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Evan Lobel

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Posts posted by Evan Lobel

  1. Hi,

    There is no doubt that what an animal eats affects the flavor of its

    meat. But as I've said in response to other questions, so much really

    comes down to personal taste. Some people prefer grain-fed beef, others

    grass-fed and still others like grass-fed/grain-finished beef, as an


    I recall hearing a bear hunter once say that every year he likes to hunt

    bear in Alaska just after blueberry season ends. Why? Because the bears

    gorge themselves on blueberries through the season and, in turn, the

    berries impart a unique, somewhat fruity flavor to the meat, and he

    claimed, tenderize it at the same time.


  2. Hi,

    Some animal parts (e.g., cheeks, hocks, neck meat, etc.) that do not

    appeal to American palates are appreciated by other cultures ... which

    leads us to exports markets for these parts.

    Keep an eye on innovative chefs and leading-edge restaurants that push

    the envelope in their search for new ingredients and new preparations.

    Less-used products will always be hard to come by until consumer demand

    reaches the point where it makes sense for retailers to offer them on a

    consistent basis.

    I think there will be continued debate and urging of the USDA to

    amend and strengthen the definitions of natural, organic, etc., so

    labeling is stricter and more consistent.

    There is also some controversy over the use of "american kobe" and other

    similar and somewhat misleading terms to describe wagyu beef raised

    outside of Kobe, Japan. The fact is that kobe, like the term champagne,

    is an appellation. In other words, champagne can only come from the

    champagne region of France; otherwise it is sparkling wine or methode


    Wagyu is a breed stock. Wagyu cattle can only be called Kobe if it is

    raised in Kobe, Japan, in accordance with that prefecture's regulations.

    So, while all Kobe beef is Wagyu, all Wagyu beef is not Kobe beef.

    Whether you're talking about prime or wagyu, both are niche products

    at the highest end of the beef spectrum. Production of prime is only two

    percent of all beef produced in this country. Wagyu production is even

    smaller. Therefore, on price and availability, they will remain niche

    products for those who can afford them.

    In the coming years, we may see a more diverse range of beef from

    different origins: argentine beef, Alberta beef, Piedmontese beef,

    Charolais beef, as well as pure-bred varieties of lamb, pork, etc... But

    these, too, will remain high-end niche products.


  3. Hi,

    To me, the most interesting eating comes from the very best meat. And,

    as with all food, it comes down to personal preference.

    I'm a beef lover and I like a meaty texture and a very beefy flavor.

    That leads me to a strip steak ... the classic steakhouse cut is my

    favorite. Porterhouse is also a favorite because it combines the filet

    and strip in one steak ... two different steaks, two different textures

    and two different tastes. It's a wonder to me that, from an anatomical

    standpoint, meat that is separated only by a narrow bone could have such

    distinctive characteristics.

    I'm not much for exotic game or esoteric meat. But I do have an interest

    in meat from specific breeds or from different origins to and deliver a

    unique taste experiences. And, that is very much a reflection of what

    we've decided to sell from www.lobels.com. Such products as Wagyu beef

    from the U. S. and Australia, kurobuta pork from pure-bred Berkshire

    pigs, free-range Australian lamb, really capture my taste buds.


  4. Hi,

    So much of cooking and grilling comes down to personal preference and

    using your sight, smell and touch to guide you to the results you want

    to achieve.

    Whether you put oil on the meat before or during grilling is, again, a

    matter of personal preference and what your experience tells you

    produces the best results for your taste.

    The discrepancy you note may have come from the fact that in our books,

    I, my dad, Leon; uncle, Stanley, and cousin, Mark, all write the

    recipes, and those recipes reflect our personal preferences. So, for

    example my cousin may prefer to oil the steak during grilling, while I

    prefer to oil it before grilling. Some people do both.

    The results, in terms of searing and achieving a nice crusty surface,

    are virtually identical. Putting the steaks on without oil develops a

    drier crust initially. Oiling first gives you a slightly more supple


    One thing we call all agree on is oiling the grill before you put the

    meat on.

