Of Flanks, Skirts (Hangers), Briskets and all things delicious.

Greetings Carnivores,

I got a message on the weekend from my Sister, asking me the difference between the Skirt, Flank and Brisket and whether or not they could all be treated the same way.

The answer is  … yes, and DEFINITELY no.

Here’s the skinny.

Since the Flank and Skirt (sometimes referred to as “Hanger”) both come from the “Flank” portion of the hind quarter, yes … they can be treated the same way. They are often found in Asian and Latino recipes … can you say stir fry and FAJITAS !!


The humble Flank steak

The Flank steak (click here) is a flat muscle, found on either side of the carcass and is usually roughly a bit larger than twice the size of your hand. It can be as much as a couple of inches thick and is NOT well marbled with long muscle fibers running it’s full length.

Click here for a link to my friend Chef Jeff Parker’s flank steak recipe.  


The beautiful Skirt steak

Now, the Skirt steak (click here) is actually a part of the diaphragm that separates the vital organs from the digestive tract, and the entire piece could be as long a 2 feet, as wide as 6-8 inches and up to a few inches thick.

Click here for a link to Chef Jeff Parker’s awesome detail on Skirt (hanger) Steak … couldn’t have said it better myself Jeff !!

Ok so, both of these muscles are EXCELLENT on the BBQ as long as you DON’T overcook them. This is absolutely key AND … always slice them ACROSS THE GRAIN.

Now, the  Brisket (click here), on the other hand comes from the front quarter of the beef carcass.  (put your hands on your sternum and move them from the centre,  across your chest towards your arm pits)  This is the area the Brisket comes from.

There are TWO muscles in the Brisket portion … the ‘flat’ muscle is called the ‘point’ and the fatty ‘knob’ that sits on top is called the ‘deckel’.

The Brisket is DEFINITELY NOT a tender piece of meat … BUT, with all that beautiful, white fat, collagen and connective tissue; when you add the right blend of spices, a BUNCH of TLC, a LONGSLOW cook and a kiss of smoke … well, NOW you have a piece of meat that will make you wanna cry.

Heck … all those Texans have been doing something right with the Brisket for eons so … they “might” be onto something. (do ya think???)

These bad boys are not readily found in the big supermarkets basically because they pretty much all go from the processing plant into the making of “Corned Beef”. Don’t dispair, if you have a small butcher shop in your area, drop in and ask for it then, look up a recipe for Beef brisket on the ‘net’ and get busy.

REMEMBER FOLKS … YOU CANNOT RUSH THIS PIECE OF MEAT … it is a LONG, SLOW, LABOUR OF LOVE but … when it’s done right … oh my !!

Masters of the BBQ and smoker GAWDS,  “The Patrons of the Pit” (click here for their Brisket method) show you how to render the mighty Brisket into something truly beautiful (my mouth is watering).

There you have it Carnivores, and to my beautiful Sister … I hope I answered your questions. If not, I’ll see you on Sunday and we can continue this discussion.

I LOVE getting questions because they usually help me come up with Blog post topics so … keep ’em coming !! 🙂

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


Yard work? Phooey, get over it and, … smoke some ribs!!

Greetings Carnivores,

Well, … the 1st long weekend of the Summer has come and gone, and what a spectacular weekend it was!

Bright sunshine, moderate breeze, perfect for … chores???

Yikes, … the long weekends of my youth were spent in a carefree way, swimming, hanging out with good friends and … maybe even a little bit of drinking … WHAT HAPPENED???

Oh ya, … with age comes responsibility and, just like death and taxes, … yard work and planting are a Spring passage that’s unavoidable.

May long weekend 20013 004

New fence, planted pots … what else do you do on a warm early Summer day?? Oh ya, smoke some Pork back ribs while you work !!

Fortunately for me, I WAS able to smoke some Pork back ribs but … only because it takes HOURS to do them and, guess what?  Between swapping out the snow tires for the all season radials (they’re not really ALL season around here), digging post holes, building a new cedar rail fence, cutting the grass, planting all the gardens and flower pots, I was grateful I could walk away from my chores from time to time, grab a cold libation and check the progress of my smoker!

