Thursday, April 8, 2010

Beef is What's For Dinner

You've heard of silent Wednesday but maybe I took it a little too far. Then again is silent Wednesday really silent if you post?
Yes, we cut up the beef and the day after the whole marriage mess blew up and the kids moved in. Yup, I never did post anything so I'll say a little bit today.

If you'll recall the most tender meat of a beef is along the back, right along the spine. It is the tenderloin. You can have just the loin cut out but then there goes your T-bones. In the photograph note the difference in texture from the meat on the left side and that on the right. The amount of meat on the right is less also. This righthand section is the tenderloin. There is just more meat included with it and that makes the T- bone named for the T shaped bone running down through it. Being partial to T-bones we loook for a long backed beef. Long legs don't do much for you as it's just bone and are only needed if the cattle have to walk a long ways. Across out pen isn't very far so give us a long back and muscle that carries way down into the legs any ole day.
Next comes Porterhouse steak just in front of the T-bones toward the shoulder. That means that as you move forward cutting the T-bones the loin section becomes smaller and smaller until it is no more. The Porterhouse is still a very tender steak. As for a top loin steak or a tenderloin, we don't cut those as it is cutting up the T-bone steaks into smaller pieces. Though I must admit I love that tenderloin area on my T-bone. I usually eat it first. The hindquarters is the next most tender meat and from this you get a Tip roast and a few steaks that we cube. A cuber cuts partway into the meat tenderizing it further. If you have a bad case of TMJ in your jaws like I do this machine is heaven.

The back and hindquarters are fairly quick to cut up but its the shoulders that take all the time. Little is sliced on the meat saw and most of the work is done by hand. This is where most of your hamburger will come from. To send it through the ginder it is best to cut it up into 1 inch cubes. Lots and lots of 1 inch cubes. This is put into a food bin and into another bin goes cubed chunks of fat trimmed from steaks and roasts. Then you weigh a portion of fat to meat ratio on a meat scale and mix, then grind. Yes, the meat will have a little fat in it but you try to get a fairly accurate figure.

From the shoulder you also get my favorite roasts, Chuck roasts. The shoulder may be the least tender meat but the Chuck roast slowly roasted in a crockpot or oven can't be beat for wonderful rich flavor. As for stew meat you can get it from the shoulder or anywhere else but we use the areas of the beef that are more tender. Anywhere where we have to trim off a little meat from a roast or something. We don't cut up a lot of stew meat.

Do we cut our meat a bit different than a butcher? Yes, we do because he will trim the roast into a lovely rectangular or square shape and we leave ours a bit ragged in form. It tastes the same and why trim that lovely meat off and throw it in for hamburger? Americans once wanted a little hamburger and lots of roasts and steaks. Now its lots of hamburger and a few roasts and steak. Well we cut up ours the old fashion way since it is much easier to serve up a roast and steak than a casserole with hamburger. Besides I refuse to use soups from a can. Also we trim areas such as between the ribs and such to make into hamburger. Something that is tedious and time consuming. A butcher won't go to the lengths we will because he doesn't get paid enough to do so. I guess you could say we are more frugal. Or glunten for punishement take your pick.

Reginald is such a tolerant cat. We love him. He might give her a irritated look but normally he doesn't do much when she tugs on his hair and pats him in a beating manner. If it gets bad enough he just runs off. As for the chicks you'd better have them locked up or their lunch for he's a great hunter. We did have a cat years ago, a Manx, that when the chicks got out of their cage she'd herd them back. Nurse Buttercup we called her because when ever the kids had a cold and sneezed she'd jump on the bed run up to them, climb on their chest, and gaze into their face checking them out thoroughly before jumping off the bed again. Of course when the kids were sick, she would soon be also. As for the baby chicks hatching, it holds great facination for the oldest grand daughter and she sits intently by the incubator. She caught one in the final stages of hatching and was able to watch it break free of the shell. She sat by that incubator for thirty minutes watching an listening. It usually takes hours for one to work their way out. A few are quick but that's rare. Most of the time they not only take a break but a nap also. "Grandma, Grandm come watch!, whe cried when the chick began to break free. Of course it was an event I've seen many times and her mother also. That's okay it is still a wonderous, miraculous sight.

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