Meat Picks | 5.30.13

Discount Tix

Lawn2012_2 Today – as of 10 a.m. – a limited amount of discount tickets will be sold (online only) for the coveted annual Chicago Gourmet food and wine fest slated for September 27th through the 29th this year. Normally priced at $159 for a single day admission and $265 for two-day tickets, the discount batch will sell for $119 and $199. More event info at: http://www.illinoisrestaurants.org/associations/2039/chicagogourmet/.

What the Cronut?

cronut_2575295bHave you heard about all the hoopla over “cronuts”?  Created at Chef Dominique Ansel’s bakery in Manhattan, the sweet shop gained national attention for their new creation – the cronut – a half donut, half croissant concoction the Chef says took ten attempts to perfect.

Long lines and limited quantities (baked daily) have only added to popular demand. Estimated to be as much as 500 calories per ‘nut, people are actually selling and buying the elusive $5 delectable on Craig’s List for as much as $40 a pop!   

Perfect Packets 

FoilGrillFoodnetwork.com’s post on 50 Things to Grill in Foil is definitely worth your gander. The list offers lots of ideas for things you don’t traditionally associate with grilling like, #16, Meatballs with sawuce and #21, Frozen Ravioli with zucchini and tomatoes. There are also some unique recipes for foods you’d never think of grilling like, olives, nuts and bok choy.

Our favorite, #44, Plums & Onions: Toss 4 quartered plums, 1 sliced red onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, some thyme sprigs, and salt and pepper on a sheet of foil. Form a packet. Grill over medium-high heat, 12 minutes.

For those who’ve yet to master perfect packet making, FN offers these instructions:
1. Lay a large sheet of heavy-duty foil or a double layer of regular foil on a flat surface.
2. Put the ingredients in the center of the foil. Bring the short ends of the foil together and fold twice to seal; then fold in the sides to seal, leaving room for steam.

pretzelbunsBreaking Bread

Wendy’s reports testing of their new Pretzel [bun] Bacon Cheeseburger are favorable. (Who doesn’t love pretzel buns!?) The chain also plans on adding flat breads to their menu repertoire in an effort to offer, “five-star breads at three-star prices,” as one company spokesman put it.

Replay

InHungryHoundRuss Cropped case you missed it, our own Chef Russ Kramer was on the Hungry Hound last Saturday on ABC7Chicago offering great steak takeaway and top grill tips to kick off the summer grilling season.

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From the desk of John Cecala Twitter @ Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page

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Hashtag NRA Show

There’s something special about the #NRAShow [National Restaurant Association Show]. Billed as an “international foodservice marketplace”, the NRA Show is big news to a lot of people, perhaps because nearly one in 10 American workers are employed in the restaurant industry – ‘big’, to say the least. More than 60,000 buyers and suppliers are expected to attend the four day event at McCormick Plachydroponic_image_250pxe beginning this Saturday, May 18th.

There will be loads of educational sessions, guest speakers, (Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz, will be doing the keynote), celebrity chefs, and numerous special exhibits such as a “fully functioning hydroponic garden that will grow local, all-natural, pesticide-free produce – on the show floor”. Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a water and mineral nutrient solution without soil.

Show Local Supportshowbooth - small

We are equally excited to be an exhibitor at the show again this year. In the meat industry this year’s hottest trends are: gourmet burgers, grass fed beef and local.

The definitions of “local” and “sustainable” are changing rapidly and expanding beyond environmental concerns as the marketplace responds to consumer interest for healthier eating, humane animal treatment and better food quality. ‘Local’ points to these issues and more – food safety, family farmers and sustainable agriculture – to name a few.

BuedelLocalLogoTMOur company is a family owned business and in honor of all local and family owned businesses we are launching a new program in show of support at the NRA Show. (Please feel free to use our local logo to share in the cause!) We’ve also put together a great little cheat sheet on How to Buy Local explaining the basics of what to look for when buying local and sustainable foods. Stop by the Buedel booth at the show for more information, #7864!

Fun Foods

Part of the fun at the NRA Show is of course, the food. The exhibit halls are filled with new products to sample. Here are some of the new items we’ve put on our must see list:

Ditka Hot Beef Polish Sausage – an eight inch long, 1/3 lb. spicy sausage from Vienna Beef tditkasausagehat’s geared to be a “Grabowski” classic.

Upland Cress – just one of several specialty greens from family farmed and  sustainable, Living Water Farms in Strawn, Illinois.

tspwillieTeaspoon Willies Everything Sauce – a gourmet, all natural, organic tomato based sauce to be used as a staple condiment at every meal. (We have to try it, just because of the name!)

