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Posts from the ‘Fun Meat Fact Friday’ Category

Bacon Shortage…?

I’ve seen a few people joke about it… I’ve seen a few people seriously ask about it.. And I’ve seen news media all over it. Is there really going to be a bacon shortage…? The simple asnwer is no. Well, because, bacon requires pork so in order to be a bacon shortage, there must also be a pork shortage. I’ll get into the whys and how comes a bit later. First, let’s talk about BACON. How many of you actually know what cut of the hog bacon comes from…??

Where does BACON come from…?

Bacon, as we know it here in the United States, comes from the belly of a hog. If you remember from WAY back when I posted this in depth write up about how we take a hog from hanging on a hook, cut it up, and send it out the door in packages.. You can find this image:

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Happy Blog Birthday to Us! Counting Down our Most Popular

Wow, time flies! It’s our Blog Birthday/Blog-versary! It’s officially been ONE YEAR since this blog has begun. I cannot believe that in the midst of fair season (cutting numerous beef, making sausage for custom fair hogs, and catching up on ham and bacon from hogs already cut) I got a wild hair and decided to start a blog! Talk about crazy! It’s been quite possibly to date the busiest year we’ve ever had at Chico Locker & Sausage and who knows if this blog had anything to do with it or not!?

What we do know is that we deeply appreciate the support, the comments, the shares, the likes you’ve given us. Trying to become an online presence is tough for any full time business person. But we enjoy sharing our story with you all. We enjoy being able to debunk myths, fears, or concerns you have with the meat you eat. We enjoy trying to help you find/locate whatever type of meat you’re looking for. And well, we enjoy having a little fun and laughing with y’all sometimes too. So for any and all of you who read, who commented, who liked, and who shared what we had to say this past year… THANK YOU! The support and encouragement you’ve given does not go unnoticed. And in fact is very much appreciated! It’s the people like you who make this venture all worthwhile!

So to celebrate the first year of our blog… We will be counting down the TOP FIVE Chico Locker Blogs.

#5: Fun Meat Fact Friday: Prime Rib:

Image Courtesy the Mindful Plate

Image Courtesy the Mindful Plate

Basically a complete shortened version about one of the most coveted cuts out there, especially for the Holidays! Know the difference between boneless prime rib and standing prime rib..? This post is a must read in order to serve up your family the absolute best for your special occasion!

#4: Fun Meat Fact Friday: Porterhouses, T-Bones, and New Yorks, Oh My!

Do you know the difference between Porterhouses, T-bones, and New Yorks…? If not, better check out this post! Being an informed buyer at the grocery store can not only save you money! But it also helps you get exactly what you’re looking for!

#3: Debunking Pink Slime

For the meat industry, 2012 will be remembered as the year of “Pink Slime”… It’s all been hashed out, talked about, and said over and over again. But I am so thankful that people decided to choose us as a source to find out the truth behind the stuff known to us as Lean Finely Textured Beef!

#2: Fun Meat Fact Friday: Internal Temperatures

No matter how you like your steak cooked, it’s important to know what temperature your degree of done-ness requires. How about poultry or pork products? Sometimes a visual check isn’t sufficient to tell if your meat is done. A meat thermometer and this blogpost is a fool proof way to make sure your meat is always cooked perfectly!

And the NUMBER ONE read blogpost of all time… This surprises me but also makes me giggle..

#1: Fun Meat Fact Friday: The Truth About Hot Dogs

I would have never guessed that our most read blogpost to date would be about hot dogs.. But apparently people love their hot dogs! For information about what really goes into your hot dogs.. Check it out!

Well there you have it… Our first year of this blog under our belts and lots more information and meat to come! Again, thank you everyone for the support! We wouldn’t be writing if it weren’t for people like you!

Here’s to another year full of education, sharing, and well, meat! 🙂

Morals and Meat…?

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about morals and ethics regarding agriculture and especially meat and its production methods… And it got me into thinking… Since when are people concerned with the MORALITY of eating meat? And why did this all of a sudden come about..? Why all of a sudden am I being required to justify why I kill and eat animals for a living…?

