Short Ribs

Beef Short RibsWhen someone says short ribs, the first thing that comes to mind is slow-cooked, tender beef in a rich red wine sauce over mashed potatoes…or at least that’s the first thing that comes to our minds. The truth is, any search for a short rib recipe will result in hundreds of tasty possibilities. What’s interesting about that is while they all call for short ribs, the type of short rib required might be different.

All short ribs are cut from the ribs that extend from the back toward the belly. Depending on where it is cut from, it can be three to five inches thick and contains meat interspersed with a lot of muscle, fat, and tendon, which gives it a lot of strong beefy flavor.

To make sure you are getting what you need for the recipe you are using, here is a list of the different types of short ribs available.

English Style
The English style of short rib has a rectangular shape and are cut parallel to the ribs in between each rib, leaving a thick piece of meat sitting on top of one piece of bone. These ribs can be left as is in one long piece or cut into smaller, approximately 2-inch long pieces. Boneless short ribs can sometimes be found, which means that the meat is cut off the bones of an English-cut short rib.

English Style short ribs are best prepared by braising them low and slow until the meat melts in your mouth.

Flanken
Flanken style short ribs are the ribs most commonly sold in stores. These short ribs are cut across the rib bones so that each slice contains a few pieces of bone. The cut pieces tend to be an inch and a half to two inches thick and, like the English version, are best suited for low and slow braising.

Korean
Korean style short ribs are basically Flanken style short ribs that have been cut very thin, usually about 1/2 inch thick. These ribs can be used Korean style to make Kalbi or in a South American style Asado. Whichever flavor you choose, these thin-cut short ribs are prepared best on the grill.

Though this style of short rib is commonly sold in Asian supermarkets, most people will have to ask their butcher to cut these for them.

Here are two of our favorite recipes for preparing short ribs: Beef Short Ribs Braised in Dark Beer with Bacon and Red Onions and Short Ribs and Red Wine Sauce.   Read more…

Grilling — Wet or Dry?

Grilling — Wet or Dry?In grilling, there are a few ways to go…but the most popular would be a wet marinade or dry rub. Both taste great and they serve two different purposes. Some cuts of meat work better with one or the other. We’re here to help you figure out what works best for your BBQ.

Dry Rubs
Dry rubs are a dry mixture of spices and herbs that you sprinkle or rub on to the meat before grilling. Typically a rub will include salt, pepper, paprika and brown sugar but that combination depends on region and cuisine.

Dry rubs can be used in two ways, either as a seasoning or a cure. When used as a seasoning, the blend is rubbed on right before grilling. If used as a cure, the rub is applied four or more hours ahead of time so it can flavor the meat more intensely. Memphis style ribs are famous for their dry rubs.

Dry rubs are better suited to more tender cuts like beef fillet because too much time in a marinade can make already tender meats mushy.

Marinades
Marinades are wet seasonings that are used for flavoring foods that tend to dry out when cooking, like chicken breasts. Most marinades are made up of oil, like olive or canola, an acid like lime juice or vinegar and a whole range of aromatics like onions, chilies, spices or herbs.

The time required for marinades depends on the type of meat you are planning to cook. Chicken breasts can take as little as 30 minutes while a larger cut like leg of lamb might require overnight marinating. It is important that you refrigerate any meat that needs to marinate for more than two hours. Keep in mind that pieces of meat left in the marinade too long can lose their firmness.

The purpose of marinades is mostly to flavor meat but they also serve as a means to tenderize less tender cuts of meat like flank steaks or beef sirloin. The tenderizing properties come from the acid that is in the marinade.

One of our all-time favorite marinades is this recipe for Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade. It is quick to throw together and may become one of your favorites, too.

Santa Maria Style Tri-Tip Marinade Recipe
Read more…

How to Fillet a Fish

How to Fillet a FishUnless you are an avid fisherman and catch it yourself, it is entirely possible that you could go your entire life without ever having to clean or fillet a whole fish.

The reality is that most fish are just too large for the average person to purchase whole and then cut into pieces. If you have ever seen a tuna at the aquarium you know what I mean. They can be HUGE. It is quite possible that you might find yourself with a whole salmon after a day of sport fishing or a trip up the Copper River. But, more often than not, if the recipe calls for a lot of salmon, you will purchase a whole side of salmon that your butcher has already filleted for you—not the entire fish.

There are some fish that are commonly sold whole like snapper and trout. Though you can obviously purchase these same fish already filleted, it can be cheaper and tastier to purchase them whole and cook them that way. But, those who prefer the elegance and ease of a fillet may benefit from learning to fillet the fish themselves while saving a little money. Once you get the hang of it, filleting your own fish will take no time at all.

How to Fillet a Fish
Having a very sharp flexible filleting knife is the key to filleting any fish quickly and without destroying the fish. Once you have that, follow these steps.  Read more…

Pork Shoulder

Pork Shoulder

There is probably no more versatile cut of meat than the pork shoulder. There almost isn’t anything you couldn’t do with it. You can grill it, slow cook it, smoke it, make it into sausage, cut it into steaks as a substitute for pork chops…the list goes on. And because of its higher fat content, the flavor is usually better than other cuts of pork and is less likely to dry out during cooking.

Pork shoulder is known and sold by many names including, Boston butt, pork butt, picnic shoulder, and pork blade shoulder. The confusing thing is that there is a bit of difference between a pork shoulder and a pork butt. Cuts that are labeled pork shoulder are generally from the triangle-shaped end of the shoulder. And, the butt is from the thicker, more marbled, top-end of the shoulder. For that reason, the pork shoulder is better for cooking and slicing while the butt is better for recipes where the meat is meant to fall apart such as pulled pork. Both are great cut up and used in stews and chilis.

Slow roasting or smoking a pork shoulder is probably the most popular way to cook it. You can never go wrong with pulled pork. And, you can sauté it in a pan for some really great tacos. The best part about a pork shoulder is that it makes it easy to feed a crowd…which is why it is a popular choice for your Memorial Day BBQs and other get-togethers.

Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork
There are several different versions of this recipe out there. This one is my favorite. Add your favorite coleslaw to the roll and you have an outstanding sandwich.  Read more…

T-Bone and Porterhouse Steak — What’s the difference?

T-Bone and Porterhouse SteakIf you have ever been to one of those fancy steak restaurants, you have probably seen a T-Bone steak or Porterhouse steak or both on the menu. They are both great tasting steaks that are full of flavor. I’m going to let you in on a little secret though. A T-bone and a Porterhouse are basically the same steak. The only difference between the two is the size of the tenderloin attached to the bone. Let me explain…

Both steaks are cut from the short loin located in the middle of the back of the animal, which gets very little exercise. This lack of exercise means the meat is much more tender than say a flank steak which comes from an area that gets more work. The short loin has a T-shaped bone that runs through it that separates the tenderloin from the larger top loin (New York Strip).

Steaks that are cut from the short loin that have a small amount of the tenderloin attached to them are called T-Bone steaks. The steaks that have a larger amount of the tenderloin attached are called Porterhouse. A Porterhouse steak can be pretty darn big and those big steaks are what you see in places like the Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo.

No matter where you slice ‘em (ha ha ha), these steaks are great on the grill and with grilling season just starting, now is a good time to try one.

And, here is a recipe for Chimichurri — probably our favorite thing to serve with a grilled T-Bone or Porterhouse.