The Beef steak … reverse engineered.

Greetings Carnivores,

A few weeks ago my wife and I were blessed with the company of our very dear and old friend Dave. It had been awhile since he’d been here so, we invited him over to break bread with us.

I planned a grand feast for him with the centre piece being a big, fat, juicy Strip Loin, slow cooked in a tepid oven and flash seared to finish on a blistering hot cast iron grill pan.

Sounds weird I know but let me explain and, … you ‘might’ want to try this ‘happy accident’ I stumbled onto a few years ago for yourselves.

Here’s what happened (or so I heard):

A butcher showed up at a friend’s place with a HUGE, 2 1/2 inch thick, full cut Sirloin Steak and planned to use his buddy’s gas BBQ to grill up this behemoth. The grill was fired, the drinking commenced and the monster steak was tucked onto the grill.

More drinking ensued, followed by more drinking (you KNOW how these things can go).

After a while, the chef (guest butcher) noticed that he wasn’t getting any more than about 225 degrees surface temp from the borrowed grill. Enough drinking had taken place that the urgency to eat this tepid looking, massive steak had been replaced by the need to carry on with the party.

As the story goes, … at some point, a digital read thermometer was produced and he was VERY surprised to see the internal temp was a very respectable medium rare, even though the outside was unappealing and rubbery looking.

After searing both sides on the stove in a cracking hot, cast iron grill pan and sliced thinly, the party goers were treated to undoubtedly the best steak they’d ever eaten.

I’ve tried this myself a great number of times and have never ceased to be amazed by how well this method works. It’s almost like reverse engineering or, deconstructing a BBQ method since first, you gently bring your meat to the desired internal temperature … then you add the outside ‘char’ using a cast iron grill pan. Not unlike a (click here:) Sous-Vide method only you’re not ‘holding’ the meat at the desired temperature for a long period of time.

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Start with an awesome steak … your choice. Tonight, I’m using a well marbled New York Strip Loin.

Place it on a grill rack and shove it into a 225 degree F. oven and let it go for ten minutes.

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In a 225 degree oven, bring it to 127 or 128 degrees F. Check the temp OFTEN.

 

After the initial ten minutes, use your thermometer to check your progress. You “should” be around 90 to 100 degrees.

From this point forward, check the temperature OFTEN … one or two minutes will mean the difference between medium and medium well.

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Finish it on a SMOKING HOT cast iron pan to give it a nice sear.

Remove from the pan and let it rest (VERY IMPORTANT !!!)

Voila … a reverse engineered steak … done to perfection.

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Oh man … get ready to taste one AWESOME steak.

The total cook time is around 15 to 20 minutes (results will vary), just remember to check the temp with a GOOD thermometer OFTEN.

The same method can be used on the BBQ as well … just make sure your heat is indirect and monitored OFTEN.

To say that our friend Dave was impressed is an understatement … makes the heart swell up with pride.

I hope you’ll try this and let me know how you made 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

 

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Of Flanks, Skirts (Hangers), Briskets and all things delicious.

Greetings Carnivores,

I got a message on the weekend from my Sister, asking me the difference between the Skirt, Flank and Brisket and whether or not they could all be treated the same way.

The answer is  … yes, and DEFINITELY no.

Here’s the skinny.

Since the Flank and Skirt (sometimes referred to as “Hanger”) both come from the “Flank” portion of the hind quarter, yes … they can be treated the same way. They are often found in Asian and Latino recipes … can you say stir fry and FAJITAS !!

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The humble Flank steak

The Flank steak (click here) is a flat muscle, found on either side of the carcass and is usually roughly a bit larger than twice the size of your hand. It can be as much as a couple of inches thick and is NOT well marbled with long muscle fibers running it’s full length.

Click here for a link to my friend Chef Jeff Parker’s flank steak recipe.  

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The beautiful Skirt steak

Now, the Skirt steak (click here) is actually a part of the diaphragm that separates the vital organs from the digestive tract, and the entire piece could be as long a 2 feet, as wide as 6-8 inches and up to a few inches thick.

Click here for a link to Chef Jeff Parker’s awesome detail on Skirt (hanger) Steak … couldn’t have said it better myself Jeff !!

Ok so, both of these muscles are EXCELLENT on the BBQ as long as you DON’T overcook them. This is absolutely key AND … always slice them ACROSS THE GRAIN.

