Is fish considered meat??

Greetings Carnivores,

Here’s an interesting question I have come across MANY times:

Is fish “meat”?

The answer is actually very simple, … or is it?

I was taught many years ago, ALL muscle IS meat. The body is basically broken down into muscle, fat, sinew and bone. Everything that is a muscle (including the Heart) is considered protein, and therefore … meat.

Simple, right?

Well, “if” all muscle is “meat” then, … the flesh of any fish is almost entirely muscle and therefore a protein (considered to be one of the very best sources of protein) and by the simple definition, must be “meat”, right?

Listen, … I’m going to be “Switzerland” on this one from here on out. I don’t want to upset any particular beliefs so, I just present the following for you to decide:

Catholicism considers fish to be in a separate category because they are not warm blooded mammals, do not reside on land, and breathe air and therefore ok to consume during Lent.

Fair enough.

In culinary terms, fish IS considered to be in a separate category so … is it meat??

I’ll leave it up to you to decide.

Don’t fight, lord knows there’s too much of that in the world these days. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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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Denuded … what the heck does THAT mean???

Greetings Carnivores,

Todays offering comes once again, from a question I get asked ALL the time.

I was over at my friends’ house for dinner a couple of weeks ago and my buddy asked, “Hey Dougie … can you write a post that explains what “denuded” means?

Well Steveo … here ya go buddy …

If you look up the actual definition of denuded, it doesn’t automatically refer to meat.

It will say something like “without natural or usual covering.” So, this could refer to anything from a bald head, to a spot on your lawn, devoid of grass.

In the case of meat however, … it’s pretty much the same thing.

If all the “natural” fat covering, Silver skin or veins have been removed, then this particular piece of meat is considered to be “denuded.”

Ok so, let’s recap:

Anything labeled as “denuded” when referring to meat in your Butcher’s counter, means that he has removed ALL the “natural” covering. being the fat, sinew, silver skin, veins … EVERYTHING.

Now here’s the part that will probably make you reconsider actually buying that piece of meat … it’s BRUTALLY expensive!

The butcher has taken a fair bit of time to completely “clean” this piece of meat for you AND … he has also incurred a loss in that, he hasn’t sold YOU all that “extra” weight.

So, … guess what? He makes up for his “loss” by charging a LOT more for the denuded piece.

The moral of the story folks is, … buy the whole primal, whether its a Tenderloin, Striploin, Ribeye, Outside round … whatever, and “clean” it yourselves.

The internet is an amazing resource for “how to” videos, and cutting your own meat at home is no exception.

Hopefully one of these days,…  this old, non-tech savvy, butcher will venture into to world of video to help you even further … an old guy can dream right??

To my brother from another mother, Steve … I hope this helped you and, if not … put the beer in the fridge, give me a call, and I’ll be right over to give you a personal lesson.

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

High Mountain Seasonings, Buckboard Bacon Cure … Do I have your attention yet??

Greetings Carnivores,

Today I’m going to walk you through the way I made some Side bacon at home.

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Anyway you slice it (see what I did there??) it’s a bit of a long process. But, … like many things in life, it’s a labour of love and well worth it in the end.

Here we go.

Head out to your local butcher and buy a slab of boneless pork Belly, about 1 Kg. (2.5 Lbs.) You can find it either Rind-on or off. The rind is the skin of the Hog and is unappealingly chewy unless it’s cooked to a very crispy texture. When left on the pork belly and made into bacon, it provides a really crispy “crunch” mouthfeel.

For mine, I bought it “Rind-on” but I removed it when I got home. I did this because I wanted to make Pork rind crisps AKA Chicharron. I’ll write about that in the near future, stay tuned 🙂

Before I started the curing process, I wanted to add a nice smokey flavour to my Pork belly without cooking it so, I set up my cold smoke generator from A-MAZE-N products and filled it with enough Pecan (my FAVOURITE) pellets from Traeger to smoke for a good 2 hours, and lit the fuse.

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I say “lit the fuse” meaning, I got out my handy torch and blasted the top layer of pellets until they were on fire, let them burn for 5 minutes then, blew out the flames.

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With the fuse lit and the pellets smoking nicely, I placed my smoke generator in the bottom of my bbq, than replaced the grill and added my beautiful Pork belly then, closed the lid and let the smoke perform its magic.

2 hours later, I pulled this smokey, beautiful, Pork belly off the grill and started the curing process.

Today I’m using Buckboard Bacon cure from High Mountain Seasonings  I found this stuff at my Local Bass Pro shop and since then, I’ve visited them many times online. (link provided above).

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The box comes with 3 packages of cure, more than enough to do a whole Boston butt but, today I’m making bacon so, I liberally coated my Pork belly all over, set it in a covered glass dish and placed it in the fridge. As you can see, I removed the skin before I started the rub.

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** VERY IMPORTANT NOTE**

Do NOT use a metal pan for curing, the salt will leach a metallic taste into your finished product.

Every day for 14 days, I turned the belly over and replaced it back in the fridge. You will find the cure pulls a lot of moisture out of the belly … not to worry … all’s good.

After 14 days, I pulled it out of the fridge and rinsed it thoroughly in cold water then, I put it back in a CLEAN glass dish, covered it with fresh water and stuck it back into the fridge. You MUST do this in order pull the salt out of the meat. Do this every day for 5 days.

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In the end, you’ll be rewarded with this gorgeous piece of freshly cured, beautifully smoked side bacon you made all by yourself.

With a REALLY sharp knife, go ahead and slice it up. Just so you know, … it’s very difficult to slice it thinly so, don’t stress … just go ahead and cut it into thick slices. When you get to the end, and you can’t get another slice out of what’s left without cutting yourself … just cut it up into little chunks, cubes, whatever.

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I fried my little leftover bits and was going to use them in a Ceasar salad for dinner but … they didn’t last that long … between me and my beautiful Pooches, we devoured them in minutes.

I hope you’ll try this for yourselves and please, leave me a comment to let me know how you made out …

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

 

 

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

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