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

Charcuterie and the Law of the 41st Pig

Greetings Carnivores,

Today, I have a special treat for you.

A guest post by a very enthusiastic, passionate, young man named Nicholas Beaulieu.

My wife and I were enjoying a frosty beverage on the patio of a newly discovered watering hole, when we struck up a conversation with Nicholas, who was doing a GREAT job keeping our glasses full.

I don’t remember exactly HOW we got onto the subject but at some point, I mentioned to him that I was a Butcher.

His eyes immediately LIT UP and he excitedly told me of his passion to learn everything he could about the business. So much so that, he even moved to France to study the dying art of Charcuterie.

I told him about my humble musings here at Carnivore Confidential, and asked him if he would be interested in writing a guest post for my Blog. What follows is his kind offering to this space … I hope you enjoy it.

 

Charcuterie, and the Law of the 41st Pig

Nicholas Beaulieu

I thought I would begin my blogging experience with the question I get asked most by other butchers and cooks who have followed in the recent trend of returning to the Old Ways- What is charcuterie?

Butchery, like all other trades, has a lot of loose terms that have been watered down over the years until they barely resemble what they once meant.  If you trace these terms and ideas back to their origins, you start to understand why someone would even want to invest such time and effort doing it in the first place (necessity is the mother of all invention). 

Charcuterie is a term used by most today to mean any meat that has been ground, shoved into a casing, and cured or cooked (a customer once asked for “tube meat”…head shake). As with all other of the great foods of this world, industrialization has turned what was once a necessity into a convenience, killing flavour and integrity along with it. The idea that charcuterie was once a way to utilize every part of an animal and create profit, lost. Now our masters have all retired or gone out of business and did not fathom to pass along their dying trade on since it no longer applied to the modern world…or so they thought.

As I began my butchery career, charcuterie, at least as how you would read about it in the old Euro nations cookbooks, seemed to be dead. Yes, all butchers make their own sausages, grind meats and produce other value added products to deal with the dreaded 20% (the general trim loss of an animal), but it doesn’t take long to realize that the more meat you sell, the more that 20% gets larger to the detriment of profitability everyday. This is all less of an annoyance, depending on where and how you work, but all butchers, no matter what or who, go home and think about the profit killing 20%. I mean champagne and caviar or Pabst and Spam, your choice!

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Taking the pigs to the abattoir after having been raised from beginning to end -full circle.

Being younger, dumber, and crazier than I am today, I knew that there had to be a better way than the status quo. I did some research, ate ramen and peanut-butter for about a year, then packed my bags and flew to Agen, France where I met Kate Hill from Kitchen at Camont. There we worked with the Chapolard family on their families FermeBaradieu where they literally grow the food that they feed to the pigs, raise and breed them, slaughter them at their local abattoir and then turn them into cuts and charcuterie that they sell throughout the week(ends). Pretty much every chefs and butchers idea of the perfect circle of food!

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Ferme Baradieu – the Mecca of all things good and wholesome in the world

The 100 km diet doesn’t exist in this world, everything is from 5 feet to 5 km away from you at all times.We smoked our meats in a chimney that was made in the 1800’s that used to heat the original house and hung our Noix de Jambon in the families’ grandmother’s old room at the back of the house, because it had the right draft running through it. Cracked black pepper covered the floor from all the masterpieces that came before- I was told as an antiseptic. The term “old school” doesn’t even begin to do it justice.

If you wanted to see where the idea of charcuterie came from, how it has classically been done for centuries and why it is so vital to the French lifestyle, this was THE place.

The Chapolards (Bruno, Marc, Jacques, Cécile, Dominique & Christiane) make their living off of their parent’s farm and each has their role and skill that makes it work. What struck me most about this whole experience is that this entire family makes their living off of only twelve pigs a week – completely mind numbing to think about. Talk about squeezing every last dollar out of an animal while creating culinary masterpieces; these people have nailed it.

Every day at lunch, graciously prepared by Christiane, we would sit with the family and discuss the business and marketing of what they were doing. They are not “Maple Leaf” with ideas of going large scale; they follow the law of the 41st pig. Simply put, at forty pigs, you’re happy and can make profitability without having to over work yourself. However, as soon as you add one more pig, all of a sudden you need to hire more people to help you or expensive equipment to do it for you. Now to pay for all that new debt/cost you’ve inherited, you need to raise sixty pigs instead of forty-one, meaning now you need more land for your additional pigs, etc…you see where this is going?

