Meat guy

work in product development in the food industry. Primarily work with meat companies.

  • Location: midwest

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The Case for Pink Pork

Having worked in the meat industry a good many years, the rule I would give you is that if it is coming from a "factory farm" operation, you needn't worry about trichinosis, the animals are never exposed. If you are doing free range or pasteured pork, it is a crap shoot, they are potentially exposed. It doesn't mean they have it, but the free range food sources may expose them to it. Pigs will eat anything they can catch, so a slow squirrel or ground hog carrying worms, or walking on or eating an egg infused feces can infect them. Any animal can get it, my Mother's outdoor living husky in suburban Chicago contracted it from eating local rabbits, squirrels and whatever else she could grab, the muscles in her legs and hips deteriorated from it.

I read a study that referenced the trichinosis cases reported in the US in the 2000-2005 period that linked the reported cases to free range pork and none to factory farmed. USDA states trichinosis will be killed by freezing for 40 days at -20 Fahrenheit if you ant it raw and desire to be safe.
Cook it to 140-145 and you should be fine, 150-156 will still give you a touch of pink. The micro worries are bigger than the trichinosis worries in factory farmed meat. If you need marbling go to the shoulder or fore limb for cheaper meat. Stay away from the enhanced products with phosphates for they will chew like a rubber band if handled poorly.

How to Clean Out Your Spice Cabinet and Organize it—for Good

When you are salvaging plastic jars and bags for spices, be aware that the brown spices, allspice, clove nutmeg and mace,a s well as some herbs such as marjoram, contain chemical compounds that deliver the flavor that also dissolve plastic. This means the wrong type of plastic, such as styrene from a plastic spoon can dissolve into the spice if kept in the jar, or the jar will slowly distort and dissolve. When you pull the spice out of a sticky plastic bag, that means the plastic is in the spice. Citrus peel and oil are also very good solvents for plastics. Buy plastic jars that are rated for solvent stability, they are usually sold as spice jars, there may be prettier ones that aren't designed for spices, but they may disappoint you by warping, clouding and gradually dissolving. If you recycle plastic bottles stick to Spice bottles, those should be safe to use. Try to use glass or metal for storage, they don't pick up the flavor as much as the plastic, so if they need to be reused there is no flavor carryover. World Market has a few nice options for glass spice jars that are inexpensive.Ball has some nice rectangular jars if you look for them.

How I Got My Degree From Hot Dog University

I've been on the plant floor at Vienna several times and the article really doesn't give justice to them. The Place is spotless, clean and surprisingly old school. They use techniques most manufacturers stepped away from decades ago for cheaper, quicker ways to make hot dogs, I was actually shocked to see they still wood smoked the hot dogs, every major player has gone to liquid smoke. Everyone there is nice friendly and seems to love the job and the company. Since I first went there, they are my go to for hot dogs, I also love their little factory store and deli at the front of the plant, I try to get there at least once a year to buy a case of natural casing dogs for summer.

The Best Way to Grill Hot Dogs

Here is the link to the substance chart, listing the only legal use of nitrates as dry cured products. It is referenced other places in the CFRs as they were never updated.

How to Make Chicago-Style Italian Beef at Home

Quick and dirty, to one pint beef stock add 1/2 teaspoon each of dry oregano, basil marjoram and a pinch of cracked rosemary. Add a tablespoon Worcester, some garlic, say a half clove chopped or 1/8 teaspoon of granular garlic, cracked red pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 minutes. Get plain roast beef thinly sliced, not Italian seasoned, this will have by law Fennel which is not in Chicago style beef. Slice a good french baguette for the bun.

The Best Way to Grill Hot Dogs

The CDC does not govern meat manufacturing. You need to go to the Code of Federal regulations CFR 319 and look for a table called the substance chart. this lists almost every ingredient allowed to be used in meat products as a regulated material. There are also specific sections of the CFRs which relate to curing meat. Nitrates are still listed, but when you go for label approvals the labeling arm will stop the product as it violates a Policy Memo. It was made illegal for use in products using rapid curing methods and items that are cooked at over 350 degrees, especially bacon. Even the amounts of nitrite were reduced in this period due to extensive testing by FSIS (the Food Safety and Inspection Service, the division of USDA that inspects meat). The policy Memo actually was issued before 1978, but i spent much of 1978 and 1979 making bacon and breakfast strips doing research to find formulas optimum for curing and minimizing residual nitrites to prevent Nitrosamines for the company I worked for at the time.

