Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Meat Market

Low and slow is the way to go – when you’re dealing with cheap meat.


Beef brisket and pork shoulder are low-cost cuts of meat that have high concentrations of connective tissue.  Collagen is the major family of connective tissue proteins that contributes to meat texture.  These proteins can be broken down by cooking with low indirect heat and moisture.  Marinating or braising the meat in a high-acid liquid can also help to break down the proteins.  In contrast, cuts of meat with low levels of connective tissue can be made tough if the same methods are used, as the muscle tissue proteins will be more easily denatured.  Chicken breast, fish, and seafood are more tender if prepared with low-acid marinades and rapid cooking techniques.

3H-Imidazo[4,5-f] quinoxalin-2-amine,3,4,8-trimethyl
aka. 4,8-DiMeIQx, a carcinogenic compound
that forms in cooked meat
Beer has a pH of about 4, making it an excellent choice to marinate or braise a tough cut of meat.  However, most marinades do not penetrate more than 1/8” (3 mm) into the muscle.  The main function of a beer marinade is to add flavor.

There is another significant benefit to using beer marinades that may impact your health.  A recent Portuguese study has shown that marinades containing beer are the most effective at reducing the formation of heterocyclic aromatic amines in cooked meat.  Beer is also better at maintaining the flavour and texture of the pan-fried steaks when compared to red wine.
Collagen don't stand a chance!

Pulled pork is an excellent example of how the “low and slow” cooking technique acts to tenderize a tough cut of meat.  True pulled pork enthusiasts will insist the roast be prepared using a barbecue or smoker.  However, the smoked paprika in the spice rub mimics the flavour of wood-smoke.

Coleslaw is a necessary component of this meal, and can be served on the side or on the bun.  Try it both ways.  On the day before you plan to serve this feast, mix up the coleslaw and apply the pork rub.  The slow cooker will do the rest of the work.

Beer-Braised Pulled Pork


Coleslaw as a condiment
 3.5 lb (1.5kg) pork shoulder roast

2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp dry mustard powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp salt

½ cup ketchup
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup molasses
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bottle dark beer (can’t go wrong with Guinness)

  1. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for the spice mixture and mix well.
  2. Rub the spice mixture into the roast on all sides. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
  3. In 4 1/2- to 6-quart slow cooker combine ketchup, brown sugar, cider vinegar, molasses, and beer. Add pork to the pot and turn to coat with sauce.
  4. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on low setting as for 8 to 10 hours.
  5. When pork is tender, remove roast from the pot and transfer to a large bowl.
  6. Transfer liquid to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes.
  7. Shred the pork shoulder using two forks.
  8. Add shredded pork to saucepan and toss with sauce to combine. Cover and reheat on high before serving.
  9. Serve pulled pork on toasted buns with coleslaw.


Brew-slaw


"Vegetables?  Sorry; green decorative bullshit"
                                                         -EMT
4 cups cabbage, shredded
1 carrot, shredded
¾ cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
1 tsp celery seeds
⅓ cup beer (a honey brown style works well)
¼ cup canola oil
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. In a large bowl, combine cabbage, carrots, and red bell pepper.
  2. Sprinkle the celery seeds over the mixture and toss to distribute.
  3. Combine beer and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes or until slightly reduced.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat and let cool.
  5. Whisk in the oil, lemon juice, and mustard.
  6. Pour dressing over slaw. Stir until well coated.
  7. Cover coleslaw and refrigerate overnight.
  8. Toss coleslaw prior to serving.
Melo, A., Pinho, O., Ferreira, I. O., Viegas, O., & Petisca, C. (2008). Effect of Beer/Red Wine Marinades on the Formation of Heterocyclic Aromatic Amines in Pan-Fried Beef [electronic resource]. Journal Of Agricultural And Food Chemistry, 56(22), 10625-10632.

Viestad, A. (2008). The Myth About Marinades.  The Washington Post, Wed. June 11th, 2008.

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