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akaushi beef

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Tom Kurth View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 November 2016 at 17:29
Just had one of the best steaks ever. A family friend and her husband raise akaushi beef cattle. I built some benches for them and was paid with steaks, roasts and ground beef. If you are unfamiliar with this breed, it is one of the cattle varieties that can be sold as Kobe beef. To have the Kobe label it must be raised in that area of Japan. This, obviously, was raised in Missouri. The meat is naturally marbled and high in oleaginous (sp?) unsaturated fat (good fat). Wonderfully flavorful and tender. I am totally fat and happy right now,
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Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 November 2016 at 21:20
sounds like a great meal!
Mike
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 December 2016 at 19:17
So, Tom, have you done anything else with that beef?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 December 2016 at 20:27
Yeah, we've had grilled steaks once more, tenderized round once as chicken fried, a shoulder roast in the slow cooker for sandwich filling, and ground beef used as several things but not hamburgers. I'm sure we'll do burgers before we use it all up. Everything has been great except the ground beef. There's an odd taste that I can only guess is due to the different fat content. Honestly I'd rather have 70/30 from the grocery store for ground beef dishes. But the grilled steaks--oh, my! They are SOOOO good! I'm tight enough that I'd probably never pay extra for the fancy beef, but when all it cost me was my labor and a few supplies, it makes for a mighty fine payday.

I wish I could define the odd flavor of the ground beef, but I just can't put my finger on it. Trace agrees about it and offers no further analysis either. Maybe just different that repeated exposure would solve. We'll try some burgers one of these days and see what they're like.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2016 at 06:37
I've always wondered about the folks who rave about hamburgers made with Kobe beef. The hallmark of that meat is its high fat content, marbled evenly throughout. So, if you grind it, and then sear out the fat, what's left?

I once worked for a guy who insisted on ground sirloin for his burgers. Hated the stuff. If you turn your back for a second it's overcooked. And, when you've got 25, 30 burgers going at once, it ain't easy to keep track.

I'm a chuck person for burgers. 80/20 or 75/25 seems to be the perfect proportion. Your 70/30 is fairly common, too, and works well. Better on the grill than on the stovetop, though.

Another thing that drives me crazy: Kobe type brisket in the smoker. Again, it strikes me as the height of idiocy to take a $100 hunk of meat known for it's fat content, and then sear out most of the fat. What, exactly, is the point?

But I'm glad the rest of your experience has been positive.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2016 at 13:59
Hey Brook,

It's hard to find 70/30 in the groceries around here unless you buy the 10-lb. chubs. Sorry, those are too scary for Trace. She's really sensitive to any bits of gristle, etc. Me, it wouldn't bother so much. I really like 70/30 for burgers, either grilled or fried. It's easier (for me) to brown the outsides and keep the middles a little pink. Maybe that will work with the akaushi.

Speaking of quality meats, what's your opinion of SmartChicken? We really like it, especially for frying because the skin stays with the pieces better. The water soaked stuff, the skin pulls off when you try to cut up the bird. The skin is the best part of fried chick. I may not get to a ripe, old age, but I will have enjoyed the trip.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 December 2016 at 17:11
I'm not familiar with SmartChicken, Tom. Tell me more about it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 December 2016 at 09:59
Originally posted by Tom Kurth Tom Kurth wrote:

Just had one of the best steaks ever. A family friend and her husband raise akaushi beef cattle. I built some benches for them and was paid with steaks, roasts and ground beef. If you are unfamiliar with this breed, it is one of the cattle varieties that can be sold as Kobe beef. To have the Kobe label it must be raised in that area of Japan. This, obviously, was raised in Missouri. The meat is naturally marbled and high in oleaginous (sp?) unsaturated fat (good fat). Wonderfully flavorful and tender. I am totally fat and happy right now,


   Interesting Tom!

   I wish more people bartered like that.  It brings it down to an appreciation for another persons goods and services when you match it with your own sweat and work.  We may actually start appreciating another person's trade when we see just what they have into it.

   I'd love to hear more about how your friends raise the cattle.  My experience with animals is that there are so many different influences into what helps an animal taste good.  From the feed, the life...what breed (but it's dependent on the other influences)...then the defining flavor and texture, of the final product, runs right into the slaughter, hang and butchering of the animal. 

