Archive for May, 2008

Know Your Cow: Hanger Steak

Posted in Hanger Steak, KNOW YOUR COW with tags , , , on May 20, 2008 by chomposaurus

The Hanger Steak, or onglet, has long been popular in French bistros or Mexican restaurants (as part of your sizzling fajita). Made of the couple pounds of meat that “hang” between the last rib and the loin of the cow, hanger steaks are tough and grainy but extremely flavorful. Although they used to be ground into hamburger meat in America, their popularity has risen as knowledge of how to properly marinate and cook them has spread. Now you’ll find the hanger steak on the menu of many classy French-American restaurants, usually served pomme frites (with french fries). Surprisingly, the hanger steak still is largely unmarked on most beef charts.

Hanger steaks are similar to skirt steaks or flank steaks, which you’ll also find in fajitas. All three come from the same area of the cow and all three require specific cooking methods to make sure they don’t dry out. On the chart, the circled area is the hanger steak. Forward on the cow is the skirt, to the rear is flank.

Some notes on cooking hanger steaks: they’re way too tough if you cook them above medium rare, so only get one if you like it bloody. Make sure to marinate it over night if you’re cooking it yourself. Also, since there’s only about 2 pounds of hanger steak per cow, it’ll be tough and possibly expensive to feed a large group whole steaks.

According to Boo Rah, the best hanger steak in NYC is at Bobby Flay’s Bar Americain. It might be worth pouring more money into his ego to have one – this is a delicious steak that needs to be cooked just right to be appreciated. But if you’re into covering your grill & plate at home with some still-mooing bloody strips of meat, please consider the hanger steak.

Does Being Awesome Mean You Eat Less Crap?

Posted in MEAT POLITICS on May 20, 2008 by chomposaurus

A NYTimes article today discusses how monkeys with stress and image problems tend to eat more junk food than their more successful, dominant brethren.

Once these foods were available, the low-status monkeys promptly developed an appetite. They began eating significantly more calories than their social superiors. While the dominant monkeys dabbled in the sweet, fatty pellets just during the daytime, the subordinate monkeys kept scarfing them down after dark.

It’s not spectacularly surprising to find more proof that people eat poorly when they’re stressed. But if the monkey metaphor holds up, then getting your life under control might help you avoid junk food even in your less happy moments. Next time you find yourself in your underwear about to eat an entire bag of Jack Link’s Beef Steak Nuggets, consider that you might be less prone to this adventure in salt & teriyaki if you addressed some needs in your life other than your steak craving.

Is Street Meat Safe?

Posted in Fast Food, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , , , on May 19, 2008 by chomposaurus

My friend, who we’ll call H. Cumberdale, recently moved to NYC to attend business school. Discussing the many culinary options available to him there, we inevitably hit upon street kebabs. “Is street meat safe?” he mused. I thought this was an excellent question; I have yet to find the answer.

The NYC Dept. of Health certainly claims to regulate street vendors, and they must go through an application and inspection process as rigorous as any restaurant in the city. However, whether these laws are currently enforced is up for grabs. A New York Times article from 1998 suggested that close to 80% of street vendors were undercooking their meat. It also suggested that the city’s inspectors were confused and overwhelmed when it came to investigating delinquent kebab karts and taco trucks. Now, 10 years later, are things any different? Recent stories have shown police more than willing to crack down on vendors breaking other laws, such as parking carts a few feet out of their proper space.

I contacted the makers of several vendor carts used in the city; none would respond to say whether their products included features designed to make sure meat was being cooked to the proper level. I’m also waiting to see if the Street Vendor Project has any information on vendors keeping up with health codes.
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Waffle Fryday: Back That Chip Butty Up, Girl.

Posted in Fake Meat with tags , , , on May 16, 2008 by chomposaurus

As a good Irish Catholic (read: not good at all), I must celebrate meatless fridays with… a meatless friday. Fortunately my craving for grease and fat need not go unfulfilled, as I can just have what the English call a Chip Butty: A sandwich filled with french fries. It’s really an ingenius invention, and the most efficient delivery device for massive amounts of fries.

