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 …

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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.

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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

 

 

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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

Red, spicy, delicious Mexican Chorizo sausage … now we’re talking!

 

Greetings Carnivores,

The other day I was reading another bloggers post on sausage making, and I was whisked back a number of years (30ish) to a magical time in my life when I was living in Southern California.

Today I want to talk about another Southern California staple, the wonderful, slightly spicy, Mexican Chorizo sausage.

Not to be confused with Spanish Chorizo which is a fermented, cured and dried, salami-like sausage that can be sliced and eaten right away, the Mexican version (which I prefer) is a ‘fresh’ pork sausage and must be cooked.

Just so we are clear here … the two are VERY different.

Ok so, … Mexican Chorizo is a pork sausage that has a beautiful red colour and spiciness it gets from the key ingredient, Ancho chile powder.

*side note*  If you’d like to make it healthier, substitute ground Turkey for the Pork.

It can be either be stuffed into a sausage casing but most often it’s not. It’s a staple ingredient in a HUGE number of Tex-Mex dishes. I always use it in my favourite Tacos and Burritos and, it’s wonderful with eggs for breakfast 🙂

Like me, you’ll probably have to make your own since I just can’t find it anywhere outside of the southern states … Google a Mexican Chorizo Sausage recipe and get started.

FYI, … I ALWAYS use disposable gloves when I make this, otherwise your hands will be stained red from the Ancho Chilies.

That’s it for today Carnivores. Short and sweet. 🙂

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?”

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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.

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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

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).

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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.

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Tenderized Inside Round Steak

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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.

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

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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”.

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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

Today’s Butcher tip … BUY PRIMALS FOLKS !!!

Greetings carnivores,

I usually have a story of some sort for you but … today, just a no nonsense approach to saving some cold, hard cash.

The next time you go shopping, consider buying a “Primal” cut and cutting it yourself. As long as you have a sharp knife it’s dead simple, and … you can save yourself a bundle with just a “little” help from me 🙂 .

Today, I’m going to walk you through a BONELESS PORK LOIN PRIMAL.

A “Primal” is a whole muscle, vacuum packed in plastic and, you can buy these bad boys anywhere. They’re always MUCH cheaper because there’s no labour involved in it for the retailer. You get to cut it yourself AND, with the money you save you can send your kids to College or maybe buy yourselves a delicious manly (or womanly) beverage. Either way, you’re going to be richer at the end of the day so … let’s get busy shall we? You’ll end up giving yourself a BIG pat on the back when you’re done.

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So … this is it … the whole, boneless Pork Loin Primal …

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And, … these are just a few of the things you can do to it with a sharp knife.

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Cut the rib section off for a BEAUTIFUL Pork roast. This my FAVOURITE cut for roasting. It is essentially boneless Prime Rib of pork. DELICIOUS !!!

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The opposite end (known as the tenderloin or chump end) can be roasted as well.

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The rest of the loin can be cut into thick cut “Butterfly” chops …

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Thick cut “Single” loin chops …

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Thin, “Fast Fry” chops …

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Pound them for Scallopini …

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Cubed for fondue …

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Stew …

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SOOOOO versatile.

The “other” white meat is one of my personal favourites. There is an almost endless number of things you can do to this wonderful cut. They’re always cheap and, often on sale.

I buy them when they’re on sale and throw them into the freezer. Click here for a post I wrote a while back on proper freezing techniques.

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

Fat’s where it’s at !!! Thick cut VS. the fast fry … here’s the skinny.

Greetings Carnivores,

Don’t do it!

PLEASE don’t ask me to cut you a “thinner” steak or chop !!

Unless you’re preparing Rouladen, Schnitzel or Scallopini, you are doing the meat a dreadful disservice by cutting and cooking it so thin.

For starters, it will be almost impossible to cook it ANYTHING but well done, but, … if that’s your Schick, then you might as well just eat shoe leather … bon appetit!

So, … this post is actually more about food science than anything else.  I don’t want to lose or bore you so please, stay with me on this one … I’ll try to move quickly enough so you don’t fall asleep.

Here we go.

Here’s the “science” part:

A number of important changes occur when you put meat to flame. Whether you’re using a smoking hot grill, a cast iron pan, or a low and slow method, it just doesn’t matter and here’s why:

Structurally, proteins are VERY large molecules made up of LONG chains of amino acids. The reason a muscle  is able to contract and relax is the same reason it’s tough and chewy when raw. Believe it or not, when you add heat to this equation you see the fibers denature or …

RELAX !!!

Ahhhhhhhh …your Light Bulb moment has arrived !!!

This is PRECISELY the reason a rubbery, raw piece of meat becomes soft and chew-able when it’s cooked.

Back to the THINNER steak or chop.

Now, we know that adding heat to meat (there … look at me rhyming) denatures the muscle fibers.

So, you ask “why then does it matter if the cut is thick or thin” ???

Here’s the deal … clearly, the process of cooking not only denatures BUT, it also REMOVES moisture so, as you cook a piece of meat, (unless you are using a slow cooker/crock-pot)  you are also REMOVING moisture … remove too much and … VOILA, … shoe leather.

So, … again Carnivores … PLEASE DON’T ASK ME TO CUT IT THINNER FOR YOU.

Keep the questions coming in folks, if I can’t answer them, I’ll dig deep and find the answer for you !! 🙂

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