Saturday, June 19, 2021

My Beef Beefs


I enjoy browsing on Pinterest.  I've found cocktail recipes, side dishes, graphics for my screensaver, etc...  Many of the graphics on the site are infographics, pictorial fact sheets which can display anything from the evolution the Ford Mustang, to best selling vodka brands, to a timeline of Teddy Roosevelt's life.  Such graphics are usually well researched.

Then there are the screwballs.  I opened my email Pinterest newsletter to find a graphic outlining five grades of beef; Choice, Prime, Wagyu, Wagyu from Japan, and Prime 30 day dry aged.

The USDA recognizes eight, and only eight, grades of beef. 

1.  U.S. Prime – Highest in quality and intramuscular fat, limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime.  Prime cuts make superb steaks and roasts.

2.  U.S. Choice – High quality, widely available in foodservice industry and retail markets. Choice carcasses are 53.7% of the fed cattle total.  These are also good for roasts and steaks, but are less marbled and flavorful than Prime cuts. 

3.  U.S. Select (formerly known as U.S. Good) – lowest grade commonly sold for retail.  These cuts are of an acceptable quality, but are less flavorful, juicy, and tender due their lack of marbling.  Fat equals flavor.  The ribs, loin, and tender loin, are somewhat tender and are good for outdoor grilling and bar-bar-cuing.

4.  U.S. Standard – Lower quality, yet economical, lacking marbling.  Standard and Commercial cuts are cheap because they’re tough.  Yet, they’re usable in dishes which are cooked low and slow such as chili and stews. 

5.  U.S. Commercial – Low quality, lacking tenderness, produced from older animals.

6.  U.S. Utility - This and the two following grades are essentially void of tenderness, and are mostly used for canned & processed foods, occasionally really cheap hamburger. 

7.  U.S. Cutter

8.  U.S. Canner 

Wagyu isn't a grade of beef, it's a breed, like angus.   Meat from that breed can be graded as prime.  The  breed is renowned for its marbling because there's no room in Japan to allow the cattle to graze.  As a result, the animal develops less muscle and more fat.  Again, fat equals flavor.  

Dry aged beef isn't a grade of beef.  It's beef which has been dried on a rack in a dedicated refrigerator, or cold room, for many days or even weeks.  As the meat sacrifices its moisture, the enzymatic reactions are tenderizing the meat again creating a nutty depth of flavor.  RingSide Steakhouse in Portland, Oregon offers a filet mignon, which has been dry aged for 30 days for $71.75.

The creators of the infographic in question made sure to list a copyright along its bottom edge, so I don't feel comfortable posting it here.  You can click the link to it in the second paragraph of this blog if you're interested though. 

Most infographics are well researched informative tools.  However, every now then and one comes along which makes readers stop... scratch their heads... and think, "WTF."  That's OK though.  You should question EVERYTHING you read online or offline, especially when it involves your food. 

Below are some meat related infographics which are actually helpful.  You can click each graphic to see its full  sized version.  Happy Eating!  🥩

Sunday, May 9, 2021

The Food Blahs


Lets address the elephant in the virtual room; I've only published two food blogs since the beginning of 2021.  As cliché as it sounds, I partly blame the pandemic for my food blahs.  When I don't know which  dining rooms will be open, and food delivery services sometimes deliver cold food, it's hard to get excited about anything. 

I'm flirting with the idea of reviewing more food trucks, but that doesn’t do anything for my non-local readers.  I WILL get my food mojo back, and I WILL reenergize this blog.  For the immediate future though, I plan to focus on my my spiritual blog, and my political opinion blog.

In the meantime if you want to get your food funk on, I recommend this lady's blog, Ahead of Thyme. Sam began her blog as a hobby in 2015. Today she's publishing a recipe a day and reaching a millon people a month.

I save, at least, one recipe of hers per week and have never been disappointed. Just today, she published a recipe for creamy garlic mushrooms, which looks absolutely amazing.

Stella got her groove back, and I will too. Until then, Happy Eating My friends!

Saturday, March 6, 2021

The French Dip Of The Taco World

| Subject: OG Birrieria Taco Truck | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester |  Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
| Subject: OG Birrieria's Menu | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester | Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
My best friend, Dani, is, hands down, the pickiest eater I know. She has no qualms about sniffing her restaurant order when it arrives at the table, “just to make sure.” Thus, when she told me about some outrageously delicious tacos, she’d come across, from a new taco truck I had to give them a try.

Parked on first street in Hillsboro, Oregon (Next to the KFC), sits the bright red OG Birrieria Taco Truck . Adjacent to the truck is a makeshift wooden shelter, complete with tables, chairs, and a tall cylindrical space heater.

| Subject: Taco Box from OG Birrieria's Taco Truck | Date: 03/04/2021 | Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester | Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
When I say, “tacos,” you shouldn't be thinking about hamburger and refried beans in a bright yellow shell. OG Birrieria begins by marinating beef in a spiced consommé overnight. The meat is then stuffed into a corn tortilla along with a helping of Cotija cheese. The taco is then dipped into the consommé and fried to order on an electric griddle.

This isn’t fast food, but it only took, roughly, ten minutes for my number to be called once I’d ordered. For $12.00 I received a box with; four tacos, some lime wedges, a mixture of cilantro & onion, a small cup of orange hot sauce paste, a small cup of guacamole, and a generous disposable ramekin of the consommé to serve an au jus of sorts; which is the reason I nicknamed it, “the French dip of the taco world.”

The hot sauce paste was over the top hot, and I wasn't in a guacamole mood. However, I added the; lime juice, onions, and cilantro; to balance the rich meat and cheese with some freshness. Dipping the tacos, before taking each bite, delivered a gamut of salty, spicy, and herbaceous flavors all working together to produce a superb eating experience.

I have nothing bad to say about OG Birrieria’s tacos. 10 out of 10 stars.

Monday, January 25, 2021

Did Taco Bell Need To Resurrect Their Loaded Nacho Taco?


I was looking for a way to get back into my food blogging groove (if you follow me regularly you know why I've been off my blogging game), when I heard Taco Bell had re-released their Loaded Nacho Taco for just $1.00.  Tempted by the price, I ordered one from my local Taco Bell at 19275 SW Tualatin Valley Hwy, in Aloha, Oregon.  

| Subject: Taco Bell's Loaded Nacho Taco |
| Date: 01/21/2021 |
| Photographers: Dani Cogswell & James Kiester |
| Permissions: Photo taken for this blog |
The Loaded Nacho Taco consists of lettuce, cheddar cheese, nacho cheese sauce, seasoned beef-like substance (Oh, what? You've had the same thought.), and red corn chip strips for added crunch.

As you can see from the photograph, the taco had a lot of lettuce and meat mixture with a little bit of everything else.  The cheese sauce added a bit of spice, otherwise it tasted just like a Soft Taco Supreme minus the sour cream.

As for added crunch, the few strips that were present provided a minimal crunch above & beyond the crunch of the lettuce.  Honestly, if you want a soft taco with crunch you're better off with a Double Decker Taco Supreme. 

Don't get me wrong, Taco Bell's Loaded Nacho Taco is a tasty $1.00 taco.  It's simply only worth what I paid for it. 7 out of 10 stars