Policy Memos are issued to amend, clarify or expand rules already in the CFR or address labeling issues that arise from new uses of existing materials, address changes in technology, or enhance consumer safety, without requiring to amend a 1000 page section of the bound CFR. Policy memos are on line, but many are active, but not in print as they are 30 and 40 years old. Now sodium and potassium Nitrate are still legal to use in dry cured hams, Dry cured sausage and very limited in dry cured bacon, I supposed if you wanted you could make a dry cured hot dog, but it would be too expensive to sell enough to make any money. meat). Policy Memos supersede the regulations. The CFRs due to the size of the publication are rarely reprinted in whole.

the ruling was released on a policy memo, it may be deleted from the public system since it is over 30 years ago. Nitrates are only allowed in dry cured products due to the nitrosamine peril. But, simply review the ingredient declaration on the hot dog package and you will see that nitrates are never listed, partially as they are unreliable except in long slow cures like country ham and some dry sausages.It is amusing that the FSIS Inspectors handbooks still tells how to calculate cures for outlawed manufacturing methods.

When you deal with Federal government publications, even CDC, they are often reissued without updating. Even CFRs are often left alone and policy memos are issued so they don't have to reprint the several thousand page code of rules, believe me, this is frustrating for processors, you go to the rule of the law for labeling, and then have to publish a justification to explain why your seasoning for ribs qualifies as a Memphis style, because there is an unpublished standard of identity that exists. So searching for information in the regulations is nigh impossible unless you have lots of time, or lots of friends to sort through all the duplicate and unrelated crap that comes up searching a government database. There is an entire industry that does nothing but reviews labels and product claims before the label is submitted for approval due to the complexity of the regulations.

But when you consider the natural cures, the warning on Nitrates stands. The celery juice used contains high levels of nitrates, these slowly break down into nitrites and eventually nitrous oxide to cure the meat. this requires a bacterial fermentation, which if not complete, or if the product is cooked too quickly, the curing reaction does not complete and high levels of nitrate will exist in the product. Really, if you are worried about nitrates, never buy naturally cured products, especially bacon, where the cooking method will almost guarantee nitrosamine formation due to the cooking technique. So, if you wish to keep raising the nitrate flag on meat products, stick to natural cures, country ham, prosciutto and some dry sausages, other hot dogs and lunch meat are clean

Right now standard industry practice, based on the government regulations, has almost every processor in the US using 0.0156 LB of sodium nitrite to 100 LB meat (156 parts per million ingoing to the meat) then a salt of citric acid, usually ascorbic acid, sodium erythorbate, sodium ascorbate or a combination of one of these with sodium citrate to act as a synergist in the reaction to accelerate and establish the cure quickly, while minimizing the unreacted nitrite levels to a minimum. Now another chemical used in the product will be a sodium phosphate, these are added for several reasons. the most common is to keep the product from purging liquid after vacuum packing the hot dogs. If it is not used the vacuum packaging process will pull moisture from the meat on storage, so the hot dogs would be swimming in water after several days. the second reason, is that some phosphates used are acidic, these accelerate the cure allowing you to cook the hot dog more quickly and get a brighter cure color. Phosphates also chelate any uncured iron in the product, making it mote difficult for botulism to grow if the cure is incomplete.

The Best Way to Grill Hot Dogs

Cured hot dogs do not contain nitrates. Hot dogs that are made with pure cure mixture do not have nitrates, unless you have some made before 1978 when it was outlawed by the USDA. They use miniscule amounts of nitrite (156 parts per million befoe cooking (1/4 of an ounce in 100 pounds meat), less than 20 p.p.m. remains after cooking), so they are safe to grill. the naturally cured ones may contain nitrate which will cause nitrosamine formation when grilled based on the celery juice cure which may contain high levels of nitrate(some is sold prefermented to start reducing the nitrate to nitrite before it is in the meat). If a natural hot dog is not pink internally, it means the curing reaction hasn't been completed and the product should not be grilled as the nitrate is available to form nitrosamine at the over 350 degree cook temperature. You can complete the reaction by steaming it in water, but unreacted nitrates may remain.

Grilling hot dogs also requires a good look at the ingredient declaration. If they contain corn syrup and dextrose, they will begin to char very quickly and may burn before they are warm all the way through. If the hot dog has sugar, or sorbitol (a sugar alcohol) these do not char as badly at the high temperature used for grilling, so if you are in the midwest, Vienna or Nathan's should be your grilling go to. Most other brands use corn syrup or corn syrup and dextrose which will burn more, so if you like black hot dogs, Oscar, Hillshire, Kahns, and a lot of the other brands will work. If you go by a gas station with the grill where the hot dogs spin all day without burning, they use primarilly sorbitol as a sweetener, occasionally sugar so they can sit at temperature for hours.

There are plenty of good pork and beef franks out there. Daisy brand in Chicago has a good natural casing product that I buy occasionally, they use non fat milk in it so if you are lactose intolerant it may not be your thing. A good quality Pork or pork and beef frank can outshine a beef frank, but they are so hard to find.