Ok so, … the ribs. I started with two beautiful racks of Pork back ribs and removed the membranes from the inside. Then, I painted them with plain-jane yellow prepared mustard on both sides. You can use any kind of mustard, I just happen to like the yellow stuff. Next, I generously sprinkled them with sea salt, and followed that with dried Rosemary leaves. That’s it.

Meanwhile, outside  my smoker was prepped and lit. Mine is a  “water” model but I added Pineapple juice to the pan instead (you can use any kind of juice … it bathes the meat in moist  sweet humidity while they smoke). When it reached 220 degrees, I added my moistened Apple wood chips, stood my ribs in a rack, placed them on the grill, popped the lid on and … went back to work.

As you probably already know … smoking is a labour of love that must be tended to from time to time so … this offered me many occasions to take a much needed break between jobs in the yard.

After 3 hours in the smoker I removed them, generously slathered them in BBQ sauce (use your favourite), placed them bone-side down in a glass baking dish, placed a little more Pineapple juice in the bottom, (don’t drown them) and covered TIGHTLY with heavy tin foil. Hold them in a 250 degree oven until dinner time and finish (to caramelize the sugars in the sauce) on the grill.

I have to apologize here Carnivores. I’m really kicking myself in the butt because … I didn’t take any photos. What a shame too because, they looked and tasted spectacular. I have to pay homage to my Blogging friends in the great State of Minnesota, (click here) The Patrons of the pit. They ALWAYS write the BEST prose and BBQ posts, AND accompany them with awesome photos too. Check them out.

Sorry folks, next time I won’t be sooo remiss … you’ll just have to try this method for yourselves and take your own photos.

Until then, 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

Tonight’s dinner/Blog inspiration … the Mighty Pork Shoulder (Boston Butt)

Greetings Carnivores,

Sometimes … no, often … I find myself challenged to write something. Strange, since I could usually talk your ears off about anything meat related.

The problem is, my mind often races while at work … “I’ll chat about this tonight” or, “Hey, that would make a great topic for the Blog.”

Then, reality.

I arrive home exhausted, my two beautiful four-legged Princesses meet me at the door and … it’s ON!! Full-on play time and run for a good hour. Then, … jeeze, where’d the time go???

Today, my Blog inspiration comes from … dinner.

Ok so, last night I took one of my favourites out of the freezer … 1 inch steaks, cut from the mighty pork shoulder butt or Boston Butt.

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The Mighty Pork Shoulder (Boston) Butt

A while ago, I fired up my smoker, got the coals up to temp and added my wood chips (tonight it’s Apple). Then, I placed the Pork steaks on the grill and walked away. This afternoon I’m not really interested in actually ‘cooking’ my steaks … I just want to impart a beautiful wood smoke flavour to them … my Crock Pot slow cooker will do the rest but, I’m getting ahead of myself.

Ok so, back inside I got my Crock Pot rocking with a VERY simple mixture of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup,(2 cans), one tub of Sour Cream (500ml), 1 tbsp of Quick cooking Tapioca (to thicken the whole thing a little bit) and fresh Rosemary (a couple of sprigs, whole).

(Later) After a couple of hours I will remove the pork from the smoker, add it to the Crock Pot, completely cover with the soup/sour cream mixture, set to high, cover, … and go get a drink.

Finish libation, pour another.

(Later) After 3 1/2 hours, I’ll serve this with broad egg noodles, and a side of something green (tonight it’s Broccoli). This beautiful smoky Pork steak will fall apart and literally MELT in my mouth. Don’t forget to spoon the gravy onto the noodles … yum, yum!! This isn’t so much a recipe sharing as it is a fantastic treatment for the beautiful Pork Shoulder butt … go get some, and experiment.

Ladies and Gentlemen, is there anything easier than a meal made in a Crock Pot?

My Marital equivalent will be very happy tonight. 🙂

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