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Posts posted by StanSherman

  1. dagordon,

    First, chicken is considered fresh above 26 degrees F. It can be hard to the touch but still not considered frozen.

    Second, there are two ways Eberly can deliver chicken during the winter. They can have the chickens inside a house with a door open. As long as they have acess to the outdoors they are legally "free-range". Eberly can freese birds for the winter and then ship them thawed. They can't label them "fresh" but the can call the free-range, natural, organic, Amish etc.

    I'm actually not an expert on the frozen rules for poultry, but I do know that most "fresh fish" from the ocean is frozen at sea whole and thawed at the store, cut up and sold as fresh.

  2. Stan, this thing looks a lot like the beer can chicken deal. Last summer I bought the weber take on this product for my smoker. Works great and provides a whole lot more stability to the bird while smoking/roasting

    That's right. The BBQ store I went into had several and I liked the Tejas because it would go into our diswasher and clean up easy. I hadn't thought about it yet, but we just got a new Bradley smoker. I'll have to try the two together. How much smoke do you think would be nice?

  3. 1.) If you wish to spend time discussing birds with a farmer now is the correct time. They get a little “off-time” this time of the year.

    2.) You should probably use the opportunity to get your hands on a true pastured farm processed chicken before they all end up out of business. It’s easier around here to get four pounds of pot than 4 gallons of raw milk or 4 pounds of real chicken.

    3.) The pastured birds can sometimes be a little drier if the weather cycles are too extreme. We found http://www.tejassmokers.com/drunken_chicken.htm these things work great. There are several similar ones.

    4.) If one gets a fresh killed bird they need to keep in mind the meat needs some time to relax. If the bird is processed on Saturday and you pick it up from them that afternoon it may be very tough for a Sunday dinner. We personally have a cooler at close to 30 degrees that we hold them for several days.

    5.) I doubt anyone is thawing frozen birds to bring to market. It cost money to freeze them. If anything they would take the unsold ones back and freeze them. If you’re buying directly from a farmer at a Farmers’ Market their scale is so small that the air-chilling is not a factor IMO.

  4. I don't know if you guys have Trader Joe's in the city, but they carry Empire.  The birds are more costly than Eberly at WF--or around the same price.

    Andrew, as for Zunied E-bird, the thing I appreciated is the fact that the company sells smaller birds weighing less than the norm of 4.5-lbs. & higher.  The standard line is that not only were tiny birds typical back in the golden era of Michael Pollan's great-great grandmother, but the martyred flesh would be of a younger, and therefore, more tender fowl.

    Grandma's bird was actually a couple of weeks older. A different breed. The current beed you are getting grows so fast it can barely live beyond 8 weeks. Most of the 4-5.5 lb. birds are 46 days. There is so much BS out there about chickens the truth is pretty much lost in the noise.

  5. Kosher chickens are hand plucked. Non-kosher chickens are dunked in a warm water bath and machine plucked.  Some say that because Kosher poultry is not subjected to a warm water bath, that that accounts for a difference in taste. Personally, I think it has to do with the process of soaking the Kosher poultry in salt.

    They are all *scalded* in a water bath at about 145 for several seconds to loosen the feathers. Then several at a time are placed into a "plucker" It's a drum type maching with rubber fingers that looks a little like a cement mixer. They chickens roll around in there for 20-30 seconds. Then they are gutted and chilled.

    What makes them Kosher is the use of a Shoshet and then soaked. In reality there are a few fairly high production Kosher facilities around.

  6. Oh good, I'll head over to Fair Food next time I'm at Reading Terminal. 

    I don't know about buying unfrozen chickens.  My understanding-- but I'm happy to be corrected if this is wrong-- is that they do their slaughtering during one season (spring?), and that any chicken you buy during the year is from a chicken killed then.

    In that area the season is basically Memorial day through Labor day. They can't put the birds outside in the cold weather since they never get older than 7-8 weeks.

  7. (I DID have my share of grilled artichokes there).

    I was cooking artichokes when I posted about Rutherford Grill. People do need lunch too. I don't rember seeing them on DC menus so I thought they would be a good California item. In my book they are in the grey area of chains. I'm sure some might make the same claim about Martini House.

    It is tough choosing one place in the Valley. It's not like trying to find a cosy bistro in Barstow.

  8. Hi Stan. Was I there? Did we meet? We had a lot of visitors at the warehouse last week. Was I nice? Incredibly good looking? The Napa Nuts folks are great and supply the pumpkin seeds for my Rio Fuego hot sauce.

    Glad you got to stop in!

    No, we missed you. We would like to meet sometime. We'll be stopping in next month.

  9. I don't know the farms personally being from the other side of the country but if you take a look at:


    you may get a good start. These are the farms that are fighting to keep pasture raised chickens around. Pennsylvania has a good number. I don't have a list of the Amish farms. There is a small Amish poultry processing place in Mifflinburg called Reiff's Poultry Dressing. Eli Reiff has been processing for many years. Just like how a butcher can help select a great cut of beef there only small numbers of small scale poultry processors left. They may just die off.

  10. Terra is great. If the weather is nice, lunch at Rutherford Grill is a great outdoor experience. Starting Feb 5 La Toque has a truffle menu. Rutherford is also close to Yountville. If we had only one dinner out I certainly would consider Redd or Ad Hoc.

