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French Beef Cuts - The Bavette

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#1 bleudauvergne

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 04:32 AM

I ordered a bavette at the butcher and he was quite happy to announce that he had a really nice one at the time, which he said was a "bavette d'aloyau". I always thought that there was only one kind of bavette, one of your common cuts. You get this when you're trying to save money. My husband was not too excited about it when I announced what we were going to have for dinner, because he said that the ones he gets in the average cafe or bistrot with frites are often tough and stringy. I didn't do anything special to them, I just pan seared them and seasoned them with some salt and mignonette. They were amazingly flavorful and delicious, and melt in your mouth tender. I was pretty happy about that and imagined rolling it up with and herbed farce on the inside and roasting it, it was so tender and delicious. The next time I went to the butcher I asked him if I could have some more bavette d'aloyau. He said he didn't have any that day but offered me another type of bavette. How many types of bavette are there? How do you best ask in a restaruant ask what kind you're getting since they are often just offered as "bavette"?

#2 Nicolai

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 05:01 AM

Two types:

1- Bavette d'aloyau - Also called palangre, fausse osseline in Bordeaux and Toulouse, primpied in Saint Etienne, épais flanchet in Lille and Bifteck Stuck vum Lappe in Alsace.
Also called abroad:
Flank steak
Skirt, boneless
Dicker Bauchlappen
Redondo solomillo
Carne di pancia
Tira de lombo

2- Bavette de flanchet - Also faudil in Toulouse and flanchet d'aiguillette in Agen.
The bavette à pot-au-feu is called aude in Bordeaux, flanc épais in Montreuil-sur-Mer and Luppefleich vum Lappe in Alsace.
Also called abroad:
Skirt steack
Hose
Redondo falda
Bavetta Oculo de aba

Edited by Nicolai, 11 December 2005 - 05:09 AM.

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#3 bleudauvergne

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:09 AM

Nicolai, thank you! :biggrin:

That covers two of them. From what I now understand there are three more, for a total of five types. (this information comes from my husband who heard it from the butcher and was looking over my shoulder as I responded to this post.) I guess there's some footwork for me to do. If anyone else knows of the other types I'd love to hear them.

#4 mharpo

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 08:22 AM

I don't know much about Bavette, but I do know that skirt steak and flank steak are not the same thing. Here is an article I found that might help you: http://www.sfgate.co...FDG2BBNBS01.DTL
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#5 degusto

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Posted 11 December 2005 - 12:21 PM

Nicolai, thank you!  :biggrin:

That covers two of them.  From what I now understand there are three more, for a total of five types.  (this information comes from my husband who heard it from the butcher and was looking over my shoulder as I responded to this post.) I guess there's some foootwork for me to do.  If anyone else knows of the other types I'd love to hear them.

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My understanding is that there are only two bavettes, the ones described above. In all there are 33 cuts of beef. For a map on them go to Centre d'Information des Viandes. Klick on each part and the name of it in French will be displayed.
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#6 ScorchedPalate

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 07:28 PM

From my reading, the part of the cow that's becoming known as bavette in the States -- quite trendy in San Francisco these days, by the way -- is more-commonly known as flap steak here. But I think this is a marketing liberty, more than actual fact.

Paraphrasing from my favorite reference, Field Guide to Meat:

Flank steak is known as bavette de flanchet; it's a single muscle from the flank region, beneath the loin and in front of the back legs. It has a coarse, lengthwise grain; moderately fatty, with no connective tissue.

Skirt steak is known as bavette de aloyau or hampe in French; it's a long, thin fan-shaped cut from the plate (belly). Inside skirt is preferred; it's the part used for authentic fajitas. The outside part is the animal's actual diaphram. Both have a coarse texture and pronounced crosswise grain.

Chain is the cut of beef that's usually known simply as bavette or chainette. This is the long, thin muscle outside the main tenderloin muscle.

Niman Ranch -- a favorite of local restaurateurs -- sells a cut called Bavette, which appears to be the end of the flank steak, a cut that our grandmothers knew as "flap steak": Niman Ranch Bavette (This is the cut that I am seeing in my area, listed simply as "bavette", almost always served cut across the grain, with a bit of sauce. It's a good, beefy cut of meat.) Edited to add: The article posted upthread says that the Niman cut is the bavette de aloyau , which is entirely possible, although the Field Guide says the flap is the end of the flank, not the belly/skirt.

Edited by ScorchedPalate, 12 December 2005 - 07:37 PM.

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#7 mdibiaso

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 02:58 AM

Nicolai, thank you!   :biggrin:

That covers two of them.  From what I now understand there are three more, for a total of five types.  (this information comes from my husband who heard it from the butcher and was looking over my shoulder as I responded to this post.) I guess there's some foootwork for me to do.  If anyone else knows of the other types I'd love to hear them.

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My understanding is that there are only two bavettes, the ones described above. In all there are 33 cuts of beef. For a map on them go to Centre d'Information des Viandes. Klick on each part and the name of it in French will be displayed.

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Great site. Know of something similar in Swedish?

#8 bleudauvergne

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 03:21 AM

Thanks, mharpo for the article, and degusto & ScorchedPalate for the valuable info rescources!

