Gage Lujan is a generational talent. The grandson of a butcher, he pairs his bloodline with culinary school influence as Head Butcher of Sections Fine Meats in coastal Costa Mesa, California. With a program that puts the whole animal to work, his team keeps the butcher block busy with grass-fed beef, pasture-raised cuts, exotic rarities, sausage blends and signature bacon that sells out daily. 

We pulled him away from breaking down a pig leg to ask his favorite question... 

So what’s looking good?
How about a couple lesser-known cuts? I’m a big fan of the velvet. Found on the lower shank, it looks lean but packs some serious flavor. Give the spider steak a look as well… tender, also super flavorful and only two found on the entire cow. Maybe you’re grilling for date night? Can’t go wrong with a florentine. Filet and sirloin, best of both worlds on one t-bone. A little of this, a little of that.

What else is flying out of the shop?
We move *a ton* of tenderloins and ribeyes. Newport Beach is one of those ‘eating high on the hog’ communities; a lot of prime cuts and quick-fire grilling. Folks are out playing on the water all day, the sun begins to set and – oh wait, dinner! 

And we know you grill too. Hit us with your most heroic grilling moment.

200 burgers in 20 minutes at an event, just me and one colleague. The grill was an inferno, flaring up constantly, probably visible from space.

Now... your worst disaster.
Nothing worse than disappointing your parents, right? I was 13 and my parents put me in charge of the tri-tip. I fired up the grill, seasoned the steak, threw it on low heat, went inside, fell asleep, and woke up to a hollow lump of tri-tip charcoal. Lesson learned.

Memorial Day, hungry crew, all eyes are on you and the grill is hot. What’s your walk-up song and go-to drink?
I have to go Eye of the Tiger here… and let’s throw in a slow-motion tong flip on the way. I’m drinking a Jetty Water blonde from Huntington Beach’s RIIP Brewing.

And how are you putting AMG’s Hybrid Grills to work?
I’m definitely a charcoal and wood chips guy. For fibrous cuts like hangars or skirts, give me hickory or pecan. For pork or fish, I like cherry or apple chips.

Leave us with some advantages of shopping at your local butcher shop!
There’s an honorable, ageless, timeless quality to being connected to the source. We know where the farms are, what the animal eats, how it’s treated, how to utilize every part – we’ll source you any cut you could ever want! Throwing a luau? We’ll get you that pig. I think the only animal I haven’t broken down yet is a bear… anything else is fair game!


Gage takes down the Tomahawk Ribeye


OVERNIGHT: air dry the chop, open-faced in the fridge

1 HR OUT: set it out and bring to room temp

30 MIN OUT: blast it with seasoning… rosemary olive oil with salt, onion, pepper, garlic

20 MIN OUT: fire up the AMG Hybrid Grill, set to medium and brush those grates

10 MIN OUT: crack open that first cold Jetty Water, or drink of choice

GO TIME: the steak is ON and we are LIVE

10 MIN IN: give the hawk a flip and lower heat to avoid flaring

20 MIN IN: it’s time for Jetty Water #2

30 MIN IN: meat thermometer in, get the center to 130º

Rest for ½ the cook time, take it right off the bone, slice against the grain, fan it out and enjoy!

May 06, 2021 — Brad Claypool