    The area is so full of great wine tasting I can only give a couple of suggestions. We had a great tour of Kuleto Estate (they are only alowed something like 20 a day) It’s about 20 minutes from Rutherford and worth the trip. Allow a couple hours.

    Rubicon is right there is Rutherford. It’s pricey to some for a wine tasting ($25) but they do sit on some of the best Cab vines in the world.

  11. I know the Eberly chickens are good, but for those of you in Phily, you’re not that far away from farms that offer premium quality birds. Most people think that a shiny USDA packing facility is the way to go but a farm-slaughtered bird is even better. They get them while they are still sleepy in the morning and they don’t stress out building up lactic acid. Plus you should save some money. They are out of season now but keep it in mind for the late spring.

    BTW, I don’t want to trash WF. It’s the poultry thing that bothers me. A chicken is not just a chicken. Their organic birds are still a step up and are better for the planet, there is just other levels.

  12. We’ve been working our way through the book for a few months. We went on a Christmas “toy” binge so we’re pretty well set. Pastrami came out pretty good. Sausages look and taste nice. I’m getting ready to start on the dry cured stuff now. We tasted some great Spanish Chorizo at Olivetto this past weekend and it’s inspired me to make some. Paul Canales did a demo on cutting up a lamp and a pig Saturday including how to do a trotter for Zampone. We are cutting up a whole Berkshire in a few weeks so this year we though we’d devote a good porting of it to charcuterie cuts.

    If anyone has some suggestions please feel free to help us out. A good recipe for Zampone would be nice too.

  13. I was browsing this thread and decided to pick-up some of Rancho Gordo’s Posole as we went through Napa last week. I’m glad we did for a couple of reasons. First I realized that a very good family friend has the Nut Company in the same complex and I hadn’t seen her in several years. Our parents were friends before we were born and still are today.

    I’ve been working my way through “Charcuterie” and have lots of pieces of smoked meats hanging around. I put one together today with a little bacon, pastrami and smoked lamb sausage. Very tasty! It seems that this is a recipe that can get over-thought or am I missing something?

  14. We are chicken farmers, so this is one subject I can shed some light on. Just like beef, genetics, along with environment and feed, all have an influence upon the quality and taste of the meat. The Eberly birds are raised in true free-range conditions, but the birds are the conventional breeds of Cornish X; they basically hang out at the food trough, but they do grow great breasts and mature at 7 weeks. They are raised in smaller flocks and hand processed. They hold their flavor quite well when frozen so you may want to think in terms of several birds at a time.

    The blue-foot is a French breed that likes to actually move. We raise four breeds, very similar to the blue-foot, that have different strengths of flavor. We have food custom-milled, and supplement the finish feed with extra corn, and we’ll be adding goat milk to their diet this year. These birds don’t get quite as large as the Cornish X, and take 3-6 weeks longer to get to size. When all is done, they are not the same chickens that have ever been available at WFs. They are similar to chickens that were available 40 years ago in the U.S.

    When people go into WF and buy an organic free-range chicken, they are getting an organic-fed bird that is raised in a house with about 60,000 other birds. There is a door open for access to the “pasture”. Typically 6 out of 60,000 are roaming around. Most likely lost, since they ain’t too smart. They are grown to specific sizes and then mass processed. The processing lines are so large now that they need to be fed 12,000 birds an hour. The largest small-scale producers grow 20,000 birds a year. It’s not enough to keep a line going for a couple of hours.

    I know when we raise 1000 birds we loose money at $4/pound so if the blue-foots are available (squab.com) for about $6 it seems like a pretty fair price.

  15. I doubt that you'll get the emulsion you want with cooked beef -- or am I missing something? Do you mean brisket instead of chuck?

    Correct, Corned brisket. Just raw brisket in brine prior to cooking.

  16. After reading a review of “Hot Doug’s” in Chicago we got thinking about making corned beef hot dogs. As good as a weekly trip to Chicago sounds it’s a little far for us. My thought was to use a basic beef hot dog recipe, but substitute corned beef for the chuck. Any ideas?

  17. Hi,

    First post to this topic. We’ve been working on some ideas while collecting toys/tools. We’ve got the stuffer and meat grinder. We’ll be getting a Bradley smoker in a few days.

    We do a Berkshire pastured hog every year, and ours will be ready in a month, so we need to start making freezer space available. We’ll need to clean out about twenty French-bred, pasture-raised chickens to help make room. We thought we’d strip the meat for sausages and do a large batch of canned, clear stock. Any other ideas for “charcuterie”?

  18. A big part of the meat bird issue is breed. Just having a door open for birds to free range doesn't mean that a bird that has been breed to sit, eat, drink and sleep we go roaming around. We raised several hundred of French breeds this past season and there is a world of difference in their taste. SInce they roam around and forage they contain much less fat.

    Eggs and meat from a well kept flock are not the same animal as industrial organic.

  19. Hi,

    De-lurking here. We are farmers with the possibility of adding cows to our new place. With that in mind we spent a recent week doing cheese evaluation, tasting and making. We refined the blues down to this list and presented it to a group of foodies. Shropshire was the favorite.

    2000 Steele Zinfandel Port Pacini Vineyard, Mendocino Coast

    Amish blue Iowa Schwart

    Smooth palette, strong flavor

    Colton Bassett Stilton

    Mild subtle creamy not over powering, the most subtle, ivory color

    Colton Bassett Shropshire Blue

    nutty, salty, creamy, fine crystal, fuller flavor, orange color

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