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Everything posted by Mister_Cutlets

  1. Suzanne, I wouldn't point to my own body parts in trying to communicate with a foreign butcher! He might get the wrong idea. But I have a pretty good grasp of how they butcher beef and pork in the British and French systems. It all comes down to knowing the carcass. The names and cuts are very confusing, especially in France. But if you have a good diagram, you'll know just what they are by looking back and forth at the American diagram. I use the synoptic illustrations in the 1962 Larousse Gastronomique. Of course, that won't help you in other countries, particularly far Eastern ones. But it should stand you in good stead in England and France. Sometimes you can just tell from the name: "piece de boeuf" is just what it sounds like. Mr. Cutlets
  2. Snake and squirrel, had 'em both. Snake was white, dry and insipid; squirrel was delicious, at least in the form of the Georgia brunswick stew I had. Coons are said to be inedible. You?
  3. No...it's all about the coin, though. I don't blame him for making those commercials one bit. Food cred doesn't pay the orthodontist's bills. Mr. C.
  4. Occasionally, because of my advanced age and heroic commitment to eating high-powered meals, people suppose that Mr. Cutlets is no friend to fast food. Nothing could be further from the truth! I would like someday to found an international fast foods movement, as a kind of counterpart to the slow foods movement. Limiting myself to franchises, I would give the Cutlets seal of approval to (in no particular order): 1. Steak and Shake. Really the best of the burger chains, for my money. For somebody like me, that values surface-to-meat ratios above all else, their deliciously fresh, flat, crispy and vivid burgers, served on toasted buns with just a little pickle and nothing else, are as good as you can ask for. 2. White Castle -- what is there to say? For lightness and succulence, for concentrated burger power, there's nothing else to compare. I usually order three white castles, a cheeseburger, a double-cheeseburger, and a couple of double White Castles to go in my pockets. Ahh..... I just wrote a stillborn Talk of the Town Piece about going there with Handsome Dick Manitoba of the Dicatators. I'm sure some intern from Sarah Lawrence will read it and delete it. Any suggestions for a home for this fine piece would be appreciated. 3. Burger King. The best of the big franchises. The basic hamburgers had a stretch, from about 1997 to 2001, when they were the best bargain in fast food. Now they've shrunk, but the double-bacon-cheeseburger still puts a hop in my step. And a plain whopper with cheese remains one of the most comforting foods of my infancy, adolescence, and senescence. Burger King is so much better than the other chains that I can't imagine how they stay in business; and the fries are better, too. The original chicken sandwich is immense, crispy, dead-on juicy, and stays good for hours. (You have to get it without the horrible shredded lettuce, though.) 4. The Colonel (KFC). The once and future fried chicken franchise. The potato wedges are, along with Arby's potato cakes, the best fast-food side order; and the chicken speaks for itself. The only drawback was the expense; but now the Colonel is offering eight pieces of dark meat for 5.99, and I don't see how I can keep away. The only caveat with the Colonel is that, particularly with the Original Recipe, you can't eat it hot. This chicken is only good when the juices have settled, so try to go at an off-hour. Cutlets Anathemas to 1. Taco Bell -- hideous. The same four vile ingredients, combined in infinitely horrible ways. Exclude me out. 2. Wendy's. Wendy's indifference even to the most basic elements of burger preparation is a disgrace. They serve the triple with only a single slice of cheese! And of course their gray, greasy patties combine with rancid mayonnaise and unmelted cheese in the queasiest of ways. Forgettaboutit! 3. Arby's. Arby's roast beef is a mystery. What the hell does it taste like? Why does it have an irredescent sheen? And what animal does it come from? I like the potato cakes, but this roast beef is strictly from hunger. Mixed feelings: 1. Nathan's. The best hot dog going, but always served on a cold bun, and the prices are ridiculous. 2. Hardees. Too much of a good thing -- but sometimes nothing else will do. The new "thickburgers" are hard to resist, even if I am against them ideologically. 3. Roy Rogers. Has been declining since my youth. 4. Bob's Big Boy. Love the sign, hate the food. Coasting on its brand.