As you can see, this butcher paper gives no particular additional insight but I thought it might be nice to put it up to give this thread some ambiance... (this paper comes from the butcher in the neighborhood who stays open on Sundays and from whom I buy meat from time to time.)

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#9 Busboy

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:30 AM

For what it's worth, my wife and I did a cook-off betwee the flank and skirt steaks, apparently corresponding to bavette de flanchette and bavette d'aloyau, just for the hell of it. We were a bit surprised how clear our preference for the skirt/d'aloyau was.

I wonder if the difference between the two cuts was exacerbated by the generally lower quality of beef (so I've heard, so I've found) in France, as opposed to in good-quality U.S. shops. Here, we cook flank steaks every now and again and, while they'll never replace prime rib (or skirt, for that matter), they're not bad. On the other hand, the one time we cooked up a bavette in France -- from what was reputed to be a good butcher in a swank ski town -- it was much as BdA described her experience in the original post, dry and stringy.
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#10 bleudauvergne

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 08:57 AM

... On the other hand, the one time we cooked up a bavette in France -- from what was reputed to be a good butcher in a swank ski town --  it was much as BdA described her experience in the original post, dry and stringy.

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Do you think that could have something to do with the way it was cut?

#11 Busboy

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 10:03 AM

... On the other hand, the one time we cooked up a bavette in France -- from what was reputed to be a good butcher in a swank ski town --  it was much as BdA described her experience in the original post, dry and stringy.

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Do you think that could have something to do with the way it was cut?

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By us or by the butcher?

It didn't -- to my recollection -- appear to be cut significantly different from a U.S. flank steak. And we cooked it as we usually do, and sliced it thin and against the grain when we served it. I think it just wasn't that swell of a piece of meat to begin with.
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#12 pim

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 06:39 PM

A funny tidbit -if slightly off topic- from a recent trip to Burgundy. At lunch one day in a semi-random brasserie in town, the 'bi-lingual' menu proposed a plat du jour of 'Cobblestone of Beef'.

Cute, no?
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#13 Busboy

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 08:09 PM

A funny tidbit -if slightly off topic- from a recent trip to Burgundy.  At lunch one day in a semi-random brasserie in town, the 'bi-lingual' menu proposed a plat du jour of 'Cobblestone of Beef'. 

Cute, no?

View Post


Actually, while I've never seen it translated literally before, the term "pavé" -- "paving stone" or "cobblestone" -- is commonly used to describe a piee of beef roughly the size of a U.S. filet mignon. My daughter, when we hit the local bistro here in DC, usually requests the "paving stone."
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#14 pim

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Posted 13 December 2005 - 09:54 PM

Actually, while I've never seen it translated literally before, the term "pavé" -- "paving stone" or "cobblestone" -- is commonly used to describe a piee of beef roughly the size of a U.S. filet mignon.  My daughter, when we hit the local bistro here in DC, usually requests the "paving stone."

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Really, I've never heard of that used in English. I just thought it was Pavé that suffered a bad run through Babelfish. :smile:
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#15 bleudauvergne

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 03:09 AM

... On the other hand, the one time we cooked up a bavette in France -- from what was reputed to be a good butcher in a swank ski town --  it was much as BdA described her experience in the original post, dry and stringy.

View Post


Do you think that could have something to do with the way it was cut?

View Post


By us or by the butcher?

It didn't -- to my recollection -- appear to be cut significantly different from a U.S. flank steak. And we cooked it as we usually do, and sliced it thin and against the grain when we served it. I think it just wasn't that swell of a piece of meat to begin with.

View Post


So in the States, it does not come already sliced into individual steaks? So far I have not seen it offered whole. He lays it flat on the board and aligns it, and then makes a nice show of cutting it diagonally into as many individual steaks as you're asking for and then puts it away. What attracted me to the bavette at first was watching him cut the steaks for another lady. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

My husband was actually quite suprised that they were so melt in the mouth delicious, because his experience with them had always been just as you describe, dry and stringy ones served in cafes. This prompted me to start asking about that particular delicious tender and juicy kind of bavette (d'Aloyau) and what made it so wonderful - completely different from the ones that are dry and stringy.

They have this thing they call Pierrade in Lyon, a hot stone at the table, you get the meats on the side and cook them up yourself. It reminds me of this Korean thing where they bring out hot cast iron pans and you do the same thing. I think it's their way to handle the stringy type of bavette, now if I can figure out which of them is the stringy kind so I can make sure only to get that for fajitas, pierade, maybe Mongolian hotpot...

The bavette de flanchet?

#16 bleudauvergne

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 03:14 AM

A funny tidbit -if slightly off topic- from a recent trip to Burgundy.  At lunch one day in a semi-random brasserie in town, the 'bi-lingual' menu proposed a plat du jour of 'Cobblestone of Beef'. 

Cute, no?

View Post


Cute! :raz:

#17 Busboy

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 05:03 AM

Actually, while I've never seen it translated literally before, the term "pavé" -- "paving stone" or "cobblestone" -- is commonly used to describe a piee of beef roughly the size of a U.S. filet mignon.  My daughter, when we hit the local bistro here in DC, usually requests the "paving stone."

