Friday, February 26, 2010

#MeatCamp - Cooking Head To Tail

The Head to Tail philosophy of eating is, thankfully, one of the fastest growing food trends. At this week's MeatCamp(tm) chat, we held an introductory session on how to identify and cook the not-so-fancy cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, including offal.

We were joined by a few formal guests including Larry Liang (@DJPegLeg), an avid home cook and apprentice to Becky Selengut (@ChefReinvented - watch for her upcoming cookbook on sustainable seafood) and The Unknown Chef (@TheUnknownChef) of EastVillageRadio. If you don't know these folks yet, you will. Give them a follow!

As usual, participants ran the gamut from Mike Smuckers (@Tweef_32), an artisan butcher in Pennsylvania to those who love offal (@FoodiePrints) and those who don't (too many tripe-haters out there to mention). We had grass-fed and grain-fed beef ranchers, chefs, home cooks, BBQ fanatics, food activists and entrepreneurs, 4-H farmers, restaurateurs, and lots of lurkers.

Much of the comments were on beef (no doubt because that's been my main focus to date) but the principles are the same for all meats. You can read the full transcript here.


Cuts from the front (Chuck) and back (Round), where the muscles get more exercise, can be a bit tougher than those from the middle, where the well known New York Strip Loin (Kansas City Steak), Filet Mignon, Rib-Eye, and Sirloin steaks are found.

Fortunately, there are easy ways to cook meat cuts from the front and back ends. Dutch ovens, crock pots, and learning to braise and stew are simple and easy.

DJPegLeg For beef cheeks, short ribs, and oxtail I’ll braise them. Oxtail in a chinese style braise: #meatcamp -8:21 PM

DJPegLeg Sure, so braising is essentially cooking something at a relatively low temperature for a long time using moist heat.#meatcamp -8:25 PM

DJPegLeg Typically you sear your meat first to help build some flavor. Braising is good for tougher cuts of meat because it helps break…#meatcamp -8:26 PM

TheUnknownChef @carrieoliver Braising is slow low temp cookin w/moisture always present. Stewing is small pieces submerged in liquid & braised. #meatcamp -8:35 PM

TheUnknownChef @carrieoliver Roastin is dry heat 4not so tough cuts u can do MR. Moist heat is 4 tough cuts that R loaded w/collagen.#meatcamp -8:39 PM

TheUnknownChef Now Braising is ANY situation where moisture stays present. You can braise in a dutch oven with NO ADDED LIQUID & U’ll luv me 4it #meatcamp -8:46 PM

Some don't agree that Chuck & Round cuts are tougher

tweef32 @meatcamp demand is growing for the ends but I think percp is tough but totally not true. #meatcamp -8:24 PM Feb 25th, 2010

Offal is a real challenge, despite some great efforts by individual chefs and some TV shows.

CamBrownJax @andreabakes When I was little I went into the kitchen once to see a giant cow’s tongue on the counter and was horrified,.#meatcamp -8:49

masterbutcher @meatcamp tripe tastes like it smells to me: wet dog. Something I don’t care for. #meatcamp -9:00 PM

Fortunately, some people love it and there are some ways to cook it to overcome barriers.

TheUnknownChef Big flavor OFFAL needs big flavored accompaniments to BALANCE out the richness & intensity of flavor of the meat.#meatcamp -9:09 PM

DJPegLeg I became a heart fan when I had anticucho, which is a Peruvian preparation where they grill the heart after marinating.#meatcamp -8:16 PM

Feastfinefoods @iTweetMeat sweetbreads, pigs ears, lamb brains, lamb tongue, lamb liver are all top notch IMO #meatcamp -8:56 PM

The key barriers to offal include:

TheUnknownChef @carrieoliver freshness is the biggest barrier w/offal. Most often its not fresh at butcher so its even more “gamey”#meatcamp -9:03 PM

DJPegLeg @carrieoliver I think the biggest barrier is the unknown. Not knowing how to cook it or what it’ll taste like. #meatcamp -9:03 PM

tgnh Biggest barrier: not easy to find supply. Will have to make arrangements with local purveyors from farmers mrk #meatcamp -9:04 PM

winemedineme @CarrieOliver I am a bit freaked about messing it up.#meatcamp -9:04 PM

Bev_W @CarrieOliver Could be it has seeds in class struggles. Offal for the poor. With restos doing great stuff w/cheap cuts, ppl see what's poss. #meatcamp -7:27 PM

Asked how we'd make offal more hip led to some great ideas.

Herbguy Make illegal except 4 royality;) clever suggestions on how to make offal & lesser cuts hip (beyond restaurant)? #meatcamp /via@CarrieOliver -9:12 PM

cbsop @CarrieOliver just call ‘em the good bits ;) #meatcamp -9:15 PM

nel1jack Rachel Ray could do it #meatcamp -9:20 PM

fourgreenis @iTweetMeat Took tongue to a potluck, had a great sauce and I only said it was beef. All liked it. #meatcamp -9:12 PM

Finally, some great recipe links:

DJPegLeg I really like this brisket recipe, it’s super easy: #meatcamp -8:31 PM

meatcamp If anyone has recipes to share, plz do so. I’ll send my mom’s beef stew. #meatcamp -8:29 PM

andreabakes Recipe for tripe #meatcamp -9:03 PM

Please join us every Thursday at 8pm ET on Twitter or use the #MeatCamp hashtag any time. If you have topics you'd like to see covered or would like to be a guest yourself, please contact me or Chris Raines @iTweetMeat.

MeatCamp (tm) and #MeatCamp (tm) are trademarks of The Oliver Ranch Company (tm) and The Artisan Beef Institute (tm). Twitter use is an extension of this education and tasting program designed to create an open, friendly forum in which I and Dr. Chris Raines, Extension Meats Specialist and Assistant Professor at Penn State University's Department of Dairy & Animal Science, seek to demystify meat and to celebrate the great artisan farmers, ranchers, truckers, slaughterhouse workers, butchers, chefs and home cooks who help bring it to our plates.


GreenRanchingMom said...

Excited to participate in this week's #MeatCamp! Hopefully the cows & weather will cooperate this week.

New Post on about Rendering Tallow on the Grill going up!

Thanks Carrie for all you do to promote beef!

Melanie said...

Thanks, nice blog

Mary Simpson said...

WhatS happening, Carrie? Your blog has stopped. Our lovely rotokawa Devon have arrived. London food and wine show this weekend. The arts and cookery bank going strong. Still thinking about a beef tasting

kualitas kayu said...

Is this meat camp still available now in 2012?

Carrie Oliver said...

Hi, there,

They'll be starting up again in 2013! Would you like me to add you to our notification list?