No Bueno.

If you are going to raise and process an animal, then you need to figure out how to create the highest quality of product for the least amount, all the while keeping the value per pound as high as possible. Every time you trim a tenderloin or roast you’ve taken 5-25$ per pound and turned it into ground meat pricing. To make up for this lack of profitability, you then need to cut and sell more of a lesser product or sell more to a client who may or may not want it; your business plan turns into a game of volume rather than quality. The Law of the 41st pig strikes again! So naturally you freeze it, wait for someone making burgers to walk into your shop, and sell it for cost or less.

Charcuterie is THE tool by which you can create a high end product that keeps its dollar value for a longer period of time. What’s the saying, work smarter not harder?

Charcuterie is the great equalizer in the food industry, a tool to create profitability and fully utilize an animal that has given its life for gastronomy. Any restaurant, bar, or butcher shop who wants to process their own animals to offer a higher quality of meat to their clientele can use this tool, restaurants even more so than butcher shops. That being said, we are all subject to laws and regulations by which we must abide. Again work smarter not harder and figure out what you can and cannot do within your ability and applicable regulations.

To that end, I have even once made bacon-scented candles out of useless beef fat and bacon ends (the mandle-candle). By the end of the year, instead of worrying how to cover the dreaded 20% loss, your improved profitability will be lighting big fat stogies for you, all while serving you Dom Perrignon and caviar on a silver platter.

Love your trade, love your animals and love your food. Life is too short to eat anything less than perfection.

Grosmerci à mesprofsfrançaises, je men souviens de voustoujours!

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Nicholas says he “fell into the trade” out of a desire to become a better cook and discovered butchery was so much more than a man with a knife and a carcass. He went on to say that Butchery opened his eyes to the idea that to be a true artisan and tradesman one needs to study and learn the craft and develop the relationship between where our food comes from and the clients we serve it to. Nicholas sums it all up by finishing with … Hug a farmer AND, 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.

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Ahhhh … the sweet spot

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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

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

Paying it forward …

Greetings Carnivores,

I was honoured last week by another Blogger for a recognition award called the Versatile Blogger and I’m very flattered.

It’s a “pay-it-forward” kind of deal and as a nominee, I have a few things I need to do so, here goes.

According to the rules I need to:

1. Acknowledge the person who nominated me.

So … let’s get this party started.

I was nominated by my “Left Coast” buddy Tony whom I’ve never met, and is himself an AMAZING home chef and Carnivore. He comes up with some pretty cool BBQ and Smoker recipes.

Check out his stuff at https://tonymeetsmeat.wordpress.com/

2. I need to nominate 15 Bloggers I read, follow and feel are worthy of the same recognition … I REALLY hope you’ll check out their stuff (I think it’s WAY good … ya, I know … poor English)  🙂

Here goes (in NO particular order)

My SoCal Brother from another Mother, and one of the FIRST people who EVER acknowledged and appreciated the stuff I write, Chef Jeff Parker.

http://jeffparkercooks.com/about-jeff/

My poetic, wordsmith, drop dead amazing, Smokie Bruthas and BBQ Pit Masters extraordinaire, from the great State of Minnesota.

https://patronsofthepit.wordpress.com/about/

My SUPER WITTY, wonderful writer, chef, wordsmith, and all-round WAY kool m8, and uber tallented Brutha from down Unda, Grazza.

http://foodisthebestshitever.com/about/

My Hawaiian, Ex-pat Auntie I’ve never met. 🙂

 https://mykitcheninthemiddleofthedesert.wordpress.com/about/

My West Virginian, Pioneer woman Jolynn.

https://about.me/jolynn_powers

My urban blogger friend, turned sustainable eater.

 http://thedeerslayerswife.com/about/

My M.D., Dr Gary Lum, from the Land-down-unda.

http://yummylummy.com/

The MOST beautiful cakes you’ll EVER see.

https://lemongrovecakediaries.wordpress.com/about/

If you LOVE BBQ like I do … Marcus is doing it right, “Across the Pond”.

http://countrywoodsmoke.com/about-2/

My “Lawyer-on-hiatus” buddy.

http://manfuelblog.com/about/

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE fishing and, if you do too you’ll appreciate Tj’s work.

https://tjstallings.wordpress.com/about/

Like I said above … I LOVE BBQ, if you do as well check out Mr Dodd.

 https://thebbqworldofmrdodd.wordpress.com/

Comfort food, at it’s best … nuff said. 🙂

http://cottagegrovehouse.com/about-me/

Debbie has figured it out … inspiring lifestyle, and all that goes with it.

http://www.themountainkitchen.com/

Last but NOT least I JUST LOVE the way this gurl writes (I HOWL  *tears, rolling down my face* at her posts).

http://thejigglybits.com/about/

Ok so … that’s 15 but, … I could have easily nominated SOOOO many more.

