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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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  • Hmm... this may be my monitor but that looks definitely rare. I am not familiar enough with cuts of steak or connective tissue in general to say whether cooking only a bit longer (from rare to medium rare) would improve the texture of the connective tissue though.
    – Katey HW
    Oct 3 '11 at 20:37
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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
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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
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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
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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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Cut off slice of steak with fat and silver skin. Chew. Allow flavour to anoint your palate. Swallow the goodness. Spit out tough items as the sliver skin. Problem solved...we are carnivores are we not?

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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
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    Thanks for the heads up about the prime rib having no silverskin partition!
    – Bryson
    Oct 7 '11 at 18:07
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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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I live in the Ecuadorean Andes where cattle often eat "scrub" and after butchering the meat is not aged. I am constantly having to experiment with the meat I get from the butcher here, in the highlands. In the big cities I can get Argentinian AND US Black Angus beef and it is wonderful but also quite expensive. And I don't always get what I actually order from the butcher, even with a color-coded diagram of the cow. Last week I ordered a tri-tip by colored diagram (have done so successfully, several times, in the past). Instead, I received a whole SKIRT, silver skin, bone, and ALL. A nightmare I will be sure to not repeat.

So, I wonder if you can remove the silver skin, toss it, AND THEN remove the chunk of fat. Then take butcher twine and tie the chunk of fat back on the steak so that it is where it originally was. If we can take the front of the rib bones from a standing rib roast, have them removed, and then tie them back onto the roast, then I don't see why you couldn't tie the fat back on. I would definitely try it.

Don't be afraid to experiment and write down your method and results. Good luck.

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