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.

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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

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Pork back ribs vs side ribs … the debate rages on.

Greetings Carnivores,

You know, … I’ve been thinking about this post for a very long time now because it’s one of the ALL TIME biggest questions I get asked. At the end of the day … this is just my opinion so, … here we go.

Which is better???

The Pork side rib??? The Pork back rib??? Aka: “Baby back ribs” … which, incidentally is BULLSHIT, because … they do NOT come from “baby” or “immature” animals.

Please excuse my language but, there … I said it !!!

I, personally have ALWAYS preferred the humble side rib because of its “bang for the buck” (how can you argue with the price difference between the two ???) AND, … I don’t care who in the “industry” may or may not take exception to my stance.

The industry WANTS you to believe these so called “baby backs” are a “premium” quality because of their “youthful description” but … it’s nothing more than a straight up, blatant, balls to the wall, CASH GRAB!! As far as I’m concerned, … the side rib is, and always has been, superior to the back and here’s why.

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“Baby” back ribs.

The back rib is cut from the loin section of the hog. Imagine the whole, bone-in loin. Once the bones are separated from the meat, this now becomes two separate cuts … the boneless loin, and the back rib. Although I love a good loin pork chop, let’s be honest … they can be dry. Well guess what??? This is the same lean meat on the back rib. Dry, dry, dry.

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St. Louis cut Side rib (bottom) Breast/Sternum portion (top)

The side rib by comparison, is cut from the belly and because of this location on the carcass, much fattier.

EEEWWWWWW you say?? Nope … AWESOME, I say !!

It’s BECAUSE of all this fat that the low and slow cooking process renders them soooooooo DELICIOUS! Now, a LOT of retailers sell the side rib with the “breast/sternum” portion included in the package and, it’s THIS reason a lot of folks don’t like them.

I’ll admit, … there’s a greater proportion of bone and cartilage to meat but … if that’s a problem for you, simply buy the “St Louis” cut side ribs. They are sold without the “breast/sternum” included. They’re a little more money but, WELL worth it in my opinion.

Back to the so-called “Baby” back rib. This portion has been marketed in such a way that YOU, the consumers are lead to believe it’s BETTER and, … I’m here to tell you today … it … is … NOT!!

Let’s be truthful folks … these cuts (both back and side) are NOT tender cuts. They both need a LOT of TLC and to be rubbed, massaged, and cooked over low and slow heat for extended periods of time. The problem I have with Back ribs is their “location” on the carcass. As I said before, they come from the loin section and as such, the meat on them is SOOOOO MUCH LEANER.

“Awesome” you say … and, I say “Nay, Nay”

The MUCH leaner meat on the Back rib is SOOOOOOO MUCH DRIER!!

Ok, … I’m not sure if I have many believers here so … just do yourselves a favour … and do a side by side comparison of the two … be fair, spice them the same way, cook them the same way, and PLEASE, let me know in the comments section below.

Fair enough??

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

Shanks, Shins and Hocks = FLAVOUR !!

Greeting Carnivores,

I hope you’re hungry today.

As most of you already know, from reading and following along here, I’ve been preaching for a LONG time now about how there really aren’t any bad cuts … just bad ways of cooking certain cuts.

Kinda the same way I feel about Dogs and children … not that there are better ways to cook them … just that there are no bad children or Dogs, … bad parents and owners?… most DEFINITELY … whew … glad I cleared that up before my comments section lit up!! 🙂

Back to the meat.

Today I’m talking about some of the BEST cuts on the carcass that just happen to be some of the very toughest as well, and that’s the Shank, Shin, Hock, Trotter … in plain English, the legs, fore and aft, and while we’re at it … throw the tails into the conversation as well.

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Red Wine braised beef shank

These uber hard working muscles (except the tails … they work pretty hard in their own way) are used for support and mobility and, when rendered over a long, slow cooking time, results in the most tender, succulent meat … PERIOD.

If you haven’t tried braised Beef Shank, Veal Osso Buco, Smoked Ham Hocks, Ox tail stew, or Lamb/Goat Shanks, cooked low and slow for hours, you are REALLY doing yourselves a disservice.

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Lamb Shanks *insert mouth watering here*

The long, slow cooking time works to break down all that wonderful connective tissue and collagen which renders the meat, not only fall off the bone sumptuous but uber flavourful as well.

There are as many recipes as there are methods of cooking low and slow out there on the net now, … get out there and show a little love to the humble Shank … you’ll thank me for it later, I guarantee.

DAMN! … I make myself SOOOOOOOO hungry writing this stuff … I’m just gonna hafta track down some beef shanks tomorrow and get them into some liquid braising love 🙂 🙂

That’s it for today Carnivores … short and sweet 🙂 🙂

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

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

Wet heat? Dry heat? Beef Roasts and Steaks 101

Greetings Carnivores,

It’s been a while for me and as such, Cyberspace has seen a significant void in the ‘ol Carnivore confidential blog but, I assure those of you whom have wondered … “Hey ??? Whatever happened to that guy??” Well … I’m ok.

The winter of 2014/15 was particularly tough up here in the Frozen, Great White North of Canada. We installed a new, wood burning, fireplace insert to help subsidize the high cost heating with fossil fuel then, promptly burned our way through 3x as much wood as we thought we might need to sustain us though the cold winter months.

Ah … the learning curve.

Between stoking the fire to keep the biting cold at bay from early December, well into the month of March (just made me want to hibernate), coupled with a SEVERE case of “Writers’ Block” (just couldn’t find anything meaningful to say), AND a major back surgery (I’m now the proud owner of a lower spine, fused with 6 screws and 2 steel rods) Well … like I said it’s been a tough few months.