  5. Interesting posts...to go back a little, though, I welcome the economy cuts of lamb, such as the shoulder and shank, as being the best parts of the animal. You don't really get much lamb taste from chops or leg, other than the fat; and as I regretfully mentioned in my first post, the lamb fat is often gone by the time it comes out on the plate in most US restaurants. Shoulder is as wonderful in lamb as it is in every other animal; there are three or four different groups of muscles running in different directions, all with their own collagen to break down and melt away, and with plenty of fat to help the process along. And of course the value of lamb shanks to human happiness is beyond question. Yet my favorite piece of lamb is almost surely the breast. It's very fatty, and you have to slow roast it for a very long time, but if you do, and keep cutting away the strata of lamb rib meat as the fat melts, you are left with the most lamby, saltry, fibrous, and vivid faux-cutlet you could hope for. And if you don't roast up some little potatoes in the clear hot lamb fat that came out, you should have your head examined! Unhappily I almost never see lamb breast prepared that way. Two little restaurants called Moustache serve what they call "lamb ribs," but which is really breast-flap meat; but it's not as good as I make it at home. Lamb breast may have to stay as one of Mr. Cutlets' many solo and unwholesome in-house treats. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  6. Sorry for the delay, budrichard. I've eaten both "American Wagyu" and traditional Kobe steaks, and I have to say that neither knocked me out. Of course, if you're eating tenderloin you're not really getting the full measure of how good any breed is; it's the singly most insipid piece of the whole carcass, which is why so many people order it who have no love of meat in their hearts. But that's another story. Wagyu cattle was developed on the world market as a way to try to reverse the general tendency of both American and European cattle to become leaner. The Wagyu animal has a robust, juicy, well-marbled character comparable to Black Angus and the various Angus cross-breeds that dominate the premium beef market. The Kobe treatment, however, takes it way over the top. I've had Kobe steak on numerous occasions and to me it tastes like equal parts beef, beer, and foie gras. I grew up eating grain- and grass-fed beef, and that is the taste I enjoy and associate with beef. The expense and perversity of the Kobe methods stike me as something for only the most effete, jaded libertines -- much like Japanese pornography, which leaves me similarly cold. Wagyu cattle, to sum up, are a welcome addition to American husbandry, because they will help to bring back the prime meat we used to know; presumably they have all the other virtues cattlemen want from their animals: ease and frequency of calving, resistence to disease, etc. And their beef is terriffic. But it's not better than the best Black Angus, Limousin, Chianina, or other top breeds. And remember, the breed doesn't necessarily translate into the grade: there are a lot of Black Angus steers that end up as Standard, Cutter, Canner, and worse. Yours, Mr. Cutlets
  7. Steven, Only the spare ribs, churrasco, flank steak, and short ribs! I love that place! If I ever decide to go out in a Leaving Las Vegas-style debauch, that will definitely be the place...actually, it doesn't require much of a decision. I almost expired the last time I ate there, and only the bright lights and meaty smells of Ninth avenue brought me back around. yrs Mr. Cutlets
  8. Elyse, What a pregnant question! My opinions about burgers are very highly developed and dogmatic. You really should order Meat Me in Manhattan! (Buy It!). But in the meantime, here's what my burger researches have been telling me since I wrote the book. To sum up my theme of themes in "The Burger Barons," the book's leadoff essay, I believe that only burgers of classical morphology can contend for top honors. A burger shoud be above all else disclike; the proportion of surface to interior should skew overwhelming in the direction of deliciously brown, crunchy and caramalized surface, the better the contrast against the smooth and viscous goo of the thick tangerine-colored American cheese that tops it. My own favorite burger is Veselka, although I am frequently embarassed by their tendendcy (esp. during the day) to overcook the burgers. Stress that you don't want it overcooked! Anyway, while Veselka is still my favorite, I've had four superb burgers since closing the book, all of which should have been included. 1. Blue Smoke. I'm not a big believer in huge, thick burgers for the reasons described above, but I make an exception for truly great ground-beef sandwiches like Blue Smoke's, which is about as juicy and flavorful as you can get. The brioche bun is not objectionable, and the house-cured bacon it's served with is of very high quality -- though not in a league with Veselka's armour thick country bacon. It's not deep-fried like the Corner Bistro or McHale's either. The main thing is the chuck / sirloin, which unleashes a veritable gusher of beef juice from its perfectly cooked interior. 2. Blue 9. To me, this is the epitome of what a burger should be. Blue 9 serves the sandwich in its platonic form, ultra thin, dried out to the point of being all surface, on a toasted white bun, and served with square cheese. I abhor their "special sauce" but it's easy enough to order it without, just as it's easy to eat between meals, or for dessert. It's cheap, the fries are great, and the milkshakes passable. The friendly Japanese kids who seem to run it do a good job of keeping the orders straight and keeping the place as clean as can be expected. I don't like the double cheeseburger, though -- the single is just perfect. 3. Friars Coffee Shop. This little coffee shop near the U.N. was said by some anonymous foodie on the Chowhound board to have a burger "like a giant White Castle" and so I immediately jumped into a cab and went there. It's actually just a traditional coffee shop burger, with the cheese melted onto both sides of a large seeded bun in the broiler, and a disclike burger expertly grilled. But what's wrong with that? It will replace the burger I used to love at Chris' Daily Treat, before they started parboiling the burgers to save time. 4. How embarassing! The name eludes me, but this hipster takeout restaurant is right next to the Old Homestead, and features overpriced sliders served on little brioche buns as round and unwiedly as eggs. The tiny, malformed discs were badly over-browned, and as a result over-cooked. I still enjoyed them, but ten of them is worth one white castle. So that's where I stand right now. Yours, Mr. Cutlets
  9. I had some luck with this recipe, doubling the onion, adding some burgundy, and using demi-glace instead of beef base. http://www.grasslandbeef.com/recipe_stuffed_heart.html good luck! Mr. Cutlets