Now, the  Brisket (click here), on the other hand comes from the front quarter of the beef carcass.  (put your hands on your sternum and move them from the centre,  across your chest towards your arm pits)  This is the area the Brisket comes from.

There are TWO muscles in the Brisket portion … the ‘flat’ muscle is called the ‘point’ and the fatty ‘knob’ that sits on top is called the ‘deckel’.

The Brisket is DEFINITELY NOT a tender piece of meat … BUT, with all that beautiful, white fat, collagen and connective tissue; when you add the right blend of spices, a BUNCH of TLC, a LONGSLOW cook and a kiss of smoke … well, NOW you have a piece of meat that will make you wanna cry.

Heck … all those Texans have been doing something right with the Brisket for eons so … they “might” be onto something. (do ya think???)

These bad boys are not readily found in the big supermarkets basically because they pretty much all go from the processing plant into the making of “Corned Beef”. Don’t dispair, if you have a small butcher shop in your area, drop in and ask for it then, look up a recipe for Beef brisket on the ‘net’ and get busy.

REMEMBER FOLKS … YOU CANNOT RUSH THIS PIECE OF MEAT … it is a LONG, SLOW, LABOUR OF LOVE but … when it’s done right … oh my !!

Masters of the BBQ and smoker GAWDS,  “The Patrons of the Pit” (click here for their Brisket method) show you how to render the mighty Brisket into something truly beautiful (my mouth is watering).

There you have it Carnivores, and to my beautiful Sister … I hope I answered your questions. If not, I’ll see you on Sunday and we can continue this discussion.

I LOVE getting questions because they usually help me come up with Blog post topics so … keep ’em coming !! 🙂

In the meantime, 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

 

Rib Eye 101: How-To Grill A Great Steak

Greetings Carnivores,

I’ve been meaning to write something about the beef Rib section for some time now. Lucky you … today’s the day.

The beef carcass has 13 rib bones per side, and the front quarter includes 11 of them. The Chuck has 4 bones, which leaves 7 for the Rib section. I’m often asked the difference between a Rib roast, a Standing Rib roast and a Prime Rib roast. Truth is … they’re all exactly the same cut with the only ‘real’ difference being the “Prime” designation refers to restaurant quality.

Valentine’s day has come and gone for another year and I know many of you like to take your significant other out for a nice 5 star meal at a fancy-schmancy restaurant and for me, nothing beats a Rib steak. The Rib eye is the same steak, just without the bone.

Chef Jeff Parker, a fellow I have mad respect for, has written a great Rib eye post on his Blog, and it ties very nicely into what I wanted to say re: the Rib section so, today with his kind permission I present his post, re-blogged on my site.
I hope you enjoy it.

Please click “follow” at the top of the page (Carnivore Confidential) and 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

Get To Grilling!

Grilled-Rib-Eye-101 Rib eye is hands-down my favorite steak and a great one for the grill.  The marbling in a rib eye makes it juicy delicious and pretty hard to overcook – at least from a dried out point-of view. Personally, I think it is at it’s best when cooked to the rare-side of medium rare, however is still juicy and delicious when cooked to medium+.  You’ll have to keep an eye (pun intended) on them to watch for flare-ups – a small sacrifice for all that well-marbled flavor! If flare-ups do occur, simply move them over to a cooler part of the grill.

Butcher shop lesson: Rib eye steaks are cut from the primal forequarter rib/upper chuck portion of the beef.  From there, the primal is cut into a standing rib roast a.k.a.  prime rib (but only if it is prime grade beef!). If the roast is then sliced into…

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Huerta Los Tamarindos … what a GREAT experience!!

Greetings Carnivores,

As you know by now, I was basking in the warm sunshine of Los Cabos Mexico last week, courtesy of my Spousal equivalent’s hard work. She and her team at GFS, out hustled everyone else in her region and won a sales competition. The reward for winning? An all expense paid trip for her team and their spouses to Los Cabos Mexico, where we joined winning team members from all the other regions across the country. I think there were 44 of us in all.

One of the MANY activities we were involved with, was a trip to visit an Organic Farm/Cooking School/ Restaurant called Huerta Los Tamarindos.

