The Truth about Bone-in VS. Boneless

Greetings Carnivores,

I was at a party the other night and a buddy and I were chatting about … you guessed it, meat. The subject was whether or not to by bone-in or boneless steaks, chops or Roasts.

My Grandmother used to say “the meat is always sweeter closest to the bone” and, there’s been a raging debate for years about whether or not this is more myth than fact.

Mostly myth … sorry Grandma.

Now, having said that … there is some truth to the bone adding a depth of flavour when you are using a “wet” cooking method such as braising in a slow cooker. The flavour in this case comes from the marrow.

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Veal Osso Buco

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Beef Short ribs for Korean BBQ

Osso Buco is a braised Veal shank, cut across the bone, Korean beef short ribs are thinly sliced cross sections of ribs that are cooked low and slow. The meat doesn’t gain much in the flavour department from the actual bone itself but rather, like I said … the marrow. This where the whole idea came from that the bone adds flavour but, it doesn’t.

You may think that Pork side spare ribs and baby back ribs are getting their flavour from the bone but, you’d be mistaken. They get their beautiful porky goodness from the long, low and slow cooking process. This renders all that tough connective tissue, fat and collagen BETWEEN the bones, fall off the bone tender … but the bone doesn’t add much.

When using dry cooking methods such as grilling, frying and baking, the bone adds nothing to the flavour.

So, back to my conversation the other night with my buddy. He was saying he doesn’t like to buy bone-in because you can’t eat the bone and why pay for something you are going to throw away.

Truth but, if you notice bone-in is always cheaper and that’s because if the butcher throws it away, you’ll be paying a much higher price for the boneless by-product.

Look at it this way … if Beef NY Strip Loins are selling for $30.00/kg and Beef Tenderloin is selling for $48.00/kg. why wouldn’t you just buy the T-bone for $25.00/kg?

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Behold, the mighty T-Bone

When you cut the bone out, you’ve got your NY Strip AND your Tenderloin and, you only paid $25.00/kg for BOTH!

Even when you factor in the weight of the bone at $25.00/kg … YOU’RE STILL WAY AHEAD OF THE GAME!

Same with bone-in chicken breasts. Boneless breasts are expensive so, buy the bone-in ones (they’re always a good value) and bone them out yourselves. You’ll save money AND you have the bones left over for making stock.

I know I’ve been saying that the bones add very little in the flavour dept. and now, I’m contradicting myself saying use them to make stock but … when you use bones to make stock remember, the flavour comes mostly from the MARROW.

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!!  🙂 🙂

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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

The Mock Tender … MOCK being the operative word

Greetings Carnivores,

I get asked questions all the time about certain cuts. Where do they come from? How do I cook this? Can I substitute something else for this cut or that cut?

One particular cut I get a LOT of questions about is the “Mock” Tender, AKA “Scotch” Tender.

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The Beef “Mock” or “Scotch” Tender

Well, pull up a chair folks … this is going to be of some interest to you.

This little muscle sits under the Blade bone or Scapula (remember my discussion about the Flat Iron from a few weeks ago?) Well, this one sits on the opposite side of the ridge on the blade bone.

It resembles the tenderloin or Filet (hence, the name) but … that’s where the similarity ends. It is quite tough, not really suitable for grilling or broiling and, like the Flat Iron, it has a thick tendon running through it laterally.

Leave it whole and braise it low and slow, or pop it into a pressure cooker and cook till it falls apart … Mmmm, TACOS. With the help of a sharp knife, you can remove the tendon then pound it with a meat mallet to tenderize it or, run it through a cube steak machine … Mmmmm Chicken Fried steak. You could leave it as-is and cut it for steaks, braise in the cooking liquid of your choice and  serve over a bed of rice or egg noodles. Or finally, you could cut it into cubes, season and prepare as you would with any stew recipe.

So, … there you have it for today Carnivores, short, sweet, very versatile and VERY cheap.

Just remember, like I always say … there are no bad cuts on the carcass … just bad ways of preparing certain cuts.

With the proper care this little muscle deserves, you will find it makes a delicious meal … just don’t cut it 2 inches thick, wrap it in bacon and … expect it to be just like it’s namesake the tenderloin.

You’ll be VERY disappointed … 🙂

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

Black Angus Beef … what’s the big deal??

Greetings Carnivores,

I love getting questions and suggestions for Blog topics related to meat and, todays’ comes from an old friend and past co-worker, John (who’s now living the life of a retired man … I’m so jealous) 🙂

His query quite simply was this:

“I think you should write a column about “certified Angus beef” in your blog. To me it’s nothing but a marketing ploy to charge more money. Isn’t it all just about the grading? Or how a steer was fed? Thoughts?”

Well Johnny boy, this is just for you … here goes.

