Wednesday, March 30, 2011

look at all that meat.... ain't she the bitter end!

No no, I'm sorry to deceive you.  I'm not talking about fat chicks (sorry to all the fat chicks out there who might be offended, I have no problems with you in fact I've had me a few in my day).  Anyways, I would be referring to the "nasty bits" as that tool Tony Bourdain would call them (alright he's not really a tool I'm just being crazy and jealous, of course I would sell out too lol).  Man, I get off track real easily.  Once again the "nasty bits" mainly referring to beef in this instance.  Not that I don't love pig's head or trotters, organs etc(what do you think is in most pork sausage).  What is my favorite parts of the cow?  How about you?  Honestly I don't care about yours hehe.
 short ribs

Ok you got me, hardly a nasty cut, but it wasn't always so freaking popular.  They weren't throw aways or anything but they once were referred to as peasant cuts.  These in particular short ribs are of the wagyu nature.  Marbled with oh so delicious fat that melts on your butcher's block before you can even finish trimming them.  I braised some up today (no I know thats not the only way to cook these spendy guys up but its my favorite).  I like to sear them in some sesame oil.  It gives them another layer of flavor adding a toasty aroma.  And thats what cooking is all about in my eyes.  Layers of flavor! After they're all seared off I saute my mirepoix in the fat and juices.  I like to add some leeks, shallots, and mushrooms (the cheap ones) to the mix as well.  Layer the flavor baby.  I then toss in some tomato paste, deglaze with some red wine, and top off with stock.  Toss in a bouquet garni and throw it in the oven for a few hours.  It's really hard to be depressed when these babies come out of the oven.


Yep, I lied.  Oxtail is my favorite piece of the cow.  No bull lol!  Sorry my jokes stink.  I braise this cut as well.  The ending result is the beefiest flavor I've ever tasted.  When I get them they are normally whole, but you would be wise to have them precut.  I don't sear them the same way though.  I like to toss them right on the grill and get that nice charred smoky flavor.  Otherwise I treat them about the same as old chuck.  When they come out of the oven and they have cooled I pull them out of the liquid.  I pick the meat and throw the bones back in the liquid and reduce to half.  I strain and then add the meat with some fresh mirepoix finely diced, and reduce 'til the liquid it almost gone.  Delicious with a many variety of options.  Oxtail marmalade is a favorite.  When your mixture cools it will gelatinize, and to be honest I eat it cold too.
beef tongue

No joke the best pot roast you'll ever eat.  Personally I like to make cold cuts out of them as well.  A little extra work though.  A lot of soaking time in ice water and some scrubbing of the thistles.  Probably a brining stage and then a braise.  After the braise you carefully peel the things like a banana.  Oooo and finally inside you have your delicious meat.  I am currently contemplating the task of cow tongue pastrami.


So technically it's not meat, but thats ok it's one of the most magical pieces on our mooing friends.  Although I have become aware of a few different types of tripe, honeycomb is the only one of which I have ever worked with.  Tripe is actually the stuff that the lines the stomach.  Gross right?  Wrong!  It can be a slight rubbery, but thats why you boil it for so long.  After boiling it for many hours with various ingredients (I tried alot of different things such as beer, buttermilk, etc. etc.) I've tossed it in some soup, menudo.  No not the Puerto Rican boy band (they are so great though lol).  I usually use some pork hocks and other various parts in this traditional Mexican stew.  Sometimes after boiling I brine the tripe and then batter and fry it.  Tripe fritters, good in sandwiches, pastas, or even on there own as a calamari look-a-like.  It's also known for it's hangover curing abilities.

There's many more untraditional parts I love. Which are actually more traditional than not.  We used to be more of a nose to tail culture.  I am ecstatic though to see a revival of these traditions in my generation.  It makes me feel like I'm doing right by my grandmother, God rest her soul.

Don't get me wrong though I love a good steak whether it's a tenderloin or a hangar, a ribeye or a skirt.  Especially topped with some bone marrow.

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