“Meat” Larry Schubert, who founded Schubert’s Packing Co., Inc. in Millstadt Illinois, a farming town located 20 minutes east of St. Louis. “We opened the doors in 1978 and we had nothing to lose. We just bought a house and had a new baby. Our first daughter was born Jan 30th and I quit my job on Jan 31st.”
He’s a tell-it-like-it-is and have-some-fun-along-the-way kind of guy. He’s also a celebrated, award winning smoked and cured meat producer. Award plaques dominate the showcases in his market, too numerous to count. As a matter of fact, he is the 1997 inductee in the Cured Meat Hall of Fame! He knows more than you do about meat.
He was nice enough to give us his time recently to share some tips, based upon over 45 years of experience. Over a few upcoming posts, we will publish our discussion with Larry, which covered topics ranging from venison to lamb to… ostrich! More on that later….
“Our motto at Red Meat Lover is ‘Any cut of meat. Any type of heat.’
Our audience wants to know what cut of meat an expert like yourself selects, when cooking at home. We will provide the cooking method ….
“What is your favorite cut for the grill?”
There’s nothing like a ribeye. At a butcher shop like ours, people can also buy a cut known as the rib steak. It’s the exact same cut of meat as the ribeye, it’s just got the bone on it…. and I like the flavor of the bone with a steak. I know there’s a couple of fancy restaurants now that are “frenching” the rib steak (for presentation). They’re putting a fancy name on it but all they’re doing is serving the ribeye with the bone on it.
How do you keep fatty end of the ribeye from burning as you grill?
Indirect heat. I always go on indirect.
How do you season the ribeye? Are you a straight salt and pepper guy?
I use everything! Garlic is always a good thing. I like red pepper flakes too. I like paprika; there’s not a lot of flavor to it but it has nice color. I’m always open to any seasoning. I will try something different almost every time. And when somebody asks me how’d you season that? I answer them, “hell, I don’t know…whatever I have in the cupboard.”
What is your favorite cut of meat for the smoker?
You can smoke anything. A lot of people think if you have a smoker, you need to put the meat in there for “days” but it really depends on what you’re trying to do. I wouldn’t smoke any thin cut of meat (less than ¼ inch); you’ve got to have something thick. Beef brisket is a good example. However, brisket will take a bit longer to smoke (than chicken thighs) because you cannot have a tender beef brisket unless you’re smoking it for 6 or 7 hours. It just will not be tender… it’s just that cut of meat. It’s a muscle.
OK, but if we made you choose a favorite cut of meat for the smoker, you would say…..?
I would say ribs or possibly a whole pork butt. You get a nice crust on the outside of the butt and if you do have somebody who doesn’t like smoke, you shred it and get it mixed so well that it’s not too noticeable. If you have somebody who likes a lot of smoke, then cut the outside off for them.
Another good cut, which a lot of people don’t know, is a boneless picnic….it’s called a boneless “callie.” It’s the opposite end of the pork “butt” (which actually comes from the shoulder of the pig). The callie has a little more muscle to it but I think the flavor is actually better. One end of the shoulder is the butt the other end is the callie (or picnic), and, when they’re together it’s called the New York shoulder.
And what would you throw down in a cast iron skillet, on the stove-top?
A bone- in steak; a porterhouse or a t-bone. When I was a kid we used to take the cast iron and put a bit of lard (aka rendered bacon fat) in it, which I just truly love. First, take the tbone / porterhouse through egg and milk wash (milk and egg whisked together). Get the wash on both sides of the steak. Take a heap of flour and mix it together with salt & pepper. Then take the steak out of the wash and put it in the flour mixture. Now, you heat the lard and get it good and hot … and pan fry the steak. It’s delicious. They’re great.
Finally, what cut of meat would you be most inclined to make in the oven?
Top or bottom rounds, which are commonly used for making roast beef.
What is under-rated is a boneless rump, which is just a delicious roast and it’s just not real popular; it can be very tough to find at a large grocer. In fact, we break down our beef here – the full sides – you’ll have bone-in rump roast and nobody wants to buy them so you make it boneless….and it’s just sensational.
I also like a bone-in chuck roast or bone-in arm roast. Cut up some potatoes, carrots, a bit of onion, put it in oven or even in a baking bag and it’s tremendous.
Can you share any other tips for cooking steak?
Patience! When your grill is ready put your steaks on and let them sit for the desired time before flipping. Many folks think you have to constantly flip steaks, but allowing a nice sear to form on the first side before flipping you lock in all those juices, you should only flip once.
Also, take the steaks off the grill 5-10 degrees below your target temp, they will continue to cook and get to their desired temp, and of course let them sit for 5 minutes before you cut.
You don’t need to be near Millstadt to enjoy Schubert’s incredible selection of meats and a unique selection of over 20 different types of bratwurst, including gummy bear ‘brats….yes, you read that correctly! The traditions of Schubert’s are now carried on by Dave Kossina and family and you can visit the store online at schubertssmokehouse.com. They ship anywhere in the USA!