The outdoor grill of Simone Fracassi, the Chianina King
But do not expect the usual steak, the historic butcher here tells us his real secrets from grilling
When it comes to Chianina, and more generally to Tuscan meat that is scrupulously cared for and controlled, Simone Fracassi is considered a true standard bearer.
Secrets of a profession in which Simone holds a true record and which derive from a long family history that began in 1927 with his maternal great-grandfather, always in the sign of the Chianina.
His butcher shop, in Rassina di Castel Focognano, in the Casentino area, in the province of Arezzo, is a true place to be for lovers of healthy Tuscan meat, without compromise.
We went to see him, to be told about his gems on the subject of outdoor grilling (warning: not to be confused with the American barbecue, as he explained to us)
Simone, let's start with fire and wood: your secrets.
Our Tuscan tradition is clear: for outdoor grilling it is better to use charcoal (perfect if homemade), but when we have an indoor fireplace we can use our wonderful Tuscan wood, starting with the "cepparello": the part of the vine wood that is on the ground, which lasts longer and gives stostance to the flame, and then the ever-present olive tree, some oak and beech that give that ever-present scent.
Let's talk about meat.
The Tuscan tradition on the fire wants everything. In this period, of course, I think first of lamb, on the grill in fact, you can not miss his shoulder: a lamb strictly local, which is fed with the grass of the supplier company, I immediately think of the unbeatable companies of Casentino and Appennino. For my butcher shop I rely on small local farms that also produce cheese. An important point concerns the weight, which must range from 9 to a maximum of 12 kg (we always refer to the dead animal): this is eating lamb in Tuscany.
And then, always referring to the period in which we are now, I would recommend the pig, and for this animal I have had a point of reference for years: the Mandrioli farm in Pratovecchio. What would I grill about pork? Everything, the important thing is to pay close attention to the animal's diet: the liver, the steak, the giblets and our scamerita. Parts to be seasoned simply with sage and rosemary halfway through cooking and very little salt.
And what about the veal?
I have left the veal for last privilengiendo animals more in line with our season, but it is not an order of cooking: the veal in fact should be grilled first, because it is sweeter more delicate than the other two. For a grill to remember my suggestion is to choose the part of the diaphragm, the membrane that holds the belly to the great rib and that works continuously. It was the meat that our elders gave to children because it was the most precious.
Before grilling it, however, some precautions are essential: marinate it for a long time with lemon and orange peels for 4/5 hours, close it with a film and place it in the fridge, after two hours remove it, wait until it reaches room temperature and grill it for 5 minutes. You will feel the wonder of this cut.
A question: what about the Fiorentina?
We talk about Bistecca alla Fiorentina when the cut goes from vertebra to vertebra, 5 cm with female animals or 6/7 cm for males. The fundamental part for an excellent result lies in the search for Tuscan breeders. For the grill, preferably choose the female animal, more flavorful. To cook this part at its best, a warning among all: take the steak out of the fridge a few hours before, to let it reach its 18/20 degrees: at that point it will not even be necessary to put it up during cooking. The meat will be served and enjoyed at an optimal temperature of 50 degrees. The salt? If we are sure to have a great meat I guarantee you that it will not be needed.
Macelleria Salumeria Fracassi 1927 is open from Monday to Saturday, every day from 8am to 7pm, it delivers in the same day in the Florence area every Wednesday and all over Italy with express couriers in 24 hours with orders on weekends and departures on Monday and Tuesday. For orders and information: 0575-591480.