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

 

Advertisements

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.

italiancooking_ossobucco.jpg.rend.hgtvcom.1280.960

Veal Osso Buco

DSCF4790[1]

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

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

Forget the CHILL before you GRILL

Greetings Carnivores,

Wow … where has the summer gone?

Most of the month of June and the better part of July were sort of non-summerish for this part of the country. Quite cool actually but, I’m certainly NOT complaining. I’ve never been much of a fan of the wicked humidity that goes hand in hand with the summer months here in Southwestern Ontario so, you’ll never hear me crying about the cool weather. As a matter of fact, I LOVE the Fall and Winter so, BRING IT ON!

Anyway … I digress, AGAIN 🙂

Today, I want to briefly touch on a very important cooking tip. This applies to all cooking methods but, here’s a catchy rhyme to help you remember:

FORGET THE CHILL BEFORE YOU GRILL

Now, I don’t want to “paint” an irresponsible picture here so, before I get started, the “chill” is necessary and … you must always marinate AND store (whether it’s wet or dry) in the fridge to make sure your protein doesn’t dance with the temperature (click here) “DANGER ZONE“.

If you’re not familiar with what the Danger Zone is, … it’s the temperature “zone” between which bacterial growth is potentially the most dangerous.

To avoid making yourself sick from food borne pathogens you must ALWAYS observe this “zone” as being between 4 degrees C and 60 degrees C (40 degrees F and 140 degrees F)

Ok, … now that I’ve scared you with that bit of info, I’m now going to tell you …

FORGET THE CHILL BEFORE YOU GRILL.

Relax … I KNOW I’m contradicting myself but, the reason for bringing your protein to “room temperature” FIRST is so that your meat will cook more evenly.

Think about it folks … if the centre is colder than the outside, it’s just NOT going to cook at the same rate which, in turn equals unevenly cooked end result.

Trust me on this one … you’ll thank me later. 🙂

Ok so, … that’s it for today. Now, get out there and enjoy the rest of the summer grilling season but remember, … even if you’re not BBQing, the same “rule of thumb” applies to cooking anything …

FORGET THE CHILL BEFORE YOU GRILL

In the meantime, 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

London calling … what EXACTLY is a London Broil ??

 

Greetings Carnivores,

London Broil.

I get asked about it all the time. What is it? Where does it come from? How do you prepare it? What’s with the name?

Well, the short answer is … London Broil means a lot of different things to a lot of different folks and … none of them have ANYTHING to do with London (England, that is).

DSCF4956[1]

Inside Round Steak

Sliced London Broil on a wooden cutting board alongside white handled cutlery

Sliced Inside Round London Broil

In America, it’s actually referred to as a “preparation” rather than a specific cut since both the Flank Steak AND the Inside Round can be used.  As far as the preparation goes, this piece of meat is typically marinated for several hours then roasted or grilled over high heat to achieve a rare to medium rare finished product then, sliced thinly across the grain and usually stacked on a roll for sandwiches.

DSCF4958[1]

Tenderized Inside Round Steak

DSCF4960[1]

Sausage stuffing

 Now … here in Canada, for a “London Broil” we use either a Flank Steak or an Inside Round as well but, the big difference is … we tenderize the piece of meat, either by pounding it or running it through a tenderizer (cube steak machine) then, we a lay big roll of seasoned, pork sausage across it’s width and roll it up.

To facilitate easier slicing (since ground meat doesn’t really like to be “sliced”) the whole ‘roll’ is placed into the freezer for 20 minutes. The finished product is then sliced into 1-2 inch rounds, then either grilled or broiled.

DSCF4965[1]

Let it “set up” in the freezer before trying to slice

DSCF4966[1]

Canadian “version” of the London Broil

 Another variation around here is a “London Broil Loaf” where partially cooked side bacon is placed across the width of the tenderized Flank Steak and seasoned ground Veal is used as the “stuffing”.

DSCF4964[1]

The London Broil “loaf”

 So, as you can see, the term “London Broil” and just what it is, kind of depends on where you live. Either way, you should give both of these a try and let me know what you think.

