Shrimp, … U10, 61/70, 31/35 WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN ???

 

 

Greetings Carnivores,

I’m often asked to explain confusing things and, one of the most often asked and confusing things is Shrimp sizing.

What do the numbers mean? What is the first number and what’s its relationship to the second? What does U10, U12, U15 mean?

The best way to explain it is … they’re sold by weight.

Quite simply, the first and second numbers refer to the average count per pound.

Small, Medium, Large, Jumbo and Colossal are not standardized “terms” so, it’s important to remember that 61/70 means there’s 61 to 70 shrimps per pound (these I would consider salad shrimp) and conversely, 31/35 ( 31 to 35 shrimps per pound) would be a nice size for Cocktail shrimp.

Also, when you see the “U” designation, in this case the “U” stands for “Under” meaning there are “Under “X” number of shrimp per pound”. For example U10 means there are under 10 shrimp per pound and these bad boys are HUGE!!

Shrimp are sold MANY different ways … Fresh, Frozen, Farmed, Wild, Headless, Whole, Cooked, Raw, Shell-less, Deveined  … you get the picture.

Keep in mind that this sizing method only refers to Fresh or Frozen shrimp in their shell on state, with their heads removed. Either veined or deveined … same thing.

Click here for a Shrimp sizing chart, kindly borrowed from the Seafood Wholesalers web site.

There you have it Carnivores … hopefully this explains and demystifies the whole shrimp sizing dilemma for you.

Now, get out there and throw a couple of jumbos on the Barbie.

That’s it for today, please stay tuned and, don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. :)

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

 

What exactly, IS Suet?

Greetings Carnivores,

I had an interesting situation come up the other day.

Actually, it really wasn’t THAT interesting but the woman in this scenario was quite impatient (bordering on being rude) to my young co-worker who, unfortunately didn’t know what she was being asked for. In this case she asked my co-worker for Suet and much to her chagrin, Hanna didn’t know what suet was.

My Grandmother used to always refer to beef fat as Suet. Bless her heart but, she was not entirely correct. Whenever the Sunday roast went into the oven, it always had an accompaniment of beef fat to add to the drippings for gravy.

The thing is … although the hard, white substance known as Suet IS fat, it ONLY comes from the area around the Heart and Kidneys in beef cattle and sheep, so … you see, NOT all fat is Suet.

Anyway, when I was called over to help out and … the woman asked me for Suet, I told her I didn’t have any but, I could get her some fat. Turns out she was a soap maker and was looking for as much as she could get her hands on.

Which brings me to the various uses for Beef Suet.

As well as soap, traditionally Suet was used in pre-Edison times for making tallow, a major ingredient in the production of candles. In cooking however, it’s widely used across the pond in Jolly old England but, not so much here in North America. It is used in cakes and pastries and also a major ingredient in the making of one of my favourites: Yorkshire pudding. *insert mouth watering here*

If you know a butcher still practicing the disappearing craft of processing the whole carcass, ask him (or her) for some hard, white Kidney Suet then, google recipes for using it.

That’s it for today folks, please stay tuned and, don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Loss Leaders … the art of getting you into the store

Greeting Carnivores,

Recently, my wife and I were attending a festive Christmas party and a friend was commenting on my humble musings here at Carnivore Confidential. I love getting feed back and suggestions for future topics, and my buddy Drew gave me a great idea for todays post.

He was chatting about the HUGE difference in price from store to store for the same product … in this case, Prime Rib roasts.

Now, … as long as you are comparing “apples to apples” meaning, Triple “A” to Triple “A”, Double “A” to Double “A”, Prime to Prime, Select to Select, or Choice to Choice and so on, it REALLY behooves you to shop around.

ALL stores will do a fair bit of comparison shopping, meaning they will send their own people around to the other stores in the neighbourhood, to check their prices for “apples to apples” competitiveness.

Impulse buying is such a HUGE game in retail but … the store has GOT to get you into their location first, in order for them to be able to work their magic on you.

THE BAIT

Much is made of “Loss leaders” in the retail industry, and it’s a very common practice in the meat business.

In case you’re not familiar with the term … “Loss Leader” refers to advertising a certain product (lets say Chicken Breasts) at a below cost price, to entice shoppers into the shore with the hopes that while they’re there, they’ll end up buying other high-end items at inflated prices … and in the case of Drew’s comment … Prime Rib roasts.

