Meat Picks | 9.4.14

B2—Bookings

With the holidaLeadGenGraphy booking season in full swing, hospitality, event planners and suppliers may gain inspiration from a new report by Chief Marketer, which provides 67% of B2B marketers say content marketing is one of the top channels they rely on for lead generation.

In addition to content marketing, the survey cites website registrations, social media and pay-per-click advertising “posted the most significant gains” in seeking new leads. Only 12% of respondents say they rely on single channels for lead gen versus 64%, who rely on multiple channels to drum up new business. Read more about the report here.

Top Cluck

BuedelPoultryPicAccording to an Allegra Food Service trend report, chicken accounts for 31% of all restaurant main dishes. Easy prep, cost and religious preference, are cited as the reasons for the recent spike in poultry popularity.

Other noted trend categories include street food, all-you-can-eat, small plates, healthy choices, gluten-free labeling, craft beer, all day breakfast, artisan coffee and BBQ. Trends on their way out are fruit bars, bubble tea and gourmet hot dogs.

Bacon Bubbles

BaconGumYou love bacon. We love bacon. But do we really want to chew this fat—in the form of bubble gum? Believe it or not, there are meatball, foie gras and pickle flavors available too. For more bizarre bubble brands, check out the Daily Meal’s weirdest gum flavors list.

If you want to stick with the real thing (and who doesn’t when it comes to bacon), The Great American Bacon Festival takes place this Saturday at Union Station. Buy tickets online.

Those who can’t make it to the fest this weekend might want to check out Zagat’s best bacon spots in Chicago; among the top picks, David Burke’s Primehouse and Benny’s Chop House.

From the desk of John Cecala || Website  LinkedIn  @BuedelFineMeats  Facebook

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Duck… Duck… Choose!

I had the pleasure of visiting with a California poultry farmer recently, who raises ducks and guinea hens for the foodservice industry. Unfamiliar with duck breeds, it was fascinating to learn more about those most popularized as specialty game poultry by culinary professionals. Here’s the Duck 101 on four of the most common breeds: Muscovys, Pekins, Mallards, and Mulards.

MallardMallards

The Mallard, or Wild Duck, is the ancestor of most domestic duck breeds. Males are called, “drakes” and females are called “hens”. They are considered wild waterfowl and commonly feed on flies, beetles, dragonflies, crustaceans, worms, seeds, roots and tubers.

In America, Mallards are a protected species which can be hunted seasonally only. Their meat is all dark with very little fat and often tastes greasy and gamey. This breed is often considered as “bottom feeders” and takes a back seat to other farm raised breeds delivering more desirable eating experiences.

Pekin Duck

Pekin Duck

Pekin

Pekin duck originated in China and was derived from the wild Mallard for domesticated egg and meat production. Brought to America in the 1870’s, this breed is the most common of domestic ducks and is also commonly known as White Pekin Duck, American Pekin Duck and Long Island Duck.

Pekin is the breed used for the popular Chinese dish, Peking Duck. Tender, mild and adaptable to a wide range of cuisines and flavor profiles, 95% of duck meat consumed in the US today are Pekin.

FYI: The ducks in those wacky AFLAC insurance commercials are Pekin.

MuscovyMuscovy

Muscovy duck is native to Mexico, Central and South America. The male Muscovy is known for its size and meatiness and can grow up to 15 pounds. Muscovy hens are much smaller than their male counterparts, growing up to only 7 pounds. The breed is both feral, and farm raised.

Due to their size, Muscovy drakes have the best yield of breast meat of all ducks. The meat is especially lean, and the skin is 50% lower in fat than the Pekin and Mulard breeds. Muscovy also has an exceptional bold flavor, preferred by many chefs over the Pekin breed.

Mulard Duck

Mulard Duck

Mulard (Moulard)

Mulard duck is a cross between Muscovy and White Pekin ducks, purposely raised for meat and foie gras (pâté). Propagated by mating Muscovy males with Pekin females, Mulards are born sterile. The parent breeds do not cohabitate well together, and thus most Mulards are produced by artificial insemination.

