Beef ribs vs. Pork ribs

Greetings Carnivores,

Todays’ thoughts come by way of an old friends’ question regarding Beef ribs and how they stack up against the Pork Ribs.

Firstly, the two of them are an obvious “Apples to Oranges” comparison … or, are they?

Structurally, the Beef and Pork carcasses are the same. Same bones, muscles and organs so, it’s safe to say the methods employed to cook them should be the same and, guess what? They are!!

The mighty Beef rib that you commonly find in the butcher shop would be the back rib section, cut from the Prime Rib area of the carcass. Once the Ribeye is removed, these would be considered Beef Back Ribs.

You would “think” these big, beefy ribs would be very tender considering the meat that was on them is the Ribeye but … the butcher rarely leaves any of the tender rib meat on the bone. The retailer can get MUCH more money for the Ribeye than the rib bones so, as I said, the only meat left on the bone is the meat between the bones and, that stuff is pretty tough. That’s not to say that with a little love you can’t turn these big bad boys into something pretty special because … you can!! The secret is … yup, low and slow, the same as the Pork Ribs.

Beef ribs

So, this rib area of the Beef carcass would correspond to the same area on the Pork carcass (AKA “Baby back ribs”) but, there is another “Rib” area on the beef carcass as well. The section that mirrors the Pork Side ribs on the beef carcass is marketed as Beef Short ribs and are sold either boneless or bone-in.

The bone-in portion is VERY popular in Asian cuisine particularly Korean BBQ ribs when cutting across the bone in VERY thin slices. The boneless short ribs, although they LOOK tremendous, need to be cooked long and low.

Just for the record, … one of my FAVOURITIE ways to treat the boneless short rib is to brine it and turn it into Corned beef. If you’re interested, you can check out my post re Brining here.

For my buddy Steve, who asked me the question in the first place … thank you for the blog fodder buddy and, … I hope you will try these bad boys out.

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Just remember to take the skin “membrane” off the back of the ribs (both Beef and Pork) before you cook them … that stuff is REALLY chewy and will suck all the fun out of the whole eating experience.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

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Pork back ribs vs side ribs … the debate rages on.

Greetings Carnivores,

You know, … I’ve been thinking about this post for a very long time now because it’s one of the ALL TIME biggest questions I get asked. At the end of the day … this is just my opinion so, … here we go.

Which is better???

The Pork side rib??? The Pork back rib??? Aka: “Baby back ribs” … which, incidentally is BULLSHIT, because … they do NOT come from “baby” or “immature” animals.

Please excuse my language but, there … I said it !!!

I, personally have ALWAYS preferred the humble side rib because of its “bang for the buck” (how can you argue with the price difference between the two ???) AND, … I don’t care who in the “industry” may or may not take exception to my stance.

The industry WANTS you to believe these so called “baby backs” are a “premium” quality because of their “youthful description” but … it’s nothing more than a straight up, blatant, balls to the wall, CASH GRAB!! As far as I’m concerned, … the side rib is, and always has been, superior to the back and here’s why.

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“Baby” back ribs.

The back rib is cut from the loin section of the hog. Imagine the whole, bone-in loin. Once the bones are separated from the meat, this now becomes two separate cuts … the boneless loin, and the back rib. Although I love a good loin pork chop, let’s be honest … they can be dry. Well guess what??? This is the same lean meat on the back rib. Dry, dry, dry.

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St. Louis cut Side rib (bottom) Breast/Sternum portion (top)

The side rib by comparison, is cut from the belly and because of this location on the carcass, much fattier.

EEEWWWWWW you say?? Nope … AWESOME, I say !!

It’s BECAUSE of all this fat that the low and slow cooking process renders them soooooooo DELICIOUS! Now, a LOT of retailers sell the side rib with the “breast/sternum” portion included in the package and, it’s THIS reason a lot of folks don’t like them.

I’ll admit, … there’s a greater proportion of bone and cartilage to meat but … if that’s a problem for you, simply buy the “St Louis” cut side ribs. They are sold without the “breast/sternum” included. They’re a little more money but, WELL worth it in my opinion.

Back to the so-called “Baby” back rib. This portion has been marketed in such a way that YOU, the consumers are lead to believe it’s BETTER and, … I’m here to tell you today … it … is … NOT!!

