Taste: Foods You Don’t Know: Barrel-Cut Beef
WHAT IT IS: The best-marbled part of the rib eye, offering filet-like texture with bold rib-eye flavor, minus fat, bone, and toughened outer edge. The most tender end of the boneless rib eye — weighing in at 1.5 pounds — is trimmed to produce one barrel-cut steak.
WHY IT’S HARD TO FIND: George Wells Meats in Philadelphia sells it only to restaurants and hotels. And it’s not for penny-pinchers — it costs around $18 per pound, due to the skill required for the labor-intensive cut and the amount of waste it produces.
WHERE TO FIND IT: Adventurous chef/owner Michael DiBianca of Wilmington’s Moro serves it grilled and roasted, with accompaniments like a ricotta potato cake with pear hazelnut demiglace. Or perhaps you’ll sample it the next time you’re invited to a White House soirée, where chef Cristeta Comerford was painstakingly doing the cut herself before she found that an area meat supplier could provide it.