Mulards are larger in stature, have a stronger, gamier taste and have considerably fattier meat than Pekins. In France, the breed is referred to as Moulard, and its breast is called “Magret”. Mulard meat can be stringy and chewy, but the French covet the Magret for its rich flavor calling it, “duck steak”. Mulards are primarily raised for their livers for foie gras.

Duck BreastDishing Duck

Duck is highly nutritious and tasty when properly cooked. It is an excellent source of protein, and without its skin, Duck has an even lower caloric value than skinless chicken. (There are about 140 calories in 4 oz of duck breast without the skin.) The meat is also a good source of vitamins A, B3, C and minerals iron, selenium and calcium.

Duck can be purchased in a variety of ways: Whole, Bone-in Breast, Boneless Breast, Whole Breast, Legs, Liver, Wings, Gizzards, Natural Smoked Duck Breast, Duck Leg Confit, Duck Prosciutto and Duck Bacon.

Like chicken, Duck can also be prepared in numerous ways: Roast Duck, Deep Fried Duck, Smoked Duck Breast, Duck or Duck Leg Confit, Duck Prosciutto and Peking Duck.  Find more duck recipes here.

Duck is a delicacy that has been enjoyed for over 4,000 years. Now that I’ve come to understand the basic differences in the breeds most often used in cooking, I’m looking forward to giving more duck dishes a try.

From the desk of  John Cecala   @BuedelFineMeats   Fan Page   Slideshare

 

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5 Ideas to Spark Fall Menus

Braised Lamb Shank

Braised Lamb Shank

Who doesn’t love Fall? The weather is still enjoyable, football is back, and the leaves will soon turn those gorgeous red, purple and orange colors – it is my favorite time of year.

The seasonal change from warm days to chilly nights also signals the introduction of fall menus for chefs and restaurateurs.

September opens the door to robust dishes and heartier meats; wild game and duck are also now in season.

Here are some inspiring ideas for  building Fall menus using a variety of meat selections and slower cooking methods:

Shanks a lot!

Shanks are terrific for braising. They are fattier with more connective tissue rich with collagen that along with the bone adds fabulous flavor when cooked. Shanks are also relatively inexpensive. Lamb, Pork, and Veal Shanks make excellent braising choices.  

Rack of Lamb

Rack of Lamb

We recommend using Domestic Colorado lamb shanks, though Australian and New Zealand lamb will work too. Compared to imported lamb, which is typically grass fed, American lamb has grain in its diet and tastes less “gamey”. Domestic lamb is larger in size and presents beautifully on the plate; many say it is the highest in quality and consistency.

For pork shanks with a little something special, try the Duroc breed hogs. This breed produces well marbled very tasty meat and competitively compares with higher priced Berkshire or Kurobuta pork.  

When it comes to Veal shanks, Domestic No. 1 Special Fed veal is our favorite. These calves are raised on a milk formula supplement. Their meat color is ivory or creamy pink, with a firm, fine, and velvety appearance superbly tender and delicious.

Other Cuts

Beef Short Ribs

Beef Short Ribs

Bone-In Beef Short Ribs can be braised whole, or portion cut in a variety of ways, from traditional 3-bone short ribs to Tomahawk Cut single or double bone-in short ribs. Boneless short ribs can also be rolled & tied before braising for a unique plate presentation.

Shoulder Cuts of all types are also perfect for braising. Lamb, Pork, and Veal shoulder cuts are typically favored for stew dishes.  

Cheek Meat has become quite popular in trendy restaurants and bistros. Beef, pork, and veal cheeks are rich with flavor and suitable for producing smaller portions. Ox Tails are also excellent for braising.

Rotisserie Raves

Rotisserie cooking allows you to cook whole pieces of meat, which can be used across multiple dishes on your menu. This maximizes your yield, saves labor and leverages your food cost.

The best candidates for rotisserie cooking are Lamb Leg, Lamb Rack, Lamb Top Round, Veal Shoulder Pork Rack and Pork Loin. Chicken, Duck, and Cornish Hens are also traditional rotisserie favorites.

Get Your Game On

Venison 8 Rib Rack

Venison 8 Rib Rack

Game meats have also risen in popularity in recent years. Known to be highly flavorful, some of these meats also have lower fat content.