Certified Angus Beef, AKA CAB is one of the most popular beef cattle breeds today but, that wasn’t always the case.

This hornless breed traces it origins back to the Aberdeenshire and Angus regions of Scotland and is known world wide as Abredeen Angus. Interestingly, this breed occurs naturally in two colours, both Red and Black with the Red gene being recessive.

As far as it’s introduction to North America is concerned, back in the late 1800’s four Black bulls were imported, and taken to the Kansas City agricultural fair.

Back in the day, these animals were used to cross breed since the gene associated with being hornless (polled) in the Angus is dominant.

Fast forward a few years from their introduction in Kansas, and the American Aberdeen Angus Association was formed. The governing body at the time decided they were going to concentrate on the Black colour, and only they were recognized as Black Angus. The Red was then relegated to a separate breed, and known as the Red Angus.

Today, both Canada and the UK still recognize the Black and the Red as the same breed and, to me (being a dog lover and owner of many Dobermans over the years) Reds and Blacks are genetically identical, just like my beloved Dobermans who (in case you didn’t know) occur naturally in 4 recognized colours. Black is the dominant gene but, the recessive gene colours are Red, Blue (yes BLUE) and Fawn. Same dog, … different colour … just like the Aberdeen Angus.

Anyway … I digress … again. 🙂

Okay so, back to your query John.

As with all breeds, grading is just one component of the process and like I wrote a while back … it’s completely optional.

Click here for my post re: grading. And, additionally, click here for more info:

As far as todays’ Angus beef well, … back in the late 70’s, the Black Angus Beef Association for purely marketing reasons, decided they wanted to “promote” their breed as being superior, so they created the designation CAB or Certified Angus Beef, and laid out a number of determining factors in order for an animal to “qualify”

What followed, not too long ago (less than 20 years) was the big push to “promote” this breed as being superior, and was first seen in ground beef patties marketed as “Black Angus backyard beef burgers”.

Seeing an opportunity to gouge the public, it wasn’t long before the BIG fast food chains jumped on board. They inflated the prices for these “superior” burgers and realized an overall public acceptance to these as somehow being better than the Plain Jane, run-of-the-mill burger.

The propaganda machine was set in motion and gathering speed.

Today, CAB is widely accepted as being superior but … is it really?

I think not.

Marketing … what an amazingly powerful tool.

Click here for a post I wrote about marketing and how your shopping habits are being “directed” by the retailers and … you don’t even know it.

To my old friend John … I hope this addresses your question buddy … and, I also hope you are enjoying your retirement (I’m still sooooo jealous).

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

NOW you’re in for a treat … the Beef Top Blade or Flat Iron Steak.

 

Greetings Carnivores,

As promised last week, today I have another special selection for you … the much maligned and misunderstood, Top Blade Steak AKA the Flat Iron.

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Whole Top Blade Muscle. Note: the heavy “Silver Skin”

This little gem, as the name implies, comes from the blade section of the Beef carcass and is one of two muscles sitting under the Shoulder Blade bone. This bone is sometimes referred to as the “Paddle bone” (indigenous 1st nations people used this bone as a paddle), or the “Seven” bone (when cut across the width of the bone, it resembles the number 7). The other muscle is known as the Mock Tender only because it resembles the fillet, and that’s where the similarity ends.

More about this muscle in a future post but, for now let’s talk about the Flat Iron.

Here in North America, it’s known as the Flat Iron but, in other parts of the world it’s called things like “Butchers Steak” in the UK and, for my Aussie friends down unda, the “Oyster Blade Steak.”

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The transverse line running the length is chewy and needs to be removed. I like to do this BEFORE it’s cut into steaks

When the butcher removes the Top Blade muscle from the bone, he must do a number of things to “clean” it before it’s ready for the grill. You can do this yourself with a sharp knife but, a little skill is needed. There is a heavy “silver skin” or “Bone felt” on the side that’s next to the bone. This does NOT render well during cooking and needs to be removed.

The second REALLY important step, is the removal of the heavy tendon running the horizontal length of the muscle, separating it into two Flat Iron Steaks. I prefer to remove this BEFORE it gets cut into steaks (see photo above) but, I’ve seen it done both ways.

Once these steps are finished, you’re in for a treat.

Since this muscle comes from the shoulder it usually has a significant amount of marbling which as we already know, when cooked, contributes to the wonderful flavour of these little beauties.

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Beautifully marbled texture.

Fire up the grill, season to your taste and cook to a perfect medium rare.

Oh my … “Honey … guess what’s for dinner?”

I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you make 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

A little love for the mighty Tri Tip AKA Beef Bottom Sirloin.

Greetings Carnivores,

The inspiration for my post today is … dinner! Planning what to make that is, and tonight … Tri Tip on the BBQ. Oh man!

