Dario Cecchini tells us the secrets of his barbecue
An unpublished video-interview where the butcher explains how to prepare a perfect grill: from cutting the meat to the wood to be used
We are in the presence of the butcher-poet of Panzano, Dario Cecchini, the soul of his universe of Tuscan fat that takes his name.
First and foremost, his historic family butcher shop, where he carries on a 250-year-old tradition. He says he ate his first steak when he was 18 years old, as a birthday present.
This is because, at home, it was necessary to eat what customers did not want. A vision that he made completely his own once he became a butcher. In fact, he is firmly convinced that it is necessary to use everything of the animal, from the nose to the tail.
And we at firenzemadeintuscany.com went to him to let him tell us all about the "primitive and ancestral" beauty that lies behind the act of grilling in the open air.
Come with us, to discover great tips for your spring barbecues!
His three golden rules for the perfect barbecue.
First of all a good wood, Giuseppe Prezzolini in his Life of Nicolò Macchiavelli when talking about steak says that you need a "good fire of oak and holm oak". For me, oak and holm-oak wood are therefore the basis for cooking and a little olive wood for an aromatic touch. In my Officina della Bistecca, for example, to offer a gastronomic experience of real meat, we have 5 grills in each room and an outdoor grill on the terrace, all with oak and holm oak coals from our farm. The Cecchini Panini Truck grill is also a must.
Second rule, almost taken for granted, a good meat at the time must be at room temperature, out of the fridge a few hours and protected.
The last rule, but not the least important, concerns the grill master or teacher: they must have a good Chianti Classico at their disposal, because cooking meat on the fire is an operation more of the stomach than of the brain.
Well, yes: one is born a chef but one becomes a rotisserie cook.
In a world of culinary innovations, this cooking of meat marks the beginning of everything but also our return: it symbolizes the empathic and romantic strength of a return to the fire, to instinct, to humanity, to a rediscovered slowness. The "Carne Diem" celebration
Meats and cuts not to be forgotten
The Florentine steak is the queen, the symbol of our Tuscan gastronomy, but not only (by the way, March 31st marks the 20th anniversary of my Funerale della Bistecca). Not to be outdone is the rib-eye steak, with side bone and central part; I make an "Etruscan" cut, of the forequarter (not to be mistaken with the tomahawk cut, now so much in vogue). And then how can we not forget the "ragnolino": also called "the butcher's fillet", that little morsel that could not be sold because it went to the family and then the so-called "bavette": small cuts of the front, belly and shoulder.
My method for the proper maturation of all the meat is to leave the animal whole for a minimum of 30 days, so that it loses the excess moisture.
For our customers we prepare a salt called "Il Profumo del Chianti": an Apulian salt worked with the system of our peasant grandparents, mixing it with all the aromatic herbs at no cost and dried and, always for those who like it, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. But I would like to underline that the philosophy of Officina della bistecca, which has been open for 16 years now, wants meat that is not seasoned, in the manner of Pellegrino Artusi.
And as a side dish?
The legendary beans in oil, pinzimonio with a small bowl and potatoes under the ashes to be seasoned with Chianti butter, our lard. In balancing the combinations I always follow an ancient regala that the Jews respect: you must always think of the guests' stomach, no milk, no butter, no cheese.
The services of his butcher shop for Easter and beyond
Cecchini's Butcher Shop is always open from 9 am to 4 pm now as is the Cecchini Panini Truck, which remains open 7 days a week. On dariocecchini.com you can order our Comfort Packs to receive at home and, latest news, the Dario Cecchini at home has also arrived: our dinner pantry ready in vacuum-packed jars of about 500 gr in which we have put all our recipes: they can be ordered individually, or included in a customizable pack. All online purchases arrive in Tuscany in a maximum of 24 hours, as well as butcher products, completely vacuum-packed or in a thermal box and ice for emergencies.