Grandpa G’s Jalapeno Butter Mustard – noted as a “relish”, Grandpa G’s has  ProductLarge4981.jpgfresh grated jalapenos mixed in with sugar tangy mustard. 

All Butter Croissant Roll Round – round shaped croissants for sandwiches; great idea!

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From the desk of John Cecala Twitter @ Buedel Fine Meats  Facebook  Buedel Fan Page 

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Ribs 101 for Summer Grilling

The summer grilling season is fast approaching and for those of us who live in four season climates, reuniting with our backyard barbeques is an annual rite of spring. Whether you grill year round or not, no matter how you fire it up, it’s that first grill of the season that rejuvenates our fervor for outdoor cooking.

Pork Rib Diagram v4Soon we’ll start seeing ads for ribs – Baby Back, Spare, St. Louis, Country Style, Tips, Roasts and Chops – a wealth of options to grill and prepare. Here’s a quick 101 primer for

distinguishing between rib varieties and some tips on the best ways to grill ribs this season.

Hog Anatomy

We’re all familiar with the term “Rib Cage”, where there is an arrangement of long bones that surround the chest to protect internal organs. Long rib bones start from the top of animals by the spine and extend downward with a curved shape towards the belly.  These are the ribs butchers break down for consumption.

BabyBackRibsBaby Back Ribs   The most popular of all pork ribs, Baby Backs are the most lean and tender.  These types of ribs are located at the top part of the rib bone that is connected to the spine (backbone), just below the loin muscle.  The name “Baby” is derived from the fact they are shorter than spare ribs, and “Back”, because they are nearest the backbone.

Butchers make Baby Back Ribs by cutting them where the longest bone is, around 6″ from the spine.  The meat on top of the bones is tender and delicious.  Depending on how they are butchered, Baby Back Rib racks weigh about 1.75-2.5 lbs and will normally have between 10-13 bones per rack.  Baby Backs  can be grilled, barbecued, roasted and smoked. They are typical to the northern region of the U.S. and  Canada.

SpareRib 416Spare Ribs  The Spare Rib starts from the end of Baby Back Ribs and extends to the end of the rib bone.  Spare Ribs are bigger with more meat between the bones than the top of the bones and are a little tougher and fatter, but much richer in flavor.  Spare Ribs average 10-13 bones per rack weighing between 2.5 – 3.5 lbs. They can also be grilled, barbecued, roasted and smoked.

St. Louis Ribs  This style of ribs was popularized in the 1930’s – 1960’s by butchers in the St. Louis area who wanted a better rib cut than they were receiving from big meat packers at the time.  St. Louis Ribs, or St. Louis Style Ribs are actually Spare Ribs with the rib tips cut off where a lot of cartilage and gristle exists with very little meat.  “Pork Ribs, St. Louis Style” officially became an official USDA cut standard NAMP/IMPSStLouisRib416a #416A in the 1980’s. Spare Ribs and St. Louis Style Spare Ribs are found on grills and smokers in the southern states of the U.S.

Rib Tips   Rib Tips are found at the end tips of the rib bone. They are the by-products of St. Louis Ribs where butchers cut the tips off the end of the ribs into strips with a saw. Even with little meat and a lot of cartilage and gristle, Tips are rich in flavor due to the presence of bone and higher fat content.  People generally either love them or hate them.

CountryStyleCountry-Style Ribs   You may be surprised to know that Country-style Ribs are not cut from the rib cage but from the front end of where the Baby Back Ribs are near the shoulder blade.  They are the meatiest variety of ribs and are perfect for those who prefer to use a knife and fork rather than eating with their hands.

Rib Chops & Roasts  Rib bones are also used in other types of butcher cuts.  Rib Chops are produced where the loin meat is kept attached to the bone and portion cut into a chop.  The end of the rib bone can also be exposed to create a “French Cut” Rib Chop.  A Crown Roast is created when instead of cutting the loin into chops, it’s formed into a circle and tied to look like a crown.  Crown style roasts are  seasonal holiday favorites.

Beef, Lamb & Veal Ribs

The anatomy of pork, beef, lamb and veal is pretty much the same.  Beef ribs are typically produced as Beef Back Ribs, Beef Short Ribs and Beef Rib Chops – aka bone-in rib eye steak.  Denver Ribs are like St. Louis pork ribs but cut from lamb.

A set of five or more ribs together is known as a “rack”; veal and lamb ribs are sold as ‘racks’. Lamb and veal racks are typically roasted whole or cut between the rib bones into chops.

