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Making Beef Carpaccio at Home Is Easier Than You Think

Eater Young Gun Kate Kavanaugh serves this complex-seeming (but actually easy) dish at her football parties

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This is Party Time, a column featuring industry and Young Gun-approved approaches for acing a dinner party.

You might not expect a butcher to advocate eating less meat, but Kate Kavanaugh (EYG ’18) has a strategy behind this recommendation. She and partner Josh Curtiss own and operate Western Daughters Butcher Shop in Denver, where they focus on serving meat from locally raised and humanely butchered animals, paying mind to what the animals eat, antibiotic- and hormone-free rearing, and ultimately whole-animal butchery. The mindset balances high quality with low intake and ultimate satisfaction.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Kavanaugh’s approach to business extends into home cooking. With football season underway (Kavanaugh says Sundays are the busiest day of the week at the shop right now), she offers some tips on cooking for hosting friends and fans for any game day in this edition of Party Time.

“I feel like when you’re looking up football recipes, everything has kind of been done,” she says, noting she aims to find less-likely players to put on the table. Kavanaugh suggests any recipe served during a game-day party must please a wide array of dietary preferences, be easy to execute, and most importantly, be absolutely delicious. Her top choice for meeting those needs: a beef carpaccio roll-up.

Kavanaugh suggests ordering a top round from your local butcher and then prep it yourself: a top round is typically cheaper than a pre-prepared carpaccio, with the added bonus that there’s some fun to be had in pounding the meat to the desired thickness. “[Just get] something really cheap, and pound it super thin,” she says. Kavanaugh recommends using a cast-iron pan or a mallet (if you have one among your kitchen supplies), pounded to a thickness you can almost see through. Once the desired thickness is achieved, she cuts them into the appropriate size for finger food — and from there, can start thinking about fillings.

“This is where people can get really creative,” Kavanaugh says. “I love some kind of aioli, which I like to remind people is just a fancy word for mayo.” Kavanaugh mixes mayo with lemon juice, salt, paprika, cayenne, red chili flakes and some olive oil, as well as grated lemon zest, salt, and pepper, with additional items like cheese to fill out the roll. For a bit of nuance, choose a cheese like smoked gouda, Kavanaugh suggests.

A carpaccio roll made from a 12-inch pounded round will feed about four to six people, which Kavanaugh says is just enough. “Nobody just wants to stuff their face with raw meat,” she says. “Usually with this kind of thing you’d have a bunch of treats anyway,” including capers or cornichons, which she likes to supply with the dish.

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