Meat was a huge part of evolving us to where we have become as humans today. Paleontological evidence suggests that meat constituted a substantial proportion of the diet of early humans. Hunter-gathers depended on the organized hunting of large animals as a main part of their food source. As time evolved, meat was considered a delicacy. In times when social hierarchy reigned supreme, people who had the most money ( the rich) were the ones who enjoyed the best and largest quantities of meat. Meat could have been considered a sign of wealth. Not everyone could afford meat and for those who couldn’t, it was often saved for special occasions and holidays.

When the promise of a New World with land became a reality and early settlers first landed here in the United States, people settled on farmlands and raised their own meat. For the first time in our history of a people coming from Europe, more people were able to provide for themselves. As well as enjoy some delicacies that were only allotted to rich people back in Europe. But as we grew as a society, people moved out of the farmsteads and into newly formed cultural epicenters or cities. Eventually the idea of a supermarket or grocery store came about in order to supply those people with a means to obtain food to feed their families. Soon, grocery stores and supermarkets became the food supply and the disconnect began. And as we grow, the disconnect continues until eventually we become so far disconnected that the average person relies on news media or people outside the industry to provide them with the connection of where their food comes from.

Now today, as we move back towards mending that disconnect between where our food comes from, an issue of morals suddenly arises. Suddenly meat is no longer viewed as the delicacy it once was. It does not hold that social status it once held. Why is it that the closer we move towards people finding out where food comes from.. the worse the sensationalism gets? The more my industry is battered and beaten up by the news media.. Between Pink Slime, Meat Glue and The New York Times running it’s Ethics of Eating Meat Contest, why should my morals regarding meat all of a sudden be in question when historically it was never questioned before?
My take on the issue is YES, emotion should play a key issue in food production and relating to our customers, consumers, whatever you want to call them. But morals… morals is a sticky road to go down. What is moral to one person may not be moral to the next..? And what defines our morals..? Upbringing, religion, experiences all can play a factor in what is MORALLY right or wrong to us. Everyone’s experiences and perspectives are different. So who are you to question MY morals..? What gives you the “moral high ground” to question the way I choose to eat..?

Rarely do I ask for feedback on my blog posts, but I’ve asked this question a few times on several social media outlets. The responses are so varied and to see different perspectives is really fascinating. And really, there is no RIGHT or WRONG answer here. Morals are morals and everyone’s is different. So now I am asking it to my readers.. I invite you to comment and give your two cents on if you think morals should even play a role in meat..? And why all of a sudden this issue of morals is brought to the forefront…?

Fun Meat Fact Friday: The Real Story Presentation, Dispelling Meat Myths

So yesterday I got the wonderful opportunity to attend a local Rotary meeting and present something regarding the meat industry today. I decided to take this opportunity to set straight a few myths commonly found in our meat production today. Being at the forefront of these is “Pink Slime” or LFTB and Hormones in Meat! I received such a wonderful response from my presentation, I decided that I would post it for everyone to check out. Granted, this is meant to be presented. However, I work very hard to present information that is very clear and easy to understand for anyone not involved in the meat industry, so even without being presented, you can still understand the main points of the presentation. Please click the link below and check it out! Feel free to share it with anyone and everyone in your circles… The only way we are ever going to get out of this new media sensationalism is if we can successfully spread the correct, science based information!

Meat Powerpoint

And I thank you, all my readers, for taking an interest in learning about my industry! It makes me so excited that people are so eager to learn about meat and how it’s really produced!

Happy Friday!

P.S. If you are wondering about any sources used, please shoot me an e-mail: dancincow16@hotmail.com and I would gladly link you to them!

Pork Chops with a Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe is absolutely delightful! In fact, it’s one of our owner’s (Dave Dewey) favorite recipes of mine. It is man approved and in fact, legends of this recipe actually sent a woman into labor the next day after eating it! Super easy and sure to be a crowd pleaser.. Afterall, who doesn’t love pork chops!?This recipe is perfect for a hearty eater of a man and a woman, but it can easily be doubled, tripled, whatever to food a larger crowd.

