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 …

508507503

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

 

 

Advertisements

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

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

What exactly, IS Suet?

Greetings Carnivores,

I had an interesting situation come up the other day.

Actually, it really wasn’t THAT interesting but the woman in this scenario was quite impatient (bordering on being rude) to my young co-worker who, unfortunately didn’t know what she was being asked for. In this case she asked my co-worker for Suet and much to her chagrin, Hanna didn’t know what suet was.

My Grandmother used to always refer to beef fat as Suet. Bless her heart but, she was not entirely correct. Whenever the Sunday roast went into the oven, it always had an accompaniment of beef fat to add to the drippings for gravy.

The thing is … although the hard, white substance known as Suet IS fat, it ONLY comes from the area around the Heart and Kidneys in beef cattle and sheep, so … you see, NOT all fat is Suet.

Anyway, when I was called over to help out and … the woman asked me for Suet, I told her I didn’t have any but, I could get her some fat. Turns out she was a soap maker and was looking for as much as she could get her hands on.

Which brings me to the various uses for Beef Suet.

As well as soap, traditionally Suet was used in pre-Edison times for making tallow, a major ingredient in the production of candles. In cooking however, it’s widely used across the pond in Jolly old England but, not so much here in North America. It is used in cakes and pastries and also a major ingredient in the making of one of my favourites: Yorkshire pudding. *insert mouth watering here*

If you know a butcher still practicing the disappearing craft of processing the whole carcass, ask him (or her) for some hard, white Kidney Suet then, google recipes for using it.

That’s it for today folks, 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

Why is my Ground Beef a different colour on the inside ???

Greetings Carnivores,

A few quick words today to re-hash an issue I hear about ALL the time.

Some of the questions I am MOST frequently asked are:

Why is the inside of a package of Ground Beef darker than the outside?

How do you explain the colour difference between the two?

Do you dye your meat?

The answer is simply, pure food Science.

We have all seen this: you buy a package of Ground beef and, after arriving home from the shop you find the inside is ‘darker’ in colour than the outside?   DON’T PANIC !! The butcher hasn’t sold you bad meat, nor has he wrapped OLD Ground Beef with fresh, or added dye to it.

It turns red because it’s reacting with the oxygen we breathe not because of dye and, it turns brown in the wrapper when there’s no more oxygen to react with it.

The colour difference is due to a naturally occurring chemical reaction called oxidation. The enzymes (and iron) in the protein (meat) are reacting with the oxygen we breathe.

When meat is freshly sliced or ground, the surface of the meat is exposed to oxygen. Exposure to the air we breathe turns the meat from a dark purplish colour to a nice bright red. And, in the case of ground meat products, since the inside has not been exposed to the same amount of oxygen as the outside, the colour difference between the two can be quite dramatic.

The same holds true if you buy a large, vacuum packed beef Primal cut. The instant you open the bag, the oxidation process begins.

This is what the meat industry refers to as the “Bloom”.

Now, go out there and hug your Butcher !!

So, there you have it Carnivores …

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

Carryover cooking

Greetings Carnivores,

An old friend asked a good question the other day and it’s worthy of a few words of clarification.

It went something like this: “What are your recommendations as to timing for various meats, fish, poultry and their respective thicknesses?”

My answer is … I ALWAYS use a good, digital read thermometer but, the MOST IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER regarding the correct “doneness” is … whatever you’re cooking CONTINUES to cook after it’s been removed from the heat.

Residual cooking or, carryover cooking is a term that refers to the continuation of the cooking process AFTER the protein has been removed from the heat source. Think of it this way: regardless of the heat source (whether it’s hot air inside your oven or a hot surface such as your grill, skillet … whatever), your protein cooks from the outside in and, the inside cooks by induction. After you remove it from the heat, it will continue to cook … for up to 20 minutes, depending on how thick the piece of meat is that you’re cooking.

This speaks VOLUMES to the disappointment factor once you cut into your (supposedly) perfectly cooked steak, only to realize it’s “doneness” is well PAST the point you “thought” you had.

