Denuded … what the heck does THAT mean???

Greetings Carnivores,

Todays offering comes once again, from a question I get asked ALL the time.

I was over at my friends’ house for dinner a couple of weeks ago and my buddy asked, “Hey Dougie … can you write a post that explains what “denuded” means?

Well Steveo … here ya go buddy …

If you look up the actual definition of denuded, it doesn’t automatically refer to meat.

It will say something like “without natural or usual covering.” So, this could refer to anything from a bald head, to a spot on your lawn, devoid of grass.

In the case of meat however, … it’s pretty much the same thing.

If all the “natural” fat covering, Silver skin or veins have been removed, then this particular piece of meat is considered to be “denuded.”

Ok so, let’s recap:

Anything labeled as “denuded” when referring to meat in your Butcher’s counter, means that he has removed ALL the “natural” covering. being the fat, sinew, silver skin, veins … EVERYTHING.

Now here’s the part that will probably make you reconsider actually buying that piece of meat … it’s BRUTALLY expensive!

The butcher has taken a fair bit of time to completely “clean” this piece of meat for you AND … he has also incurred a loss in that, he hasn’t sold YOU all that “extra” weight.

So, … guess what? He makes up for his “loss” by charging a LOT more for the denuded piece.

The moral of the story folks is, … buy the whole primal, whether its a Tenderloin, Striploin, Ribeye, Outside round … whatever, and “clean” it yourselves.

The internet is an amazing resource for “how to” videos, and cutting your own meat at home is no exception.

Hopefully one of these days,…  this old, non-tech savvy, butcher will venture into to world of video to help you even further … an old guy can dream right??

To my brother from another mother, Steve … I hope this helped you and, if not … put the beer in the fridge, give me a call, and I’ll be right over to give you a personal lesson.

That’s it for today Carnivores

Thanks for dropping in … 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 any of the buttons 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

Beef ribs vs. Pork ribs

Greetings Carnivores,

Todays’ thoughts come by way of an old friends’ question regarding Beef ribs and how they stack up against the Pork Ribs.

Firstly, the two of them are an obvious “Apples to Oranges” comparison … or, are they?

Structurally, the Beef and Pork carcasses are the same. Same bones, muscles and organs so, it’s safe to say the methods employed to cook them should be the same and, guess what? They are!!

The mighty Beef rib that you commonly find in the butcher shop would be the back rib section, cut from the Prime Rib area of the carcass. Once the Ribeye is removed, these would be considered Beef Back Ribs.

You would “think” these big, beefy ribs would be very tender considering the meat that was on them is the Ribeye but … the butcher rarely leaves any of the tender rib meat on the bone. The retailer can get MUCH more money for the Ribeye than the rib bones so, as I said, the only meat left on the bone is the meat between the bones and, that stuff is pretty tough. That’s not to say that with a little love you can’t turn these big bad boys into something pretty special because … you can!! The secret is … yup, low and slow, the same as the Pork Ribs.

Beef ribs

So, this rib area of the Beef carcass would correspond to the same area on the Pork carcass (AKA “Baby back ribs”) but, there is another “Rib” area on the beef carcass as well. The section that mirrors the Pork Side ribs on the beef carcass is marketed as Beef Short ribs and are sold either boneless or bone-in.

The bone-in portion is VERY popular in Asian cuisine particularly Korean BBQ ribs when cutting across the bone in VERY thin slices. The boneless short ribs, although they LOOK tremendous, need to be cooked long and low.

Just for the record, … one of my FAVOURITIE ways to treat the boneless short rib is to brine it and turn it into Corned beef. If you’re interested, you can check out my post re Brining here.

For my buddy Steve, who asked me the question in the first place … thank you for the blog fodder buddy and, … I hope you will try these bad boys out.

DSCF4793[1]

Just remember to take the skin “membrane” off the back of the ribs (both Beef and Pork) before you cook them … that stuff is REALLY chewy and will suck all the fun out of the whole eating experience.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … 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 any of the buttons 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

Sous-vide, Surgery and a bunch of time on my hands … again.

Greetings Carnivores,

I’ve been away from writing for some time now. Call it what you like, “writers block”, “lack of motivation”, “creative void”, “laziness”, I don’t know. but, … here I sit, one week into ANOTHER extensive surgical re-hab and … I’m faced with a WHOLE bunch of time on my hands.

Yep … I somehow managed to almost COMPLETELY tear my left Biceps tendon off the bone at the end of January, believe it or not … lifting a bag of firewood. You can’t make this stuff up.

I finally got to see the wonderful Orthopedic surgery team, headed by Dr. John Haverstock at the brand new Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital, and spent a couple of hours last Thursday morning having them reattach it.

Last week was pretty much a wash, dealing with the obvious pain associated with such a fun procedure. Now, … like I said … here I sit.

Ok so, enough of that … todays topic comes from my dinner inspiration, and my very mostest (I know, … not an English word) favouritest (I know … another one … don’t be a hater) kitchen toy, … (“Drum roll please”) … my Anova Sous-vide immersion cooker.

Oh and, no … I’m not being paid to endorse this product … I’m just giving you an honest product review of mine. There are MANY other brands out there to choose from.

Anova Precision Cooker Flowers

I don’t want to sound like I’m jumping on the bandwagon here because, I’m not. A LOT of folks are just now coming around to how AWESOME this method is but … truth is … till just recently, unless you were a professional chef … the rest of us Minions have been in the dark.

