The call of the wild … it’s all about the game.

Greetings Carnivores,

When I was a young lad, I LOVED spending time hunting and fishing with my Dad. He was an avid outdoorsman and as such, instilled his great love and respect for the wilderness in me. Back then I was too young to carry a gun of my own, so I would tag along on those cold, early mornings helping him set out the decoys and sitting for hours, waiting and watching. Ducks, Geese, Pheasants, Grouse, Rabbits, Deer, Moose, Caribou and Bear. We never hunted for trophies, and always used every bit of what we harvested. My favourite trips involved heading out to the wilderness for a week or more. I was always the youngest one in camp and I felt SO privileged to be included in this Grown-up world.

My Dad is gone now, and so are all the other Old timers that gathered every year at the hunting camp up north. The strange part now is, I’m the oldest one in camp, all the other Sons are younger than me. Looking back at those early years, I’m pretty sure all those experiences (and the salty language) helped to mold me into the person I am today, with a deep love and respect for the out-of-doors, and all things wild.

Oh, and a full repertoire of swear words and bad jokes too.

I know there are a lot of people who don’t agree with hunting but the simple truth is, many of these species have no natural predators and without the intervention of a controlled hunting season, a lot of these animals would over populate their territories. The Ministry of Natural Resources closely maintains population information on all game animals and accordingly, issues licences for the ‘culling’ of them annually.

The season for hunting is short, so the ‘window’ for filling your freezer is very limited. A lot of folks especially in the far North, rely on this window to stock up for the long Winter. Keep in mind if you don’t eviscerate and cut the game yourself, you must source out an abattoir or butcher who is federally inspected and remember, it’s illegal to sell “hunted’ meat here in the Province of Ontario. I’m sure similar restrictions apply for the rest of the country, and it’s easy to check for yourselves on the internet.

Recently, the ‘ol  Water cooler was the source of yet another frequently discussed theme, and a topic I get asked about quite a bit. My friend brought up a blog post I wrote back in the Fall regarding Wild game (if you missed it, you can check it out here “It’s that time of the year… Wild Moose”) and the question was, … now that the hunting season is over, where do you find Wild Game?

For those of you who don’t hunt or rely on Mother Nature to help you fill your larder, there are LOTS of resources available to you to satisfy your “Meat tooth”. The ‘net’ is a treasure trove of information on where to find, buy, prepare and cook everything from Boar to Kangaroo (which, incidentally I had the chance to taste for myself last week … delicious!!). You’ll find sustainably produced, ethically treated, antibiotic and hormone free, farm raised game choices and, I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

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

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It’s that time of the year … Wild Moose!

Greetings Carnivores,

My phone buzzed Friday night with a text message from one of my Brutha’s from anotha Mutha, asking me a question I often get asked at this time of the year.

104

The Majestic wild Moose

“Hey Dougie .. I bagged a big Moose the other day, can ya help me cut it up?” ” Of course Joe but … I’m stuck between jobs here at my place and I can’t get there ’till Sunday morning.”

With this unseasonably warm weather we’ve been having, flies were an issue so I told him not to skin it, try to keep it as cool as possible, and wrap it in cheesecloth until I could get over there.

Sunday dawned dreary and wet, as only this time of the year can be. Grabbing a coffee and smooching my Spousal equivalent, I hustled over to Joe’s Garage (no … not the same one Zappa sang about) where he had already done the tedious job of skinning and quartering the beast. Together we rolled up our sleeves and got busy.

Joe's Moose October 2013 007

Hanging front quarters

Joe's Moose October 2013 008

The Carnivore, boning the hind shank

Joe's Moose October 2013 017

Joe, wrapping the spoils

Cutting a big moose is no different than what I’m used to with Beef or Pork every day. The big difference here is it’s a race against time. The problem is we’re not working in a climate controlled environment and temperature abuse is a real concern. Even still … we were a number of hours getting it done.

Joe's Moose October 2013 015

Tying and trimming the roasts

Joe's Moose October 2013 014

Still LOTS of work to be done

In the end, Joe and his hunting partners had a lot of meat to share.

Joe's Moose October 2013 004

Fresh cut Moose

Roasts, Cutlets, Stew and Sausage all headed for the freezer.

