Tag Archives: meat arts

Battle Hymn of The Goat Father, Part 2

5 Dec

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Butchery Is Childsplay

8 Aug

Whether it’s continuing education classes, or competitions at food events, evidence of a growing interest in the nearly-lost art of animal butchery is all around us. Leave it to the folks at Schleich, the same forward-thinking German toy designers who brought us the Smurfs, to anticipate a child’s curiosity in the burgeoning trend.

And leave it to the crack team of investigative reporters here at stuntfoodways.com to secure the first images of this secret new toy line. Made from the same highly detailed, quality casting that has made the toy line a favorite of deep-pocketed parents the world over, a new line, Primal Cuts, now offers kids a toy with all the classic primal cuts clearly delineated on the hide of a cow, pig and sheep.

Cow with beef primal cuts chart

Pig with pork primal cuts chart
mutton with chart

The line (rumored to be expanding to lamb, chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, goats and possibly a horse) encourages kids to identify the source of those cuts of meat they eat every day (below right).Ooh, now there's a hard one lad, where does that Newport steak come from?

The new toy line allows kids to identify and locate the cuts of meat they eat everyday

An ambitious youngster can even use the clearly marked charts to memorize each cut (left).

Each toy comes with its own primal cut chart so kids can study and memorize every cut right down to the brisket

We at Stunt Foodways cheer the progressive thinking of the good folks in Schwäbisch Gmünd who are working to make learning about the harvesting and butchery of animal protein fun. High quality cuts of meat have always been enjoyable; now, with the new Primal Cuts line of domesticated animals, meat can also be a game.

Of course, not everybody approves of the new line. British television personality, celebrity pin-up and Peta activist Jodie Marsh has responded to the new Primal Cuts toy line by (apparently) tattooing her naked body with a primal cuts chart. This dedicated act of protest was, in all likelihood, undertaken before elective surgery to greatly increase the size of her breasts

Peta activist Jodie Marsh tattoos entire body with primal cut chart to protest German toy manufacturer's new line

At press time neither Jodie Marsh nor her representative at Intrigue Management could be reached for comment, though Marsh, has been outspoken in support of the rights of food animals including chicken in the past.

It’s a big world full of people.

Cooking With Cobblestones, The Stone Soup of the New Millenium

30 Mar
Rooster in grass.

Rooster in grass.

It’s been going around town that a brick is no longer necessary if you intend to smother a chicken. Now, I’m a big fan of The Broke and Chic Project, but even colleagues who share a deep respect for one another have to disagree occasionally. Most any kind of orthodoxy makes me itch. I don’t believe this because fathers and mothers of the tradition say you must (here, thinking Prudhomme and Claiborne) you can’t smother a chicken (or pork chops, for that matter) without pressing the meat to the bottom of the skillet thereby maximizing thermal contact.

It is my considered belief that the entire recipe starts with brick selection. I have been heard to declare that each chicken smothered ha an ideal brick.  To much brick and all the desired moisture is pressed from the bird and evaporates from the pan in the early stages of cooking, if your brick’s too little?…

potholes are almost as good as municipal building sites for sourcing your smothering brick.Destined to be hastily smothered by sticky blacktop, liberation is a duty, not a crime. I have used clay bricks, but prefer granite cobbles. The best smothering cobbles are found art. This morning I passed this pothole, yanked the car to the side of the road, slapped on the hazards and poked around the crater

until I found a perfect cobble for a 2 lb. bird. The cobble was 2/3 the size of industry standard, giving it just enough heft to press the dark meat to the bottom of the cast iron skillet, without being a burden on the tender white flesh.

All that’s left is to get it into the house and scrubbed clean and stacked in its proper place before Lisa notices that I’ve added to the collection.

At its most elements, beyond the skillet and the cobble the smothered chicken recipe calls for little more than one whole fresh chicken, salt, pepper, chicken stock, and Wondra. Flourishes such as coarsely chopped onion, poblano peppers, maybe some ground nutmeg. The following photo essay lays it out as easy as I know how to do it.

