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We Couldn't Help But Wonder: What Is Beef Deckle?

ribeye caps on grill
ribeye caps on grill - grillkraft/Shutterstock

While almost everyone knows pot roast, brisket, and the various types of steak, the announcement that tonight's dinner is beef deckle might be met with some confusion. Even for beef connoisseurs, deckle may be a bit of a mystery. It's actually a muddled term, used to describe two vastly different cuts of meat.

When it comes to steak, beef deckle is sometimes called the ribeye cap. It's also known as butcher's butter. It's a piece of meat that's frequently disregarded but highly sought after, due to its rarity, tenderness and taste.

Within the world of barbecue, the term beef deckle is sometimes used to describe the fat cap on a whole piece of brisket. The fat cap is generally a tougher piece of meat, one that requires a slow cooking method. It is also known as a brisket deckle (which we'll call it from here on out  to avoid confusion). Since they're two different pieces of meat, the ribeye cap and brisket deckle come from different parts of the cow.

Read more: Ways You're Using Your Grill Wrong

Ribeye Cap Vs Brisket Deckle

someone chopping brisket
someone chopping brisket - 7713 Photography/Shutterstock

The deckle of beef or ribeye cap comes from the spinalis dorsi muscle, the same part of the cow that gives diners both ribeyes and prime rib. As hinted by its name, the ribeye cap is connected to the ribeye steak. Butchers will often remove the ribeye cap, selling it separately from the ribeye. Slicing the ribeye cap can be time-intensive work, with a small result. It's only around an inch thick. "You may end up with — if you're lucky — a pound and a half piece of meat that's set free," Chad Smucker, owner of Johnny's Fresh Meats in Allentown, told Leigh Valley Market Place.

Meanwhile, brisket deckle comes from the cow's shoulder and sits atop the brisket. Brisket deckle is the meat that lines the inner surface of the brisket and is fatty in nature. Many butchers opt to trim the brisket deckle away in order to sell a cheaper, leaner piece of meat. Likewise, some home cooks will remove the brisket deckle for the same reason. Considered by some to be the second brisket, the brisket deckle is sold as a separate roast, fattier than one would expect of brisket.

How To Prepare A Beef Deckle

new york strip and ribeye cap
new york strip and ribeye cap - CK Ma/Shutterstock

As intuition should tell you, each piece of meat is cooked and prepared differently from another. For the ribeye cap, cook the meat much like any steak, throwing it on the grill or in a frying pan. Cook the perfect steak by seasoning it properly, letting the butter soak into the meat, and giving it a nice sear to hold in the juices. For a medium-rare ribcap steak, grill between seven to 11 minutes, flipping it about halfway through. It's then ready to serve.

For brisket deckle, employ a slow cook method as one would with a brisket. Try braising the brisket deckle in onions, red wine, and beef broth. For a sweeter meal, incorporate honey into the mix. Let the brisket deckle cook for several hours until it is tender; if desiring a less fatty meal, cook the brisket deckle a day or two in advance. After it's cooled in the fridge, it's easier to remove the fat before reheating. It's always a good idea to also trim some of the fat and use it to make beef tallow.

Where To Buy Ribeye Cap And Brisket Deckle

brisket that's been sliced
brisket that's been sliced - 7713 Photography/Shutterstock

While the two types of meat that fall under the umbrella of beef deckle are different, they're similar in that they're both difficult to acquire. Walmart may sell brisket, but it's very unlikely brisket deckle could be found. The best bet to find it is by visiting the local butcher. Given the meat's high-fat content, it's not desirable for some, so butchers often use the meat in hamburgers. Order the meat online as well; for about $50, you can get 3 pounds.

The butcher shop might also be one of the best places to get ribeye caps. Given the rarity of the meat in relation to other meat on the cow, ribeye caps often fetch a high price due. Be willing to spend in the ballpark of about $45 per pound. It can be found online as well, with prices going as high as $159 for four 6-ounce servings. The higher prices are for that signature texture, described by some as buttery and tender. It's why, despite the relative obscurity of deckle, it's so highly sought after.

Read the original article on Mashed.