There's nothing quite like fixing a craving for a nice, juicy steak. Unfortunately, when I got to college steak became much harder to come across. I'm of course lucky that WashU has an on campus restaurant with steak on the menu, but ordering it uses up way more meal points than it's worth. Luckily, this past summer I took a butchers class at Fleishers Craft Butchery in Greenwich, Connecticut, where I learned about some delicious affordable steaks.

The Class

Photo courtesy of Fleishers Craft Butchery

The butchers class taught me all about the meat of a cow and where you can find the most tender and most flavorful cuts. I learned that the the most tender meat comes from the parts of the cow where the muscles aren't really used, and that the most flavorful meat comes from the parts of the cow located near flowing blood from the heart. Your local butcher has their own names for different cuts so you can ask for the specific part you're looking for.

The neck meat is the most flavorful part of the cow because that's where most of the cows movement comes from. That means that a lot of blood flows to that part of the cow. That being said, because the neck of the cow is used so much, you have to make the meat more tender. It's recommended to season the cut with red wine, garlic, and parsley in order to break up the protein bonds and make the meat tender. Another way to make meat from the neck tender is to basically slow cook the meat using a sous vide to soften it.

The Ranch Steak

My favorite cut of meat from that class was the ranch steak, which is the tricep of the cow. The ranch steak is like a tender ribeye, and the best part is that it's only $11.99 a pound at Fleishers. That's only a dollar more a pound than ground beef.

The Denver Steak

Another one of my favorite steaks is the Denver steak, though it usually goes for around $15.99 per pound. That may seem a little expensive for someone on a college budget, but compared to other steaks of a similar caliber, it's a pretty reasonable price. What makes the Denver steak so good is how marbled it is. The marbling makes it very flavorful and the meat is already very tender and juicy.

The Oyster Steak

Photo courtesy of Fleishers Craft Butchery

If you're looking for a steak that tastes a little different from a regular cut of meat I would definitely go for the oyster steak. This cut is from the backbone of the cow. The oyster steak is a tender and flavorful cut of meat, but with a really unique taste. As long as you're extra careful and don't overcook this cut you won't be disappointed.

The most affordable cuts

Photo courtesy of Fleishers Craft Butchery

If you're willing to put a little more time and effort into your cooking there are some more well known butchers cuts which will fit within a limited budget. Consider the London broil, eye round, and bottom round. If you sear or roast these cuts properly they will taste delicious and not be too tough.

Cooking your steak

The best way to cook most butchers cuts would be to barbecue them on a relatively high heat. A charcoal grill would be the tastiest way to cook most of these cuts. Here are step by step instructions on how to use a charcoal barbecue for beginners.

All of these meats will fill your cravings and make your friends think that you are rich enough to afford steak while you're in college. This butchers class taught me that steak doesn't have to be luxury while your in college, as long as you are willing to experiment with some lesser known butchers cuts.

If you're interested in attending a similar butchers class, or you want more information check out Fleisher's website here.