  10. It's true. I am still haunted by a bad meal I had in Ceylon in 1952.
  11. Trish, Not to be a wiseguy, but it sounds to me like you need a copy of Meat Me in Manhattan! (Buy It!) You really need to think it though, because you only have a few meals. The best steakhouse in Manhattan, for my money, is Sparks. Brooklyn's Peter Luger is the gold standard, but because of the way they slice up the steak while still hot, it's sometimes not as enjoyable as Sparks, where the juices have time to reabsorb back into the meat. (Also, I like Sparks' hash browns more.) Sammy's Rumanian is a must-visit, esp. for the Rumaninan tenderloin, the rib steak, the veal cutlet, and (especially) the chopped liver. Katz's is the best deli, although the Carnegie is open later, easier to get to, and more reliable -- and nearly as good. Don't go to the Second Avenue Deli under any circumstances. It's a huge rip-off, and the sandwiches are little better than what you would get in a Las Vegas tribute restaurant. Go to New York Noodletown for great char siu (roast pork), duck, and suckling pig over rice. There are many great meats in Manhattan. And only one book is devoted to them! your pal, Mr. Cutlets
  12. It's offal good, if you ask me! Too gnarly to eat and too good to throw away, offal is one of my favorite things -- once it's been turned into a refined product. There are a thousand and one ways to transform offal, or garbage, into tasty dishes. Head cheese, blood sausage, testa, scrapple, souse, pudd'n cookie -- the list goes on and on. If I had to pick a single one, it would most certainly be scrapple. You have to love any food whose recipe begins, "take a stiff wire brush and clean the snout thoroughly." (as an old cookbook of mine does.) Pennsylvania is really the nation's scrapital; Amish country in particular is a paradise for the stuff. But you can get good scrapple in New York too. My favorite brand of store-bought scrapple has always been habbersett: it has the richest, most livery taste, and an extra depth from the added broth, heart, and head-meat. Traditionally, scrapple is meant to be cooked up in a great vat and then allowed to cool in bread pans. You slice it up and fry it in a pan, where it releases its own fat, and gives up some of its moisture as it cooks, concentrating its flavor. I cut my scrapple very thin, let it cook until it gets very dry and crispy, and then eat it straight up, or as a sandwich on untoasted wonder bread. The best (and practically the only) restaurant scrapple I've had in New York was at Pan Pan restaurant on Lenox Avenue and 135th street. It comes in a crunchy cube and is lighter than air. Mr. Cutlets
  13. Nick, If it's kid, I would treat it just as you would a lamb shoulder -- i.e., brown it well on all sides in olive oil, and then either braise or slow-roast it for a long time. If it's adult goat, you might want to consider adding some kind of slight sweetening element to cut against the gamy taste. A little orange zest, maybe. Good luck! Mr. Cutlets
  14. Another great question! Egullet rules! Ok, off the top of my head, the top five movie scenes involving meat would have to be: 1. Charles Laughton, as Henry VII, waving his drumstick around in The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) 2. Bill the Butcher carving the hogs in Gangs of New York (2002) 3. John Wayne's immortal hymn to beef in Howard Hawks' Red River (1948): "I'll have that brand on enough beef to feed the whole country. Good beef for hungry people. Beef to make 'em strong. Beef to make 'em grow." 4. The Duke facing down Lee Marvin in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence (1962). "It was my steak!" 5. Al Lettieri and Sally Struthers throwing ribs at each other in Sam Peckinpah's The Getaway (1972)
  15. Excellent question, Varmint! Before returning to New York after my most recent organ transplant, I lived for many years in exile in northern Indiana and rural New York. Those franchise steakhouses you mention are for many carnivores the only good meat they get to have. Here's what you need to know about them: 1. There are basically three tiers of franchise steakhouses. At the bottom are the stew-grade meateries like Ponderosa, Tad's, Beefsteak Charlie's, and Sizzler. These places were good bargains at one time, but their meat is really pretty vile, and they cost much more than the fast food restaurants they basically are. The middle tier consists of highly refined and aggressively marketed steak emporiums such as Outback, Colorado, Lone Star, related ethnic franchises such as Don Pablo's, Chiles, Spageddies, etc., and a very few generic "family" restaurants, most