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That 2 lb. yardbird on the set at Stunt Foodways headquarters

Cut the back out of the bird and, along with the wing tips (cut the tips off with kitchen scissors) and liver, neck, heart any other marginal bits and toss all on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven to brown them. As you’re preheating the oven put 16 oz. of chicken stock on very low simmer. When the nasty bits brown add them to the stock and simmer the lot.

Cutting the back out of the bird allows you to unfold it so that more bird makes contact with skillet

Cutting the back out of the bird allows you to unfold it so that more bird makes contact with skillet, this helps assure that the meat cooks evenly. The trick to a smothered yard bird is evenly cooked dark and white meat.

place bird skin-side down in heavy skillet

Season both sides of the carcass and place skin-side down in the skillet. With the back cut out almost all the skin is touching the bottom or side of the pan. Cast iron conducts heat amazingly evenly.

I use a diner plate I rescued from an estate sale

Cover the bird with a plate that fits inside the skillet. If you don’t, it won’t matter how big or small that cobble is, it’s not going to transfer any weight to the bird.

all important application of the brick

Cook on a very low heat. With the brick on it, the bird is absorbing all the heat the skillet is giving up. Often times I have to take the pan of even the lowest heat or apply one of those cast iron buffers that lift the pan off the burner an inch or so. Cook 30-40 minutes until skin is golden brown and outer edge of visible meat is starting to turn white.

Gear alert: Polka dot shirtwaist dress smart, sheer apron? What the hell.

Gear alert: butcher's apron smart, flipflops stupid.

Flip the bird. When you do, take care not tear the crisp skin as you lift it from the pan.Replace the plate. Replace the brick.Cook on same low heat for about 10 minutes longer. Reserve cooked chicken on the plate used to cover skillet. scrape the biggest chunks of remnant chicken from the bottom of the skillet using metal spatula. Add scrapings to simmering stock.

Chicken and stock for gravy cook together

Chop onions and peppers and will them in the fat in the skillet (5-8 minutes), then reserve them. Remove some chicken grease from the pan and reserve in a heat-proof container (if you have a heavy hand with the Wondra, you’ll have some fat a fallback).

You’re making a roux now, so you’re gonna have to gut this out a bit, you need to leave enough fat in the pan to toast the Wondra, but not so much that you end up with brown plaster of paris hardening in the pan. In Dubiss Constans!

Sprinkle Wondra in the pan and begin blending it into the fat. It should absorb the fat without drying it out, after a while it should turn golden brown, stay the course! You’re looking for a brown two shades darker than a Cheerio. The minute you hit that color start ladling in your hot stock. It’s gonna bubble. Don’t sweat it. Switch tools. Grab a stiff metal whisk and get to work, blend the magical flower in with the stock until you have half a skillet full of gravy. Now scatter the onions and peppers evenly into the gravy and put the chicken back in the pan skin side up and let cook for 5-10 minutes more, spooning the gravy over the chicken.

Smothered, sure, but by what?

That’s thing, you need a brick to make smothered chicken, but it’s not the brick that smothers the chicken it is the gravy.

Battle Hymn of the Goat Father, Part 1

2 Feb

I pulled Jake out of school for two days so we could go to Montana and turn some goat into meat. He’s six. I don’t expect him to become the best butcher in the whole world. I am not starting him young so he’ll have years of practice when it comes time to write his personal statement. I just thought it would be fun to sneak out of school for two days and have a Western adventure. It was a bonus that imbedded in this adventure would be the teachable moment: How meat gets to the table. So, Friday lunch time instead of horsing around with his pals in the cafeteria, we’re waiting for our connecting flight through DEN.

cross-country hooky, the adventure begins

Jen’s the real hero in this story. After all, they’re her goats. She raises them for milk, but every winter the herd needs culling. This year there are eight on the roster.

For a few years, early on in the goat project, the meat truck would be summoned. When it pulled up to the coral and Jen and her husband, Tex would add their goats to the unhappy, bleating load and that would be that. The meat would be gathered up in boxes some days afterward and no more would be said about the missing.