Having said that, … the Earth has FINALLY turned on its axis, showing its Northern Hemispherical face to the lengthening hours of gloriously warm sunshine, the song birds have returned, and everything around us is waking up from a long winter sleep.

I too am feeling the rebirth of Springtime… even IF my aching, healing back will still not allow me sit in chair and type for very long.

So … let’s get on with it shall we?

Today I’m going to focus on Beef Roasts and steaks but, this discussion applies to Pork, Lamb, Veal wild game … everything.

You’ve heard me say that the amount of work a particular muscle does in life determines how tender it will be on the fork BUT … even a hard working muscle can be rendered fall apart tender with the correct cooking method. Click here:

Which brings us to the topic for today.

Cooking Beef roasts and steaks:

There are two types of cooking: Wet and Dry.

The important thing to remember is … which to use on which particular cut.

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The Butchers Beef Carcass diagram

Dry cooking methods such as BBQ, Oven or Pan can be used successfully on the following cuts from the carcass chart above.

The Rib section:

Bone-in or boneless Rib Roast (Prime Rib, Standing Rib) or steak (including the Tomahawk and Rib eye, sometimes known as the Delmonico).

The Loin section:

Bone-in or boneless Top Loin Roast or steak (Strip loin, AKA New York Strip Loin) T-Bone Roast or steak, Wing Steak, Porterhouse Steak, Tenderloin Roast (Chateaubriand) or steak (Filet Mignon)

The Sirloin Section:

Bone-in or Boneless Top Sirloin Roast or steak, Bottom Sirloin steak.

Ground Beef actually fits into both wet and dry cooking methods since we all know how wonderful a burger on the grill is, as well as a slow cooked pot of Chili or Spaghetti sauce on the stove.

Everything else on the carcass drawing above fits into the wet category of cooking. The reason for this is the hard working nature of the rest of these muscles since they are all used for support and mobility.

The heavy fat and sinew density of these muscle groups means that in order to render them fall apart tender and wonderfully flavourful you must cook them low and slow with moisture and a lid.

I hope this sheds some light on the differences between these two methods of cooking and the particular ways these cuts, whether its a roast or a steak can be prepared.

Remember: There are no bad cuts … just bad ways of cooking certain cuts.

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

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

 

Ahhh … the humble Beef ‘Short’ rib.

 

Greetings my Carnivores,

Everything is right in the world. The weather is BEAUTIFUL, the birds are singing, I’m rocking the tunes (The Outlaws), my pooches are asleep at my feet, I’m sipping a delicious manly beverage AND, MOST importantly the workday is finished.

Today my friends, I present something I just LOVE cooking but first, by way of a little teaser let me give you some background info.

Oh boy ... Beef Short ribs !!

Oh boy … Beef Short ribs !!

Being a Butcher first and a Foodie second, I have to give you the meat cutters’ side of things; stay with me. My ‘hope’ here is that I can impart some of the knowledge I’ve gained over the years and pass it on. The recipe part is just me faking it and … I’ve had LOTSA fails BUT, this one is a winner.

Here we go. There are 13 ribs on each side of the beef carcass. 4 come from the Chuck, 7 make up the Rib section and the last 2 are in the hind quarter. The Rib section is also known as Standing Rib, Rib Roast or Prime Rib and when the bones are removed, the cut is then known as the Rib Eye.

I mentioned in an earlier post the reason you don’t often find beef ribs in the meat counter is because the butcher gets MUCH more money for them when he can sell them as a bone-in product (bone-in Rib steaks or Prime Rib roasts).

Which leaves us with my post today … the humble Beef “Short” rib.

Oh my, these big, fat, bad boys as I said earlier come from the Chuck section and are absolutely spectacular when cooked low and slow but, first things first.

Ask your butcher for Short Ribs and he will ‘probably’ sell you strips (4 bone sections cut across the bones) in varying thicknesses depending on what you ask him for. For purposes of this post I’m going to show you how I like to treat these guys.

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Whole Beef “Short” rib Section

I buy these things whole (mostly because I like to do things MY way, call me Anal it’s ok … I have broad shoulders)

Now, … I have a saw (a plain old hacksaw with a course toothed blade I use JUST for meat) to cut through the bones then, I finish the job with a sharp knife. Once this job is done, you’ll have two, four bone sections.

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Cut in half with a saw and finish with a sharp knife

I like to remove the membrane on the underside of the ribs. This is a ‘relatively’ easy process but, relative is a relative term and can be real pain in the arse so, you can just leave it on if you like. Live and let live, right ?? Taking it off changes nothing (except when you’re gnawing on the rib like a Caveman, Carnivore style) then … you’ll want to take it off.

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Easy-Peasy

You can do anything you want with these … Braise, Roast, Smoke, Clay Bake, BBQ (just PLEASE, make sure you cook them low and slow) but HERE’S what I like to do.

Cut them into 2 bone sections

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Build your rub … the sky’s the limit

I oil the ribs and salt and pepper liberally then, build my rub flavours. These things cry out for garlic and other savory ingredients such as Rosemary, sage … fill in the blank.

Then, off to a Dante’s Inferno hot oven (450 or better) for 30 minutes to create a sear. Roll the temp down to 275 for the next 3.5 to 4 hours. This a labour of love people so … don’t rush.

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Admit it … your mouth is watering, right ???

You will be rewarded with something that looks like this … serve with garlic mashed and a side of something green for colour … oh my, they fall off the bone !!

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