Joe's Moose October 2013 019

Fresh Moose meat, ready for the freezer

Much has been made of late about the coming Autumn. I posted my “Ode to Fall” a few weeks ago as well as my friends at the Patrons of the Pit submitted an awesome chili recipe to warm you from the inside-out.

And so it is.

The days grow shorter, the nights grow cold. The leaves continue to fall as we hurtle, headlong into the long dark days of Winter. I for one, am looking forward to the new season. Although I miss living in Southern California dreadfully, I so LOVE to see the seasonal changes here in this beautiful part of the country.

Bring on the SNOW !! 🙂 🙂 🙂  IT’S TIME TO SKI !!!

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 🙂

E. coli … now I have your attention.

Greetings Carnivores,

Food safety is the ‘Hot Button’ topic that seems to make sensational headlines somewhere around the world every week. Entire food production systems are frequently suspended or closed completely. The issue of food safety is always front and centre but, it’s important to note it’s NOT always leveled directly at the Meat industry.

In the early 2000’s a number of people in Walkerton Ontario (Canada) became ill and died. When the dust settled, the preliminary investigation revealed the outbreak was due to contaminated city water and NOT infected meat. A collective chill went down the spine of everyone who ever reached for a glass of tap water.

Mad Cow, Listeriosis, Salmonella, Botulism, E. coli, undercooked Poultry, raw eggs, mishandled Seafood, unwashed fruits and vegetables and NOW OUR WATER???

More recently, the XL meat processing plant in Brooks Alberta was the site of the largest meat recall in Canadian history, affecting almost every single retailer large and small, from coast to coast and abroad. The implications were so far reaching, meat was recalled from the four corners of the globe and resulted in the complete closure and ultimate sale of the facility.

Almost makes you afraid to get out of bed.

The purpose for this post is not to strike fear into your hearts but, to hopefully shed some light on this most difficult subject. Education is key to staying healthy and that’s hopefully where I can help.

Of all the food borne illnesses (and there are MANY), today I want to focus on Escherichia coli (E. coli)

What’s important to note here is that this particular type of bacteria naturally occurs in the digestive tracts of humans as well as cattle, poultry and other animals. And for the most part, it’s harmless. Some varieties of this bug on the other hand, can carry genes that allow them to cause disease. The truly nasty variation, known as E. coli 0157; H7 can cause severe stomach cramps, hemorrhagic diarrhea, vomiting and in some cases, kidney failure and even death.

E. coli is a fecal contamination which is easily spread to plants and vegetables through improperly composted manure and water run-off from cattle pastures.  Proper washing of all fruits and veggies is as essential as a good hand washing regimen.

The meat industry however, must be extra vigilant because processing is a common point of contamination during slaughtering. Fecal matter present on the hide at the time of harvesting and the contents of the intestines could potentially mix with the meat. This warm, moist environment then becomes an incubator. This is the reason ground meat is SO susceptible to this type of contamination. If any bacteria are present on the surface of the meat, it then becomes mixed throughout the entire contents of the grind.  Additionally, meat from MANY different animals are ground together resulting in the possibility ONE single animal could contaminate an entire ‘run’ during a shift. The line in a slaughterhouse is routinely shut down for cleaning but, it’s easy to see how one shift could potentially produce thousands and thousands of pounds of contaminated ground beef without knowing.

This is why it’s so vitally important to properly cook your ground meat. Cooking all ground beef and hamburgers thoroughly and, using a good digital read thermometer, will eliminate the organism. I know some of you like to eat your burgers medium but … I caution you … unless you grind it yourself, you’re rolling the illness dice.

Ground beef should always be cooked until a thermometer inserted into several parts of the patty, including the thickest part, reads at least 72 °C (162 °F).

Small tip when cooking ground beef patties: press your thumb into the middle of the patty BEFORE cooking. This will help when the patty swells up and ’rounds’ in the middle and … NEVER press down on the patty!!! That just squeezes all the wonderful juices out.

Similarly, steaks and roasts ‘could’ potentially be contaminated on the surface as well but, any outside contamination would be killed during the cooking process.

The meat industry is adopting preventative measures that include trying to reduce the number of cattle that carry the E. coli 0157; H7 bacteria through vaccines, as well as introducing measures that include the careful removal of the intestines AND a system of steam cleaning, vacuuming and using organic acid sprays on the carcasses BEFORE processing, in an effort to eliminate fecal contamination on the hide.

