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

Why so Cheeky? The secret behind Beef, Pork and Fish cheeks.

Greetings Carnivores,

Have you ever found yourself in a restaurant and noticed something called Braised Beef Cheeks on the menu? You have probably never even SEEN it on a menu but, IF you do … give it a try.

You will be astounded and probably ask yourself “where has THIS been all my life”???

Cheek meat has largely been overlooked in Western cuisine but, to the rest of the world, particularly South America and Europe, it is a delicacy.

In the farm to plate, nose to tail movement that has been gathering momentum lately, a lot of folks are opening their eyes and minds to this little known (at least around here) meaty morsel.

It comes from the small hollow on either side of the face and, whether it’s Beef, Pork or Halibut for that matter, it really is one of the tastiest cuts on the carcass.

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Italians cure the Pork Cheeks and Jowls and call it Guanciale. Although Pancetta is a common substitute in cooking, it differs from pancetta in it’s flavour profile and overall porkiness.

Now, off you go to the butcher shop and ask for some Beef Cheeks then, Google a recipe for Barbacoa Beef Cheek Tacos

HEAVEN !!

That’s it for today Carnivores … I’m in the middle of a major bathroom renovation and, I need to get back to work.

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

Scallopini vs Schnitzel vs Cutlet … guess what?

Greetings Carnivores,

I get a LOT of questions on a day-to-day basis … that’s one of the main reasons I started blogging about meat in the first place.  I realized very quickly (I’m kinda sharp that way) 🙂 a LOT of folks have the same questions.

So … my offering for today comes by way of my buddy John, who posted on his blog the other day Music Musings and More his recipe for Schnitzel (or, as he asked Scallopini) … what’s the difference??

Well Carnivores, and Johnny Vinyl … here you go.

Essentially Scallopini, Schnitzel and Cutlets are all the same thing. They are all thin slices of meat, usually pounded with a meat tenderizing mallet or run through a “cube” steak machine. They can be cut from Pork, Beef, Veal, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, you name it, and are almost always dipped in a combination of flour, egg and bread crumbs then, fried … but not always. Fried that is …

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wiener-schnitzel-rezept-schritt-5-img-20158

The only real difference is geographic and linguistic … in other words, where you come from.  🙂 🙂

The name “Scalopinni” is the Italian interpretation of the French word “Escalope”, “Schnitzel” is Bavarian and the term “Cutlet” comes originally by way of Britain then later, America.

Almost EVERY culture from around the world have their own variation or interpretation of this fabulously delicious meal staple and … they are ALL essentially, the same thing.

20100923-vealschnitz

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

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 the “email” button … that’ll take you to an email page 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

 

 

Brine or not to Brine: the answer is … YES

Greetings Carnivores,

I wrote a post a couple of weeks ago called Brisket 101 for my buddy Steve and, he has since asked another question: To brine or not to brine a Brisket?

And, last week I wrote something I called The Grim Reaper tour 2016 and, the best Turkey you’ll ever cook where I mentioned the simple “Brine” I used to infuse flavour into my Turkey. My friend Gwennie asked me to elaborate on that one as well.

Well Steveo and Gwennie, two birds with one stone … here you go   🙂

When you introduce Beef, Pork, Poultry … anything really to a brine, something magical happens and it’s mainly boring old food science (Google it here) but, in essence the salt helps to prevent moisture loss. Moisture loss is inevitable during the cooking process so, if we can do something to slow that down … Hellllooooooooo brine.  🙂 🙂

I’m going to deal with Steve first and address the Brisket question.

When putting  anything in a Brine, not only are you adding flavour but you are essentially “Curing” it as well, and in the case of a fresh Beef Brisket, the end result (depending on the spices you use) is either Corned beef or Pastrami. Now, … before I have every Deli from coast to coast yelling at me, … there are many differences between the two but, it all starts with the BRINE.

Corned beef generally comes from the Brisket portion of the carcass, while Pastrami can come from the Brisket, Navel (Brisket Plate) or even the Outside Round.

The Brine I use for making both is basic and as follows:

*Note*

Use these measurements to double or triple the recipe.

*Basic ratio: 1 Cup of water per 1 Tbs salt*

So:

8 Cups of cold water

8 Tbs kosher salt (you “may” want to adjust the salt more or less to suit your own taste)

3/4 cup  Brown Sugar

1 level tsp per 5 lbs meat, Prague Powder #1

2 Cinnamon sticks

2 Tbs Whole Mustard seeds

2 Tbs whole Black Pepper corns

15 Juniper Berries

1 Tbs Ginger powder

15 Whole cloves

15 Whole Allspice Berries

5 Large Bay Leaves

4-5 Whole Garlic Cloves

Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot and bring to a boil making sure all the salt and sugar are dissolved. Remove from heat and shock with 2 lbs of ice.

When the Brine is COMPLETELY cooled, pour over the Brisket and refrigerate for up to 14 days.

*Note*

I like to use 2 LARGE zip-lock bags (doubled) to make sure the meat is completely submerged and no leaks. 