Let’s be truthful folks … these cuts (both back and side) are NOT tender cuts. They both need a LOT of TLC and to be rubbed, massaged, and cooked over low and slow heat for extended periods of time. The problem I have with Back ribs is their “location” on the carcass. As I said before, they come from the loin section and as such, the meat on them is SOOOOO MUCH LEANER.

“Awesome” you say … and, I say “Nay, Nay”

The MUCH leaner meat on the Back rib is SOOOOOOO MUCH DRIER!!

Ok, … I’m not sure if I have many believers here so … just do yourselves a favour … and do a side by side comparison of the two … be fair, spice them the same way, cook them the same way, and PLEASE, let me know in the comments section below.

Fair enough??

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

Shanks, Shins and Hocks = FLAVOUR !!

Greeting Carnivores,

I hope you’re hungry today.

As most of you already know, from reading and following along here, I’ve been preaching for a LONG time now about how there really aren’t any bad cuts … just bad ways of cooking certain cuts.

Kinda the same way I feel about Dogs and children … not that there are better ways to cook them … just that there are no bad children or Dogs, … bad parents and owners?… most DEFINITELY … whew … glad I cleared that up before my comments section lit up!! 🙂

Back to the meat.

Today I’m talking about some of the BEST cuts on the carcass that just happen to be some of the very toughest as well, and that’s the Shank, Shin, Hock, Trotter … in plain English, the legs, fore and aft, and while we’re at it … throw the tails into the conversation as well.

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Red Wine braised beef shank

These uber hard working muscles (except the tails … they work pretty hard in their own way) are used for support and mobility and, when rendered over a long, slow cooking time, results in the most tender, succulent meat … PERIOD.

If you haven’t tried braised Beef Shank, Veal Osso Buco, Smoked Ham Hocks, Ox tail stew, or Lamb/Goat Shanks, cooked low and slow for hours, you are REALLY doing yourselves a disservice.

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Lamb Shanks *insert mouth watering here*

The long, slow cooking time works to break down all that wonderful connective tissue and collagen which renders the meat, not only fall off the bone sumptuous but uber flavourful as well.

There are as many recipes as there are methods of cooking low and slow out there on the net now, … get out there and show a little love to the humble Shank … you’ll thank me for it later, I guarantee.

DAMN! … I make myself SOOOOOOOO hungry writing this stuff … I’m just gonna hafta track down some beef shanks tomorrow and get them into some liquid braising love 🙂 🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores … short and sweet 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

Sous-vide, Surgery and a bunch of time on my hands … again.

Greetings Carnivores,

I’ve been away from writing for some time now. Call it what you like, “writers block”, “lack of motivation”, “creative void”, “laziness”, I don’t know. but, … here I sit, one week into ANOTHER extensive surgical re-hab and … I’m faced with a WHOLE bunch of time on my hands.

Yep … I somehow managed to almost COMPLETELY tear my left Biceps tendon off the bone at the end of January, believe it or not … lifting a bag of firewood. You can’t make this stuff up.

I finally got to see the wonderful Orthopedic surgery team, headed by Dr. John Haverstock at the brand new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, and spent a couple of hours last Thursday morning having them reattach it.

Last week was pretty much a wash, dealing with the obvious pain associated with such a fun procedure. Now, … like I said … here I sit.

Ok so, enough of that … todays topic comes from my dinner inspiration, and my very mostest (I know, … not an English word) favouritest (I know … another one … don’t be a hater) kitchen toy, … (“Drum roll please”) … my Anova Sous-vide immersion cooker.

Oh and, no … I’m not being paid to endorse this product … I’m just giving you an honest product review of mine. There are MANY other brands out there to choose from.

Anova Precision Cooker Flowers

I don’t want to sound like I’m jumping on the bandwagon here because, I’m not. A LOT of folks are just now coming around to how AWESOME this method is but … truth is … till just recently, unless you were a professional chef … the rest of us Minions have been in the dark.

I’ve been playing around, using this technique for the past couple of years … as a matter of fact, I originally tried making my own Sous-vide cooker, first using, an insulated cooler then second, a crock-pot but, in both cases … I couldn’t maintain and hold the critical temperature adjustment needed for success.