I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming. 🙂

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.

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

NOW you’re in for a treat … the Beef Top Blade or Flat Iron Steak.

 

Greetings Carnivores,

As promised last week, today I have another special selection for you … the much maligned and misunderstood, Top Blade Steak AKA the Flat Iron.

download (1)

Whole Top Blade Muscle. Note: the heavy “Silver Skin”

This little gem, as the name implies, comes from the blade section of the Beef carcass and is one of two muscles sitting under the Shoulder Blade bone. This bone is sometimes referred to as the “Paddle bone” (indigenous 1st nations people used this bone as a paddle), or the “Seven” bone (when cut across the width of the bone, it resembles the number 7). The other muscle is known as the Mock Tender only because it resembles the fillet, and that’s where the similarity ends.

More about this muscle in a future post but, for now let’s talk about the Flat Iron.

Here in North America, it’s known as the Flat Iron but, in other parts of the world it’s called things like “Butchers Steak” in the UK and, for my Aussie friends down unda, the “Oyster Blade Steak.”

images (1)

The transverse line running the length is chewy and needs to be removed. I like to do this BEFORE it’s cut into steaks

When the butcher removes the Top Blade muscle from the bone, he must do a number of things to “clean” it before it’s ready for the grill. You can do this yourself with a sharp knife but, a little skill is needed. There is a heavy “silver skin” or “Bone felt” on the side that’s next to the bone. This does NOT render well during cooking and needs to be removed.

The second REALLY important step, is the removal of the heavy tendon running the horizontal length of the muscle, separating it into two Flat Iron Steaks. I prefer to remove this BEFORE it gets cut into steaks (see photo above) but, I’ve seen it done both ways.

Once these steps are finished, you’re in for a treat.

Since this muscle comes from the shoulder it usually has a significant amount of marbling which as we already know, when cooked, contributes to the wonderful flavour of these little beauties.

download

Beautifully marbled texture.

Fire up the grill, season to your taste and cook to a perfect medium rare.

Oh my … “Honey … guess what’s for dinner?”

I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you make out … I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming. 🙂

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.

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

A little love for the mighty Tri Tip AKA Beef Bottom Sirloin.

Greetings Carnivores,

The inspiration for my post today is … dinner! Planning what to make that is, and tonight … Tri Tip on the BBQ. Oh man!

Over the next two posts I want to share with you a couple of little known cuts that rarely get any love: the Tri Tip, AKA bottom Sirloin and, the Flat Iron, AKA the Top Blade steak. They come from completely opposite areas of the beef carcass and, the reason they rarely get any love in this part of the country is … folks just aren’t familiar with them and how to cook them.

th

Bottom Sirloin Tri Tip

The Tri tip is IMMENSELY popular in the great State of California and, I wrote about it last year in a post I called (Click here:)  “Tri Tip and the Gospel according to Santa Maria”.

Here in the Canadian landscape however … folks just don’t know what to do with them or where they come from so, they tend to stick to the old stand by  New York Strip loin, Rib Eye, Sirloin and Tenderloin (Fillet).

Trust me … you have to try this cut.

The Tri Tip comes from the Sirloin portion of the carcass and doesn’t do a whole lot of work hence … very tender. Roast or BBQ it over indirect heat (add smoking chips for that extra dimension of flavour) until an internal temp of 128-130 degrees is reached then, remove it from the heat and let it stand under a tin foil tent for 15-20 minutes for a PERFECT medium rare.

Care needs to be taken when slicing because this cut actually has the grain running in a “fan” pattern. When carving, I start by cutting it in half, identifying the direction of the grain then, slicing across it. Identify the direction of the grain in the other half (you’ll see it running a different direction) and slice away. These make absolutely WONDERFUL roasts but … my FAVOURITE thing to do with these bad boys … slice it thin and pile it high on a crusty roll.

MAN, that’s some good eating!

Trip Tip does go on sale from time to time, and when does does … STOCK UP!

Ok, next week: The Flat Iron steak. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you make out … I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming. 🙂

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.

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