What's the beef with Angus?

Demystifying what should be a backyard barbecue favorite.

click to enlarge Harold Seltzer's Angus Filet Oscar - HAROLD SELTZER
Harold Seltzer
Harold Seltzer's Angus Filet Oscar

With so many patriotic and celebratory holidays in line, many Americans are preparing for, if not already engaging in, a popular American pastime: barbecuing. Steak and burgers, items commonly found on a grill, have been the catalysts for a recently launched beef campaign in Florida.

With 16,000 cattle ranchers and just over a million cattle in the state, Florida has a lot to be proud of. Many of our local beef ranchers have been nationally recognized, receiving awards such as the National Environmental Stewardship Award, National Beef Quality Assurance Award, National Beef Backer Award, among others at state and regional levels.

In order to educate consumers about beef and to "demystify" Angus beef, Sweetbay Supermarket formed its first Angus Ambassador Advisory Board. The panel is made up of many well-known and respected chefs in the Tampa Bay community, including: Habteab Hamde of Bern's Steak House, Ryner Drygala of Bistro 41, Chad Johnson of SideBern's, Al Massa of Michael's on East and Harold Seltzer of Harold Seltzer's Steak House. Each week, the featured board member shares a recipe that highlights Angus beef on Sweetbay's Angus Ambassador Advisory Board website.

Seltzer, who was invited by Sweetbay to join the board based on his lifelong experience with beef, blames some of the confusion surrounding Angus on the way the American Angus Association has marketed Certified Angus Beef.

"Angus generically is a hornless cattle and there are different types. Now, the term 'Angus' is used very loosely. Even McDonald's advertises an 'Angus hamburger'. This confusion especially affects steak houses, like mine. Angus typically is better because of the marbling [flecks of fat], but the issues are really aging and grading."

Ashley Hughes, director of beef marketing and promotion at the Florida Beef Council, was raised on a cattle ranch in Okeechobee, and eventually got her degree in agriculture business and beef nutrition. Since the Beef Council does not promote one breed over another, Hughes was not willing to agree that Angus is necessarily the superior beef. What it comes down to, she said, is your personal flavor preference.

Ultimately, it never hurts to know a little bit about what you consume and how it gets on your plate. Learn more about Florida-raised beef at floridacattlemen.org and see more tasty recipes (like the one at right) by the Angus Ambassador Advisory Board at sweetbaysupermarket.com.

Angus Filet Mignon Oscar

(from Harold Seltzer's Steakhouse)

Ingredients for Oscar topping:

2 oz lump blue crab meat

3 spears asparagus (steamed)

2 oz Béarnaise sauce, see below (Knorr Brand powdered Béarnaise mix is a great substitute for the real thing.)

Ingredients for Béarnaise sauce:

1/4 cup chopped tarragon leaves

2 shallots, minced

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

1/4 cup dry white wine

3 egg yolks

1 stick butter, melted

Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

1. Make the Béarnaise reduction first. In a small saucepan, combine the tarragon, shallots, vinegar and wine over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by half. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. Blend yolks and Béarnaise reduction together. With the blender running, add 1/3 of the butter in a slow steady stream. Once it emulsifies, turn the blender speed up to high and add the remaining butter.

3. Season with salt and pepper and set aside in a warm spot to hold the sauce.

4. Brush Filet Mignon (cut from an Angus tenderloin to desired size/weight) with margarine.

5. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of Harold Seltzer's Steakhouse (or other brand) steak seasoning on filet.

6. Place your filet seasoned-side down on hot grill.

7. Rotate filet to create appealing grill marks.

8. Turn steak over and repeat, grilling to desired temperature/doneness.

9. Place filet on plate and warmed crab meat on top of it.

10. Arrange asparagus spears over the meat and drizzle with sauce.

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