Gallery: Steakcraft: A Visit to Florence Prime Meats, Home of the Newport Steak

Pizzuco in the doorway
Pizzuco in the doorway

Owner and butcher Benny Pizzuco in the doorway of Florence Prime Meats.

Florence Prime Meats
Florence Prime Meats

The West Village butcher shop has been here since 1936.

The Counter
The Counter

This is old school.

No springs—honest weight
No springs—honest weight

The shop still uses old Toledo scales. If it ain't broke....

Stamp
Stamp

This decades-old brass stamp is used to pound cutlets.

Tin ceiling
Tin ceiling

The tin ceiling dates back decades.

The menu
The menu

The shell, T-bone, porterhouse, and rib steaks are all dry aged at the shop.

Twine
Twine

This is an old school butcher—no plastic wrap.

Dry aged primals
Dry aged primals

Left to right: short loin, rib, and strip loin.

Steakcraft in action
Steakcraft in action

The butchers work their way up through the shop, starting off with a broom and then on to deliveries before they ever handle a knife.

The meat locker
The meat locker

Pizzuco emerges from the locker with an aged rib.

Dry aged rib
Dry aged rib

This rib was aged for 35 days. The meat is generally aged from 28 to 35 days depending on what the butchers think it needs.

Rib Innards
Rib Innards

Florence only uses prime beef.

Strip loin
Strip loin
USDA stamp
USDA stamp
Cutting strip steaks
Cutting strip steaks
Florencio
Florencio

With a strip steak.

Removing the crust
Removing the crust

The first order of business is to remove the hard exterior crust that has resulted from the dry aging.

Marbling
Marbling

The abundant marbling is evident.

Hack saw
Hack saw

While there is a band saw in the back, the use of the hack saw reflects old world traditions.

Finish with the knife
Finish with the knife

After the hack saw has been used to cut the bone, a knife is used to remove the rest of the face.

Scraping the primal
Scraping the primal

Pizzuco scrapes the bone fragments off the primal before putting it away.

Exposed
Exposed

We can now see the inner flesh. This is the sirloin end of the primal—note that the tenderloin is large and round. It has tapered off completely at the other end of the primal.

Cutting steaks
Cutting steaks

With the aged exterior removed, Pizzuco begins cutting the steaks.

Hand-cut steaks
Hand-cut steaks
Untrimmed porterhouses
Untrimmed porterhouses

Note the copious amount of kidney fat, also known as suet.

Skimming
Skimming

Using the knife's edge, Pizzuco scrapes away the shavings left from the saw blade.

Whittle
Whittle

Pizzuco makes short work of the porterhouse.

Kidney fat
Kidney fat

Pizzuco notes the high quality of the kidney fat—it is pure white and flaky. This type of fat, aslso known as suet, is excellent for rendering as it retains 95% of its weight.

Trimming
Trimming

A band of fat is left on the exterior of the porterhouse to protect the meat during cooking.

The finished Porterhouse
The finished Porterhouse

Note that the "tails" are left on here.

Benny Pizzuco
Benny Pizzuco