In New Orleans, they have the French Fry po-boy (courtesy Off the Broiler):

Awesome. Dr. Atkins is rolling over in his grave. Now we need a version with waffle fries. The Waffle Asser? Until then, the Chipizza will have to do:

Mmmm, with sausage.

The $100 Cheesesteak

Posted in Sandwiches with tags , on May 15, 2008 by chomposaurus

This monstrosity of luxury beefing has been available at Philly restaurant Barclay Prime for a few years now, full of Kobe beef, truffles and the best cheese money can buy. It even comes with a small bottle of champagne. What’s most striking, though, is how well it’s selling: five or six sandwiches per night, meaning this place is grossing $250,000 per year on luxury cheesesteaks.

Now if someone would put together the $100 version of Arby’s Big Montana, they would be very rich, because they would soon have all of my money.

Duck Torture is Back on the Menu in Chicago

Posted in Fowl, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on May 15, 2008 by chomposaurus

Anatidae haters of the world, unite and converge upon Chicago! For the Windy City has repealed its ban on the serving of foie gras, which I wrote about previously in an article on rebellious Chicago restaurants that were blatantly ignoring the law.

Since it doesn’t matter anymore, the “secret code word” for getting foie gras was “turtle soup.” Might be useful in case the ban goes into effect again.

Please note that the legality of foie gras does not change the fact that you have to force a duck to endure a hideously cruel life to get some. There’s no such thing as organic, cruelty-free foie gras.

Free McDonald’s Chicken Crap

Posted in Chicken, Fast Food with tags on May 15, 2008 by chomposaurus

For the rest of the day, if you’re unfortunate enough to be horribly addicted to McDonald’s, you can get one of their new “Southern Style Chicken Sandwiches” (Read: Chick-fil-a ripoff) for free with the purchase of a drink.

I do like the principle of McDonald’s having to give away their sandwiches in order to get people to eat them.

The Last Cavy Supper

Posted in Game, Guniea Pig, STRANGE MEAT with tags , on May 14, 2008 by chomposaurus

The Cathedral of Cusco, in Peru, features a typical mural of the Last Supper

Except Jesus & The Apostles happen to be eating a guinea pig. Yes, that thing in the middle is the same rodent you find in your pet stores, a delicacy called cuy in Peru. Let me state this just to be clear: this portrait is not a parody. It was painted in 1753.

So, that’s your History of Meat lesson for today. Wouldn’t having guinea pig meat kind of mess up communion? Like what part of Jesus would that be? I don’t mean to be a heathen. Just wondering how they justified this particular theological liberty.

For the record, guinea pigs are one of my favorite animals, and I would never eat one. Unless it was in a guinea pig melt.

Perfect Snack for the Kids: Squirrel Melts

Posted in Game, VIDEOS with tags , on May 14, 2008 by chomposaurus

If this sounds irresistible, you can buy your cans of dehydrated squirrel meat here.

A Lifetime Supply of Chili Dogs? Hook It Into My Veins!

Posted in Fast Food, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on May 13, 2008 by chomposaurus

It’s logical to say that greasy fast food, like gambling, sex or petting a fluffy dog, can be habit-forming due to the associated psychological pleasures. But does it contain chemicals that create a substance addiction the same way alcohol or pot does? According to research cited in a recent Slate article, some scientist are starting to say yes.

Interestingly, the brain response to smoking pictures (in smokers) is very similar to the brain response to food pictures. In a previous study from our research unit, the brain response to eating chocolate was similar to the response to cocaine (in cocaine addicts). Finally, the evidence that high calorie foods are, in a way, addictive (something soft drink and fast food merchants have known for years) provides a justification for public policy.

Does the fact that both good food and good alcohol make me feel good mean that they are the same? More specifically, is there a particular chemical that you can take out of a Big Mac that will make it lose its addictive potency, like taking THC out of pot or nicotine out of cigarettes? Not that we know of. Saying that obesity has a chicken-and-the-egg effect with certain hunger-causing hormones does not prove that your McRib is the next crack cocaine.
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