notably Ruby Tuesday's. These mid-tier franchises are one of America's greatest achievements and proudest boasts. The quality control is absolute, the food is always good and beautifully plated, and they exist in the most barren spots on the continent. They're always a good value, and masterpieces of modern food-service infrastructure. If only the peppy waitresses would shut up, they would be perfect. The top tier of franchises consists of high-end steakhouses such as Mortons and Ruth's Chris. They are as costly as the restaurants they ape, and I can't grasp why anyone would bother with them when the original was available. They're pretty good, though, and a fine choice was someone else is paying. Generally, though, stick to the middle tier. 2. You won't get great beef in these restaurants, so don't bother with cuts that are only special when the beef is really good, such as strip steak, (oven-roasted) prime rib, filets, or pork. I invariably go for rib-eyes, which are such sturdy steaks that even mediocre versions are delicious, particularly when broiled under an industrial gas flame and dotted with butter and black pepper. Likewise, the ribs are likely to be tasty enough in a school-cafeteria sort of way, and if you are in the bag from drinking all those kooky cocktails, you might enjoy them, especially when accompanied by fried potatoes and/or onions. Generally the starters are the best things in these restaurants, so order them liberally. The lamb chops are likely to be pretty good if they appear, as well. 3. The Cutlets Seal of Approval goes, for now, to: Outback Steakhouse Lone Star Steakhouse Spageddies Don Pablo's Fuddrucker's Chili's Ruby Tuesdays. Those are the major ones I look for. There's many others I would eat in in a pinch, such as Bob Evans, Denny's, Friendly's, and so forth. There are many others I haven't eaten it, and can't speak to. Finally, there are some that are just downright nasty, such as the Old Country Buffet and Tony Roma's. These should really be your last resorts. NB: all this only relates to franchise restaurants, not fast-food joints, which are another conversation entirely. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  16. Thanks Chad. Varmint, your point about the three regions is well-taken. But I have to tell you that I don't consider carolina style pulled pork in vinegar to be real barbecue. Please don't take this the wrong way. I respect and even revere Carolina's barbecue traditions, and you wouldn't be far wrong if you called it the capital of barbecue. But once smoked pork shoulder has been immersed in a sea of vinegar or any other sauce, it ceases to be barbecue and becomes just a kind of glorified manwich. No offense. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  17. It has a nasty taste; there's a good reason nobody eats it. The idea of slaughtering young horses for meat is too awful to contemplate. And with a meat as lean as horseflesh, the only way to eat it would be in its immature form. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  18. I haven't. Can you send me some? hopefully, Mr. Cutlets
  19. Of course I love sausages! Really, though, we have to be careful with what we call "sausages." True sausages consist of ground and spiced meat stuffed into intestinal casings. Sausages with natural casings are a profoundly dynamic food, containing within them an enormous of amount of potential kinetic power. Every natural casing sausage is a bomb set to explode at the first bite. So it can be boiled, grilled, fried, smoked, or roasted, but it should never, ever be sliced up. False sausages are the extruded meats formed of finely ground meat and spices which we call "skinless." These are practically their own phylum in the taxonomy of meat. My favorite version of the first kind were the breakfast sausages served at Christine's Restaurant before their recent closing. Now the knockwurst at Katz's take the sausage laurels. My favorite false sausage is Katz's salami. I think you may be able to gather something of my eating habits from these facts. Does this help? Mr. Cutlets
  20. I would have named the goose "shoobie," because he was on a day trip to South Jersey. Mr. C
