These days finding Chianina raised in Tuscany is like finding a needle in a haystack. The fact is, the space to grow cows in the rolling hills of Tuscany has become far too expensive for farmers because the money is in vineyard. So, the likes of Dario Cecchini and his scandal for trying to pass locals beef for meat raised in Spain tells the whole truth.
I tried Tuscan beef at three different restaurants in Florence, but each time I felt as if they couldn’t get a balance between a scorched exterior and a very raw interior. Now some like that and that’s okay, but the challenge is maintaining a juicy beef center.
Tuscan beef is almost always served almost raw on the interior because it’s quite difficult to properly cook a sirloin, over a fire, and the filet at the same time. Actually, it is almost impossible to get even cooking when you have a 5cm+ thick steak over a scorching fire. The beef unless it is constantly being turned, it will just get burned and dried out, and that’s what happens to the steak shown here.
In America and Australia it can be done because the fat protects the meat from getting over cooked, it insulates the beef. But the beef used in Tuscany and in other places in Italy are such that the beef dries out when exposed to the high heat. The reason is the meat is too lean, and heat penetration is limited due to the density of the meat which prevents the heat from travelling into the core. The result is dried out beef with a rare center, and that’s not Pittsburgh.
The strip sirloin is typically more fatty while the filet more lean, so it is pointless to cook T-bone unless you cook it gently and pay very careful attention to the filet making sure it isn’t over cooked.