Super Sunday Ideas

The Super Bowl would be so much better if they played hockey instead of football. So would the World Series, all of the tennis open championships, golf tournaments, college football games, soccer games…badminton…actually badminton is pretty sweet.

I digress.

 

RIBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If you are going to make ribs, do yourself a favor and go to the local butcher (as you of course should for any meat that you are going to put into your body). I hope, I really, really hope that your butcher can offer you these:

You can only find these things at a whole animal butcher. Guaranteed.

You can only find these things at a whole animal butcher. Guaranteed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But what are these magnificent meaty miracles destined for mastication?! I call them Columbus Ribs. I introduced them to Bluescreek Farm Meats a few months ago. They are the spare ribs still attached to the pork belly. Yes. Were you to buy this, brine it and smoke it, you would have bone-in bacon. Another way of thinking about them is extra meaty spare ribs. I am an evil, evil, delicious genius.

When I made these at home, I used a very simple recipe, and they were supple, succulent, unctuous, meaty…amazing. (I don’t measure, so these are all my best guess at measurements)

Prep Time: 15 min Cook Time: 8 hours

Ingredients:

5lb Columbus Ribs (3-4ribs)

1/2 C Apple Cider Vinegar

8 bay leaves

1tsp whole peppercorns

2Tbsp  cinnamon

1/4 C brown sugar

1tsp cayenne pepper

2Tbsp Kosher Salt

1-2 C water

Method

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F

Arrange ribs FAT SIDE UP in a large, deep, non-stick pan (I used a standard sheet cake pan and it was only just big enough). Pour Apple Cider Vinegar around the ribs. Add water to bring the liquid half to 3/4 up the ribs. Don’t submerge them.

Mix cinnamon, brown sugar, cayenne and salt in a small bowl, just to lightly combine them. Gently rub the mixture into the fat of the ribs. Sprinkle the peppercorns on and around the ribs. Place 2 or 3 bay leaves on the top of each rib.

Cover the pan with tin foil, place in preheated oven. Don’t touch them for 4 hours, or until you smell something odd. If you smell something odd, as I did, you will open your oven door to find that the fat has melted off the ribs, into the braising liquid (vinegar and water solution) and subsequently pooled in the bottom of your oven, much like a fruit pie boiling over. If you are lucky, you used a pan deep enough to prevent this from happening. I was not so lucky.

Seriously, though. You may check the status of the liquid every couple of hours. I had to pour off liquid twice during the 8 hour slow braise. The meat is done when a fork inserted into the meat twists easily.

Let the ribs cool for about 45 minutes. Have a drink. You’ve earned it. They should look something kind of like this:

Hey there, pretty lady...

Hey there, pretty lady…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the ribs have cooled down (not completely cold, just cool enough to handle without burning your fingers [learn from my mistakes!]), you should be able to cut them into neat little 3d rhomboid shapes. I deliberately did not say squares. They will not be perfect squares. Do not freak out.

Heat a cast iron skillet on very high heat (if you don’t have cast iron, a normal non-stick will be okay, but cast iron is just the bees knees for this part). Turn the pieces of rib fat side down, and carefully place them in the skillet. Let them sizzle and smoke for a couple of minutes. This isn’t part of the cooking process, necessarily. This is tightening the fat, searing in the juices, and simultaneously caramelizing the brown sugar from the rub. After you are done, they will look something like this:

Complete Columbus Ribs

Complete Columbus Ribs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This recipe seems really long and complicated, but I promise it isn’t. There are two cooking techniques used, and they are very basic: braising and searing.

I promise you, nobody at your Super Bowl party will have ever had these, and you will be as popular as Wayne Gretzky…er…John Elway.

 


Sustainable Fish At McD’s

McDsMSC_homepage

Apparently McDonald’s is now the first national US restaurant chain to adapt the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) label on all fish products.  Here’s the article from Seafood Source.