How to Make Chicago-Style Italian Beef at Home

No way this is close to a Chicago Italian beef. Call this recipe a wet roast beef sandwich, but it ain't Italian beef from Chicago. Buy Vienna's or Papa Charlies Italian beef at the club stores its there frozen and a truer look at the real thing if you are not in town.

I have worked with several of the chains in the city and a few independents and the spicing is nothing like what would be done. Where are the herbs, No oregano, marjoram, basil, or thyme? There is nothing "Italian" in this. yes, Al's using a little clove and allspice in theirs, but there is a lot more going on.

The gravy normally is the pan dripping stretched with a little water. The spice comes from the rub on the beef, usually oregano, basil, marjoram, sometimes a touch of Rosemary, red pepper, garlic and sometimes a splash of lemon juice to set the surface so it seals the juices in. The richness is from a dry roast, caramelizing the pan drippings to be deglazed later with water and, with some places, a splash of Worcester sauce, they may stretch it with a little commercial beef base if they need more gravy, the meat first ones work well. The beef fat rendered from the round is the key to the richness of the flavor, so starting out lean is anticlimactic because the gravy ends up flat. The fear of every operator is that they will run out of gravy before beef. If you do sous vide beef, you lose the caramelized goodness for the gravy. Some of the chains get their beef sliced from Scala, Vienna or Barri along with a premade Au Jus which they may doctor to be their own. Portillos and Buona run their own Commissaries where they cook and distribute the beef and Au jus to their stores.

As for the bell peppers, no you don't Roast them them. You seed and slice them 8-10 slices to a pepper top to bottom, no rings, salt them lightly, saute in oil briefly and then add water to finish with a steam cook and keep them from drying out as you hold them. Not swimming in water, just enough to provide steam to keep them warm and flexible. the peppers are never charred.

Oh, and instead of the rubbery French rolls they get daily shipments of bags of three foot loaves of French bread that they slice back of house, some days you see the bag sitting in front of the door waiting for the owner to come by at 6 in the morning.

Why You Should be Eating More Wild Pigs Right Now

The un neutered boars can have a sickening flavor due to sex hormones, bright point is that only 10pecent of the population. Can taste it. Hogs with the obvious flavor can't be eayen easily as your house will reek of the odor. Farm raised hogs don't have this issue usually, sometimes from large sows.

Recent USDA papers have documented an increase of trichinosis in retail pork products, but only from free range, non confinement pigs, still a low level, but a risk if you are buying it.
Also boar meat should be cooked to at least 140 degrees F as in the wild they are exposed to trichinosis. Very nasty if you get it. Game meat from carnivorous animals is a risk.

Unusual Pizza Toppings

See, that's the thing, there is no such thing as a good turkey pepperoni, it has no meat flavor, it is spices over cardboard if it is lean or feathers if there is turkey fat, it doesn't have the richness of flavor a pork or pork and beef product has. Now you can make a mighty fine pepperoni using lean turkey and fattening it up with pork fat so it tastes like meat, but pure turkey isn't really good. it is also a matter of your depth of taste and the ability to taste certain flavors. As someone who works with some of the largest manufacturers of pepperoni, and a as person who worked for a few years doing pepperoni Research and Development for a meat company, we can recognize the difference between turkey and pork, as well as the textural difference between pork fat and turkey. The goal is for close enough, the point where the average consumer doesn't notice the difference. This is like people saying turkey bacon is as good as bacon, or turkey pastrami is as good as pastrami, not really happening. Then again it could be my age, i have a palate that developed over 40 years ago, i learned what real foods tasted like, not the blanded down, lightened up products that are the fad today. If you like it fine, but it is an abomination and god said to make pepperoni out of pigs, weren't no turkeys in Italy when they discovered pepperoni. This abomination came thirty years ago when turkey markets were glutted and they needed to find uses for the excess meat and turn the bird to a year round commodity instead of a seasonal item. Just because you can make something doesn't mean you should, but if you like it fine, but is scares me knowing how it should be made, and the shortcuts required to make it safely.

Unusual Pizza Toppings

You probably are after you eat the Anchovies and onion.

Turkey pepperoni is an abomination in the eyes of the pizza gods, pepperoni is pork, not turkey, it tastes like old feathers.

Eat More Sodium (Maybe) and More in Food Policy This Week

Don't forget DiHydrogen monoxide is found in Yoga mats and Subway's bread. So just because they took out Azocarbodimide, there is still Yoga mat chemicals that they didn't define.

Beets in lieu of red food coloring

The way cocoa is processed today makes it almost impossible to make a red velvet cake according to the original recipes/ Cocoa is processed in alkaline materials which stabilizes the color of the cocoa, and also neutralizes the vinegar so the fiery red color of the past can't occur. As long as the temperature of the cake is below 250 degrees f, the color from beets may work, but the pigment is not heat stable, the crust may still turn dark brown from the oven temperature and contact to the pan, while the internal color will be beet red.