Now, if you are one of those people who tends to always overcook pork, do yourself a favor and get an instant read meat thermometer. We sell them at our shop or you can find them at the grocery store, Target, Wal Mart, where ever! A meat thermometer takes the guess work out of “if it’s done” or not. And you will be guaranteed moist, juicy pork every time!

For the pork chops, you can use bone-in chops or boneless. I use boneless, makes it easier not having to fight around a bone. Whatever you do though, make sure they are thick cut. 1″ thick at least. If you try and use pork chops that are 3/4″ or 5/8″ for this recipe, they will end up dry and overcooked, unless you adjust the cooking time.

If you can’t get your hands on pork chops that are already thick cut, cut them yourself! Buy a boneless pork loin and cut the chops however thick you want them! You can do it!

So now that we’ve got our chops, we are ready to begin. And of course, here is the ingredients needed for this lovely meal!

First preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Then start off by pouring the flour into a plate or shallow bowl. I use paper plates because it means less dishes and easy clean up. If you’re feeling fancy, use a plate or bowl. Season the flour with a bit of paprika (about 1/2 tsp.), garlic powder (1 tsp.), salt, and pepper.Take a fork and mix  this together.

Next crack two eggs into a bowl and beat together with the milk. Then grab another plate or shallow bowl and pour in the breadcrumbs. If you are using plain breadcrumbs like me, season with salt and pepper. Once you are done, these three things should be much like an assembly line, sitting one next to the other. From left to right: Flour, egg/milk, and breadcrumbs.

** Please not in the photo, your flour probably won’t look as full as mine. I usually don’t measure when cooking so I always end up with too much! 😉 And like I said last time with the stew, a little bit too much here or there won’t hurt. This is another recipe where being precise isn’t crucial.

Next take your pork chops, one at a time, and first dredge them in the flour. Make sure to coat all sides with flour. Then move it to the egg/milk mixture making sure to coat all sides again. Finally roll it around  and cover it with breadcrumbs. What we are doing here is breading these pork chops so they will have a nice crispy crust on them.

Set them aside on a clean surface while you finish up the rest. I use tin foil for easy clean up and so that I don’t get raw pork juices all over. Once the pork chops are breaded, they should look like this…

Heat up a fry pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil. And butter for good measure. Although the butter can be omitted.

Once the pan is good and hot, throw in the pork chops and brown them on both sides until they are a nice golden brown. And much like with the stew last week, the pork chops will not be cooked all the way through.The point is not to cook them, but simply to brown them. Once they are browned, remove them from the pan to a baking sheet. Look at how pretty golden brown they are and pop them into the preheated oven!

Bake the pork chops for about 15-20 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 155 degrees. Safe internal temperature for pork has been lowered to 145 degrees so you can pull them at 145 degrees if you like them extra juicy. Although juices flowing out of pork often times freaks people out, so I pull mine at 155 to appeal to everyone.

While the pork chops are baking, heat up 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream in a saucepan on the stove. Simmer the cream for about 8-10 minutes or until it starts to thicken. You can even let it get to a boil, but be careful not to burn it.

Once the cream has thickened up a bit, add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of spicy brown mustard. I forgot to photograph the mustard, whoops! But don’t forget to add it in!

Once you whisk it all together, the sauce should be a nice orange-y color, like this…

Now to counteract the acidity of the tomatoes, I usually add a dash of sugar to my sauce. This is optional. Taste the sauce and if you like it the way it is then leave it. Or if you wish, add the sugar. I usually always add cracked black pepper to mine as well. If you think it needs more tomato sauce, add it. If you think it needs a bit more mustard, add it. Or if it’s too harsh for your taste, add a bit more cream! Remember when I said precise wasn’t crucial…?

Now about the time you finish the sauce, your pork chops should be just about done in the oven. Pull them out and plate them. Pour some of the creamy, delicious sauce over the top, garnish with a bit of fresh chopped parsley or cracked black pepper! ENJOY!

As  you can see, I usually accompany this meal with potatoes, but you can use rice, pasta, or no starch what-so-ever. Whatever you fancy, these pork chops go great with anything!

And of course, I included a printable recipe! Please let us know how this recipe turned out for you!