Keep in mind people … you need to do your part as well. When preparing meat ALWAYS be vigilant when handling cooked and raw products. The two should never be in contact with each other. Clean and sanitize work surfaces paying particular attention to cutting boards and countertops. When using knives or other utensils they must be washed, rinsed and sanitized between uses, paying particular attention to (again) cooked vs. raw product.  And always keep your food out of the temperature danger zone between 4 °C (40 °F) to 60 °C (140 °F) where bacteria can grow quickly. Refrigerate, cook or freeze where and when necessary.

Another thing to keep in mind at this time of the year: unpasteurized fruit juices and ciders are commonly sold through roadside farm stands and Fall Fairs and should be avoided unless first heat treated to kill any possibly harmful bacteria that may be present. The young and elderly are particularly at risk of potentially serious food borne illness from consuming these products.

Ok so, now that I have completely ‘freaked’ you out, you need to know that the meat industry is one of the safest, most regulated, industries and the chance of becoming ill is slim.

BUT bad things CAN and DO happen so, let’s do everything we can to educate ourselves, follow good cleanliness practices including frequent hand washing and always, always cook things properly and observe the temperature ‘danger zone’.

In closing I’d like to stand on a soapbox for a moment, and ask a favour.

I always close my posts with the following paragraph: 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.

I’ve been doing this for almost a year now and, been blessed with a great number of folks who have commented and ‘liked’ what I’ve written but … I’d LOVE to hear from MORE of you !! 🙂

If you enjoy Carnivore Confidential, may I encourage you to please, please consider ‘subscribing’ by simply initiating a WordPress username for yourselves. It only takes a moment of your time and it would mean so much to me to hear from more of you.  If you look at the top of the Carnivore Confidential page you ‘should’ see the word ‘Follow’ … click on that word and it should change to the word ‘Following’ and take you a sign in page for WordPress … add a username and voila … you’ll begin getting email notices every time I post something new. I can see on my ‘Stats’ page that I have folks from ALL over the world reading the posts I write and… I want to hear from YOU! By launching a WordPress username for yourselves, you’ll get notices in your inbox, every time I write a new post and you won’t miss out on a thing.

WordPress is an EXCELLENT site with an iron clad privacy policy and you’ll never get bombarded with unwanted spam or other crap. PROMISE!

Thanks for reading and following and … please come back and comment, ‘like’ and follow my posts though 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  🙂 🙂

Ode to Fall … how I love thee!!

Greetings Carnivores,

The skies are grey, change is in the air. I can feel it, see it, taste it. My house, high on a hill is bearing witness to the trees beyond the lake, turning as I write.

Just a few short weeks from now, when the night time temps dip, the trees will blossom with beautiful hues of Autumn Red, fading to Orange, Gold and Yellow.

Today is nasty in a wonderful Fall sort of way. It’s raining and a bit chilly.

I REALLY DO hate to see the Summer days grow short but … I SOOOO love the Fall. Bright sunshine and cool nights. NO BUGS to spoil any outside leisure activities and, those beautiful colours in the trees.

According to Wikipedia, An “Ode”  is elaborately praising or glorifying an event, describing nature intellectually as well as emotionally.

And so, this is my Ode to Fall … how I love thee!!

Ahhhh, but the promise of Winter … my favourite.

Yes, I know some have a problem with that. Perhaps I’m one of the strange ones.

I SOOOO love to ride my motorcycle. Sadly, I just don’t do very well with the crazy heat and humidity that goes hand in hand with the Summer months here, where I have lived almost all of my life.

Being a Butcher for 35+ years has messed up my internal thermometer. I used to DREAD going to work. “How in the WORLD am I going to stay warm for 8 hours ???” Crazy thing now, I LOVE it !!!

I ACTUALLY look FORWARD to spending the ENTIRE day in the COLD !!! Seriously!!!  I can work my butt off and NEVER break a sweat !! It’s BEAUTIFUL !!

Again, I digress …

Here’s the deal … I SOOOOO look forward to the cold and SNOW !!!

I want to be clear … I LOVE the change of seasons we are blessed with in this part of my beautiful country (Canada) and, I really wouldn’t have it any other way.  As much as I look forward to Spring, and the rebirth of everything green, I ALSO SOOOOOO look forward to the COLD, exhilarating slap of WINTER!!

