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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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

 

Bacon … NOW, I have your attention.

Greetings Carnivores,

What is it about this stuff?

Sweet, salty, smokey and oh soooooo devilishly addictive.

By definition, Bacon is quite simply, a type of salt cured meat, most often pork. But, it doesn’t stop there. This wonderfully addictive, salty, gift from God, can be prepared from many different cuts, as well as many different products.

Hell, even the Veg-heads (you KNOW I love you Sally) have embraced this stuff in a Soy-Tofu form they call “Fakon”.

Now, it can come from the pork belly, loin, cheeks or jowl but, it can also made from beef, poultry … anything really because as I said earlier, “bacon” refers to a salt curing process.

It can be eaten on it’s own or, usually as a breakfast item, saddled up next to eggs, hash browns and toast on your plate. You can use it to enhance the flavour of wild game, give your Mom’s meat loaf that extra “umph”, or send that beef filet mignon or, huge sea scallop to the next level.

Why stop there? How about bacon jerky? Jam? Soups, sauces, salads, sandwiches, deserts, candied, chocolate dipped … even ice cream and milk shakes!!!

The only limit to the usage of bacon is your imagination.

In Canada, we’re pretty famous for our back bacon, made from the boneless pork loin, while the Italians are known for Pancetta, Prosciutto and Guanciale and, good old side bacon is one of the oldest cuts of meat dating back as far as the 1500’s.

In closing, I’m reminded of a guy I lived with in residence while in University who happened to be Jewish and, … he couldn’t resist this stuff like the rest of us. If his Mama only knew …

Don’t worry Evan, your secret is safe here buddy … 🙂 🙂

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

Put Pork on your fork … the controversy continues.

Greetings Carnivores,

Controversy … it gets the blood moving, don’t you think?

Have you noticed lately, the foodie trend of posting photos or comments of what you’re making for dinner, or eating at the restaurant? There always seems to be great ideas for recipes and tasty looking pics everywhere you look.

I often draw inspiration for my blog posts from questions or comments I hear or read along the way and, my offering for today comes from something a friend of mine posted regarding medium rare pork.

John was outlining his menu plan for the evening with the centrepiece of the meal being a beautiful “Pork Tenderloin, roasted to a perfect medium rare.”

The resulting “Fire Storm” of negative comments he received re: the danger of eating pork ANYTHING but well done was impressive, to say the least.

So, … here’s the controversial part.

The danger of eating under-cooked pork was VERY real years ago, and our Great Grandparents and Grandparents needed to be vigilant about internal “done-ness.” Pig farmers and our relatives back in the day, were forced to deal with a pathogen called Trichinella Spiralis, which caused a nasty issue called Trichinosis. This was and potentially STILL CAN BE, a very real threat causing nasty round worm infections.

Trichinosis is caused by the ingestion of under cooked pork or wild game, that had been infected with the larvae of a parasitic round worm.

Thankfully though, todays farmers understand that this parasite is transferred to animals through poor feeding practices and exposure to infected animals, and with the highly sophisticated bio-security measures adopted many years ago, the presence of Trichinae has been virtually eliminated in North American farms.

I say FARMS because … Trichinosis is STILL a very REAL threat for folks who sustain themselves eating the flesh of “some” wild animals, particularly Wild Bear and Boar.

Those of you who fill your larders with such, please be careful and cook to an internal temperature of at LEAST 165 degrees F.

I have faith in our farmers practices, bio-securities and the agencies that are in place to protect our food supply, so I can say that I TOO enjoy my pork slightly “pink” and not over-done (unless we’re talking about long, low and slow cooking for shoulders and ribs). Please keep in mind, … I’M NOT talking rare but a beautiful juicy pink.

Let’s face it … the entire carcass (except for the shoulder, neck and belly) are extremely lean. Granted there is generally a heavy covering of fat under the skin BUT, the muscle is VERY lean, and this can equal a very dry end result if overcooked.

You folks have to be your own judges.

There you have it Carnivores, 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

 

 

Red, spicy, delicious Mexican Chorizo sausage … now we’re talking!

 

Greetings Carnivores,

The other day I was reading another bloggers post on sausage making, and I was whisked back a number of years (30ish) to a magical time in my life when I was living in Southern California.

Today I want to talk about another Southern California staple, the wonderful, slightly spicy, Mexican Chorizo sausage.

Not to be confused with Spanish Chorizo which is a fermented, cured and dried, salami-like sausage that can be sliced and eaten right away, the Mexican version (which I prefer) is a ‘fresh’ pork sausage and must be cooked.

Just so we are clear here … the two are VERY different.

Ok so, … Mexican Chorizo is a pork sausage that has a beautiful red colour and spiciness it gets from the key ingredient, Ancho chile powder.

*side note*  If you’d like to make it healthier, substitute ground Turkey for the Pork.

It can be either be stuffed into a sausage casing but most often it’s not. It’s a staple ingredient in a HUGE number of Tex-Mex dishes. I always use it in my favourite Tacos and Burritos and, it’s wonderful with eggs for breakfast 🙂

Like me, you’ll probably have to make your own since I just can’t find it anywhere outside of the southern states … Google a Mexican Chorizo Sausage recipe and get started.

FYI, … I ALWAYS use disposable gloves when I make this, otherwise your hands will be stained red from the Ancho Chilies.

That’s it for today Carnivores. Short and sweet. 🙂

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?”

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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.

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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

Today’s Butcher tip … BUY PRIMALS FOLKS !!!

Greetings carnivores,

I usually have a story of some sort for you but … today, just a no nonsense approach to saving some cold, hard cash.

The next time you go shopping, consider buying a “Primal” cut and cutting it yourself. As long as you have a sharp knife it’s dead simple, and … you can save yourself a bundle with just a “little” help from me 🙂 .

Today, I’m going to walk you through a BONELESS PORK LOIN PRIMAL.

A “Primal” is a whole muscle, vacuum packed in plastic and, you can buy these bad boys anywhere. They’re always MUCH cheaper because there’s no labour involved in it for the retailer. You get to cut it yourself AND, with the money you save you can send your kids to College or maybe buy yourselves a delicious manly (or womanly) beverage. Either way, you’re going to be richer at the end of the day so … let’s get busy shall we? You’ll end up giving yourself a BIG pat on the back when you’re done.

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So … this is it … the whole, boneless Pork Loin Primal …

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And, … these are just a few of the things you can do to it with a sharp knife.

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Cut the rib section off for a BEAUTIFUL Pork roast. This my FAVOURITE cut for roasting. It is essentially boneless Prime Rib of pork. DELICIOUS !!!

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The opposite end (known as the tenderloin or chump end) can be roasted as well.

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The rest of the loin can be cut into thick cut “Butterfly” chops …

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Thick cut “Single” loin chops …

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Thin, “Fast Fry” chops …

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Pound them for Scallopini …

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Cubed for fondue …

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Stew …

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SOOOOO versatile.

The “other” white meat is one of my personal favourites. There is an almost endless number of things you can do to this wonderful cut. They’re always cheap and, often on sale.

I buy them when they’re on sale and throw them into the freezer. Click here for a post I wrote a while back on proper freezing techniques.

I hope you’ll try this and let me know how you made 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