Now however, I’m currently the proud owner of my second REAL Sous-vide cooker. Not because there was anything wrong with the first one I bought but, more because I was a cheapo and bought the basic one first, then … realized how awesome it was and, shelled out for the second one: the Bluetooth model.

I’ve been meaning to post about this for quite some time now and, … today is the day.

Like I said earlier, Sous-vide has been around for a very long time and is usually exclusively used by high-end restaurants but, thanks to the surging popularity of this method lately, the price has come down significantly so that now … everyone can afford one.

The term “Sous-vide” refers to “cooking under vacuum” but … that’s only a part of this magic. It’s actually a PRECISE method of cooking in a controlled environment … in this case a water bath, where you dial in your desired “doneness” (temperature) and walk away. Whatever you’re cooking can NEVER (well, … actually NEVER is not the right word here because, overcooking in a Sous Vide bath, results in mushiness). The key point here is … the item IN the bath will NEVER exceed the temperature of the vessel it’s being cooked in. There are TONS of cooking tables and time/temp guidelines on the Web … experiment for yourselves.

Here’s the real deal, AWESOME part about cooking Sous vide:

Imagine your next dinner party … Steaks, veggies, potatoes … EVERYTHING done ahead of serving time … sitting there, blissfully hanging out, waiting for you to plate, while YOU, the host, are enjoying pre-dinner cocktails with your guests!

Unless you’ve catered your party … THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

Think of it this way: let’s say you’re aiming for a nice medium rare beef steak (Rib eye for the sake of argument). The “window” you’re aiming for, for med-rare is (128-131 degrees F. for me) That “window” is extremely  hard to hit with conventional cooking methods because of inconsistencies in the cooking vessel, whether it’s a Grill, Oven or Pan, temperature fluctuations, and (click here)  carry-over cooking.

Carry-over cooking is a thing of the past with Sous-vide because the juices NEVER escaped in the first place so, there’s nothing left to do to this steak except hit it with a BLISTERING HOT, cast iron pan just before serving to give it a sweet “char” on the outside.

You don’t even need a high-end vacuum sealer … all you need are zip-lock bags and use the “air displacement” method.

I’ve already gone past my (self-imposed) post word limit for today so, … I’ll leave you with that morsel to digest.

Please check out Sous-vide cooking, Anova, Joule and Sous-vide Supreme on the net and google Sous-vide.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

 

Bacon … NOW, I have your attention.

Greetings Carnivores,

What is it about this stuff?

Sweet, salty, smokey and oh soooooo devilishly addictive.

By definition, Bacon is quite simply, a type of salt cured meat, most often pork. But, it doesn’t stop there. This wonderfully addictive, salty, gift from God, can be prepared from many different cuts, as well as many different products.

Hell, even the Veg-heads (you KNOW I love you Sally) have embraced this stuff in a Soy-Tofu form they call “Fakon”.

Now, it can come from the pork belly, loin, cheeks or jowl but, it can also made from beef, poultry … anything really because as I said earlier, “bacon” refers to a salt curing process.

It can be eaten on it’s own or, usually as a breakfast item, saddled up next to eggs, hash browns and toast on your plate. You can use it to enhance the flavour of wild game, give your Mom’s meat loaf that extra “umph”, or send that beef filet mignon or, huge sea scallop to the next level.

Why stop there? How about bacon jerky? Jam? Soups, sauces, salads, sandwiches, deserts, candied, chocolate dipped … even ice cream and milk shakes!!!

The only limit to the usage of bacon is your imagination.

In Canada, we’re pretty famous for our back bacon, made from the boneless pork loin, while the Italians are known for Pancetta, Prosciutto and Guanciale and, good old side bacon is one of the oldest cuts of meat dating back as far as the 1500’s.

In closing, I’m reminded of a guy I lived with in residence while in University who happened to be Jewish and, … he couldn’t resist this stuff like the rest of us. If his Mama only knew …

Don’t worry Evan, your secret is safe here buddy … 🙂 🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

Buying whole Chicken leg quarters equals BIG value.

 

Greetings Carnivores,

I LOVE chicken. Who doesn’t ??

It’s so versatile and always affordable. And like many other offerings for the dinner table these days, there are ways to make the venerable chicken even MORE affordable.

Buying the whole bird and separating it yourself is often the best way to go but, many times you’ll find Leg quarters (drum, thigh and back attached) on sale and THAT’s when I fill my freezer!