Most Commonly Asked Meat Questions

As I was brainstorming about what to write about today, I came across this article written by three people in the meat science field tackling the most commonly asked meat questions. Upon reading through it, I find it to be a wonderful resource for some of the more common questions that I know I’ve been asked before as a meat processor. So rather than me trying to tackle all the questions myself, here are what the experts in the field have to say from everything to how long frozen meat can be good for to what’s the difference between natural and organic.

For more information or my take on some of the topics covered, you can check out my blogposts

Internal Temperatures

Natural, Organic, Grass-fed

And for more information on antibiotics in meat, please check out this article. It really puts hormone use in the industry in context and you will come to find out that it’s not nearly as bad as the media hypes it up to be:

Hormones in Context

 

From Pasture to Plate- Cargill Style

** Disclaimer: The following link contains graphic images, please take caution when opening the link and viewing. The process of slaughter I understand is not for everyone. However we feel it is important to realize that this is where meat comes from. And this is one process of how it gets from the pasture to your plate. **

For the rest of you, enjoy this visual tour through a Cargill plant in Dodge City, Kansas. It is absolutely fascinating to me to watch this process. I have never had the opportunity to visit a Cargill plant, however, I’ve toured through many slaughterhouse facilities including Harris Ranch. I am always amazed at the perfection of production as well as the how CLEAN it really is even though they are doing a somewhat “dirty” job.

Cargill is what is called a federally inspected slaughter and processing facility. What this means in simple terms is that while slaughter operations and processing operations are going on, there are USDA or (FSIS) inspectors ON SITE. What this also means is that meat processed here can be re-sold in a retail market as well as sold wholesale. These are just two examples of what this classification means and essentially it is the highest standard for inspection. This differs from our operation which is classified as custom exempt in that we don’t have an inspector in site at all times during slaughter activities. We also are limited in who we can sell our meat to. Meat slaughtered and processed by us cannot be re-sold in our retail store, it is for the use of the customer, his immediate family, or friends. We also cannot sell wholesale.

It is also interesting to note how many women works there are! Meat industry is not all made up of men, plants like this are probably some of the largest employers of women in the meat industry. As well as some of the largest employers in a rural area.

I love that this company regardless of its size and stature is still able to be transparent. I applaud them for putting these images out there and trying to open up communication with consumers. This is a step in the right direction for showing consumers that we have nothing to hide. When in fact, we aren’t hiding anything from them, we are just ensuring that we remain safe from news media and other outlets who (as we have seen) have the ability to shut facilities like this down with just one story and put these 131,000 people out of work.

So here it is, a look inside Cargill: http://www.kansas.com/2011/03/30/1785584/processing-beef-at-cargill.html

Happy Friday everyone! And we hope everyone has a wonderful Easter with their families, friends, and loved ones!

 

Fun Meat Fact Friday: More on Pink Slime

Sorry folks, fun meat fact Friday has been on hiatus for too long but it’s due to the fact that the past two weeks I was gone visiting North Dakota and this week, North Dakota is visiting me. Most people on social media know him as Sunflowerfarmer because well, that’s what he does. If you wanted to learn a little something about sunflowers check out this feature: http://agricultureproud.com/2012/03/21/agproud-sunflower-farmer-mark-rorich/

So here we are. Back on track, sort of. Two weeks ago I blogged about debunking “Pink Slime”, you can find that post here: http://chicolockersausage.com/2012/03/09/fun-meat-fact-friday-debunking-pink-slime/

However, since that time, it is clear to me that people are still in the dark about what Lean Finely Textured Beef is, how it is made, and what it goes into. I know many of you are probably sick of hearing about it and have made your own judgements about it. But I feel like it’s important to get the information out there because the news media has done such an effective job of infiltrating the internet and t.v. providing us with incorrect information.