I am a skier. I love all things out-of-doors, especially in the Winter. I guess that makes me a bit of a “Winter weirdo” and, let’s not forget … a FOODIE too!

For me, the Winter presents a WHOLE new experience for folks that just love to cut, cook, prepare, present and serve FOOD to appreciating people (mainly my Marital equivalent, family and friends). Comfort food to warm the heart and soul. Spicy chili’s, hearty stews and crock pot recipes that beg for a crackling fire, glass of wine and a big sweater.

Coming home today, as I drove up my long driveway, I was wondering “how am I going to impress my marital equivalent for dinner tonight ” and, … I’m SERIOUSLY drawing a TOTAL blank.

I put the key in the door, my beautiful four legged Princesses meet me as usual, and … dinner is gone. Out of my mind like the flush of a big Porcelain throne.

History. It’s play time and … Daddy’s home!!!

I usually give dinner serious thought during the day. Today however, I’m waffling between pulling nasty, last minute, got-no-time-for-anything-else, burgers or worse out of the freezer … OR, (wait for it …) the dreaded “Breakfast-for-dinner”!!! Fast n’ easy, bacon and eggs with toast (yum … so easy, … AND, sooooo good)

Sadly, my lovely spouse just doesn’t “GET” the whole “Breakfast-for-dinner” thing !!!

Back to the drawing board.

With the days growing colder, my opportunities to smoke (food, NOT tobacco or that other funny stuff!) are dwindling.  As the outside temperature drops I must add more and more time to my overall cook, since I use an old water smoker. One of these days I’ll invest in a Big Green Egg but, I digress, … again.

Back to dinner. I want to use my smoker tonight but, I haven’t presoaked any wood chips … or have I ???

This whole diatribe has been the reason for my Blog post today.

I have a ridiculously obvious and simple tip I actually fell into by accident to share.

Back in the summer, after  smoking some ribs for dinner, I was cleaning up and realized there was still half a bag of hickory chips soaking in my bucket. Not wanting to drain them, dry them and store them for next time, instead, I put them into a ziplock bag and stuck them in the freezer.

Waiting for wood chips or chunks to soak can be a pain (at least 30 minutes to 1 hour). If you’re eager to begin smoking food as I am tonight, the wood needs to soak before being added to the grill in order to maintain a slow smolder rather than a quick burn, which can impart an acrid taste to your meat.

In my freezer, I have pre-soaked, ready to use wood chips!! By the time I get the old smoker rockin’ , my chips will be thawed and ready to use!

Necessity is the Mother of Invention AND, the end result of many happy accidents around here !!

BTW, … the same tip is great for soaking bamboo skewers as well.  This is a must before grilling since soaking will help keep the wood from burning before the food is cooked.  You can even use frozen chips for your gas grill too.  Just place them inside a foil pouch with holes poked into it for ventilation and add them to your BBQ while cooking your favourite protein.

Chicken leg quarters, brined, smoked and finished in my little water smoker, served with foil wrapped potatoes and steamed, buttered broccoli.

Comfort food for a chilly night … ahhhh the crackling fire.

Honey? … can I pour you some wine ???

All is good.

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

Pickling, Curing, Salting and Smoking … a primer for preserving food.

Greetings Carnivores,

I enjoy answering questions from people who have a particular meat puzzle. I sometimes hear from those of you who follow my Blog.

Today’s post is an answer (hopefully) for Teresa, regarding Curing salt.

I have been meaning to write about this topic but to be honest, I didn’t think it would make a very interesting read.

I guess I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not I’ve hit the mark.

Here goes.

For thousands of years people have been Pickling, Curing, Salting, and Smoking their meat, fruit and vegetables as a way of preserving and prolonging it’s ‘normally’ very short shelf life. I fondly remember my Mom and Grandmother, every Summer and Fall ‘putting up’ the harvest veggies and fruit. Making jams, jellies and pickles of all shapes and sizes was a real event around our house back then.

Sadly, today’s family has little, if any time for this tradition. Modern techniques have all but seen this form of home preserving go the way of the Pterodactyl.

