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!!  🙂 🙂

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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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What a GRIND !! The PERFECT Ground Beef story.

Greetings Carnivores,

I’m often asked questions about Ground Beef. Which one makes the best burgers? What’s in it? Are there any fillers? Why is it dark on the inside? (please see my Carnivore Confidential post “How ’bout a little love” published 2013/02/06) What’s the fat to lean ratio?

Well, in order to answer those questions, I need to first tell you a little bit about Ground Beef, and how it’s made.

Years ago (and still, in certain boutique Butcher shops) you will see “Ground Chuck” “Ground Round” and Ground Sirloin”. More often than not now though, you will find the terms “Regular”, “Medium”, “Lean” and “Extra Lean” Ground Beef.

Technically speaking … a package “labeled” as “GROUND CHUCK”, cannot have anything but meat trimmings from the Chuck (Shoulder) area of the carcass. The same with “GROUND ROUND” coming from ONLY the Round (Hip) area, and so on with “GROUND SIRLOIN”

The reason ground beef today is generally marked as Regular, Medium, Lean and Extra Lean is because for the most part ALL the trimmings from all the different parts of the carcass are tossed into the same lugs. There will be a mixture of trim from the Shoulder, Hip, Sirloin as well as everything else such as the Brisket, Point, Flank, Neck and Shanks.

As you can see, it’s now a mixture of trim from all over the carcass and hence the name “Ground Beef”. The Regular, Medium, Lean and Extra Lean designations are arrived at by determining the fat content of each one.

In some cases, the store will mix their “house” trimmings with really lean tubes of Cryovaced Ground Beef from the slaughterhouse.

These Cryovaced tubes are usually 80/20 or 86/14 meaning 80% Lean and 20% fat … you get the picture.  They vary depending on the requirements of the meat department for example: during the day the “House Trim” is ground, then a determination is made on how many tubes are needed in order to make it fall within the “Fat Test Range” established by the store. If the package says “Lean Ground Beef no more that 15% fat” then you can reasonably assume a “Fat Test” has been performed, and the Ground Beef has tested “Less than 15%” which allows it to be called “Lean Ground Beef”.

Ok so, what makes the BEST hamburgers??

Well, this will vary from person to person BUT, … I can tell you MY personal favourite is a mixture of cuts beginning with BLADE EYES then, I like to add boneless SHORT RIBS and, BRISKET.

bigstock-Chuck-Steak-Top-View-25788383

BEHOLD!! The beautiful Blade (Chuck) Eye. Note: the marbling and fat … mmmmmm!

 

diagram

The Blade (Chuck) portion is a hard working Shoulder muscle used for support and mobility

The ratio of fat to lean plus, the benefit of lots of connective tissue and collagen makes this selection of cuts an EXCELLENT, if the not THE VERY BEST choice for ground beef.

The front shoulder is the area of the carcass I ALWAYS use when I’m making Ground Beef for anything … Meatloaf, Spaghetti sauce, Tacos and Burritos, especially BURGERS!!

AND … the ONLY thing that ALWAYS makes this Ground Beef better is … PORK FAT!

Yup,… just ask Emeril Lagasse!

emeril-bio2

When in doubt … add Pork fat!!

I ALWAYS add Pork fat when I grind my beef mixture … it makes (in my humble opinion) the very BEST Ground Beef, for ANY application you can find (excuse me while I wipe my chin).

Lastly, … I know there are a LOT of people who swear by the “Trinity”, Ground Beef, Ground Pork and Ground Veal.

And I say Hey, … live and let live.

For me … Ground Blade (chuck) eyes, Short ribs, Brisket and Pork fat makes the Angels sing and … why fix what ain’t broke!!

One final thought about the perfect Ground beef and, this is VERY important people.

GroundBeef

Keep it loose folks!!!

When making burgers (or anything, really) it’s vitally important NOT to overwork the meat before forming it into patties. Believe me folks, care needs to be taken here or you’ll end up disappointed.

Less is definitely more so PLEASE don’t ‘pack’ your patties … you’ll be rewarded with a much better ‘mouth feel’

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