    Question #2

    Yes, the meat we sell online at www.lobels.com and at our butcher shop

    on Madison Ave. is the same ... all USDA high-prime purchased for both

    businesses from the same meat producers.

    No, it is fundamental to our business to maintain the highest standards

    of quality. We simply buy more product to meet the demands of our

    growing business.


  5. Tad,

    Since its recent introduction, our customers' response to the kurobuta

    pork has exceeded our initial expectations. What we're hearing from our

    customers is that they are absolutely amazed that pork could be so

    flavorful, tender and juicy, compared to the commonly available

    commodity, or "white," pork.

    I believe pork at this level of quality will mostly likely remain a

    niche product, in part because of its cost. And, its cost is directly

    related to how the pork is produced. Pigs for commodity pork are bred to

    be lower in fat and are slaughtered at a much earlier age, compared to

    the type of pork we sell, which is allowed to mature and develop the

    intramuscular marbling that contributes so much to the premium pork's

    tenderness and juiciness.

    And as with any livestock, the longer it is on the hoof, the more costly

    it is to produce, in terms of grain, etc.

    It's difficult to say whether this type of pork will have an impact on

    what's available in the supermarket in the future. It all depends on

    what the majority of consumers demand and how pork producers respond to



  6. Hi,

    Boy, isn't Hanger Steak great! Hanger has become extremely popular in the last few years, not all that easy to get really good quality though. Let me start off by saying, of course you can buy it on Lobels.com @18.98 per piece (16-18 oz.) But we're talking USDA Prime. When the center vein is taken out and the steak is grilled over hot coals, then sliced perpendicular to the grain.......WOW! watch out! Not much better.


  7. Hi. Thanks for the question. I do think that brines and marinades have their place, (I love brined turkey!). I'm more of a purest when it comes to steaks and chops but for pork and longer cooked meats, I have no trouble with it.

    Favorite rub...mix dark brown sugar, tablespoon chopped garlic, tablespoon dried marjoram, tablespoon kosher salt, tablespoon fresh ground pepper, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice.


  8. In terms of veal production, I don't see any substantial changes on the

    horizon. That's because if you change the method of production, you will

    change the inherent qualities (e.g., taste profile, texture and color)

    that are considered most desirable: pale color, mild taste, supple

    texture. Veal has these characteristics because of the way it is raised:

    restricted movement and a milk-based diet.

    Free-range veal is very different in all respects -- it is darker in

    color, has a distinctive taste and a pleasantly chewy-beefy texture.

    This type of veal appeals to some consumers, but at this time a definite

    minority. This may change over time, but not any time soon, in my


    One change I do see happening is a concerted effort to market veal to

    wider consumer audiences to increase consumption. This has to do with

    advertising, etc. but it also has to do with marketing new cuts from the

    less used veal parts. Veal bacon and veal ribs are a couple of examples.


  9. Pork is incredibly lean these days due to breeding. What do you think of

    today's hog verses that of 75 years ago? What characteristics do you

    look at when choosing hogs for your business? Do you take issue with

    pork injected with a saline solution like much of the supermarket pork

    is today?

    You are right about the pork today being very lean. And over the years

    that is precisely what commercial breeders have been aiming for: lowest

    production cost, getting the pigs to market as soon as possible and

    controlled, low fat content. The most common complaints I hear are that

    pork today is dry and lacking in flavor.

    Years ago, you'd find farmers raising different breeds and crossbreeds

    of pigs ... what are now referred to as heritage breeds. The meat from

    heritage pigs and pure-bred pigs differs substantially in appearance,

    taste, texture and size from the highly standardized commodity pork that

    is most common today.

    Lobel's kurobuta pork, for example, comes from 100% pure-bred Berkshire

    pigs. The meat is darker in color, more intensely flavored and juicy

    because it is abundantly marbled ... quite a distinctive trait from

    commodity pork.


  10. Hi Janet, This has been a very confusing situation for consumers and marketers

    alike, but the USDA has developed very specific definitions of such

    terms as natural, organic, certified, etc. In fact, the USDA's

    definition of organic is in excess of 500 pages long.