Top Grilling Tips

Regardless of the species, ribs are full of flavor and can be prepared in any number of ways.  You can be creative with different rubs, sauces and marinades, to grill, roast, smoke or braise a variety of rib dishes.  Our Corporate Chef, Russ Kramer, shares his top grill tips below:

Tip #1 – Cook to Perfection

There are a few methods to prepare pork ribs for the summer. Your number one goal should be to serve ribs that have a tender bite off the bone but never where the meat falls off the bone. Ribs that fall off the bone will do you in at competition BBQ s!

Tip #2 – Use Rubs

Rib rubs differ from steak rubs because they are generally sweeter; steak rubs are more savory. As a general guideline, use a Paprika base with spices such as, garlic, onion, cinnamon, clove and dry mustard. (For sweet, I use turbinado sugar.) Herbs are best left for steak rubs.

Generously sprinkle your favorite rib rub a good hour before cooking to let the flavors work into the meat. Be creative and experiment with your different combinations of spice and sweet until you find your favorite.

Tip #3 – Cooking Method

Over medium heat, grill the slabs until they are seared and caramelized, then switch to the indirect heat method and slowly finish cooking. This can take about 3 hours to get the nice bite off the bone. Then sauce them at the end.

Extra Tip  Use a spray bottle with some apple juice in it and spray the ribs every 30 minutes to help keep them moist.

Tip #4 – Smoke Ribs (Competition Style)

Stoke the fire using lump charcoal and fruit wood such as apple. The fruit woods work well with pork since their smoke profile tends to be milder than a hickory or mesquite. Pork, being a lighter meat works best with a milder smoke.

Generously sprinkle your favorite rib rub a good hour before cooking to let the flavors work into the meat. You can also rub on some yellow mustard for a tangy flavor.

Maintain the smoker temperature at 250 degrees. Place ribs in the smoker and slow smoke for 4 hours spraying them down every 30 to 40 minutes with the apple juice infused with a bit of apple cider vinegar.

Foil the slabs after 4 hours by wrapping each slab individually in foil. In the foil pouch, add brown sugar and/or honey, some butter and a little apple juice to help steam the ribs a bit while in the smoker for the final time.

Let them cook for an hour and check for doneness. You will see the bones exposed a bit at the bottom of the slab – that’s a good sign. Remember that ‘tender bite off the bone’ is what you are looking for.

Once the ribs have cooked to perfection, pull the slabs from the foil and brush with your favorite sauce. Return to the smoker for about 10 minutes more to glaze the sauce.

Whether you use the traditional grill or the wood smoked method, have a fantastic grilling season!

From the desk of John Cecala  Twitter @BuedelFineMeats  Facebook  Fan Page

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Meat Picks | 5.3.13

May is National Burger Month!

burgerIt seems like every time you turn around it’s a special time – take your dog to work day, social media week and yes, national burger month.

According to the Restaurant News, the hamburger first came to life in Hamburg, Germany sometime in the 1600’s. Back then it was called, “steak tartar”.  Americans can take credit for its development into a patty on a bun in the early 1900’s, in part due to the Industrial Age, where the need for easy to grab foods was favored by an ever growing working population.

In 1921, White Castle opened the first fast food burger store in Kansas. Interestingly enough, they are also responsible for starting the now annual month long burger promotion, 71 years later in 1992 – as a marketing campaign, of course.

More fun facts:

When the Heinz company opened for business in 1869, ketchup was soon married to the hamburger. It wasn’t until the 1940’s when onions, pickles and lettuce joined the wedding party.

The Big Boy chain created the double cheeseburger in 1936.

Other chain birthdates: Steak ‘n Shake, 1934, Jack in the Box, 1951, Burger King, 1954, McDonald’s (under Ray Kroc) 1955, Hardee’s, 1960  and Wendy’s, 1969.

Local Meat Men Lasso East Coast

In a recent Meat Up blog, we sTallGrassBoxhared some thoughts on how working together and embracing market trends can be a “win-win-win” for local, the economy and the consumer.

Buedel recently partnered with Tallgrass Beef to produce and distribute 100% grass-fed beef burgers for supermarket giant, Delhaize America. This is huge news because 1,400 chain stores in the east coast regions will be receiving healthier beef alternatives via Chicago. Earlier this week, Meating Place also carried the story.

Looking for more Gourmet Burger ideas?  Click here

Farmers Market Schedule

fmbannerThe complete schedule for all of Chicago’s Farmers Market locations is available here. This year, there’ll also be several after five dates where the market will stay open till 8 or 9 at night – great news for people who can’t make daytime shopping hours!

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From the desk of John Cecala Twitter @BuedelFineMeats Facebook BuedelFanPage

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