from the tail and top strap to make a few beef kabobs for the boys.  Last but not least, I rendered some of the fat to produce a cup of tallow.  


Did I do it expertly and perfectly?  No, but I did fairly well and I learned along the way.  Next time I'll feel more confident in my knife work, I find tentative cutting leads to bad butchery.  You have to move purposefully and at speed, but that only comes with practice. 

Chef Turner showing off his bisected strip loin before portioning into fillets.

We ate a few last night and then vacuum sealed most of ours in packs of two for freezing and grilling later.  If you are having a steak cook out with a bunch of friends, this would be THE way to go.  For other ideas about grilling for parties, don't forget to check out

Speaking of grilling get togethers......

Blogger Get Together
Last year, a handful of Smoky Mountains area bloggers got together at Larry Doolittle's (Big Dude's Eclectic Ramblings) lakeside retreat for lunch, socializing, and fun on the water.  It was so much fun that we've decided to do it again!!!!   The theme is going to be Texas BBQ.  More details are forthcoming. 


  1. Wow. That's a really cool walk through. Great idea!

  2. Awesome tips on cutting meat! Kingsford U sounds like an extremely educational and fun experience. I so wish I could make it to the TX bbq, alas Tennessee is far away from Colorado. Enjoy it - it sounds like a blast!

  3. Thanks for the tutorial! Where on earth did your wife find a 10 lb. strip loin? One of the big box stores? I will have to keep my eyes open for one of those!

    Kim in MD

  4. @Kim: Yeah, they usually have them but sometimes so do the local Kroger and Food City grocery stores.

  5. Great info Chris and it will match up perfectly with how we eat. I really appreciate your willingness to share what you learned. Glad you can make it to your blogger party :-).

  6. Wow, that's almost more info than I can process. Just cook me one of the darn steaks, oh Kingsford King.

  7. Tender comes to mind too!! And what great tips! Thank you :)

  8. I'm sure glad you went to Kingsford U...I'm learning alot! :-) Great information Chris and thanks for sharing.

  9. Fantastic information...NY Strip is my favorite cut, so I can't wait to try this!

    Thanks for the pictures, hugely helpful!

    Burnin' Love BBQ

  10. Thanks for sharing this with us. It's good information. Hmmm, what three things come to mind....Marbled, med-well (don't cringe) and flavorful.

    I know everyone is going to have a blast at Larry's this year. Awesome.


  11. Great recap, Chris! You nicely outlined everything that I remembered from the demo. That "nerve end" part was interesting. It just goes to show that even the great primals have lesser cuts.

  12. Leave it to the pretty little isle of Manhattan to create something this lovely. :P

  13. Thanks for the fantastic tutorial. Now I've got to go get me one of those big hunks of meat and give it whirl.

  14. You're a pro at this already! Thanks for showing us how - I'll have to point my Dad in this directions - he's the butcher of the family!

  15. Oh my, Chris, your knowledge about meat is amazing! I seriously struggle with cuts and preparation and find so much info on your blog for my steak occasions ...thanks for sharing your know-how!

  16. That first photo might just be the most beautiful one you've ever posted!

  17. Fantastic post Chris! I need to be less afraid of cutting my own cuts of meat. I always over think on if I'm cutting against the grain or not :) I think yours turned out amazing!

  18. What amazing tips! We had NY strips last night and you're right - they're usually too much for one person to handle. Great post!

  19. Wow, that was impressive!!! I am so hoping to get to the get together this year! And, thanks for your nice comment about Scrappycat.

  20. Great tips Chris! I often buy meats in bulk so the more I know about cutting it myself the better, thanks! :-)

  21. I love a good steak. RARE please. actually, just cut off its horns, wipe its ass and slap it on my plate!!!!

  22. Great post - thanks for sharing what you're learning.

    Maybe I'm the slow kid here, but how can you tell which part of the steak is the big fillet and which is the small one? Is a strip steak 2 different muscles, like taking the eye out of the ribeye? Maybe I just need a steak in from of me the help me figure that out. Yeah, that's the ticket...

  23. Darn! Now I see this, I was planning on heading down there on the 18th, I may have to change and leave a week earlier to make this! Give me details my friend, and that fillet is to die for...well, the cow died any hoo!

  24. Chris- I love that you are constantly eager to learn new things and share them with us. I also love that you made the most of that loin, getting 12 filets, scraps for kebabs, beef tallow and 2 pounds of roast! Awesome, awesome, awesome.

  25. Chris~ Really great re-cap on the Manhattan Fillet of New York! Looks like you got it the first time even with out your Flip! It was great meeting you and sharing some cutting edge butchery. (yes, the pun was intended) Thanks for helping spread the word and concept of a new spin on a great cut of Beef. Don't forget the Manhattan Roast concept though. For parties, you can roast and carve specific portions for adults and children alike without waste. After separating the nerve end of the Loin, split it in two length wise just like you are going to cut the steaks. Depending on how many you are serving, you can roast half and cut steaks for later out of the other. Just rub your roast (with SRF Wagyu, I just use salt and pepper) and grill to your desired internal temp, (remember the roast will continue to cook at least five degrees after it leaves the heat) then let rest 10 minutes or so before carving. Thin slices for those who prefer them and thick cuts for the steak eaters. You can even place slices in simmering vegetable stock for those who want it more well done.
    Thanks again for the excellent re-cap and stay in touch.
    Chef Alan Turner

  26. Funnily enough I went to YouTube after reading this and discovered that someone else had recorded a video of the exact event you were at.


Comments are moderated and won't appear immediately.