The resulting sales will overcome the “Loss” from the below cost item that got you into the store in the first place.

Like I said before, … as long as store “A”, store “B” and store “C” are all selling the SAME product eg: Triple “A” Prime Rib Roasts … you will generally see a HUGE disparity in pricing depending on who is offering which “Loss Leader” as bait to get you in the door.

Knowledge is power people🙂

In closing, I want to wish each and every one of you a belated, very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2016.

Happy New Year !!🙂

Stay hungry Carnivores and, please stay tuned. Don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential).

You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Put Pork on your fork … the controversy continues.

Greetings Carnivores,

Controversy … it gets the blood moving, don’t you think?

Have you noticed lately, the foodie trend of posting photos or comments of what you’re making for dinner, or eating at the restaurant? There always seems to be great ideas for recipes and tasty looking pics everywhere you look.

I often draw inspiration for my blog posts from questions or comments I hear or read along the way and, my offering for today comes from something a friend of mine posted regarding medium rare pork.

John was outlining his menu plan for the evening with the centrepiece of the meal being a beautiful “Pork Tenderloin, roasted to a perfect medium rare.”

The resulting “Fire Storm” of negative comments he received re: the danger of eating pork ANYTHING but well done was impressive, to say the least.

So, … here’s the controversial part.

The danger of eating under-cooked pork was VERY real years ago, and our Great Grandparents and Grandparents needed to be vigilant about internal “done-ness.” Pig farmers and our relatives back in the day, were forced to deal with a pathogen called Trichinella Spiralis, which caused a nasty issue called Trichinosis. This was and potentially STILL CAN BE, a very real threat causing nasty round worm infections.

Trichinosis is caused by the ingestion of under cooked pork or wild game, that had been infected with the larvae of a parasitic round worm.

Thankfully though, todays farmers understand that this parasite is transferred to animals through poor feeding practices and exposure to infected animals, and with the highly sophisticated bio-security measures adopted many years ago, the presence of Trichinae has been virtually eliminated in North American farms.

I say FARMS because … Trichinosis is STILL a very REAL threat for folks who sustain themselves eating the flesh of “some” wild animals, particularly Wild Bear and Boar.

Those of you who fill your larders with such, please be careful and cook to an internal temperature of at LEAST 165 degrees F.

I have faith in our farmers practices, bio-securities and the agencies that are in place to protect our food supply, so I can say that I TOO enjoy my pork slightly “pink” and not over-done (unless we’re talking about long, low and slow cooking for shoulders and ribs). Please keep in mind, … I’M NOT talking rare but a beautiful juicy pink.

Let’s face it … the entire carcass (except for the shoulder, neck and belly) are extremely lean. Granted there is generally a heavy covering of fat under the skin BUT, the muscle is VERY lean, and this can equal a very dry end result if overcooked.

You folks have to be your own judges.

There you have it Carnivores, please stay tuned and … don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential).

You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

 

 

Nasty practices, revealed

Greetings Carnivores,

Recently, there was a CBC Marketplace episode that dealt with shady practices at retail stores in the Bakery and Meat departments.

If you saw the show you were probably aghast at the things they uncovered.

Having grown up in the meat business, I CAN tell you that I have seen my fair share of sketchy things in the past.

I CAN however, help you with a little bit of knowledge.

Ideally, the store wants to sell everything the day it’s produced so that a fresh counter is cut every day.  This is great in a perfect world but sadly in the case of big retailers, this is not always possible … there will ALWAYS be carry over from the day before or, maybe even the day before that. This however, does NOT indicate it’s no longer sale-able.

Common practices dictate that fresh product is labeled with the day it was produced. This can then be displayed for 3 days, after which it’s pulled and either destroyed or mixed with daily trimmings and re-purposed as ground meat.

If this is bothersome to you then you can avoid this re-purposed meat, by buying your ground beef later in the day since all the re-wrapping is done first thing in the morning.

I should say however, that I personally have NO QUALMS WHATSOEVER about buying this since it’s more often than not yesterdays VERY lean roasts, steaks and stew that’s being ground. Ground steaks, roasts and stew for lean ground beef price … I’ll buy that all day long.

Watch your labels.