So here are some more resources on what Lean Finely Textured Beef really is…

American Meat Institute put out this great video:

 

A 2008 Washington Post article about engineering a safer burger

 

Questions and Answers about Ammonium Hydroxide

One of the main things to take away from all of this is that the news media makes it seem like they are showing you something that is “never before seen” or something that the meat industry is trying to hide from you which in all actuality is not true. And yes, I will be the first to agree that the meat industry could have handled this whole situation much better than what they did. Pink Slime is a Myth.com, although presents good information, it was simply the wrong approach. But that doesn’t mean that the information they are putting out there is simply made up. It is in fact the correct information. And although consumers may be weary to trust the meat industry because of what they saw on a NEWS clip, fact is that the meat industry is made up of people who are EXPERTS in the field. Many have been working in the industry for decades, they are passionate about what they do, and they are proud of the products they produce. I’ve said it before, many people spend their entire careers working towards providing consumers with the safest product possible. And who better to consult on an issue than an EXPERT? I would not diagnose a medical condition based off of what I saw on the t.v., I would consult a doctor. So why is it okay for consumers to do the same about the meat industry? There are many of us processors and meat industry professionals out there in social media. Or around your town. Use the resources around you. And whether or not you choose to eat Lean Finely Textured Beef or not, be informed. And share the information with others.

 

Happy Friday everyone! I think I am going to go enjoy a hamburger! 😉

Debunking Pink Slime

I’ve said it before on here and I will say it again… “If you watch the news, you should probably be in fear every time you eat.”

Fact of the matter is that news media is especially good at what I call “fear mongering” which can be defined as this: the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others. Often times this pattern is repeated in order to ensure it’s effectiveness. We see this all the time. One news station reports something and the next thing you know all of them are showing the same clips, presenting the public with the same information. The “epidemic” of pink slime is no different. If you missed the report on ABC news, you can check it out here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/03/is-pink-slime-in-the-beef-at-your-grocery-store/

“70% of all ground beef bought in supermarkets contains pink slime”, “up to 25% of each American hamburger patty”, “a spritz of ammonia gas to kill the germs”.. It’s statements like this that make my blood boil. From an uninformed consumer standpoint, I would be terrified that pink slime was in MY hamburger. And if you do a google search, you come up with all the same sorts of information. In order to find the truth behind this “pink slime” you have to know where to find it.And I take pride in the fact that I am here to help you find the correct and factual information from people who involved heavily in the meat industry. Not reporters or scientists. People who eat, breathe, and live meat. It’s their livelihood and every time an article like this is shown on the news or in the newspaper, this affects all of us.

Travis Arp of The Meat of the Issues puts it so well in his post on the truth behind pink slime:

When stories like this are run, this isn’t perceived as an attack on Beef Products Inc. (BPI). It’s detrimental to the beef industry as a whole. Ground beef is the most widely consumed beef product in the United States. Scaring consumers away from this unnecessarily will hurt beef demand, and further adds questions to the consumer mind about what we do. The fact that an individual “whistle blower” can single handedly effect beef demand is scary, and an unfortunate reality to meat producers. Regardless that the USDA and FDA employs hundreds of scientists whose job is to study different applications of products and compounds for approval to use in the food system, one person who disagrees (and no longer works for USDA) can grind that all to a halt.

Now THAT scares me. To think one person and one news story can have such a profound affect on my industry, on my family’s livelihood of 45 years. THAT is a scary thought. And that is exactly why I spend my evenings after work and mornings before work blogging. I am hoping that by sharing with all my readers that I am doing my part to put factual, correct information out there and that my readers will share the information with others.

So what is pink slime really? Well before I present you with some information, let me state this: Hamburger from Chico Locker & Sausage Co. Inc. is made out of 100% whole muscle ground meat (usually chuck). No “pink slime” is used and in fact during all my years in this industry, I have never seen this “pink slime”. Same with our hamburger patties, hot dogs, etc. And I can almost guarantee you that your local butcher does not use “pink slime” either. We take pride in our products and use only quality ingredients to make them. But the news media doesn’t tell you that.

Now rather than me re-iterating information that has been put out there, let me link you to the TRUTH behind Pink Slime. These two blogs are courtesy of two people who are EXTREMELY qualified to be writing about the meat industry because quite frankly it’s their passion. It’s people like this that news media should be interviewing and consulting when they want to run stories like this. And I thank these two for sharing their vast knowledge of the meat industry with the rest of us.