Rinse, then to cook the cured Corned Beef, I chop the Holy Trinity of celery, carrots and onions and layer them on the bottom of a roasting pan to act as a rack for your Brisket to sit on top of. Next, you need moisture and water is a natural but, why stop there? I use chicken stock for added flavour or, even apple juice. Go ahead and experiment.  🙂

Fill pan half way and cook, covered for 3-4 hours at 300 degrees.

Now for Pastrami, it’s important to desalinate the meat before proceeding by soaking it in a pot of fresh clean water for at least 8 hours prior to rubbing and smoking, otherwise you’ll be drinking gallons of water after your meal.

The rub I use is pretty generic and goes something like this (you can change it around to suit you own tastes) and, depending on how large your piece of meat is, you’ll want to double or even triple the measurements:

4-6 heaping Tbs course ground black pepper

2 (ish) Tbs ground Coriander

1 tsp (each) Brown sugar, Dry mustard

2 tsp (each) Onion and Garlic powder

*you can leave any of these out EXCEPT the pepper and coriander*

Combine all the dry ingredients and rub liberally all over the meat and refrigerate for at least 24 hours.

Smoke indirectly at 225-230 degrees until the meat reaches what the BBQ gods refer to as the “stall” (150 degrees) then, finish by steaming it gently (covered) for 3 hours being careful not to let the pot boil dry.

There you go Steveo … let me know how you make out buddy.  🙂 🙂

Now Gwennie … my basic brine for poultry is as follows: (and the spices change regularly, depending on what I’m wearing)  🙂 🙂

SALT/WATER RATIO SAME AS ABOVE:

8 Cups of cold water

8 Tbs Kosher salt

2/3 Cup Brown sugar

3/4 Cup Soy sauce

1/4 Cup Olive oil

1 Tbs Black pepper corns

2 Tbs Rosemary (fresh is best)

2 Whole oranges (halved)

2-3 Bay leaves

Combine everything in a large pot and bring to a boil to dissolve the salt and sugar, remove from heat and shock with 2 pounds of ice.

When the brine is COMPLETELY cooled, submerge the bird and cover, refrigerated for at LEAST 24 hours or longer. If you don’t have anything large enough to completely submerge the bird, try using two oven roasting bags (doubled) and tie the bags off securely then place in a pan in case of leaks and refrigerate.

To cook, rinse thoroughly, stuff the cavity with oranges, onions, fresh thyme … whatever you like and cook, low and slow referring to this post: Carnivore Confidential

There you go Steve and Gwennie … please enjoy, like and comment … 🙂 🙂

Oh and, by the way … Gwennie, you can share this post with your peeps by following my Blog … otherwise, just scroll down to the “share” area below and “click” on the “email” button … that’ll take you to an email page and … share away!!  🙂 🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores but 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 follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

The Grim Reaper Tour 2016 and, the BEST Turkey you’ll ever cook!

Greetings Carnivores,

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we all celebrated the festive season with our friends and loved ones over some delicious food and drink. I know most of you have your own favourite recipes but, I just wanted to share a method I stumbled onto this year for cooking the best Turkey I have EVER made.

But before I get to todays CC offering, by way of reflection I wanted to chat about the year that was for a minute or two so, please indulge me.

Here goes nuthin’.

2016 has come and gone and I for one am NOT sorry to see it go. The Grim Reaper tour 2016, took sooo many of our music and big screen idols, heroes and icons it hurts just to think about it.

I am a huge, lifelong fan of all music. When I was young it was shocking and tragic for me to lose the likes of (in no specific order): Morrison, Hendrix, Joplin, Cass, Moon, Chapin, Croce, Allman, Holly, Valens, Rhoads, Vaughn, Elvis and more recently, Michael (and THAT’s just a short list) of some of the musicians I loved and lost at such a young age to accidents and lifestyle foolishness.

But, this past year has been a different kind of “culling”.

In 2016 we lost Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Prince and George Michael to name a few off the top of my head and just last week, Carrie Fisher as well as her Mom, Debbie Reynolds. AND, let’s not forget the timeless and beloved Canadian music icon Leonard Cohn, all gone now to the “Bridge” courtesy of the Grim Reaper tour 2016. This has brought about a different kind of feeling for me … one of nostalgia, reflection and … mortality.

Here’s what I mean.

Losing my heroes when I was in my teens, and twenties was shocking and tragic because they were all so young and still had soooo much to give. I felt so “ripped off” that I never got to see the magic that would have been the rest of their collective careers.

Now however, with the exception of Prince … it seems somehow different but no less tragic, to lose the likes of these wonderful artists to (mostly) natural attrition … old age. Losing Prince (and Michael) to an accidental overdose was like a punch in the stomach.

I’ve never really felt or acted my age, and certainly never considered myself to be old (I’m Peter Pan, dammit). I always figured, hey … if you haven’t grown up by the age 50 well, you just don’t have to. Yet here I am, entering my 60’s in just a few short months, and staring down the barrel of my Golden years (I hope).