   I'm interested in the flavors of the ground beef.  I do wonder if it's just different to a degree where it's too different right now.  I'd rather have a hamburger from properly raised cattle than a mediocre steak on my plate.  I'm not going to rush out and buy American Kobe brisket...but smoking a quality, fat ladened shoulder or brisket is certainly no waste.  If you're cooking your brisket, even the flat, so it has no fat content your too high a temperature, too fast, too long or some combination...same with shoulder.  

     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2016 at 18:23
Brook,

Smart Chicken is a brand of chicken based on a European (I think) processing technique. Chicken in the States is usually chilled after slaughter in a water bath. Smart Chicken is air chilled. Most chicken has a disclaimer on the package about included water. I think it's about 15%, meaning you are paying for diluted chicken, and the shared bath can also share contaminants. As mentioned earlier, with Smart Chicken I like the way the meat and skin stay together--the meat has a much better texture as well. Trace insists there is a significant flavor difference. She has a much more refined palate than I have. As you might guess, Smart Chicken is significantly more expensive than the regular stuff. Around here I usually pay $1.99/lb. for Smart on sale; about $1.20/lb. for regular on sale.

From my experience in a boneless ham production facility, I can surmise that the added water has to be intentional if my 15% figure is accurate. The boneless hams we produced varied from 12%-35% added ingredients. In order to form an emulsified product, the ham was combined with a liquid cure and then run through a 'pump.' The pump was a horizontal ribbon mixer with a sealable lid. Once sealed, the unit was pressurized to 'pump' the liquid into the meat tissue. Makes a much more tender ham and reduces cost per pound.

Gone,

I can't tell you anything about how Pam and Galen raise their beef, but I assume it is similar to the way most cattle are raised here in Missouri--feed on grass, finish on corn. I know they're not doing the Kobe thing of 'fatten on beer and massage daily.' For the most part, I'm bred and born to peasant food: poor cuts made delicious by technique. The one exception is beefsteaks. I want my steaks fat and marbled and medium rare. I willing to eat them only on rare occasions because I can only rarely afford steaks as good as I like. I was fortunate to grow up in a town with an old-fashioned abbatoir that put out meat of unbelievable quality. Unfortunately, they tried to grow the business and, thanks to bad management and poor oversight, grew it right into bankruptcy. It has re-opened under new ownership, but the quality just isn't the same.

I'm something of an opinionated SOB, and the state of beef in American grocery stores is definitely something I have an opinion about. The fads of 'healthy/lean' and 'grass-fed' and 'free-range' seem to me to largely to be dodges perpetrated on people with too much money to think straight about food. I can remember when I first went out on my own, that grocery stores used to regularly stock select and choice beef and sometimes prime as well. Now, they take cheap-ass select and run it out there as 'extra lean' and then charge you more for it. Of course, it could just be that Trace is right when she tells me that my taste is in my a**hole. Smile.

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Tom

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2016 at 19:21
No, it's not your taste that's at fault, Tom. You're almost right on all counts.

Where you come a cropper is that true select is now the top grade found in markets---when you can find graded meat at all. Most of the meat from chain groceries is unrolled. They then put their own labels on it, designed to simulate the USDA grading to an unsophisticated public. What the hell is "select choice" for instance? But that's one of the in-house labels used around here.

As far as graded meat goes, Prime is almost impossible to buy, because almost all of it goes to the restaurant trade (which is why you have to go out to eat to find a decent steak). Choice and select can be found at the specialty groceries and at so-called butcher shops. But you pay through the nose for it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 December 2016 at 20:16
Brook, I don't ken the term 'unrolled.' Whazzat?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2016 at 09:35
Unrolled is the lowest class of meat certified fit for human consumption. It lacks the purple USDA grading stamps (which are rolled on, donchasee).

The benefit to the processors is that they can sell it cheaper, so the groceries can offer it less expensively. The downside is that you really don’t know what you’re getting. You could get a piece of meat that, if inspected, would grade as prime (doubtful. Large processors who provide prime cuts want it inspected), choice, or select. On the other hand, you could wind up with pure crap.

Your Akaushi guy is likely selling unrolled beef. Small producers rarely have it inspected. But, as you’ve found, lack of grading doesn’t necessarily mean lack of quality.

On the other hand, we just looked at some rib eyes at the local supermarket. They were as far from what we think of when “rib eye” is mentioned as you could get. I mean marbling is one thing. But large hunks of fat, gristle, and meat fibers separating the way stewing beef does, is not my idea of quality.