Repercussions of “Pink-Slime”

You Put WHAT in my Burger

Mystery of the Meat Batter

What’s Wrong With Pink Slime?

BPI Ground Beef Gets Support From Food Safety Leaders

So please, next time you are watching the news, remember fear mongering. And remember that everything you hear on the news isn’t always the actual truth. I’d sure hope that before you make a decision to discontinue eating a product such as meat that you would at least do some research about the topic. And what other way to research than to consult an expert in the field? Head down to your local butcher shop and ask questions! It is my hope that through asking the right people questions, you will come to find out that ideas you had about the meat industry really aren’t what they are made up to be. And that in fact, the truth really isn’t bad.

Happy Friday everyone… Now go eat a HAMBURGER will you!?

Porterhouses, T-Bones, and New Yorks, Oh my!

Porterhouses, T-Bones, and New Yorks. All of these are cuts of meat we hear ALL THE TIME. But even though they are different types of steaks, did you know that they all come from the same cut!?

Fun Meat Fact #1: Whether you are cutting t-bones and porterhouses or new yorks, they all come off of what’s known as the primal cut, short loin. The short loin comes from where else but the loin part of beef. These muscles of the beef aren’t worked too hard which means the meat in this area is tender.

When we break our carcass beef, we take off the short loin with the sirloin attached. When it comes off the beef, it looks like this.

What you’re seeing here is the sirloin with the short loin trailing into the background of the photo. We then take and break the sirloin off of the short loin.

Once the short loin is broken from the sirloin, it looks like this:

The short loin contains part of the tenderloin and if you look at the diagram above it sits in between the rib section of the beef, actually containing the beef’s 13th rib, and the sirloin section. This photo is showing us the sirloin side which contains porterhouse steaks. So what is the difference?

Fun Meat Fact #2: Porterhouse steaks sit along the part of the short loin that sits next to the sirloin, they also contain a large part of the tenderloin. This is the difference between a porterhouse and a t-bone, t-bone steaks do not contain a large part of the tenderloin. The difference between a porterhouse and a new york is that if you were to take the bone out, and separate out the two, you”d have a new york steak and a filet steak.

So in all actuality, when you decide to have t-bones and porterhouses cut on your beef, you are losing some of your filet steaks because they will be left on the porterhouses. It’s also important to note, that we do not differentiate between porterhouses and t-bones on our custom beef, they will all be labeled t-bones. So it’s up to you to have the knowledge to figure out which ones are porterhouses and which ones are t-bones. 😉

Fun Meat Fact #3: T-bone steaks sit along the part of the short loin that sits next to the rib. Actually, your first cut into the short loin from the rib side could TECHNICALLY be a rib steak, there isn’t much difference. T-bone steaks are cut bone-in, which seems like a no brainer due to the name but you’d be surprised what people don’t know sometimes. And just like a porterhouse, if you were to take the bone out, you’d have a new york steak. Although with a t-bone, there would be no filet steak to take off. Or very little. Sometimes a t-bone can contain a small part of the tail end of the filet which can be seen in the photo above as well as the diagram in the first photo. The tenderloin tapers off as you go further towards the rib end of the beef. T-bones are named due to the bone that makes up the steak, it is shaped like a “T” which you can see in the photo above.

Fun Meat Fact #4: If you were to take the short loin and bone it out, you would have a new york strip as well as a whole tenderloin. The new york strip when cut up into steaks are you got it, new york steaks. As you can see in the first photo, the tenderloin has been pulled off and the bones (that make up that t-bone shape) are being removed. The strip is then simply cut up into steaks. Since the tenderloin is pulled off as a whole piece, you net more filet steaks this way (because they aren’t being cut up attached to the porterhouses). At our shop we call them new york steaks, but in all actuality, this strip of meat can be called by many names: Ambassador Steak, Boneless Club Steak, Hotel Style Steak, Kansas City Steak, New York Strip Steak, Strip Loin Steak.

So there you have it. Porterhouses, T-Bones, and New Yorks, Oh my! Happy Friday everyone! Now go eat some steak and while you’re at it thank a farmer or a rancher (or a butcher!) 😉