If it says “Best before … blah, blah blah” this is only a guideline to peak freshness, and not the date that it’s instantly garbage. Quite often retailers will reduce the price of items that are one day away from their peak freshness as per the BB date to try to get them out the door … I will buy them every time and stick them in the freezer.

Ground beef.

I wrote about ground beef again a few weeks ago (here) so, no need to touch on that again.

When making your meat (or anything fresh really) purchases, I always dig to the bottom and back of the counter … that’s where you find the freshest product.

I NEVER, let me repeat NEVER buy pre-marinated meat, fish or poultry. These are almost ALWAYS made from one or two day old (or more) products that have become a dark and lost their fresh cut look.

Shish-ka-bobs are a way of re-purposing old meat … seasoned fish (Cajun or lemon peppered catfish comes to mind) and BBQ spiced poultry or pepper-corned steak … all methods of re-purposing old product … and here’s the REAL KICKER … it’s sold at a HIGHER price because it’s now considered “Value added”.  Crazy huh???

As far as dipping old, brown meat in fresh beef blood or even dye, to make it “red” again … I can HONESTLY say, I have never seen that done. Maybe some old timers did it. You never know … they were probably very good at placing their thumbs on the scale, if you know what I mean …

There you have it folks, please stay tuned and … don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential).

You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

 

Red, spicy, delicious Mexican Chorizo sausage … now we’re talking!

 

Greetings Carnivores,

The other day I was reading another bloggers post on sausage making, and I was whisked back a number of years (30ish) to a magical time in my life when I was living in Southern California.

Today I want to talk about another Southern California staple, the wonderful, slightly spicy, Mexican Chorizo sausage.

Not to be confused with Spanish Chorizo which is a fermented, cured and dried, salami-like sausage that can be sliced and eaten right away, the Mexican version (which I prefer) is a ‘fresh’ pork sausage and must be cooked.

Just so we are clear here … the two are VERY different.

Ok so, … Mexican Chorizo is a pork sausage that has a beautiful red colour and spiciness it gets from the key ingredient, Ancho chile powder.

*side note*  If you’d like to make it healthier, substitute ground Turkey for the Pork.

It can be either be stuffed into a sausage casing but most often it’s not. It’s a staple ingredient in a HUGE number of Tex-Mex dishes. I always use it in my favourite Tacos and Burritos and, it’s wonderful with eggs for breakfast🙂

Like me, you’ll probably have to make your own since I just can’t find it anywhere outside of the southern states … Google a Mexican Chorizo Sausage recipe and get started.

FYI, … I ALWAYS use disposable gloves when I make this, otherwise your hands will be stained red from the Ancho Chilies.

That’s it for today Carnivores. Short and sweet.🙂

Please stay tuned and … don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential).

You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

 

 

Why is my Ground Beef a different colour on the inside ???

Greetings Carnivores,

A few quick words today to re-hash an issue I hear about ALL the time.

Some of the questions I am MOST frequently asked are:

Why is the inside of a package of Ground Beef darker than the outside?

How do you explain the colour difference between the two?

Do you dye your meat?

The answer is simply, pure food Science.

We have all seen this: you buy a package of Ground beef and, after arriving home from the shop you find the inside is ‘darker’ in colour than the outside?   DON’T PANIC !! The butcher hasn’t sold you bad meat, nor has he wrapped OLD Ground Beef with fresh, or added dye to it.

It turns red because it’s reacting with the oxygen we breathe not because of dye and, it turns brown in the wrapper when there’s no more oxygen to react with it.

The colour difference is due to a naturally occurring chemical reaction called oxidation. The enzymes (and iron) in the protein (meat) are reacting with the oxygen we breathe.

When meat is freshly sliced or ground, the surface of the meat is exposed to oxygen. Exposure to the air we breathe turns the meat from a dark purplish colour to a nice bright red. And, in the case of ground meat products, since the inside has not been exposed to the same amount of oxygen as the outside, the colour difference between the two can be quite dramatic.

The same holds true if you buy a large, vacuum packed beef Primal cut. The instant you open the bag, the oxidation process begins.

This is what the meat industry refers to as the “Bloom”.

Now, go out there and hug your Butcher !!

So, there you have it Carnivores …

Please stay tuned and … don’t forget to click “follow Blog via email” (CarnivoreConfidential).

You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new … and, I PROMISE … you won’t get bombarded with spam. WordPress is very responsible. 🙂

Until next time Carnivores, stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential