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OHenn

Decoding Your Meat: A Guide to USDA Beef Labels

@ruminantguy - Thanks for the response! If I'm reading correctly, it seems like you're implying that prime graded beef achieves this status by design of the cattle producer (i.e. at a much higher rate than the quoted 4% prime grading rate). If so, is there any insight you can add on the ability to produce prime graded beef reliably? That is to say, how frequently can farmers produce prime graded carcasses if they're trying to? is it, 20% of the time, 50% of the time, etc. I find the whole thing kind of fascinating when you're looking at prime vs choice and they look so different, and then to think maybe there is only this low random probability of obtaining prime grading seems crazy.

As a side note, I work with some people who develop products for animal nutrition, like lysine supplements, fats, and other things for milk production... I kinda doubt they have any knowledge in this particular area, but I suppose its possible.

Decoding Your Meat: A Guide to USDA Beef Labels

@Serial Cereal Eater: The "irradiated" label is not voluntary, it was required by the USDA when they certified the technology that does it, much to the chagrin of the people who developed the tech. The cool thing about that is that it kills the bacteria in there, making it safer to cook ground beef to lower levels of doneness, but everybody got kind of freaked out by the use of the word "irradiated" and it never really took off.

As far as the article goes, I've never really found these labels to be particularly mystifying. All labels are basically a marketing exercise, but at least I can see the difference between prime and choice with my own eyes and the flavor backs it up. Possibly with the exception of "grass fed", none of the other labels have ever been a reason to buy one product over another.

One question I have always had is: why does only 4% of beef qualify as prime, in the sense that, why are some animals prime and so few others not? What factors cause an animal to develop the marbling necessary for prime? genetics, diet, living conditions? You'd think that these things would be tracked, explored, and exploited to produce more prime beef, so I'm a bit surprised its not more prevalent

How to Make the Best Swedish Meatballs

I've always been a fan of Pierre Franey's 60 Minute Gourmet recipe, but they definitely result in a different product than what it sounds like you were attempting to produce here. I might have to give this recipe a shot to compare

The Best Cheesesteaks in Philadelphia

I have some seriously fond memories of late night cheese steaks in Philly, but I increasingly realize they are definitely rose-tinted (or beer goggled?). The problem with too many of these places is that they don't do a good job because they're just pumping these things out as fast as they can make them. They don't really take the care to make the sandwich as good as it can be. Whiz is a crutch because its already liquid and requires no effort to distribute throughout the meat. John's does it right by adding cheese to the bun AND the meat so you get good distribution. Better salting and seasoning of the meat should be obvious, but often the steak gets nothing at all. I love a great cheesesteak, but I don't really order them out anymore simply because most of the time its just dry chopped steak and a glob of whiz or american. Sorry, but I can do better at home.

Over-the-Top Creamed Brussels Sprouts Gratin

Made this this weekend alongside the sous vide turkey breast. I'm not sure exactly what I should have been expecting from a recipe that claimed to be "over the top", but it was seriously rich. I don't usually mind that, but I had a quarter inch thick puddle of pure fat leaking out of this thing the moment I took the first scoop out of it. A drain of the fat before adding the cream seems like a necessary step if I make this again. Also, I think due to the extended time it takes to reduce the cream (or the fact that they're getting cooked like 3 times, my sprouts came out very soft, much softer than my liking. Overall it was more good than bad, but this wasn't a home run.

Cookbook Review: 'Prune' is an Essential, Surprising Resource for Serious Cooks

sounds like a really interesting take on cookbook writing. I'd love a copy

The Food Lab: How to Cook Sous-Vide Turkey Breast With Extra-Crisp Skin

Ha! Classic mom quote there at the end

The Best White Chili With Chicken

Though mine came out decidedly green instead of white, I can't argue with the results!. I couldn't find fresh Anaheims, so I subbed in some canned chopped chilies without much trouble

In the Lehigh Valley, Your Cheesesteak Comes With Red Sauce

Ha, I remember when I first ordered a cheese steak in the Lehigh valley, a wide eyed freshman at Lafayette College. When it came with sauce on it, I knew I wasn't home anymore!

That said, the excellent Porters' Pub makes a pretty great cheesesteak with sauce, but its not exactly a red pizza sauce, more like a steak sauce with worcestershire (which was mentioned in the article)

Turn Your Pasta Into Ramen With Baking Soda

Good thing that baking soda is gluten free! Guess we're just going to to slap meaningless labels on everything these days :\

Good article though, gonna have to try this trick.

The Food Lab Turbo: These Pimento-Jalapeño Cheeseburgers Will Knock You Out

It appears that the link to the recipe is broken :\

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make a Simple Salad Worth Eating

@AndroidUser - I'm not a chemophobe... basically the furthest thing from it, but if I don't NEED to use it at home, why would I? Not only that, but hydrating gums is annoying and I do it all day. If I can whisk together a vinaigrette with some mustard and eat it before it destabilizes I've basically obviated the need for a gum in the first place

Cream Science: On Whipping, Butter, and Beyond

Another fellow chemist who loves to cook. Good job on those diagrams, my orgo homework never looked that good

The Food Lab Turbo: How to Make a Simple Salad Worth Eating

@Kenji: I wouldn't classify Xanthan gum as an emulsifier. I think in food science it would be considered a "stabilizer" rather than an emulsifier due to the fact that it doesn't really promote the formation of an emulsion the way a surfactant does. Strictly speaking Xanthan gum is a rheology modifier and works in a different way than an emulsifier, by thickening the water and adding yield stressn through the formation of a hydrocolloid network. This yield stress prevents the oil droplets from moving through the water phase and coalescing.

Either way, I wouldn't be making anything at home with it... I spend enough time using it in my household products development lab at work ;)

Win a Copy of 'Huckleberry'

At this point, anything thats NOT pumpkin spiced.

The Best Korean Food in LA's Koreatown

Oh man, this post has be even more excited for my upcoming trip to Seoul!

Win a Copy of 'Tacolicious'

carnitas or barbacoa

Lunch Hack: Use a Pizza Wheel To Chop Your Salad Directly in the Bowl

@Lloyd Cogliandro - I'm sure those are purely contextual links to their own content. This is an article about pizza wheels, it found another article on SE about pizza wheels, not exactly the conspiracy theory you seem to be implying... And as far as this being a great way to destroy a pizza wheel? Maybe if you do it in the metal bowl like this, but at the end of the day are you really equating a $10 pizza wheel with a $200 knife or $100 pan? Hell, why not just go out and buy a totally separate pizza wheel just for the convenience?

Win a Copy of 'The Big-Flavor Grill'

9 Lesser-Known IPAs You Should Be Drinking

Agreed wholeheartedly on the Limbo IPA. First had it when I stopped by Long Trail's brewery and was very pleasantly surprised by it considering the 80 IBU's had me expecting something way "bigger" tasting

Win a Copy of 'The Meat Hook Meat Book'

The Food Lab: Slow-Smoked, 40-Ounce, Dry-Aged Porterhouse Steaks

Throw those bones in a pot, baby you've got a stew goin'!

Enter to Win a Ham Independence Day Package From La Quercia

Don't look at me like that, you're bacon me nervous!

Taste Test: The Best Caesar Salad Dressings

Why do none of these taste tests ever include ALL the results anymore? Surely you guys have notes and scores on everything, why not share all the data? Seemed like most of the older taste tests had it all, part of the fun for me was always reading the notes on the crappy ones

Sweet Cultured Butter and True Buttermilk From 'The Nourished Kitchen'

@AnthonyC - Mass is conserved, volume isn't. Coagulated butter fat takes up less volume than butter fat in liquid, so I'd fully expect the volume to change. Not sure it fully explains it, 1 missing cup sounds like a lot, but its definitely something.

OHenn hasn't written a post yet.

The Food Lab: Essential Techniques and Recipes for the Summer Grill

In honor of the grilling season I'm missing, I'm going to make it my goal to get as many folks out into their backyards and onto their balconies as many times as possible this summer, because let's be honest: everything tastes better when there's fire, smoke, and cold beers involved, and what better way to gently nudge folks outdoors than with recipes and techniques? I've written a fair amount about grilling in the past, and while this list doesn't encompass quite everything I've done, it does hit the staples of an omnivorous summertime grill with plenty of chicken, steak, sausages, burgers, and—my favorite—corn. More

33 Hamburger Recipes For Memorial Day

I don't know who it is that designated May as National Burger Month, but I'd like to give them a big, sloppy, greasy, onion-scented, cheese-covered kiss on the mouth. What better excuse to celebrate our national sandwich (national food?) and look back at the dozens of well-tested burger recipes we have in our archives? Here are 33 recipes that run the gamut from simple to complex, with representation from around the country, breaking regional borders, and indeed inter-species relations. More

The Food Lab: The Best Way to Make Carnitas (Without a Bucket of Lard!)

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More

No-Waste Tacos de Carnitas with Salsa Verde

Carnitas. The undisputed king of the taco cart. The Mexican answer to American pulled pork, at their best they should be moist, juicy, and ultra-porky with the rich, tender texture of a French confit, and riddled with plenty of well-browned crisp edges. Our version is easier than the traditional bucket-of-lard method, and produces results that are juicier and more flavorful. More

Time for a Drink: The Last Word

The Last Word is a fully revived classic, gracing the bar menus in cities around the globe. More popular now than it ever was in its youth, the Last Word is a surprisingly tasty balance of four ingredients working in perfect unison. Mix one up this weekend, and make up for lost time. More

French 75

According to Ted Haigh (aka Dr. Cocktail), the French 75 is one of two cocktails named after the French 75-mm field gun, which was commonly used in World War I. "One barman in 1947," reports Haigh, "called it a Tom Collins with champagne instead of club soda. Vive la difference!" Here's Haigh's version of the recipe, from his wonderful book, Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. More

Sauced: Ancho-Raisin Sauce

Although originally billed as a "salsa," this isn't the type of sauce made for dipping tortilla chips, but rather, it's rich and complex character that's slightly bitter, sweet, and tangy, is a great match for hearty items like a grilled skirt steak. More

Barbecue: Dr. Pepper Baby Back Ribs

The official start of the outdoor cooking season calls for some classics, and I can't think of anything better than these Dr. Pepper ribs. My most favorite of soft drinks served as the base of this sauce, which offers a tang and depth that will have everyone asking, "what's in this?!" More

Memphis-Style Barbecue Sauce

This "Memphis-style" is my favorite to make at home—it takes the aspects of sweet tomato-based sauces I grew up on, but by dialing back the sugar and amping up the vinegar, creates a sauce where seasonings and spice are more defined and achieves a pleasing balance between the main defining aspects of a barbecue sauce. More

The Burger Lab: Smashed Burgers vs. Smashing Burgers

How many times have you read that in a book or heard a TV chef say it? "It squeezes the juices out!" they cry. "It turns your lunch into a hockey puck!"they scream. Sometimes they'll try and appeal to your compassionate side. "Certainly there are some things that deserve crushing. Evil grapes. T-800 model Terminators. Rebel scum trapped in trash disposals. But what has that poor, defenseless little burger ever done to you to deserve such a fate?"

You've heard it so many times you can't help but believe it's true, right? Not so fast—some of my favorite burgers are smashed, and smashed hard. What gives?

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