    Here is a link to the USDA Web site that defines many labeling terms and

    the USDA's definitions.


    Essentially, the term "natural" by USDA standards means "minimally

    processed," i.e. does not fundamentally alter the raw product. The use

    of subtherapeutic antibiotics and supplemental hormones ARE allowed.

    By comparison, to be labeled organic, cattle must raised on certified

    organic fed throughout its lifetime. Subtherapeutic antibiotics and

    supplemental hormones ARE NOT allowed.


  11. Hi, thanks for the question. Best conditions for dry aging are a relative humidity of 60% the air should be well circulated by fans and temperature at 38 degrees. Dry aging is not something I would attempt to do at home for many reasons. Beef needs to be dry aged in larger sections such as loins, ribs, etc. One cannot dry age a steak or two in the fridge, it will just get wet mould and be inedible.


  12. Hi Steve, thanks for suggesting me, it’s truly my pleasure to be here. I remember when I started in the business 27 years ago my father (Leon) would often say things like; “boy, they sure don’t have beef like they did in the old days”. I think quite often the memory of moments in time, events and such seem to stick in ones head and over time that memory is greater then it actually was some time ago. Over the years much has changed in my business, in the early 80’s the Cryovac machine was invented which made it easier for markets to buy large quantities of meat and hold it for a long time. That is one of the reasons there are not to many skilled butchers anymore, the meat is already broken down so there isn’t the need to do it in the retail shop. Also in the 80’s there a widening of USDA Choice beef. As far as I know it didn’t affect Prime. So, I guess what I’m trying to say is that even with the shortage of Prime right now, there’s still some great beef around. I have not tried Canadian Prime.


  13. Hi Peter. I would recommend approx. 1/8”-1/4” or 3.175-6.35 millimeters for home grinding. As for size and thickness, for me a lot depends how I’m cooking the burgers. If I’m doing it on open fire, I’ll shape the burgers on the thinner side so I can cook them real fast. If I’m cooking in a cast iron skillet I’ll shape them a bit thicker so I can cook them a little longer it medium heat. My burgers usually weigh in at about 10-12 ounces.


  14. Thanks, Jason

    I'm sure there are lots of opinions on this topic. There are simply so many combinations that people swear by. At Lobel's we mix ground chuck for juiciness, ground sirloin for texture

    and ground filet mignon for richness. With an ideal fat content of

    between 15 and 20 percent, you'll serve hamburgers that your family and

    guests will never forget. And if you want to try something outrageous, give ground hanger steak a whirl.

    I think mixing your own burger meat at home is a great idea. When doing this, you are in control of everything from fat content to cuts of meat to getting it in the refrigerator as soon as possible.

    I have to tell you that it’s not to often I go out for a burger, but the last one I had was at The Jackson Hole, real fatty and sloppy....yum!


  15. Thanks for the great question, Steven.

    The first thing to keep in mind is that Certified Angus Beef (CAB)

    designates a brand not a breed. And just as any brand from soft drinks

    to refrigerators, markets its brand, so CAB is supported by promotional

    strategies and tactics to gain a competitive advantage in the

    marketplace through brand recognition and customer loyalty.

    CAB prime brings a tiered pricing strategy into the marketing mix.

    The physical characteristics established to distinguish CAB from other

    Angus and crossbreeds include no hump and no floppy ears. But Angus beef

    is common. In fact, the majority of beef we sell comes from Angus

    crossbred cattle, but does not come under the CAB brand.

    As far as the quality of the product, you'll find a greater difference

    in CAB Choice which comes from the upper 2/3s of Angus cattle when

    compared to unbranded USDA choice. The visual difference, as always, is

    in the degree of marbling. There is less difference between USDA prime

    and CAB prime.

    So when you are in a restaurant, the real taste and texture differences

    between USDA prime and CAB prime are the same distinctions you'd make

    when comparing any prime graded beef: How was it aged (wet or dry) and

    how long was it aged. And, you'll find that the length of aging can vary

    greatly ... from only a few days. At Lobel's we dry age beef for up to

    42 days. If the menu doesn't tell you, ask your server about how they

    age their meat ... if at all.