Pterodactyl

Just wanted to help you out with a visual here …

Salting meat and fish helps prevent microbial growth by drawing the cellular moisture out of the flesh, thereby retarding the natural spoilage timeline. The salts used in this process are usually a mixture of Sodium Chloride (common table salt), Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite. The Nitrate and Nitrite are both forms of “Pink Salt” and are coloured so they’re are not confused with the common ‘white’ table salt.

Including smoke as an additional preserving technique, adds chemicals (depending on what is being burned) to the exterior which further enhances preservation and adds a strong depth of flavour. There has been some concern in the past that certain chemicals released in smoke are carcinogenic but, as I like to say … “everything in moderation”.

Unless you eat smoked or BBQ’d food Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner … you’ll find these levels much lower than being exposed to tobacco smoke.

A few words about ‘Pink Salt’ aka, Himalayan salt or Prague powder #1 and #2.

Past studies have raised concern regarding both Nitrate and Nitrite … I refer you to the following:

http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon”

Don’t fear the Bacon people !!! 🙂

Up here in Canada, we’re famous for a particular treat, known around the world as, Canadian Back Bacon.

peameal-bacon

World famous, Peameal Canadian Back Bacon

It starts off as a boneless loin of Pork. It’s then injected and pickle cured in a strong brine of ‘Pink salt’ and water. This process makes the cut product a nice looking, pink colour but the outside of the loin has a rather unappealing grey hue. To fix this problem, the whole loin is rolled in peameal (Corn meal) for looks more than anything else, VOILA ! Peameal Canadian Back Bacon.

For those of you who would like to experiment at home making your own Sausages or Cured meats you’ll need to source out your ‘Pink salt’. Start with the ‘net’ … you’ll find LOTS of resources.

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

Don’t have a Smoker? You don’t need one !!

Greetings Carnivores,

I have written Blog posts about smoking, and the joy of eating food prepared this way but, I understand not everybody owns a smoker. Like I’ve said before, … smoking meat is a labour of love that takes HOURS and, I’m pretty sure not everybody shares my addiction. For me, it’s a bit of a passion. I read about it, watch it on the food network, and try endless recipes and methods in my smoker. I suffer TERRIBLE withdrawal when the weather turns cold because for every one degree drop in outside temperature I have to add 20 minutes to my overall cook time. Winter smoking (with my water smoker) is NOT very practical. I once put my very first electric (Little Chief) smoker in my living room fireplace, and smoked some ribs in the Winter. I wasn’t very popular at my house since the whole place smelled like a smokehouse for DAYS (I thought it was GREAT!!) My poor, long suffering Marital Equivalent didn’t share my enthusiasm however. Through it all though, … she  has endured all my successes AND even some epic fails.

Ok so, where am I going? Here’s the deal. YOU DON’T NEED A SMOKER!

Grilling with charcoal or briquettes is making a HUGE come back and, if you have one of these obviously you can cook/smoke with indirect heat, thus making your grill a wonderful ‘smoker’. BUT … for those of you who use gas grills, you can STILL achieve the same results.

I’m quite sure you’ve all heard about BBQ’ing Salmon on a Cedar plank. Have you ever tried it?  MAN … you’re missing out if you haven’t. But, … did you realize you can cook pretty much ANYTHING on a cedar plank??  The secret is … you have to use a THICKER plank for extended cooking time.

Seems pretty simple when you think about it but … the planks sold at any home improvement,  or big red box store (starts with a “C” and ends with an “O”) are fine for a nice Salmon filet since the total cook time ‘may’ be as much as 7 minutes but, probably no more that 12-13.

When using a plank for cooking, you must soak it for 20 minutes or so before placing it on the grill. Then, you get it rocking ’till it starts to ‘smoke’ (essentially it’s ‘starting’ to smolder) add your fish and … Bob’s your Uncle. 7 to 10 minutes later … NIRVANA!

The problem is … planks sold at the big box stores are EXPENSIVE! Sure, you get 6 or 8 of them in a pkg., BUT, they’re so thin you really only get (if you’re lucky) 15 minutes of cook time out of them before they REALLY start to burn so, they’re not much good for anything OTHER than fish.

Know what I do?

I go to the same home improvement store BUT … I buy a 10 foot, 1 x 6 cedar fence plank (for about 12 dollars) and cut it to any length I need, depending on what I’m cooking.

PLEASE, … DON’T BUY GREEN, PRESSURE TREATED FENCE LUMBER TO COOK ON … THEY’RE INFUSED WITH TOXIC STUFF TO INHIBIT INSECTS AND ROT!!