Frozen-Chicken-Leg-Quarters

Ahhh … the whole chicken leg quarter 🙂

First thing I do when I get them home is remove the back bone then, separate the drum from the thigh and lastly I bone out the thigh.

I do this because #1, I want the bones for stock and #2, I love, love, LOVE the thigh and boneless is my FAVOURITE part.

I vacuum seal the drums in meal portions then, do the same with the boneless thighs and toss them into the freezer.

Next, I break the back and thigh bones (to expose the marrow), and throw them into a roasting pan and bake them off for a good hour at 375.

When the bones come out of the oven I scrape all that roasted goodness, fat drippings and all into a pot of salted water with a couple of bay leaves, some carrots, onions and celery and bring it to a boil then simmer, covered for a good hour or more. Next, I strain it all and cool it, skim the fat and freeze the broth for soups and sauces later.

So, let’s recap:

20 Chicken Leg Quarters, backs attached $2.18/kg (0.99/lb) total spent $19.97. About a buck a leg. 🙂

Yield: 20 drums, 20 boneless thighs and 12 cups of beautiful, rich, homemade chicken stock.

20 drums at retail price of $6.49/kg, purchased separately will cost you about $22-$25.00

20 Boneless thighs at retail price of $8.49/kg, will run you about $25.00-$30.00

6 Tetra pac boxes of Chicken stock, around $12.00-$15.00

I think you see where I’m heading with this … the value of the whole chicken leg quarter and DIY can’t be overstated.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth about Bone-in VS. Boneless

Greetings Carnivores,

I was at a party the other night and a buddy and I were chatting about … you guessed it, meat. The subject was whether or not to by bone-in or boneless steaks, chops or Roasts.

My Grandmother used to say “the meat is always sweeter closest to the bone” and, there’s been a raging debate for years about whether or not this is more myth than fact.

Mostly myth … sorry Grandma.

Now, having said that … there is some truth to the bone adding a depth of flavour when you are using a “wet” cooking method such as braising in a slow cooker. The flavour in this case comes from the marrow.

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Veal Osso Buco

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Beef Short ribs for Korean BBQ

Osso Buco is a braised Veal shank, cut across the bone, Korean beef short ribs are thinly sliced cross sections of ribs that are cooked low and slow. The meat doesn’t gain much in the flavour department from the actual bone itself but rather, like I said … the marrow. This where the whole idea came from that the bone adds flavour but, it doesn’t.

You may think that Pork side spare ribs and baby back ribs are getting their flavour from the bone but, you’d be mistaken. They get their beautiful porky goodness from the long, low and slow cooking process. This renders all that tough connective tissue, fat and collagen BETWEEN the bones, fall off the bone tender … but the bone doesn’t add much.

When using dry cooking methods such as grilling, frying and baking, the bone adds nothing to the flavour.

So, back to my conversation the other night with my buddy. He was saying he doesn’t like to buy bone-in because you can’t eat the bone and why pay for something you are going to throw away.

Truth but, if you notice bone-in is always cheaper and that’s because if the butcher throws it away, you’ll be paying a much higher price for the boneless by-product.

Look at it this way … if Beef NY Strip Loins are selling for $30.00/kg and Beef Tenderloin is selling for $48.00/kg. why wouldn’t you just buy the T-bone for $25.00/kg?

t-bone-steak-

Behold, the mighty T-Bone

When you cut the bone out, you’ve got your NY Strip AND your Tenderloin and, you only paid $25.00/kg for BOTH!

Even when you factor in the weight of the bone at $25.00/kg … YOU’RE STILL WAY AHEAD OF THE GAME!

Same with bone-in chicken breasts. Boneless breasts are expensive so, buy the bone-in ones (they’re always a good value) and bone them out yourselves. You’ll save money AND you have the bones left over for making stock.

I know I’ve been saying that the bones add very little in the flavour dept. and now, I’m contradicting myself saying use them to make stock but … when you use bones to make stock remember, the flavour comes mostly from the MARROW.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … Oh, and by the way … you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on any of the buttons and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

Please, stay tuned and … please click “follow” on this page (Carnivore Confidential). You’ll get an email notice every time I write something new. And, … no need to worry about being bombarded with junk … WordPress is VERY responsible.  🙂

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

And, follow on Twitter @DougieDee