Eventually they thought better of this abdication and resolved to do the culling themselves. And so every winter, sometime in January Tex and Jen call on a few stalwart friends and the occasional eager beaver, put the chili from last year’s goats on the stove for lunch and get to work. “This way,” says Tex, with only the slightest apology creeping in behind his assertion as he started again. “This way at least they know us. Know that we’ve never done anything to harm them before.”

It was my intention to have Jake join in the activity. I figured it was time he understood what getting meat to table involves. He is six, after all. Lisa didn’t think Jake was ready for such a revelation just yet. She is over-protective. I think so at least, and I said as much. We went back and forth, but eventually she relented with the drop-dead caveat that Jen get the final word about whether Jake gets to participate.

The plan was to park the two tractors outside the barn, hard-by the entrance to the pen, position the earth-moving buckets above our heads so that we could hang the goats by their back legs at about six feet so we could do the bulk of the work standing up straight. This is a luxury you don’t often get hunting. Another luxury is that the goats wait eagerly by the fence watching as we proceed with the set up.

Watching, curious, while we park the tractors in position outside their pen

After our arrival, I put it to Tex and Jen about whether Jake should participate in the harvest. I tell them about my disagreement with his mother back in Brooklyn. In the course of the day both find ways to gently plant the seed of doubt. The next day, when the appointed hour draws near, feigning disappointment and radiating relief, Jake is bundled off to the Museum of the Rockies with their boy B and his babysitter for the duration of the grizzly bits.

It takes a village.

Using the tractors as an edifice of an outdoor abattoir, the crew can harvest two goats at a time.

It's not that you get used to the work, but after the first two goats are converted to meat a churning routinization dulls the marquee emotions associated with taking a life. And once the goat is upside down an undeniable anatomical logic eclipses any lingering grief or doubts about the way the goat shucked his coil: Well, first the hide’s gotta come off, and we gotta make the little hole bigger if we ever hope to get all those guts out of there and into that garbage can.

There another one done.

Jen, fetch up another goat.

Nobody noticed that the temperature never climbed much above zero

What happens between Jen fetching a goat and it hanging upside down, well, least said, soonest mended.

Within two hours there are eight carcasses cooling in the barn and Clint even has time to scrape a hide for me to take home to Brooklyn and tan.

Clint dismisses my protests that I will not be able to find a taxidermist in Brooklyn who will finish the job. He says I can just keep the hide in the freezer while I’m looking in the Yellow Pages. Never mind that a salted goat hide stowed in the fridge is incontestable grounds for divorce in my jurisdiction.

Coming up in Battle Hymn of the Goat Father Part 2, watch while Young Jake digs the gut hole with a back hoe and find out how to cook all this goat.

Brad Farmerie Wins The Whole Hog at COCHON 555 NYC

24 Jan
The team from restaurants Public/Double Crown. First row (from left to right): Ryan Butler, Adam Farmerie, Brad Farmerie, Chris Rendell, Matt Lambert. Second row: Marion Emmanuelle, Dana Lapan, Kim Johnson.

I suppose it has happened, but  I have never seen chef Brad Farmerie (co-owner of restaurants Public and Double Crown) take on the whole hog without leaving folks gasping for more. With steely resolve Farmerie turned the 200-pound Red Wattle from Heritage Farms USA into Pig on the Beach with lavender cured ham (Pork fat washed cachaca with homemade pineapple juice…I mean, who does this?); Pig liver creme caramel with maple roasted grapes; Pig’s head terrine with guindilla gribiche; Pig blood popsiclle, tomato chili jam and toasted peanuts; smoked pork bone laksa; Old school pot o’ pork with pickles; Pork and black pudding pie with pear chutney; Fakin’ bacon cinnamon rolls with miso caramel. The win guarantees him a slot at The Nationals at The Aspen Food & Wine Classic in Aspen festival this summer.

The winning menu.

COCHON 555 Explained

20 Jan