Over the next two posts I want to share with you a couple of little known cuts that rarely get any love: the Tri Tip, AKA bottom Sirloin and, the Flat Iron, AKA the Top Blade steak. They come from completely opposite areas of the beef carcass and, the reason they rarely get any love in this part of the country is … folks just aren’t familiar with them and how to cook them.

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Bottom Sirloin Tri Tip

The Tri tip is IMMENSELY popular in the great State of California and, I wrote about it last year in a post I called (Click here:)  “Tri Tip and the Gospel according to Santa Maria”.

Here in the Canadian landscape however … folks just don’t know what to do with them or where they come from so, they tend to stick to the old stand by  New York Strip loin, Rib Eye, Sirloin and Tenderloin (Fillet).

Trust me … you have to try this cut.

The Tri Tip comes from the Sirloin portion of the carcass and doesn’t do a whole lot of work hence … very tender. Roast or BBQ it over indirect heat (add smoking chips for that extra dimension of flavour) until an internal temp of 128-130 degrees is reached then, remove it from the heat and let it stand under a tin foil tent for 15-20 minutes for a PERFECT medium rare.

Care needs to be taken when slicing because this cut actually has the grain running in a “fan” pattern. When carving, I start by cutting it in half, identifying the direction of the grain then, slicing across it. Identify the direction of the grain in the other half (you’ll see it running a different direction) and slice away. These make absolutely WONDERFUL roasts but … my FAVOURITE thing to do with these bad boys … slice it thin and pile it high on a crusty roll.

MAN, that’s some good eating!

Trip Tip does go on sale from time to time, and when does does … STOCK UP!

Ok, next week: The Flat Iron steak. You won’t be disappointed 🙂

I hope you’ll give these a try and let me know how you make 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

Salmon … your OHMYGAWD moment has arrived.

Greetings Carnivores,

The mandate I set for myself when starting this Blog was to write about all things Meaty. How to select, cut, cook and prepare Beef, Pork, Poultry, Lamb, Veal, Seafood and Wild Game.

Being that I’m a Butcher first and a self taught Foodie second, I always thought I’d lean toward teaching about cutting the raw product as opposed to sharing my thoughts about recipes. As far as recipes go, I usually ‘stumble’ onto things by happy accident although … my long suffering, Marital equivalent has endured her fair share of full-on gastronomic flops.

But, I feel the need to share so … why change now?

Today Carnivores, I’m going to Blog about my FAVOURITE way to prepare an old standby in my house, and … as promised: Your OHMYGAWD moment has arrived.

Salmon. Wonderful, pink, fatty, oh-so-good for you Salmon.

Here’s the skinny. I LOVE to poach it. Yup, POACH.

I start with a deep sauce pan (I like using my wok) and I add about 6 or 8 cups of good old fashioned, Chicken stock or, plain-Jane water. To it, I add the following:

(by the way … there are no “measures” here … I just ‘eyeball’ everything)

-Small handful of Black Peppercorns
-About the same amount of Capers
-Rough cut (in big chunks) 2 or three carrots, 3 or 4 celery stalks, and one large onion (I leave the skin on because it adds nice colour)
-A pinch of Sea Salt (if you’re using Chicken bouillon cubes or canned stock, omit the salt)
-2 whole lemons, cut in half and squeezed. Throw them into the liquid as well.

Separately, you’ll need:

-A package of Hollandaise sauce prepared according to the directions.
-A few more Capers to garnish the Salmon when cooked.
-Brown rice.
-Chicken stock
-A green vegetable, your choice.

Bring the poaching liquid to a good rolling boil then, turn it down to simmer for at least 20 minutes. The ensuing aroma will make your kitchen smell OUTSTANDING!!

While the broth is simmering, get another pot with a tight fitting lid and add Chicken Stock and brown rice in a 2 to 1 ratio (twice as much stock as rice, depending on the number of people you’re planning to feed). To the rice/stock, add a ‘pat’ of butter (your ‘pat’ may be bigger or smaller than mine … fake it) and some fresh ground pepper. Lay off the salt if you’re using anything other than home made Chicken stock … TONS of salt already added in the prepared stuff.

Okay, ten minutes before the rice is ready, get your beautiful Salmon filets and slide them into the gently simmering broth. Cook for 7-9 minutes, maybe a ‘little’ more depending on the thickness of the fish. Some people like to eat their Salmon slightly “pink” … if you’re one of them, adjust the cooking time for yourself.

With a slotted spoon, gently remove the Salmon from the liquid, and plate with the rice. Spoon the Hollandaise on the Salmon and garnish with the Capers. Serve with a side of something green for colour.

Your “OHMYGAWD” moment will arrive exactly at the same time you take your first bite.

You can thank me later … 🙂

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