Once your meat has been removed from the heat, and it’s “resting” to reabsorb all those delicious juices … it’s STILL cooking. The process of bringing your protein up to the desired cooking temperature is NOT instant and as such, the process of bringing it back down is the same … GRADUAL. Therefore it’s only reasonable to assume (correctly) that the internal temperature of your beautiful steak (roast, chop … whatever) will actually continue to RISE after the heat has been removed.

Now, … there is some trial and error involved in getting it just right but, lets assume you enjoy your steak Medium Rare (and for me that’s anywhere from 127 degrees F to 130 degrees F … 128 is perfect for me) … I’m removing it from the heat and starting the resting process at around 125 F.

294

Ahhhh … the sweet spot

298

Look at the perfect, edge to edge colour and the beautiful char on the outside

If that’s too extreme for you … leave it a little longer but remember … if you’re using a REALLY hot grill, your window for nailing the perfect internal temperature is VERY small.

I wrote a post a while ago called The Beef Steak … reverse engineered … check it out here … you might find it interesting since you first, VERY slowly bring your steak up to the desired internal temperature, then you rest it.

Give it a try … you’ll never cook steak any other way again … trust me 🙂

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

Grain … the big mystery solved (I hope)

Greetings Carnivores,

Grain.

What is it, what does it mean and, why is it important to always slice meat across, or perpendicular to it?

Well, … I guess a good place to start today, would be to have a teeny anatomy lesson.

DON’T RUN AWAY OR STOP READING … I promise I won’t bore you to death but … this stuff is VITALLY important to your end game and that is … the enjoyment your steak or roast … whatever’s on your plate really.

Muscles.

ALL muscle is meat and, ALL meat is made up of tiny bundles of muscle fibers.These muscle fibers are held together in sheaths, and every muscle in every piece of meat is designed to expand and contract to facilitate movement and support.

I promised not to bore you so I won’t get into too much more chatter re: the anatomy of a muscle but, you already know (or at least you should) that it’s important to slice ACROSS the grain and the GRAIN, in this and EVERY case, refers to those bundles of muscle fibers.

Ok, … you should also know by now that it’s REALLY important to let your meat “rest” after it’s been cooked right? For those of you who don’t, click here to read a post I wrote a while ago about resting your cooked meat.

Now that your meat has rested, and you’ve given it a chance reabsorb all those wonderfully delicious juices, you’re wondering “which way does the “grain” run?”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Image kindly borrowed from Canadian Living Magazine

As you can clearly see in the image above, the piece on the left has been sliced across the grain, and the one on the right has been sliced with it. Never mind the OBVIOUS “sawing” motion in the example on the left (I HATE “sawing”). With a SHARP KNIFE, … PLUNGE and pull back … PLEASE, for the love of GAWD … STOP SAWING when you carve.

Ok, … pet peeve rant over 🙂

Back to the important stuff …

The one sliced “with” the grain will be tough and chewy because you are chewing long, intact fibers, whereas the one sliced “against” (or across) the grain, the long muscle fibers have been cut into much smaller, more chew-able lengths.

download (2)

Kindly borrowed from Men’s Health Magazine

In the photo above you can clearly see the “grain” and the muscle fibers. (And … no “sawing”) 🙂

Like I said before, it doesn’t matter what kind of protein your dealing with … red meat, pork, lamb, veal, poultry, fish … EVERYTHING has muscle fibers and these muscle fibers are represented as “GRAIN”.

You know how cooked fish “flakes” apart? It flakes “with” the grain. You know how cooked chicken breasts “pull” apart in long stringy pieces? You’re pulling the muscles apart “with” the grain.

Get it now?

I hope this little diatribe has helped you to understand the importance of slicing across the grain … if not, I’d be happy to continue this discussion ’til we get it right. 🙂

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

Stay tuned and … please click “follow” at the top of the page (CarnivoreConfidential). 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