I’ve been playing around, using this technique for the past couple of years … as a matter of fact, I originally tried making my own Sous-vide cooker, first using, an insulated cooler then second, a crock-pot but, in both cases … I couldn’t maintain and hold the critical temperature adjustment needed for success.

Now however, I’m currently the proud owner of my second REAL Sous-vide cooker. Not because there was anything wrong with the first one I bought but, more because I was a cheapo and bought the basic one first, then … realized how awesome it was and, shelled out for the second one: the Bluetooth model.

I’ve been meaning to post about this for quite some time now and, … today is the day.

Like I said earlier, Sous-vide has been around for a very long time and is usually exclusively used by high-end restaurants but, thanks to the surging popularity of this method lately, the price has come down significantly so that now … everyone can afford one.

The term “Sous-vide” refers to “cooking under vacuum” but … that’s only a part of this magic. It’s actually a PRECISE method of cooking in a controlled environment … in this case a water bath, where you dial in your desired “doneness” (temperature) and walk away. Whatever you’re cooking can NEVER (well, … actually NEVER is not the right word here because, overcooking in a Sous Vide bath, results in mushiness). The key point here is … the item IN the bath will NEVER exceed the temperature of the vessel it’s being cooked in. There are TONS of cooking tables and time/temp guidelines on the Web … experiment for yourselves.

Here’s the real deal, AWESOME part about cooking Sous vide:

Imagine your next dinner party … Steaks, veggies, potatoes … EVERYTHING done ahead of serving time … sitting there, blissfully hanging out, waiting for you to plate, while YOU, the host, are enjoying pre-dinner cocktails with your guests!

Unless you’ve catered your party … THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

Think of it this way: let’s say you’re aiming for a nice medium rare beef steak (Rib eye for the sake of argument). The “window” you’re aiming for, for med-rare is (128-131 degrees F. for me) That “window” is extremely  hard to hit with conventional cooking methods because of inconsistencies in the cooking vessel, whether it’s a Grill, Oven or Pan, temperature fluctuations, and (click here)  carry-over cooking.

Carry-over cooking is a thing of the past with Sous-vide because the juices NEVER escaped in the first place so, there’s nothing left to do to this steak except hit it with a BLISTERING HOT, cast iron pan just before serving to give it a sweet “char” on the outside.

You don’t even need a high-end vacuum sealer … all you need are zip-lock bags and use the “air displacement” method.

I’ve already gone past my (self-imposed) post word limit for today so, … I’ll leave you with that morsel to digest.

Please check out Sous-vide cooking, Anova, Joule and Sous-vide Supreme on the net and google Sous-vide.

That’s it for today Carnivores 🙂 🙂

Thanks for dropping in … 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 any of the buttons 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

 

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

Nasty practices, revealed

Greetings Carnivores,

Recently, there was a CBC Marketplace episode that dealt with shady practices at retail stores in the Bakery and Meat departments.

If you saw the show you were probably aghast at the things they uncovered.

Having grown up in the meat business, I CAN tell you that I have seen my fair share of sketchy things in the past.

I CAN however, help you with a little bit of knowledge.

Ideally, the store wants to sell everything the day it’s produced so that a fresh counter is cut every day.  This is great in a perfect world but sadly in the case of big retailers, this is not always possible … there will ALWAYS be carry over from the day before or, maybe even the day before that. This however, does NOT indicate it’s no longer sale-able.

Common practices dictate that fresh product is labeled with the day it was produced. This can then be displayed for 3 days, after which it’s pulled and either destroyed or mixed with daily trimmings and re-purposed as ground meat.

If this is bothersome to you then you can avoid this re-purposed meat, by buying your ground beef later in the day since all the re-wrapping is done first thing in the morning.

I should say however, that I personally have NO QUALMS WHATSOEVER about buying this since it’s more often than not yesterdays VERY lean roasts, steaks and stew that’s being ground. Ground steaks, roasts and stew for lean ground beef price … I’ll buy that all day long.

Watch your labels.

If it says “Best before … blah, blah blah” this is only a guideline to peak freshness, and not the date that it’s instantly garbage. Quite often retailers will reduce the price of items that are one day away from their peak freshness as per the BB date to try to get them out the door … I will buy them every time and stick them in the freezer.

Ground beef.

I wrote about ground beef again a few weeks ago (here) so, no need to touch on that again.

When making your meat (or anything fresh really) purchases, I always dig to the bottom and back of the counter … that’s where you find the freshest product.

I NEVER, let me repeat NEVER buy pre-marinated meat, fish or poultry. These are almost ALWAYS made from one or two day old (or more) products that have become a dark and lost their fresh cut look.

Shish-ka-bobs are a way of re-purposing old meat … seasoned fish (Cajun or lemon peppered catfish comes to mind) and BBQ spiced poultry or pepper-corned steak … all methods of re-purposing old product … and here’s the REAL KICKER … it’s sold at a HIGHER price because it’s now considered “Value added”.  Crazy huh???

As far as dipping old, brown meat in fresh beef blood or even dye, to make it “red” again … I can HONESTLY say, I have never seen that done. Maybe some old timers did it. You never know … they were probably very good at placing their thumbs on the scale, if you know what I mean …

There you have it 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

 

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