Any Way You Slice It
Using versatile cuts of meat across different dayparts
With the restaurant landscape more competitive than ever, efficiency can be the key to profitability. Finding multiple uses for one of the most important supplies–meat–can go a long way toward staying in the black while keeping diners coming back. By selecting the right cuts and employing a bit of creativity in using them, a restaurant can offer distinctive menu options throughout different dayparts without overspending. We spoke with meat experts at two completely different types of restaurants for advice on what works best across breakfast, lunch, dinner and beyond.
For Karl Marsh, chief culinary officer of the Omaha, Neb.-based Eat Fit Go, the benefits of using double- and triple-duty meat cuts add up quickly. “We don’t want a cut that will only be used in one meal; we want it utilized across our offerings,” he says. “It creates less complexity for the operation and adds up to less labor, less food waste, and better rotation so it keeps things fresher, making the quality higher.”
- Karl Marsh, chief culinary officer of Eat Fit Go
- chef de cuisine James Higgins
With locations across eight states, Eat Fit Go offers healthy packaged meals customers can heat and eat in their restaurants or enjoy at home. Three central production kitchens creating more than 40,000 meals per week make smart purchasing essential. The company uses such proteins as lean ground turkey, chicken breast and salmon on its breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack menus, but Marsh notes that its beef offerings best exemplify this versatility.
“We use a beef tri-tip, which cuts through the sirloin, and we use a beef tenderloin, and they’re cross-utilized across all the dayparts,” he says. “For example, we make a beef breakfast burrito that has chopped steak in it, and we make a steak-and-egg scramble where we dice up the tri-tip. We use the same steak in our beef stir-fry, which is more of an entrée-type meal.”
James Higgins, chef de cuisine at Grass & Bone, an all-day restaurant and full-service butcher shop in Mystic, Conn., approaches the issue from a different angle, but arrives at a similar philosophy based on getting the most out of each cut.
“As far as the flexibility of meat goes, at Grass & Bone we buy the whole animal, so the selection of cuts is unlimited and cross-utilization is the name of the game,” says Higgins. “It plays a major role in menu items. The shoulder of the pig is primarily used for sausages that we have on the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, which shows how just one section of the animal can cover all three meals.”
“On the other side, each cut of meat is like a tool in a toolbox,” he continues. “Each one can be used for a specific purpose. The belly of the pig can be used for bacon, pancetta or just slow-roasted with salt and pepper and served as a meal, while the hind quarter of a cow can be broken down into roasts and used for sandwich meat or be served at dinner as a pot roast.”