Elk, Venison, Bison, Rabbit and Duck all make great game for fall menus. Elk and Venison racks lend themselves well to a variety of recipes. Bison flanks and chuck rolls are excellent for hearty pot roast. Rabbit can be stewed or braised in a number of ways, and Duck is always a traditional favorite.

Recipe Starters

To help get your creative juices flowing, check out some of these fab Fall recipes for ideas:

Savuer – 25 Recipes for Braised Meats

Recipes from Chef Hans Susser: Roast Pork Butt, Braised Veggies, Pork Jus & Applesauce  Braised Oxtail & Potato Dumplings  Braised Beef Ribs In Red Wine

Recipes from Chef Danilo Alfaro:  Veal Shank Osso Buco  Braised Lamb Shoulder  Braised Chicken Stew

Happy Fall!

From the desk of  John Cecala   @BuedelFineMeats   Fan Page   Slideshare

 

 

 

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Air Chilled Chicken: Taste Above the Rest

If you’ve yet to experience the rich flavor of tender Air Chilled Chicken, you’re missing out on the enjoyment of some the best tasting all natural chicken you’ll ever have.

Production 101

Chicken processed at a poultry plant are subject to USDA inspection, just like beef or pork, and temperature control is an important part of the process.

The temperature of chicken carcasses after processing is about 100°F. Per USDA regulations, the carcasses need to be quickly chilled to 40°F or less for four to six hours to prevent growth of bacteria that cause it to spoil.

The whole processed chicken carcasses are then aged under refrigerated conditions to allow muscle fibers to relax which helps make chicken become more tender.

Water Chilling

Most chicken processors in the U.S. use a process called water chilling to quickly cool down the chicken.

Post inspection, the chickens are immersed in an ice cold bath of water mixed with chlorine and remain there for about an hour. The water in the bath is continually refreshed and it takes an average of seven gallons of water to process each chicken.

A chicken can absorb as much as 12% of its weight in added moisture during the water chilling process.  This is why there is little sponge like pads in fresh chicken packages – they are put there to absorb leaky water.

Consumers ultimately pay for this extra water weight which evaporates during the cooking process.

Air Chilling

An alternative cool down process called Air Chilling, standard in Europe and other parts of the world for decades, is now gaining popularity in the U.S.

In Air Chilling, chickens are individually hung by their feet to a rail system which moves through refrigerated chambers to quickly cool them down with cold dry air. The chickens “ride the rails” for over two hours and tenderize during the process.

Cleaner, Better Taste

Prior to cooking, Air Chilled Chickens look different with a more matte appearance and tighter skin. They have a cleaner taste that people describe as, “tasting like the way chicken used to taste”.

Research shows that air chilling leads to a better quality of breast filet meat. “In addition to improving meat quality,” says Dr. Julie Northcutt of the USDA Agricultural Research Service, “air chilling [also] provided higher cooked-meat yields than immersion chilling. Color and texture of skinless breast fillets were similar for both chilling methods.”

Northcutt’s research team believes that the lower cooked yield of the immersion-chilled fillets is the result of high moisture absorption during chilling, which is later cooked out of the product.

Air Chilling also reduces the spread of bacteria because the chickens are separated from each other when hung on the rails. It is estimated that air chilling saves about 30,000 gallons of chlorinated water a day. Roughly, 4.5 billion gallons of water per year could be saved if all chickens processed in the USA were air chilled – a definite plus for the environment.

Where to Buy

There are only a small number of companies that produce Air Chilled Chicken today so it can be hard to find in some areas. Consumers can buy it at specialty grocers such as Whole Foods Market, and through select boutique internet retailers.

Buedel Fine Meats & Provisions serves the commercial markets with Bell and Evans Air Chilled Chicken. We choose to represent them because their poultry is superior in quality and because they raise their chickens humanely in minimal-stress environments without hormones or antibiotics. Bell and Evans also has one of the most sophisticated air chilling systems in the country.

According to the National Chicken Council, the average American eats more than 90 pounds of chicken a year, yet many of us have yet to experience the natural flavor of Air Chilled Chicken. Restaurants can merchandise Air Chilled Chicken as a premium menu item; it has a unique story that will upgrade your poultry offerings as well as your profits.

Differentiate yourself with Air Chilled Chicken.

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

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