A feast for the eyes and taste buds

A feast for the eyes and taste buds

Eager to learn new cooking techniques and share the rich flavors and spices of home, Chef Joe Barza recently journeyed from his native Lebanon to Ohio, USA, to spend a week at the Certified Angus Beef Culinary Center.

The week’s agenda? Finding new ways to meld traditional Lebanese flavors with open-fire grilling and smoking methods. Barza, Chef Tony Biggs and Peter Rosenberg at the Certified Angus Beef Culinary Center, braved the cold Ohio temperatures (-19 OC) to cook outdoors over an open flame, a “fire and ice” demonstration of signature beef cuts.

“I want to go to the best place because I have responsibility on my shoulders,” Barza said. “People trust me, and the Certified Angus Beef brand is one I can trust. That’s why I’m here!”

Barza’s career began 40 years ago in South Africa, where he spent long days cooking dishes from 14 countries in a single kitchen. Now, as an international master chef and culinary consultant, he approaches each project and dish as a quest to seek new ways of preparing the finest ingredients and introducing culinary trends.

For Barza and the Certified Angus Beef chef team, no beef cut or cooking method is o° limits, and each dish begins with the highest quality beef.

During the session in Ohio, work around the grill resulted in a feast for all the senses, with a nod to traditional Middle Eastern flavors. A fire-roasted beef top butt for beef shawarma marinated in zaatar, sumac and seven Arabic spices was a natural place for the chefs to start. They also prepared chunks of beef rib cooked on swords, a fire-roasted rack of beef ribs and grilled sirloin flap steak.

On another grill, a prime rib rubbed with sumac and zaatar, alongside roasted vegetables, whiskey-rubbed pineapples, fire-cured beef jerky and chilies for a salsa to accompany the beef, were cooked to perfection. Another dish fused Arabic rice with smoked short ribs and tahini sauce, while nearby, a cauldron of steaming short rib, beef sausage, potatoes and corn combined Middle Eastern flavors in the slow-cooked dish known as low-country boil in the U.S.

Finally, the pièce de résistance was the steamship round, rubbed with seasoning, studded with garlic and started in the oven, which hung from a tripod to add smoky, open-fire flavor.

Chef Biggs described the open-fire cooking technique as a romance of beef and fire. Barza agreed, as the ribeye on the hot-flaming grill dripped juices into the embers, which flamed up just enough to char the meat on the outside. The center remained moist and tender, with the Certified Angus Beef ® brand’s superior marbling.

Stepping away from the open-fire, Barza experienced firsthand how the best Angus beef is raised and noted the similarities between rancher and chef: a love of their work and a dedication to quality.

With creativity at the core of his work, Barza returned to Lebanon, taking with him new experiences and unique ways to marry his beloved flavors of home with new cooking techniques.

“When people trust you and let you prepare food for them, it’s a big responsibility,” he said. “If you have the knowledge, you always do it right. Cooking is a message of love, a message of peace, a message of culture.”

Who is Certified Angus Beef?
The original Angus beef brand. Based in Wooster, Ohio, USA and owned by family farmers and ranchers, we’re more than just Angus beef. Only the very best makes our cut. We set strict standards to certify every bite is tender, juicy and full of flavor, whether you’re cooking at home or dining at the best steakhouse. It’s why we’re the world’s most trusted beef brand and have been since 1978.

For more information, visit CertifiedAngusBeef.com

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