View Post


Really, I've never heard of that used in English. I just thought it was Pavé that suffered a bad run through Babelfish. :smile:

View Post


You're probably right -- the only time I'v actually heard the literal translation here is my daughter, who had a cobblestone for her birthday dinner a couple of weeks ago.
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#18 Busboy

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 05:16 AM

... On the other hand, the one time we cooked up a bavette in France -- from what was reputed to be a good butcher in a swank ski town --  it was much as BdA described her experience in the original post, dry and stringy.

View Post


Do you think that could have something to do with the way it was cut?

View Post


By us or by the butcher?

It didn't -- to my recollection -- appear to be cut significantly different from a U.S. flank steak. And we cooked it as we usually do, and sliced it thin and against the grain when we served it. I think it just wasn't that swell of a piece of meat to begin with.

View Post


So in the States, it does not come already sliced into individual steaks? So far I have not seen it offered whole. He lays it flat on the board and aligns it, and then makes a nice show of cutting it diagonally into as many individual steaks as you're asking for and then puts it away. What attracted me to the bavette at first was watching him cut the steaks for another lady. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing.

My husband was actually quite suprised that they were so melt in the mouth delicious, because his experience with them had always been just as you describe, dry and stringy ones served in cafes. This prompted me to start asking about that particular delicious tender and juicy kind of bavette (d'Aloyau) and what made it so wonderful - completely different from the ones that are dry and stringy.

They have this thing they call Pierrade in Lyon, a hot stone at the table, you get the meats on the side and cook them up yourself. It reminds me of this Korean thing where they bring out hot cast iron pans and you do the same thing. I think it's their way to handle the stringy type of bavette, now if I can figure out which of them is the stringy kind so I can make sure only to get that for fajitas, pierade, maybe Mongolian hotpot...

The bavette de flanchet?

View Post


It's not inconceivable that I've never seen a whole bavette either here or across the pond. I remember the first time I had an onglet butchered, realizing that what I had thought of as "an onglet" was actually only a quarter of the original cut.

The bavettes that I've been sold are ovals, about the total area of a dinner plate, but they would hang over the edge on the long axis and be narrower than the plate on the other axis. We usually feed the family off one, but it's a bit of a stretch. They look like this, though this one seems a touch plump. I can seee the butcher slicing it into individual portions, but we just cook it whole and then slice it, like a road-kill roast.

In the U.S, you can tell the flank from the skirt because the skirt is so thin. Comme une mini-jupe.

Whether that difference translates literally into French butchery, I don't know.
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#19 bleudauvergne

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Posted 14 December 2005 - 08:53 AM

These are good ideas to research, busboy, thank you. Nice photos of the meat, too, it gives a better idea of what I'm looking at. I've just come back from a conversation with one butcher who says that in his opinion the only real bavette is the b. d'aloyeau. This is just one guys opinion, he's been in the business for 40 years and has seen a lot. He says most restaurants don't serve it because the real bavette is not very plentiful - for one animal, you get about 14 individual portions. He also says that butchers give lots of names to different cuts, and much of what is sold as bavette is really faux. I had to kind of grill it out of him with some rapidfire questioning. :rolleyes:

#20 Margaret Pilgrim

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:30 AM

For a map on them go to Centre d'Information des Viandes. Klick on each part and the name of it in French will be displayed.

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Thank you for this excellent reference!
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#21 k43

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Posted 15 December 2005 - 11:41 AM

Here's a list of French cuts from a NYC butcher:

expensive
filet de boeuf - tenderloin
entrecôte - rib steak
faux filet - sirloin

tiny, single portion cuts
la poire - the pear
la fausse-araignée - the spider

larger, comparatively tough but well flavored cuts
onglet - hanger or butcher's tenderloin - naturally dark in color, so don't worry
paleron - part of the shoulder clod - usually braised, but good for grilling or pan frying
pavé, a/k/a filet de romsteck - the romsteck is the top butt - the filet is the poor man's filet mignon - thin, chewy, powerfully flavored cut from the leg - excellent for London broil or steak au poivre
bavette d'aloyau - a smaller, more tender flank steak

The Niman site says their Bavette is from the short loin, which, according to this graphic of American cuts, is either the front of the French faux filet (sirloin) or the rear of the entrecôte. See French cuts.

Edited by k43, 15 December 2005 - 12:15 PM.


#22 bleudauvergne

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Posted 16 December 2005 - 03:34 AM

From comparisons of the American cuts and the French cuts, I see that the bavette d'aloyau (no. 22 of the French cuts diagram) is a combination of the the tip end of the American flank plus the bottom sirloin (tri-tip) combined. Thanks for the both the sites which are interesting to compare. :smile:

#23 gfweb

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Posted 16 March 2014 - 06:31 PM

I got some "loin flap steak" at costco.

I think Bavette sounds better. 

Butterflied it and pan fried till med rare. Happened fast on these thin fellows.

A little chewy, but very beefy tasting.

Served with roasted pepper w balsamic and au gratin pots

 

The soft focus is very French, no?

bavette.jpg


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