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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Venison | A Winter Menu Delight!

Venison (deer meat) has a rich complex taste and tender supple texture. High in protein, low in saturated fat and loaded with healthy B vitamins, Venison is also considered a healthier meat choice. A serving of Venison loin has less cholesterol and calories than skinless chicken and well over a third less total fat.

Venison makes a great winter menu alternative.

Farm Raised Venison

Wild or farm raised, the flavor of Venison comes from its diet. Unlike beef cattle, Venison have small simple stomachs and thus graze upon easily digestible foods such as, leaves, grass, shoots, lichens, fungi and fruit. Farm raised Venison is preferable in taste and texture than its wild counterpart.

Consumers who believe they dislike the taste of Venison usually feel that way when their experience is limited to wild-shot male game animals harvested at hunting season – at the height of their combative reproductive cycle. These animals may be several years of age, have elevated hormone content (lactic acid, testosterone, adrenalin) and may be in poor physical condition and/or under stress.  As such, their meat tends to be tougher and more “gamey” in taste.

It is for these reasons, plus species-specific and “varietal” characteristics that make farmed Venison a very different meat product which produces a uniquely different and pleasing culinary experience.

Domestic Venison

Domestic farm raised Venison is largely produced in Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio.

Farmed/ranched Venison cuts are quite similar to beef cuts. Mild and tender, domestic gourmet Venison is also lower in fat, calories and cholesterol than beef, pork and lamb. Gourmet chefs have a special appreciation for this lean meat.

New Zealand Cervena® Venison

Some of the best tasting Venison comes from New Zealand, certified as Cervena® Natural Tender VenisonCervena® is distinguished from all other Venison by the trademarked assurance that the meat has been naturally produced, and processed in accredited plants, according to a system of high quality standards.

Similar to the way Champagne only comes from France, Cervena® only comes from New Zealand under some of the highest inspection standards in the world. Cervena® certified deer must be New Zealand farm bred, entirely grass fed and raised naturally without steroids or growth hormones.

Cervena® deer must also be three years or under to ensure tender, mild flavored meat. As deer age, the tougher and more ‘gamey’ their meat becomes. Young animals produce consistently sized, delicious flavored meat. Cervena® certifications apply only to saddle and leg cuts.

For chefs, the Cervena® name guarantees they are working with the finest meat.

Popular Venison Cuts

There are seven popular Venison cuts:

  • Bone-In Saddle
  • Tenderloin
  • Strip Loin
  • Rib Rack
  • Leg Bone-In or Boneless Denver Leg
  • Ground Venison
  • Venison Stew Meat

Working with Venison is as easy as working with lamb or beef cuts. Recipes and cooking guide are readily available courtesy of Cervena®.

Tender, delicious and healthy, Venison delivers superb choice on winter menus.


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



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