Photo courtesy of Chip Weiner – Creative Loafing
You may be wondering what it takes to run a butcher shop that is known for its attention to detail and premium cuts of meat. We’ve got the juicy details on the man behind the knife and the cuts of meat at Tampa’s premiere butcher shop.
We caught up with Vlad Vergilov, resident butcher of Council Oak Steaks & Seafood as he focused on unpacking his meat delivery which occurs every Tuesday and Friday. During our conversation he filled us in on the various types of cuts offered to guests. “I always try to provide recommendations that will satisfy our guest’s palate and leave them really happy,” Vlad said.
He is no rookie at offering expert advice. Vlad moved to Florida from Bulgaria in 2003 and has been with Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa now for nearly two years. Prior to becoming a butcher he was a cook for Council Oak Steaks & Seafood. His expertise stems from his five years of experience with prime cut meats in both the kitchen and the butcher shop. Vlad expressed, “It’s important to know how the meat will cook, so you can offer advice to the guest based on their preference.”
Each cut of meat that Vlad has to dissemble and portion takes hours. One Longbone Ribeye that is delivered to Council Oak Steaks & Seafood makes five to nine individual pieces of meat. After the meat has been portioned, Vlad separates the meat into a non-allergenic pan coated in peanut oil, which preserves the meat from browning and oxidizing. The meat sits in a room filled with Himalayan sea salt, as it removes the moisture and lowers the humidity, which puts the minerals back into the meat to enhance the flavor.
Check out the various cuts offered at the Butcher Shop in Council Oak Steaks & Seafood:
New York Strip – Dry Aged for 21 days
Porterhouse – Dry Aged for 21 days
Ribeye – Dry Aged for 21 days
Lamb – Dry Aged for 14 days
Veal – Wet Aged for 7-14 days
Pork – Wet Aged
Bone-In New York Strip – Aged for 40-60 days
USDA Prime and Choice Steaks that are either dry or wet aged.
USDA Prime is the superior grade that offers a juicy, tender and flavorful texture. This steak has the highest degree of fat marbling and is derived from younger beef.
USDA Choice is the second highest grade of beef that typically has less fat marbling than the Prime cut. Choice is a quality steak particularly if it is a cut that is derived from the loin and rib areas of the beef such as tenderloin filet or rib steak. The texture of this steak is coarse versus tender.
Dry Aged is the traditional process of placing an entire carcass or wholesale cut in a refrigerated room for 21 to 28 days at 32-34 degrees Fahrenheit and 80-85 percent relative humidity with an air velocity of 0.5 to 2.5 minute/second. This aged process results in a brown-roasted beefy flavor steak.
Wet Aged is the aging of meat in vacuum bags under refrigerated conditions of 32-34 degrees Fahrenheit. This aged process results in a more flavorful steak.