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

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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

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

 

Marketing … the art of being “Steered”

Greetings Carnivores,

Do you know that big Swedish box store ?? The one adorned with a bright Blue and Yellow paint scheme to honour their national flag ?? You know the one … it starts with an “I” and ends with an “A” with a “K” and an “E” in the middle ??? (spell it out folks, IKEA … which, I’ve come to learn is actually Swedish for divorce!!) 🙂

Kidding aside, if you’ve ever shopped there you’ll know how once you’re inside the “maze”, you’re pretty much FORCED to ‘follow’ the arrows on the floor in order to get out. It doesn’t matter if you pick up the first thing you see, or run in there for light bulbs and a one dollar hot dog in the cafeteria.

Just like cattle being herded, you’re swept along by a ebbing tide of humanity through every corner of the store, and if you try to return to the front door, you’ll find that task about as daunting as a spawning Salmon trying to make it back upstream to the place of his/her birth.

While in University I was fascinated by the work of (click here:) B.F. Skinner, an American psychologist who believed in the idea that human free will was actually an illusion. He believed stimulus and response are the driving factors in human behaviour and as such, people can be manipulated to do something by stimulation and reward.

Do you know that fully 61% of all people who shop at IKEA, ultimately end up leaving with something they did NOT expect to buy?

Of course, I’m not spilling secrets … any 1st year University marketing student knows that. Folks, this is just simply a cold hard truth about retail marketing, and not many marketers do it better than that big, Blue and Yellow Swedish box.

Oh, they ALL do it and believe me, like the big Blue and Yellow Box … some do it MUCH better than others.  Have you ever been into a a big “Club” store, found something you didn’t go in for and, think to yourself … “hmmmm, … I’d like to have that but, I’ll get it later”, only to go back another time, and find it gone for the season with NO reasonable expectation it will return to the sales floor next year.

They keep you guessing all the time and the next thing you know …  WHAMO !! IMPULSE BUY.

The reason displays are CONSTANTLY changing on the retail floor is … yup, you guessed it … to keep you moving through the store. Have you ever wondered why there’s no express line at those big “Club” stores?? The answer, quite simply is …

THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO COME IN FOR A POUND OF BUTTER AND A SNACK SAMPLE!!

When you wander though a store, make no mistake … your buying experience is being ‘directed’.

Staples … what are food “staples”?

Bread, milk and eggs  MAY be what you came in for but … have you noticed the big display of cookies, beside the milk, the chocolate syrup beside the iced cream or the steak spice and BBQ sauce beside the meat counter?

Impulse items.

Vendors pay a HUGE premium to have their products predominantly displayed on the end-cap and forget about the “wall” of merchandise you have to walk past as you first enter the store … THOSE vendors pay HUGE for a slot on the “fence”, and you my friends have to run the “gauntlet”

Anyway … once again I’ve gotten carried away telling a story so I’ll tie this back into meat.

You too are being ‘steered’ (did you like my pun??) through the meat counter, but in a very helpful way. The meat business is exactly the same. Not many people come into a store knowing EXACTLY what they want, and that’s where we come in. There will always be a smiling, helpful butcher. You ask us questions, … we reply with questions of our own. You ask us to make a suggestion, and we start by asking the obvious general questions:

Are you looking for a steak or a roast? Ahhh … a roast.

What type of roast were you looking for? Don’t know ??

Ok,  how were you planning to cook it? Ahhh, … the BBQ.

How many people are you planning to feed? 15?

Ok, how much money would you like to spend? $100.00.

Let’s see …

I usually start with a little education, for example: through the questions I’ve asked and the answers you’ve given, I know you want to roast something on the BBQ. Whether it’s going to be spit roasted or cooked with indirect heat doesn’t matter because, we’ve just ruled out a roast from the Chuck portion of the front quarter. Don’t get me wrong … I LOVE Chuck (Blade, Short Rib, Cross Cut or Arm roasts) … just NOT dry roasted on the BBQ.

More about these in another post to come but for now, Chuck roasts are more suited to long slow cook times that render their fat, sinew and collagen wonderfully soft and chew-able, hence the designation “Pot Roast”.

Before I get a note from my blogging friends (click here:) The Patrons of the Pit, and (click here:) Chef Jeff Parker saying that you CAN actually cook these roasts on the BBQ … you’d just have to do it covered, low and slow.

Alright, … because of the way you want to cook it, I can provide you with suggestions as to what to buy. You have also told me how many people you’re feeding AND how much you’re prepared to spend.

Back to the education part.

Next, I’ll tell you that the tenderness of ANY muscle is ultimately determined by HOW MUCH WORK IT DOES IN LIFE such as: the Loin muscles (Rib, Strip, Tenderloin and Sirloin) are more tender than the Leg muscles (Eye of Round, Outside Round,Inside Round and Sirloin Tip).

The leg muscles will still give you a nice roast but because these muscles are used for support and mobility, they are TOUGHER than the Loin. The loin muscles don’t do much work which equals … a more tender roast.

You can read more on this topic in a post I wrote last year called (Click here:) “To Steak or not to Steak … that is the question”

Now, … you’ve already told me how much you want to spend and with the information I’ve given you, you are in a better position to make an informed decision on what you’d like to buy.

Ask all the questions you like … there are no stupid ones. I’m here to help.

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