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The view from the terrace looking out over the farm

It’s rather difficult to put into words just how impressive this place was and sadly, some of my photos aren’t of very good quality (hand held smart phone … my bad) so please forgive me but, I hope you get a ‘feel’ for it.

We were picked up by mini bus for a short ride out into the Mexican countryside. Turning off the highway onto a nondescript dirt road, we travelled on what looked like a dry riverbed for a few minutes.

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Our host Enrique Silva

After a short bumpy ride we arrived at Los Tamarindos, where we  were greeted graciously by the owner Enrique Silva and offered a cold glass of (non-alcoholic) Lemongrass Iced Tea … oh my, DELICIOUS!!

This outdoor setting was reminiscent of a village scene in Tuscany, complete with prep-stations all around a couple of big BBQ’s.

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Prep stations ready for volunteers

After an overview of the Certified Organic farm by Enrique, we were split up into groups for various tasks. My group went for a short walk into the fields to harvest wonderful fresh Tomatoes, Onions, Beets and Herbs, then off to our prep-stations to chop and dice. Next, we were moved to another station to learn how to make the perfect Margarita using the freshest ingredients … to say I could have stayed at THIS station all evening is a understatement :). 

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The Carnivore with Enrique Silva

When Enrique asked for a volunteer to man the grill, I happily stepped up.

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Wonderful family-style seating for a FANTASTIC meal … prepared and enjoyed by all of us.

Wine tasting/pairing was followed by dinner, served family style and consisted of baked eggplant rolls with tomato basil sauce, Los Tamarindos salad, grilled local fish, chicken and pork, grilled vegetables, house herbed flat bread and fresh pico de gallo, finished off with heirloom plantain drizzled with Oaxacan chocolate and mango jelly with cheese.

Ya … I know … you’re drooling right??

Our perfect meal was framed against the backdrop of another warm Mexican sunset, just as a full moon rose over the landscape … does it really get any better?

Click here for a link to Huerta Los Tamarindos in San Jose del Cabo. And when planning your next visit to Mexico, include a visit to this wonderful spot … you WON’T be disappointed !!

What a great experience for a crazy foodie!!

Until next time, thanks for reading and following. Please come back and comment, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ my posts through WordPress, Facebook (www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential) and Twitter (@DougieDee).  I will do my very best to continue to bring you informative, educational and hopefully well written, witty dialogue.

I REALLY appreciate your support.

Stay hungry Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Hola Amigos !!

Greetings Carnivores,

Well, I’m back home (late last night) from the BEST vacation I’ve EVER had.

Forget the rest of Mexico people.!! Don’t walk … RUN to your travel agent and book your next holiday to the beautiful Cabo San Lucas/San Jose Del Cabo area.  Two towns, one very old the other fairly new, together they’re known as Los Cabos.

Relax in the warm weather, meet friendly people, experience GREAT nightlife, enjoy wonderful restaurants, swim, snorkel and Scuba in the warm Sea of Cortez … I could go on and on.

I’m working on a post that details an AWESOME experience I had while visiting Huerta Los Tamarindos, an Organic Farm/Restaurant/Cooking school in Cabo last Saturday evening, where I got the chance to ‘man’ the grill !

What an amazing evening for a crazy foodie like me !!

Until then, thanks for reading and following. Please come back and comment, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ my posts through WordPress, Facebook (www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential) and Twitter (@DougieDee).  I will do my very best to continue to bring you informative, educational and hopefully well written, witty dialogue.

I REALLY appreciate your support.

Stay hungry Carnivores

Tri Tip and the Gospel according to Santa Maria

Greetings Carnivores,

Back in 1988, I graduated from University with my Bachelor’s Degree. As a graduation gift to myself, I jumped on my motorcycle and headed anywhere but here. My ultimate destination was California but how, and when I got there just didn’t matter. Turns out I was gone for over a year and a half.

After a number of months and many, many miles, I eventually found myself in the Central Coast region of California, and fell in love with a town called San Luis Obispo. The “Happiest City in America” sits roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles and 200 miles south of San Francisco. This idyllic town of about 50 thousand souls sits smack dab in the middle of the Central Coast wine growing region and 10 minutes from the ocean.

Montana de Oro State park is minutes away. Millions upon millions of migrating Monarch Butterflies stop here to rest, on their way to Mexico for the winter. It’s a truly staggering, humbling sight.