Next (according to the “rules”) I need to tell the person who nominated me, 7 things about myself …

So Tony, … here you go …

1. I was Born in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada, early in November of 1957 (that makes me ALMOST 58 years young).

2. After graduating from High School, I spent 7 years studying at the “School of Hard Knocks” before deciding to head back to University, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree.

3. I spent a year and a half travelling, ALL over the continental U-S of A and Canada (44 thousand Kilometers) on my motorcycle after graduation.

4. There’s nothing, I repeat NOTHING, I love more than my wife, my dogs, my Country and my Motorcycle (and not necessarily in that order)

5. I am a Scorpio, … and if you follow that crap, you KNOW I am a fiercely loyal, friend and lover who takes names in the morning and kicks ass at night.

6. I am a HUGE clown and … I LOVE TO LAUGH AND, MAKE OTHERS DO THE SAME.

7. I AM the quintessential “Life of the Party” AND I consider myself VERY fortunate to have MANY, MANY people I love, and consider me a friend.

There you go … I “think” I have fulfilled the requirements for this award …

Thanks again to my “left Coast” Buddy, Tony for the honour …

CHEERS

Dbl Dee

oh and, … 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

 

 

 

 

 

“Cool” … Country of Origin Labeling Law

Greetings Carnivores,

Controversy.

It makes headlines and sells newspapers, it’s the lead story on the radio, the internet … controversy seems to be everywhere we turn.

I got a question the other day from one of my American friends, asking me where I stood on the issue of the “COOL” law and its current repeal in the U.S. House of Representatives.

As I said to her, … I usually don’t like to comment on controversial or political topics … ESPECIALLY “Hot Button” topics like this one, because they are usually FRAUGHT with danger but, I also think a little bit of clarification is due on this one. I hope I’m not opening a HUGE can of worms …

To start with, I’m pleased that bipartisan support, from BOTH sides of the house voted to repeal this law but, let’s take a look at the issues shall we?

Ok, … for those of you who didn’t know, “COOL” is an acronym meaning, “Country Of Origin Labeling” and it was enacted in 2013 as a result of American ranchers to the north, who worried about competition from their Canadian counterparts across the border.

Initially, this labeling was supposed to indicate to the consumer where the animal was born, raised and slaughtered, with the thinly veiled idea that it promoted food safety.

The truth is that inspection and food safety measures have ALWAYS been in place, and will continue to go on, with or without this law and … these new labels have absolutely nothing, NOTHING to do with it. Food safety, that is.

Now, … here’s the REAL problem:

As a result of all of this, Canada and Mexico have threatened heavy tariffs (on ALL sorts of exports) as a retaliation, unless this law is repealed. That could potentially cost the U.S. BILLIONS in industry losses.

The two BIGGEST agricultural trading partners the States have are Canada and Mexico, and by enacting this new labeling law it forces the agricultural producers to the North and South to segregate their animals from those of U.S. origin, thereby increasing the overhead on some already very tight margins. THIS in turn, has resulted in very costly increases for U.S. producers, who simply stopped buying exported beef.

Because of this, a ripple effect has been seen in the form of American job losses and, as the President of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Mr. Philip Ellis (who is a cattleman himself) recently said:

“COOL has been without benefits to the U.S. cattle industry and producers like myself, and now with retaliation imminent from our largest trading partners, it is time this legislation is repealed. There is no other fix that can be put in place to bring value to this program or satisfy our trading partners.”

Supporters of this law say that it keeps consumers safe from food borne illnesses, and consumers have a right to know where their food comes from. Conversely, opponents say it’s nothing more than protectionism that complicates the process of importing meat products, with no tangible food safety or inspection benefits.

One final thought:

I’m ALL about food safety but … if food safety was such an issue, wouldn’t you think restaurants would have to label ALL the meat on their menus?  Truth is they don’t … just like they don’t have to put caloric, or sodium content on them either … for now.

I LOVE getting comments and questions so, keep ‘em coming and THANKS  Auntiedoni  for this one. 🙂

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