  21. Jimmy, How could I not love the Atkins diet? Of course, it's hard not to have hash browns with steak, white break with barbecue, or tater tots with merlot-braised lamb riblets, but in view of keeping from turning into a short-winded wad of fat, despised by the opposite sex, it is a small sacrifice indeed. That you can eat all the meat you want and still burn calories, is one of the greatest discoveries of modern times. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  22. Five paragraphs? How about five hundred? The sublimnities of barbecue are such that the subject is ill-served by less than the most magisterial of discourses. My next book, American Meat, will deal with it in great detail; and my current book, Meat Me in Manhattan, devotes one of the book's best essays to the subject. I won't reiterate what I said there, but I think you might enjoy it. If you want to do Mr. Cutlets a special service, buy the book via the Mr. Cutlets website. For the purpose of this forum, I will make a few points about barbecue which Varmint, I'm sure, knew as a toddler, but which many New Yorkers are in the dark about. Let's call them, for the sake of convenience, The Barbecue Bill of Rights. 1. Citizens shall call nothing "barbecue" that has not been slow-cooked in a bath of fragrant hardwood smoke over a period of not less than three hours. No sauce, spice, or chutney shall be substituted for this all-important element, and attempts to label as "barbecue" oven-braised or crock-potted meats shall be punishable by fine and/or imprisonment. 2. Barbecue will be recognized as a regional specialty, with only the element of smoke as a common denominator. After the fashion of the French government, five barbecue regions will be recognized by regional appellations: Texas, Deep South, Carolina (both varieties), Kansas City, and Kentucky. Mesquite grilling in the Southwest, and ketchup-braising in Chicago, will in no way recognized as barbecue by representatives of the State. (Memphis may apply for re-instatement when they stop cooking "wet" ribs, in violations of articles 1 and 3.) 3. Sauce will be served on the side only, and that in minute quantities. Submersion of barbecued meats in sauce will be punishable by revocation of barbecue licence. 4. All meats subjected to barbecue treatment will have plenty of intersticial fat, thus to grant a toothsome succulence and rich flavor to the meats after their trasformation in a smoke bath. In practice this means ribs (short, spare, baby-back, lamb, 'prime', chuck); whole unskinned chickens; pork shoulder; mutton; point cut brisket including the "deckl"; and various sausages and wursts. 5. All barbecued shall be accompanied by no less than two of the following recognized accompaniments: orange soda, sliced white bread, macaroni and cheese, collards, beans, cole slaw, cheese grits, pecan rice, pickled beets, potato salad and beer. No salad shall be served in any ways. Be it resolved by MR. CUTLETS.
  23. Maybelline, I've often had the same problem with meats that friendly hunters and farmers give me frozen. I doubt whether anything you can do on your end can help the situation. When imprefectly butchered, most meat will bleed copiously in the bag, leaving you with an often chewy, unjuicy dinner. Hopefully, some of the the cooks and hunters on the board here can step in and help; many are much more accomplished at preparing game meats for freezing and cooking than I am. I find that lean meats like venison, game, and even some pork tend to be harmed by freezing: the formation of ice crystals within cell walls creates irreparable damage to the meat itself when they thaw. As with any meat, a slow defrost inside the refigerator is probably the best you can do. yours, Mr. Cutlets
  24. Bacon! Not a few vegetarians have told me that its heavenly smell, so redolent of smoke and salt and aromatic pork fat, was as a siren song to them in their years in the grassy void, and that their first re-entry to the world of meat came with a crispy slice at their local diner. Of course, nothing could be more impossible than to imagine Mr. Cutlets as a vegetarian. Still, I have great sympathy for vegetarianism as a moral crusade. It is a horrible thing to kill a young animal, even in the most painless way. To kill them the way they do in modern slaughterhouses is something akin to evil. And yet I wouldn't forego meat for even a single meal if I could help it. Meat really is murder, just like Morrissey said. But I am in so far in blood that sin will pluck on sin, as the bard says. What gets me is vegetarians who claim that they are heathier than meat-eaters. Why do they all look like cancer patients then? When pursued for its own sake, Malawry, vegetarianism is a perverse creed. Its proponents are haughty and sanctimonious, and must surely lack basic human passions. Even when they don't feed the baby lettuce, something sinister is always brewing -- and I don't mean potlikker. Leave the dark side, Malawry! Come where the meat is sweet! your pal, Mr. Cutlets
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