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MILLIONS of Monarch Butterflies resting in the trees at Montana de Oro State Park

Sit on the bluffs overlooking the vast Pacific and count the Grey whales as they pass by on their own love quest to the warm waters off Mexico.

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You can count dozens of these behemoths every day during the migration

On the map, you’ll find the famous Pacific Coast Highway # 1 and California Interstate Highway 101 intersect here.

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You are here, … or at least, you SHOULD be !!

San Luis Obispo or SLO as it’s known, is home to California Polytechnic State University. Cal Poly is the Alma Mater for a couple of celebrities too. Weird Al Yankovic and, one of the best shortstops who ever played the game for the Cardinals in St Louis or anywhere in Major League Baseball for that matter, Ozzie Smith.

Oh ya … and the Iceman Chuck Liddell, Hall of famer from the UFC, also calls SLO home.

I loved this town for it’s laid back attitude, friendly people, great climate, relative proximity to the Pacific Ocean, awesome motorcycle friendly canyon roads AND … MARKET NIGHT !!!

Every Thursday night, the main drag in San Luis Obispo closes down to vehicle traffic and farmers and vendors set up on the street. The best thing about SLO and Higuera Street, every Thursday night: the HUGE BBQ’s that roll into town!!

You can smell it for blocks and blocks. All of your other senses go numb. They’ve been completely overridden by your Olfactory system. You have the true heart of a Carnivore and your nose drags you through the smoke toward it like a Siren song.  Powerless to fight the drool you stumble, Zombie-like down Higuera to the epicentre of the intoxicating smells. Cold beverage in hand, you pass fresh farm produce, baked goods and all manner of knickknacks.

Through the smoke you finally see it.

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You can almost smell it … oh my!

The Sirens are now Angels singing, you think you see St. Peter at the Pearly Gates and you give yourself willingly to the smoke.

Pork ribs, big Beef ribs, Sausage, Chicken, and Tri Tip sandwiches, sliced thin and piled high on a fresh bun. You sit on the ground or grab some curb and dive in.

Admit it … you’re drooling right now, aren’t you?

Ok so, I like many others have to admit something I was completely unaware of prior to arriving in SLO.  The regional “style” of BBQ around here is known quite simply as “Santa Maria BBQ”. The centrepiece of this BBQ “style” is the humble Beef bottom Sirloin, better known as Tri Tip.

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The humble Bottom Sirloin Tri Tip

Historically, the Santa Maria ‘style’ dates back to the mid-19th century and is sooooo entrenched in this part of the country’s fabric that the Santa Maria Chamber of Commerce actually copyrighted the preparation of the Tri Tip. The Tri Tip and the Santa Maria “style” BBQ is so famous, this California city can totally hold it’s own when mentioning other famous BBQ “styles” such as Memphis, Kansas City, Carolina, St. Louis, Chicago and even Texas.

What exactly IS a Santa Maria BBQ?

Quite simply, Bottom Sirloin Tri Tip seasoned with Salt, Pepper and Garlic then roasted whole, over California Red Oak hardwood, sliced thin across the grain, served with a side of regionally, equally famous Pink Pinquito beans, grilled Linguica Portuguese sausage, and a salad of some sort, and always fresh bread, usually buttered with garlic and grilled.

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Ahhhhh … the Holy Grail, Santa Maria BBQ

Ask anyone in the area and they’ll tell you, it’s the California Red Oak that makes this so special. Sounds simple enough I know but … that’s it. Pure, unadulterated BBQ magic.

I have to admit, being a Butcher for all these years I, (we in the North) never used the Bottom Sirloin like this. Tri tip sold up here is usually cut into stew or Kabobs but, I can tell you something else: for the past few years, ever since returning home to my native Canada, I have been preaching the gospel according to Santa Maria … one convert at a time. It’s been a daunting task but … I’m up to the challenge … 🙂

For more great Tri Tip recipes check out my friend Chef Jeff Parker

I hope you will try this cut and please come back and let me know what you think.

Until next time, thanks for reading and following. Please come back and comment, ‘like’ and ‘follow’ my posts through WordPress. I will do my very best to continue to bring you informative, educational and hopefully well written, witty dialogue.

I REALLY appreciate your support.

Stay hungry Carnivores