Test Kitchen Chronicles: Culotte

by Joyce Parslow

I stumbled upon this beef cut while looking for some Top Sirloin Grilling Steak one night in my local grocers: Culotte/Top Sirloin Cap Steak.  This is my new found STEAK LOVE! It’s very flavourful and has a bit of a bite (a resistance to chew) – but not too much! And, it is just the right size for me! It can be cooked like all other Grilling Steaks: by high heat + short cooking time – so Grilling, Broiling, Pan-frying + Pan-searing all can work for this terrific cut.

At the counter, I found:

  • Top Sirloin Grilling Steak
  • Top Sirloin Cap Off Grilling Steak
  • Top Sirloin Cap Grilling Steak
  • Top Sirloin Grilling Medallions

Wow – now that can be a bit confusing (to say the least) – and they all look pretty different. So of course, I had to buy the lot and take them home to cook.

First I went to my Meat Map (as I call it) for a bit of a butchery lesson:

steaks2

where beef comes from

All Top Sirloin is taken from the mid-section of the Sirloin, below the Tenderloin.

The BASIC understanding:

  1. Start with the whole Top Sirloin Grilling Steak
  2. You can cut off the top portion, where it naturally divides to get 2 pieces: Top Sirloin Cap-Off Steak + the Top Sirloin Cap (a.k.a. Culotte)
  3. You can also take the Top Sirloin Cap-Off piece and carve it into neat Medallion shapes if you wish – a round-ish shape that is often tied help hold the shape

When wrapped tightly onto a tray-pack, the Top Sirloin Cap looked like a hand-shaped sort of steak (to me) – not much different other steaks. So imagine my surprise when I unwrapped the package to find that I had 3 individual log-shaped steaks! I thought I had been given scraps and was mortified thinking how disappointed others who bought this cut might be.

top sirloin cap in pkg

top sirloin cap out of pkg for shape

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH: But I took the plunge, seasoned them all over with some Maldon salt (my favourite) and some freshly ground coarse pepper and grilled them up as I would any grilling steak (over medium-high heat for about 4 to 6 minutes per side for a 1-inch thick steak).

And guess what: THIS STEAK TASTES GREAT!! Which again goes to prove, that you can’t judge a book by its cover (or in this case, it’s weird shape). It is even better when served with our new found Shallot Compound Butter, courtesy of Certified Angus Beef’s own, Chef Donna Hann!

And why does this cut have 2 names?? Both describe the shape: Culotte for French, Cap for English.

We all loved the French name the best –– that is until we understood the literal translation…

Ok –here you go: Culotte = under garments (yes, underpants to be specific). Romantic sounding – yes, but best just to go with the fantasy rather than the translation.

Whichever name you find when you’re shopping, be sure to snatch up some of this great cut this summer – seek the Culotte!

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