At Shanahan's we strive to serve the highest quality products and our beef is no exception. Our meat specialist, Anthony Dunne has developed a beef program to ensure that Shanahan's reaches this goal. We only serve Certified Irish Angus beef, but what does this mean?
The Angus breed comes from the breeding of Ireland's Celtic Cow and a bull brought to Scotland by the Norman Invaders. The breed was first raised in Aberdeenshire in Scotland, hence the breed name Aberdeen Angus.
One in ten of all animals in Ireland are Angus. The breed is increasing in popularity in recent years primarily due to the overwhelming demand for superior quality beef. The product is much appreciated by connoisseurs of beef because the combination of breed characteristics and the adherence to strict processing procedures delivers an excellent flavour quality to the meat.
In order to be titled Angus beef, all beef must come from registered, certified Irish Angus cattle and a herd number is required before the purchase of any Angus cattle. The cattle are reared on a grass-based diet supplemented during the winter months with native cereals. These diets are 100% natural and free from illegal additives and growth promoting substances.
Each animal has a complete lifeline of traceable growth and a record of the animal up to the time of slaughter. This record is for safety reasons and leaves no room for any disease or malformations. In our program, we are proud to say we have full trace ability in the steer we use.
Shanahan's strives to use only steer meat. Anthony Dunne goes through each side of steer and selects the 6 bone ribs that have the best marbling and highest fat content. These ribs are what we use for the Shanahan Steak. Once they have been cut from carcass, they are then sent to a rack to be dry aged for 1-2 weeks.
After we have picked the ribs, we begin hand selecting the tenderloins, or filets and whole striploins for the restaurant. Size and marbling are the key elements we look for in our selection. We pull all steer meat possible and if needed, we select any heifer meat we might need. Once we have chosen the sides we like, we tag the meat and send it down the belt to be cryovacked, weighed and labelled.
Once the box is labelled, we open the box and take an inventory of the meat. The box is then tagged a second time with a Shanahan number so that we will know exactly what is inside each box. The box is then sealed and placed on a palate with the rest of the day's selection. Now the meat will sit in cryovacked bags and wet age. For the filets, they should wet age for no more than 3 weeks. The striploins however, can age longer and are best 40-45 days from the pack date. Depending upon business levels, we portion cut 1-3 times per week. We cut between 3-5 boxes of filets and 1-3 boxes of strips.
Dry aging is a process used in America to age beef to create a unique flavour. Dry aging is essential for prime beef. The process is done by hanging the beef on the bone, in cold lockers, for an average of 21 days. During that time, connective tissue that holds the muscle together deteriorates, increasing tenderness while moisture evaporates resulting in a firmer texture and more concentrated beef flavour.
Wet aging is also very common, as the aging process is done in a cryovac bag and is aged for a longer period of time. This changes the texture of the beef and tends to make it softer to touch and not as firm as dry aging.
In a good piece of dry-aged beef, the surrounding fat, which should be substantial and not thin, dry, or ivory, will be webbed throughout with veins of fat, in thin strands much like the veins in a piece of marble rather than one or two large pockets of fat.
Tender steaks come from just three sections of the carcass. The rib section and immediately behind that, the short loin and the sirloin, both of which come from the loin. Of these, the most tender come from the short loin, which when cut into steaks with the bone left in produces the porterhouse, the T-bone, and club steaks. If the bone is removed, the same meat can become a confusing selection of cuts such as the New York, toploin, and striploin. This is why it is very important to have someone knowledgeable to work with the butchers on purchasing meat.