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Below is an image of a steak I cooked the other night. It is a grass-fed New York Strip steak, I used medium-high heat in a cast-iron pan, seasoned with only salt and pepper and cooked for 3 minutes per side. The steak was roughly 1.5" thick, and it is cooked to roughly medium. (The image looks redder in the center than it was in actuality, but it's close.)

The fat was soft and delicious, as was the steak. But that streak of silverskin that attaches the two was impossible to chew. I have heard that when you're butchering other animals or large cuts of meat, the silverskin is always removed, but if I had done that there would be no fat left on my steak.

Grass-fed New York Strip steak with silverskin

How do I deal with this silverskin without losing all the fat?

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I do... >shame face< –  Katey HW Oct 3 '11 at 20:43
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>.- Yeuch. Etc... –  ElendilTheTall Oct 3 '11 at 21:04
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The fat is one of the healthier parts of the steak. If you have no fat in your diet, you will die. And grass-fed fats have an ideal balance of omega 6:omega 3 fatty acids, which has been known for decades to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus, the fat adds flavor! So yes, for health and flavor, I eat the fat. (I will grant you, the texture is such that I eat the fat WITH the steak, not alone...I have friends who can and do eat it solo but I'm not that hardcore.) –  Bryson Oct 3 '11 at 22:03
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@Bryson I live in a country where all beef is free range and grass feed. There is a truck load of evidence to the contrary of your comment –  TFD Oct 3 '11 at 22:26
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@Bryson: I am aware of the flavour benefits of fat, and that we all need fat in our diet. However, I disagree that the fat is one of the 'healthier parts of the steak' - fat is still fat, and while we need it in our diet, we can't eat a lot of it before it becomes unhealthy, and there are plenty of other sources in a normal diet. As for omega 6 and 3 acids, the average Western diet has a ratio of over 10 to 1, whereas a healthy level is in the region of 4 to 1. I'm not criticising, just disagreeing :) –  ElendilTheTall Oct 4 '11 at 7:16

7 Answers 7

up vote 22 down vote accepted

A good Sirloin (New York Strip steak) has a reasonable marble of fat, so you should not have to worry about edge fat

If you like your fat, pull/trim the silverskin and fat off and render the fat in a medium hot pan BEFORE putting the steak in. When enough fat has melted for your taste, cook the steak in the fat at the temperature and time you like

Add fresh herbs or garlic to the rendering fat for extra zing!

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This answer presents a truly elegant solution. –  BobMcGee Oct 3 '11 at 23:24

This is just the nature of the strip loin. If you prefer fatty goodness without this tough stuff along the edge, you would be much happier with a ribeye.

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you could cook the steak longer: notice how you've transformed the exterior 2mm of connective tissue on both sides into more edible gelatinous stuff.

another reasonable way to do this is cook the ny strip as a roast (to 100° or 105° by your photo). The hotter temperature to the exterior would transform the connective tissue completely, and leave the fat a little crispy but still there.

if you insist on a steak, a cool temp covered barbecue would do the same trick.

lastly: you could choose a different cut (hello, prime rib) which has fat that's not partitioned by silverskin.

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This is the wrong way to go here. Connective tissue starts dissolving at 70°C and dissolving is a slow process which takes hours. A steak is ruined if it reaches 70°C for even a second. –  rumtscho Oct 7 '11 at 9:30
    
Thanks for the heads up about the prime rib having no silverskin partition! –  Bryson Oct 7 '11 at 18:07

This is probably ludicrously over the top but you could always cut off the fat and remove the silverskin and then use transglutaminase to glue the fat back onto the meat. There's an excellent post on Cooking Issues with some great information here:

http://www.cookingissues.com/primers/transglutaminase-aka-meat-glue/

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A technically valid idea, but I choose grass-fed beef specifically because I want to "eat real food", and that would defeat the purpose. Lol –  Bryson Oct 6 '11 at 3:59
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As I said, it's probably over the top; not really much point in getting into the a debate over what constitutes real food so we'll leave it at that. –  Stefano Oct 6 '11 at 7:54

Dealing with the silver skin can be quite a challenge, but (as he often does) Alton Brown breaks it down in a way that even I could master with just a few tries.... of course the problem is remember which episode he did it on. The best video tutorial I have seen for trimming silver skin was "Good Eats: Tender is the Pork" available directly on "You Tube" (linked to the first of three parts.) While AB demonstrates on a pork tenderloin the technique is fully transferable to beef (or even lamb). You should also enjoy his "Tender is Loin" episodes, but that's another story...

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Yes! I love AB, I'll be looking this episode up post-haste! –  Bryson Oct 6 '11 at 4:00

Ideally, you want the flavor of the fat, without having to eat a blob of fat or the silverskin.

Cooking your steak standing on its fat side to start off with. It will render some of the fat out and help flavor your pan that you're cooking it in. After that, cook the steak as normal and frankly...just don't eat the rest of the fat or the silver skin. You've already melted a good chunk of it into the steak, so just enjoy the meat of the steak flavored with that wonderful fat.

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My girlfriend would agree with you about this, but I do eat the fat with my meat. –  Bryson Oct 3 '11 at 22:04

Obviously it's impossible to remove the silverskin without also removing the fat. You should be cooking the steak on a screaming hot pan, but even that won't 'melt' it.

I'd suggest removing the silverskin and fat, then adding a large knob of butter to the pan near the end of cooking, basting over the steak liberally to add richness.

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