By SeafoodSource
24 January, 2013 – McDonald’s USA has become the first national restaurant chain to adopt the Marine Stewardship Council blue eco-label on its fish packaging in restaurants nationwide.

McDonald’s, which uses MSC certified wild-caught Alaska Pollock for its Filet-O-Fish sandwich, will begin displaying the MSC eco-label on product packaging, in-restaurant communications and external marketing beginning in February 2013 — coinciding with the launch of Fish McBites, McDonald’s newest fish menu item, which also uses wild-caught, MSC-certified Alaska Pollock.

In 2011, McDonald’s added its eco-label to its packaging in all U.K. restaurants.

More than 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S. have met the MSC Chain of Custody standard for traceability.

“McDonald’s collaboration with the Marine Stewardship Council is a critical part of our company’s journey to advance positive environmental and economic practices to maintain the health and sustainability of fish stocks for the future,” said Dan Gorsky, senior VP of U.S. supply chain and sustainability. “We’re extremely proud of the fact that this decision ensures our customers will continue to enjoy the same great taste and high quality of our fish with the additional assurance that the fish they are buying can be traced back to a fishery that meets MSC’s strict sustainability standard.”


Values From the Northwest

I found this while I was bumming around on youtube. This guy holds many of the beliefs that I do. Warms the cockles of my heart.


Hey There, Pretty Lady

The Anglerfish known to most as the Monkfish is made ‘light’ of in this humorous little diddy.

 


A Belated Happy New Year

This holiday season was absolutely and unequivocally the most intense I’ve had as a butcher. We had over 300 orders, not including walk-ins, for the 2 of us to fill. I lost count of rib roasts and filets early in the season. I’m happy that we, such a small, local operation, are doing that kind of business. However, I am in conversations with my scientist friends concerning pills to make me grow more arms…

The life of a butcher during the holiday season goes something like this: report to work 8am, work until 1am, report back to work at 8am. Repeat for 2-3 weeks. Luckily, I have amazing friends and a lady who are able to deal with my insanity and lack of sleep. I’m not the typical grumpy butcher. My boss, however… 😉

The aforementioned rib roast, with short ribs still attached. Simply beautiful.

The aforementioned rib roast, with short ribs still attached. Simply beautiful.

 

 

 

Synchronized shanking

Synchronized shanking

 

 

 

 

 

Possibly the best picture ever taken of me.

Possibly the best picture ever taken of me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Astounding porterhouses I cut for a local restaurant, Latitude 41.

Astounding porterhouses I cut for a local restaurant, Latitude 41.

We are going to be extraordinarily busy in the coming months, as we are hosting a variety of classes in the market; offal, lamb cutting, beef cutting, farm to table, goat cutting, sausage making. See http://www.bluescreekfarmmeats.com/ for more details if you are in the Columbus area.

More posts soon.


Happy 2013!

fish_card-p137817458612307941envwi_400

For every door that closes, another opens.  My New Year’s resolution is to invest more time and provide more resources into the theme of sustainable fish and seafood.  As concerns of overfishing, global warming or poor quality farmed fish overwhelms the markets and media, less attention is being paid to the smaller percentage of people and efforts giving way to responsible aquaculture and wild harvesting.

Our oceans have a long way to go to recover from overfishing and our regional and national fishermen, scientists, and politicians are investing efforts to revitalize our oceans and set forward new laws to protect not only individual species, but the vitality and strength of the ocean chain as well.  While they are doing that I want to invest my efforts into seeking out and supporting the best alternatives and practices.

More than ever we are seeing a increased demand for not only sustainable farmed options but responsible and ethical as well.  More younger people are starting to farm oysters, mussels or other shellfish along with fresh and saltwater fish.

Over the next year my mission is to seek out these people, interview them, visit them, take pictures, eat, cook and report on my findings.

Follow us!  And most importantly share this with others and spread the word!

Cheers,

Austin, fishmonger