Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hello everyone,
Today was pork day! We started by boning some centercut pork loins. My teaching assistant Savannah explained the basic cutting to the class and we tied part of the boneless loin with a standard slip knot and the other section using a continuous knot. Jason, the meatroom manager, took my Honda Civic and picked up a half hog from a local distributor...don't ask!
The local pork was very nice but was lacking a thick fat back. It did have good marbling and I found it unique that it had the marbling without a heavy fat. It made me wonder which cross breed was used. It was a white pig and weighed about 210 lbs. It was fed a primarily grain diet and cut like a typical market style hog.
Many of our chefs need fat back for barding or using in recipes but these new breeds that are leaner present very little outerfat. Most of the commercial swine herds are now much leaner but the fact that I am often seeing some decent marbling. Like some beef crossbreeds, the pork producers have the genetic resources to create leaner exterior fat but now grow them with marbling as well. I'll do some research to find out what specific breed was used.
On another note I think we will start a classic Jambon de Paris, which is a classic boiled ham with the skin on. Many chefs are trying to create dry cured hams which require the right humidity, temps etc. but this is a wet cured ham and will be relatively easy to do. I think a simpler ham is a good starting point for those just getting into curing their own products.
I'll post a photo and recipe if it comes out ok.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


Hello everyone,

This is the first posting to the Butcher's Info Blog.

This week was an interesting one at the Culinary Institute of America. Chef Michael Pardus suggested I start sharing some of the daily info that goes on in the meat room at the CIA so I started this blog. My new class fabricated a bunch of beef shanks. It is always fun to show this basic fabrication to people that have never done it before. We also took a look at some dry aged beef striploin from Master Purveyors in the Bronx. The students were amazed that something that looked so bad on the outside could result in such fine steaks. It was dry aged for about 5 weeks and had a smell that reminded me slightly of Prosciutto.

This Saturday afternoon I created 10 lbs of Bratwurst in our kitchen at home. I went down to Fleischer's in Kingston and picked up our old hand crank stuffer. The recipe was a basic combo of fine ground fresh pork, salt, white pepper, mace, ginger, paprika, nutmeg, sage and a little sugar. I have to admit I didn't really follow an exact set recipe other than the fat to lean ratio and the salt. Typically I use 3 oz of salt to 10 lbs of meat for all my basic fresh sausage recipes. They came out just fine and we'll be grilling them tomorrow! I also made some potato salad and some slow cooked sauerkraut.
Well hope you enjoy this and many more postings.