Ok so, since the 1 x 6 is SO much thicker than the cedar ‘wafers’ they sell FOR the BBQ … you can cook for MUCH longer. Back ribs for instance … cut the board to accommodate the length of the rack, weigh it down and soak it (use the laundry tub if it won’t fit in your kitchen sink) then, put it on the grill, get it rocking ’till it just starts to smolder (smoke),  add your ribs and Voila! Go pour yourself a nice Summer libation, take a chair (spray bottle at the ready) and enjoy the wonderful smells emanating from your BBQ!

Just so I’m clear … always keep a spray bottle of Apple juice handy (you can use plain old water but … where’s the adventure in that?). This serves double duty. First, it helps to keep whatever you’re cooking/smoking  moist (and sweet) and second, to quell any errant flames that ‘may’ want to caress the wood and burn your planked treasure.

Try your favourite Chicken preparation, Lamb, … you can even cook Burgers like this! The cook time will be much longer so please, make sure you use a good digital meat thermometer to insure the correct doneness … I don’t want any of you getting sick. 🙂

I like to transfer whatever I’m planking (except fish … it’ll fall apart) to the grill for some nice grill marks at the end of the cook … it just looks better.

There you have it Carnivores, now … get out there and smoke something. I love to read your comments and answer any questions you may have.

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 then, stay hungry Carnivores and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

Better with age?? The Wet vs Dry debate rages on …

Greetings Carnivores,

There has been a raging debate going on for years over which method of aging is superior: Wet vs Dry. It’s helpful to understand what happens during the process of aging so, I’m going to attempt to demystify the conflict for you because in the end … it’s going to come down to personal choice.

The truth is, the tenderness of all meat whether it’s Poultry, Pork, Lamb or Beef will improve to a certain degree, from ‘some’ aging. This is because immediately after the animal is slaughtered, natural enzymes begin the job of breaking the flesh down. Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust so to speak. The process is inevitable and unstoppable, unless the meat is frozen but, then we begin to deal with other issues. (I go through those ‘issues’ in an earlier post called “Did it just get chilly in here?”)

When I started in this business years ago, there was no other option for aging meat other than humidity controlled, dry aged hanging. Dry aging basically allows the meat to dehydrate while hanging, and the process of breaking down imparts this earthy, musty, old (Blue) cheese sort of funky flavour … a flavour sought after by the tastebuds of some of the most discerning Foodies and Chefs alike.

But, there’s nothing like progress. Around the time Cindy Lauper, Techno-pop, Men at Work and the Cars were making names for themselves, a new method to age meat, developed by the meat industry was becoming more and more popular too.

Advances in Plastics and the introduction of huge machines used to vacuum seal large primal cuts in the slaughterhouse, allowed the meat industry to totally exclude Oxygen. This radically retards the speed with which a piece of meat breaks down (ages) with almost no moisture loss. The meat still ages in the bag although … it’s different. The downside (there always seems to be a downside to something good) is Wet aged Beef has has lost it’s distinctly ‘earthy’ taste.

Less and less meat was sent to the stores ‘hanging’ because now they were able to break down the carcasses at the plant level, and ship the individual ‘Primals’ to the stores in cases. Profits soared. Can you imagine the dollar signs popping off in the heads of the big meat execs? They figured out how to drastically improve their bottom line by reducing weight loss due to dehydration and trimming.

You can still find Beef dry aged, and hung 21 (or better) days but you’ll pay a premium for it. The ‘Boutique’ shops will be your best place to start but, make sure to ask the Butcher if he is hanging the old dry way. A lot of places just don’t have the time or space needed to accurately ‘Dry’ age on their premises so … it really is becoming harder and harder to find.

If you live in the Toronto area I have to recommend an old friend of mine who runs a beautiful Boutique shop in downtown Oakville called Just an Olde Fashioned Butchery and Seafood. His name is Bill Rechter and he and I go back a LONG way. He actually has a Black and White photograph of the two of us hanging on the wall, working in his shop … taken when we both looked like little kids. Check him out and tell him I sent you.

So, there you have it … Cindy Lauper or the Cars. Wet or Dry … personal choice.

“till next time Carnivores, stay hungry.

Follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share my stuff on Facebook. http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential