I’m not a butcher, but I’ve hung around Bolyard’s Meat enough to consider myself a meat journeyman. I’ve learned by watching, not doing. Can I break down a cow? No. Can I stand over your shoulder and tell you you’re doing it wrong? Yes.
In my almost-expert opinion, there seems there are three basic groups that exist when it comes to buying and cooking meat: Grillers, Slow Cookers, and Sausage Lovers (like your sister).
I’m a Slow Cooker. I’ve grilled 3 steaks in the last 3 years, and I’ve ordered steak at a restaurant once in that same time frame. It bores me. I find that braised (or BBQed) meats, on the other hand, tend to be more flavorful and harder to screw up. Plus, most of the cooking can be done unattended in your kitchen. Oh, and the cuts are way cheaper.
Alex Welsch, one of the Bolyard’s meat men, recently guided me to beef neck, a tender, well-marbled cut of beef perfect for braising. Jewish Santa delivered me a package of La Guelaguetza mole. Combining the two, I got one of the most flavorful braised beef recipes I’ve made yet, all thanks to Alex. What a guy.
This recipe doesn’t use up the entire amount of mole each Guelaguetza jar makes, so you’ll still have some left over for nachos, enchiladas, or protein shakes.
I pulled the neck apart into hunks, then served it over grains. The leftovers went into enchiladas. If you have a big family, there will be no leftovers.
Mole Negro Braised Beef
3 lbs beef neck (or chuck)
2.5 C beef stock
0.75 C La Guelaguetza Mole Negro sauce
Make the La Guelaguetza Oaxacan Black Mole according to the package instructions. Alternatively, buy a different mole or—if you’re really going for it—make your own. Check out Alex Stupak’s recipe in Tacos cookbook. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 500F.
Put the beef on a rack over a baking tray. Rub or brush the beef with the mole on all sides, then sear in the oven for 15 minutes.
Lower oven temp to 300F.
Combine mole and stock in an oven-safe braiser or Dutch oven. It won’t look like much liquid, but as Kenji taught me: the more liquid in there to start, the more you’ll have to reduce later. If you’re really concerned, feel free to add more mole and stock. Bring to a boil, then set in the beef, put on lid, and place in the oven.
Bake covered for about 2 hours, then about 1 hour uncovered.
Remove from the oven and pull apart or chop. If needed, simmer the sauce to thicken. Season with salt, if needed.