  16. Hi! Hard to say. Don't know if you remember Lobel's Steak House back in the early '80's. The restaurant was on the SW corner of 43rd and 2nd Avenue. We stayed open for just under a year. The reveiws were wonderful with reguard to the meat, but not much else....wrong partner. You never know though...the right situation might come our way one day.


  17. Hi! Oh boy, this is a tough one because I have so many favorite cuts. I guess when it gets down to it I’m really a beef guy. I like to grill (on natural hardwood coals) either triple cut strip steaks or a whole strip (shell) of beef, these are the cuts that I usually find myself entertaining with. My preparation for both is simple and basic. I have found over the years that so much of coking/grilling/BBQ is technique. Once you’ve got the technique down the seasoning isn’t quite as important, but the sequence of the seasoning IS important. When I grill a triple steak, I use light olive oil course salt and fresh ground peppercorns. I then place coals in half the grill and let the fire die down to about 10 minutes after the black color has gone. Then I sear the steaks to desired color, place some well-soaked pecan chips on the coals, move the steaks to the cool side of the grill and cover the grill. I continue cooking till rare med-rare, let it sit for 15 minutes, slice. Then I arrange it nicely on a platter. I don’t always use the chips but lately I’ve been having fun with it. I do the whole strip in a similar way. Other favorite cuts are; Racks of Lamb, Lobels London Broil for 2, Wagyu Rib Steaks/Filets/Strips, Kurobuta Pork.


  18. Hi and thanks for the question. Lobel’s has enjoyed much publicity over the years and we continue to get more and more. This attention has not changed the way we do business. When I’m at a party and I’m asked what I do, my response is always the same, “I’m a butcher”. I never forget that and I never will. This is what I do and will continue to do as long as I’m able. It’s my passion and my love. What all this means is that it’s business as usual whether I’m cutting meat in the butcher shop or working to grow our online business. I hope this answers your question.


  19. Hi! Great question! First, dismantle your smoke detector. Then, take a cast iron skillet and place it in a high broiler about 6 inches away from the heat. Let the dry skillet get real hot…about 15-20 minutes. The steak has gotten down to room temp and has been pat dry with a paper towel. Rub a little olive oil (optional) on it, season with a good course salt and fresh ground peppercorns. When pan is hot, I mean real hot, sear the steak for a minute on each side, continue to broil for about 4 minutes on each side (2 inch steak) and let it sit for 5 minutes before digging in. Have fun!


  20. Hi! Thanks for the question. Believe me there certainly is a demand and good reason for us to ship to Canada. It’s all red tape! We should be there sometime after the holidays. To keep up with all the new developments feel free to join our Culinary Club, you can do that by logging on to our website and clicking on “Become a member of the club”.


    My Webpage

  21. Hi Trish, no doubt USDA Prime Beef is incredibly difficult to come by these days. There are always other options though. The first and most important as far as I’m concerned is to have some basic knowledge of what it is you’re looking for. When you're buying steaks for instance, never buy frozen. When you buy frozen you really have no idea how long it has been sitting in the freezer. When buying fresh, you are in the drivers seat, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days or freeze it when you choose. It’s important to look for some marbling in the eye of the steak even USDA Choice should have some. If you can purchase dry aged Choice it would be much better. Look for long cooking cuts such as short ribs, cross rib, chicken steak or brisket. Good Luck!


  22. Hi Andy, thanks for the question. This was and continues to be a real tightrope walk for me, but I think I have had some success. My balance comes by keeping family traditions and values, taking it “one customer at a time” and treating all my customers with the respect they deserve. Since we are an “old world” type of shop, small (600 sq.ft) and family operated, when walking in, it often leaves the customer with a warm and cozy feeling (and some great beef!), now, this has certainly been a challenge to re-create with the online experience, but that is what I’m trying to do. I still answer 95% of all the emails that come in off the site with the personal attention that they deserve. I feel I can’t go wrong with great customer service and the absolute bef product out there.


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