Still, they were labeled as (name of store) Select. Perfectly legal, btw. And just another example of how the gubment lets marketers take advantage of unsophisticated buyers.

You see this with all sorts of foodstuffs. Next to “free range,” probably the most confusing label is the one put on tomatoes that are “vine ripened.” That term doesn’t even come close to what most people think it means.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2016 at 14:57
I once worked for an animal feed manufacturer that also produced organic fertilizers. At that time (about 25 years ago) the term 'organic', I'm sure, was even more confusing than 'free range' or 'vine ripened'. I don't know if it is any better now, but I do know that there are 'organic' fertilizers with a name brand on them that under the criteria we were using then could not possibly be either organic or truthfully labeled: The totals of N-P-K can only be so high with available organic ingredients. Unless new ingredients have been added to the list of accepted organic ingredients the numbers simply can't add up.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gonefishin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 December 2016 at 18:43
Originally posted by Tom Kurth Tom Kurth wrote:


I'm something of an opinionated SOB, and the state of beef in American grocery stores is definitely something I have an opinion about. The fads of 'healthy/lean' and 'grass-fed' and 'free-range' seem to me to largely to be dodges perpetrated on people with too much money to think straight about food. I can remember when I first went out on my own, that grocery stores used to regularly stock select and choice beef and sometimes prime as well. Now, they take cheap-ass select and run it out there as 'extra lean' and then charge you more for it. Of course, it could just be that Trace is right when she tells me that my taste is in my a**hole. Smile.


   Agree with what you're saying on grocery store beef.  Each and every term used to describe beef in the grocery stores, in my opinion, is an exploitation of the terms used.  Nowadays, I find real trouble in buying any beef (or pork) in the grocery stores...there's just a lack of flavor, and a lack of (good) fat. 

    Perhaps I'm lucky that I've got several choices for farm raised pork and beef near me.  I've also got a couple of slaughter houses near me, with one of them being really good.  Prices are in line with store bought meat, sometimes less.  It can be tough because of the quantity of beef you have to buy at a time.  For pork I normally get one to one and a half pigs a year.

   I love how a neighbor/friend of ours, who is a cattle farmer, deals with new customers that ask him if their beef is labeled organic.  In all sincerity he tells them that it isn't organic certified, then he asks why would he lower his standards to accommodate such labeling.  He follows this up by offering a tour of the farm where he could explain the journey that they've been on and their continuing philosophy of raising cattle. The guy I get my Berkshire pork from raises some awesome tasting pigs, his price is cheaper than what many people charge for regular hogs.

   I don't care much for government labels in food, they're always just trying to work an angle.  Terms that are thrown out one year are greatly distorted in no time at all.  It's all a game for profits, that's it.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Tom Kurth Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 January 2017 at 18:11
A new experiment with akaushi beef and the new sous vide cooker. Cooked a shoulder roast sous vide for 30 hours at 144.5 F. Accidentally set the temp at 165F for the first two hours.The bag leaked so I had to replace bag at about 10 hours in--double bagged this time. Initially, I seared the meat and then smeared it with Better Than Bouillion soup base and added some thick slices of yellow onion to the bag. Ate it for dinner tonight. The beef was amazingly tender and moist enough. I think that, had the bag not leaked, the meat would have been moister. The onion never cooked completely so it's flavor was not as I would have preferred--a little too raw and sharp. Next time out I'll do the same thing minus the onions and high temp start and will use a plain old grocery store rump roast. Kind of a shame that I am not able to separate the akaushi from the sous vide. When people say that they have cooked a cheap roast sous vide and it tasted like prime rib, they are not exaggerating much. Pretty good eatins tonight.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote HistoricFoodie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 January 2017 at 02:18
Tom, rather than foregoing them, why not sauté the onions---or even caramelize them---first. Cover the roast with them in the sous vide bag and you'll be good to go.

have cooked a cheap roast sous vide and it tasted like prime rib

Nothing against sous vide, but......what, pray tell, is a "cheap cut?" Seems to me that term lost any meaning quite some time ago. When short ribs are going for 6 bucks a pound (Six dollars! For bones!), and flank steak for twice that, well. You get the idea.

Perhaps "lower quality" would be a better choice of words?
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