Vesecky's Keeps the Bohemian Bakery Alive in Berwyn

Don't try to go there Good Friday to Easter, the building is packed and out the door. You have to order your houska ahead of time to get it. You really missed it by not talking about the fruit wheels, 10 inch rounds of half inch thick Kolache dough covered with Bohemian cheese filling and three or four Fruit toppings, or single fruits. Apricot blueberry and cherry are the usual culprits. In the houska picture you can see both a blueberry and apricot wheel. During Plum season the place is awash in plum bakery. Whenever I am going through the area this is a must stop. Maybe Saturday Morning........

Cooling for cooked Prime Rib

they are talking internal temperature. This is because if you put a probe into the meat when raw, you transferred the bacteria from the surface into the meat through the probe hole. also, you need to be aware that items can be contaminated after coming out of the oven, so just because you cooked it, doesn't mean the knife that was used to slice the first pieces off didn't get contaminated. Also, it is better to be safe with other peoples health than convenient. Move the meat to the blast freeze for a few minutes to start the chilling process more quickly, them move it to the walk in when the surface is cooled to chill it faster. This will also cause less cooler shrink than the walk in alone.

Secret Tools and Tricks of the Ice Cream Pros: How to Make Creamy Ice Cream

The self contained refrigeration ice cream makers are wonderful. I found a cheap one, New Air 2 quart freezer on Woot at Christmas for 140 Bucks. My wife thought i was crazy because we had a Cuisinart freezer with the sleeve, we used it once every couple months because of the noise and mediocre quality it produced. This cheap unit, For self contained, is quiet, and now i have standing orders to have cream and eggs on hand at all times because it makes such good ice cream. So now when we run out the new batch gets made. Watch the sale sites for these, they actually are worth the time to track down, if you like the ice cream process. I have seen the Cuisinart self contained ones at Tuesday Morning for around $200, they also pop up on Woot occasionally.

Tamales...warning rant follows

Chefs want everything to seem more difficult for the average person to do so they can point out how valuable they are. Or a second theory proposed by a chef I studied under, famous chefs have learned to do 1 thing better than everyone else, and that is what they stake their reputation on, and they may suck at everything else. this may be out of his wheelhouse.

Wood for construction must be dried

Actually using green wood is much more exciting, you get this neat modern art effect as the wood warps and twists, making chair legs turn at awesome angles, walls get new neat wavy appearances as they bow. This poster is just the typical non creative rubbish that smother creativity and inspiration. I bet all of the coloring books are colored in the lines.

What should I put in a piƱata?

Haribo sugar free gummy bears, the gift that keeps giving. Check the reviews on

How to Make Homemade Hot Dogs With Ryan Farr of 4505 Meats

Well, the seasoning isn't really close to the standard New York Dogs such as Sabrette or Nathans. You need a touch of coriander and nutmeg for the basic seasoning. Also for those the pepper is a fine grind, actually they use mostly spice extractives today. Being old school onion doesn't go in a beef hot dog, just cheap chicken ones to cover the feather flavor. I used to make seasonings for Sabrette and Aaron Dubin in a past life.

Serious Cheese: What's the Deal with Raw Milk Cheese?

Food poisoning is not the only reason pasteurization is required. There have been several cases in the last decade, in southern California of tuberculosis outbreaks based on cheese made from milk that was produced from cows infected with bovine tuberculosis. These outbreaks were small, 30-40 people in each, as the product was produced illegally in small quantities, but if the milk is not screened and cultured to check for it, it is a risk that can be worse than a case of food poisoning.

Real Talk: Stop Bashing Ice Cream Stabilizers

Carrageenan is a particularly tricky stabilizer in dairy products, if handled incorrectly it precipitates out the protein in the milk due to the polar charges on it helical structure being opposite the ones in milk protein, just a little too much and the protein drops out of solution having bonded directly to the carrageenan. Been there done that, on industrial scale.

Deep Dish Pizza recipe - where are you?
tried this once and is pretty good, for the Italian herbs, basil and oregano are the standard, not the bottled blends as the sage can come through too much in the sauce.

Seriously Good Chicken Strips? Find Them at Farmhouse Chicken Strips and More in Ashburn

Village Tavern in Carol stream. Crispy light tempura battered strips, best i have ever had.

Onions and digestive issues.

If it is just gastric distress, it may be that you are unable to digest the complex carbohydrates in the onions. Caramelizing the onions or fermenting them may help. Beano may help, but, be aware that nothing may help.

My wife went from this stage to becoming seriously allergic over the course of several years. it may be related to sulfa allergies however.


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