I guess what I’m trying to say is … I’m at the age where, for the first time in my life, I’m becoming acutely aware of my own mortality. How does all this tie into the loss of my music and big screen icons? Well, let’s just say that I’m very close to the same age as the ones we’ve recently lost and for the first time I’m thinking, wow … maybe THIS “Peter Pan” has gotten a little long in tooth. It doesn’t really “freak” me out … I’m just aware of it now and, I’m trying hard to live each day to the fullest.

But … I digress AGAIN.

What does any of this have to with the best Turkey method I’ve ever stumbled across, you ask?

Well, … nothing really. I was simply trying to figure out how I’d “frame” this offering for the ol’ CC Blog and, started thinking about the reason we eat Turkey at this time of the year in the first place, next thing you know I’m sharing my year-end review of sorts.

Ok, back to the meat …

Just before Christmas, I read somewhere (please forgive me, whoever you are for not giving you “name” recognition and credit for this … I just CAN’T remember where I read it) but … it goes like this: quite simply, the method involves cooking the Turkey at 170 degrees F for (get this) 17 HOURS!

I thought, I have GOT to try this and, I know what you’re thinking “what about making sure you kill any harmful bacteria”… after all, we don’t want to invite (click here:) “Sam and Ella” over for dinner with your family.

Well, this low and slow method requires FIRST blasting the bird at 500 degrees for one hour to make sure anything harmful is killed then, all you do is roll the temperature down to 170 and go to bed. I also used a digital temperature probe to help me “tickle” the temps on my prehistoric oven.

This idea is sort of like cooking (click here:) Sous Vide, where the meat will never over cook since it can’t rise above the temperature of the cooking vessel, in this case the oven at 170.

Easy Peasy!

I should say that prior to cooking, I submerged my bird in a simple salt, brown sugar, soy and spice brine for 3 days to infuse some flavor. Next, I did a little math to calculate when to put it into the oven. The day before my family came for Christmas dinner, I rinsed and prepped the Turkey before I went to bed then, I set my alarm and got up at one o’clock in the morning. I preheated my oven and blasted the bird, uncovered for an hour then covered it (I just used tin foil), turned it down to 170 and, went back to bed. Simple as could be   🙂

At 5 o’clock that afternoon I removed it from the oven to let it rest and … it was fall apart tender. I had no intention of even TRYING to “carve” the beast, opting rather to “pull” it instead.

OMG!

I’ll NEVER cook a Turkey ANY OTHER WAY!

It was SUPER tender, SUPER juicy with a hint of salt, OMG … *insert mouth-watering here*   🙂

In closing, as we enter a New Year … full of uncertainty and hope for the future, I wish nothing but the best for each and every one of you. Live every day to the fullest and, be kind to one and other.

Oh, and please Reaper … lay off the Musicians … we’ve lost toooo many already.

Peace Love and Happiness Carnivores …  🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores but 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 follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Brisket 101

Greetings Carnivores,

I know I’ve been noticeably absent from Blogging for quite some time and, I really have no good excuse other than a complete and TOTAL writers block that only seemed to compound itself as more and more time slipped away. Spring turned into Summer, Summer into Fall and now … I’m firmly in the grip of another frosty Canadian deep freeze.

But, I digress.

My motivation for todays offering comes from my good buddy Steve. He recently purchased his very first electric pellet smoker and has been happily churning out smoked EVERYTHING from Ribs, Wings and Chicken to cheese.

Yesterday I got a message from him saying he wanted to try his very first Brisket and, was in need of some direction regarding what he should be looking for from a butchers point of view.

While I am “somewhat” proficient in the Smokie Arts (I’m not even HALF as good as my friends at,   click here: Patrons of the Pit). I do however, have some expertise in the explanation and selection of the Brisket.

Steve’s question was … “what am I looking for in a Brisket”

raw-brisket-whole

Well Steve, the brisket is a heavily marbled, fairly fatty, tough piece of meat from the front quarter of the beef carcass and, it must be cooked low and slow over a number of hours. This low, slow attention to detail, renders this tough cut into something quite magical if treated properly with love, patience and, SMOKE!

Ok so, the whole Brisket itself is rather large and consists of two muscles: the top muscle is known as the Brisket “Point or Deckle” and is heavily marbled. Separating the Point (Deckle) from the bottom muscle, simply known as the “Flat” is a thick layer of heavy fat.

In the above photo, the Brisket is laying with the “Flat” on top and the “Point” (Deckle) on the bottom. When cooking the whole Brisket, you’ll want to remove some of the heavy fat between the two muscles and, I always cook these with the “Flat” muscle side down on the grill. This will promote beautiful basting while the fat renders and bathes the Brisket in moisture.

I myself prefer the Brisket point only because all the buttery internal fat, when rendered over a long low cook is truly something to be savored.

*insert mouth-watering here* 🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores but please, for everything BBQ go and check out Patrons of the Pit … besides being excellent wordsmiths, they are legendary BBQ GAWDS! And, they’ll be able to send you in the right direction 🙂

Stay tuned and … please click “follow” at the top of the 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 follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

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