Archive for June, 2008

Know Your Pig: The Delicious Parts

Posted in Pork, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags on June 14, 2008 by chomposaurus

The Slaughter of a Pig, Becal, Mexico

Posted in MEAT POLITICS, Pork, STUFF ABOUT MEAT, World of Meat with tags , , , , , on June 13, 2008 by chomposaurus

The modern American meat eater has at least a passing awareness of where his or her meat comes from. By now, sustained campaigns from all corners of the food world, including farmers, journalists, politicians and vegangelicals, have illustrated the origins and consequences of eating meat, for better or worse. Images of happy “organic” cows or caged, mutilated veal are not hard to find, and the typical carnivore now navigates bans on foie gras, veal and transfat along with crazed excesses like Hardy’s Thickburgers or the turducken.

But in America, one thing we do not do much is slaughter our own meat. We do not go face to face with the animal we are about to ingest. Although hunting remains popular, with about 12 million Americans going after game or fowl each year, it’s still undertaken by relatively small fraction of the population, with even fewer actually eating what they kill (if they manage to shoot anything at all). Bottom line: we are separated from what we eat, even if, thanks to the internet and increased consumer awareness, it is by a thinner line.

Such is not the case in Becal, a small town outside Merida, the capitol of the state of Campeche, Mexico. Our correspondent P. Sundae went to this scorchingly beautiful area this spring on a mission to help build new schools. One night, at a large gathering of some of the local residents, P. and his fellow builders were treated to full-on pig roast. What they hadn’t expected was to see the actual pig they were about to eat slaughtered and cleaned in front of them. It was a moving and at times brutal experience. Fortunately, P. was wise enough to document it. What follows are pictures and videos from before, during and after – including graphic images of the pig being killed and then prepared. Although you may be initially repulsed or disturbed, you will hopefully find them as fascinating as I did. Few of us here in America understand what and how we eat – and in this way, we are less advanced than most of the world.

Due to their intense content, the pictures & video are on a separate page. Click here to view them.

The Turducken Dog?

Posted in Hot Dogs, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags on June 12, 2008 by chomposaurus

So, I was thinking: what if you took one of the duck hot dogs I reviewed yesterday, wrapped it in turkey bacon, and then served it with shredded bbq’ed chicken on top? You would then be eating the Turducken Hot Dog, no doubt one of the triumphs of man’s struggle to make the most awesome forms of meat.

I could find no record of this being done, but I did stumble across a Thanksgiving hotdog with stuffing and cranberry sauce on it:

Definitely could put both on the turducken dog.

Review: D’Artagnan Buffalo Hot Dogs

Posted in D'artagnan Buffalo Dog, Gourmet Dogs & Sausage, Hot Dogs, REVIEWS with tags , on June 12, 2008 by chomposaurus

This review of D’artagnan’s gourmet buffalo franks goes along with yesterday’s review of their duck dogs. The bison used were raised in Canada on a forage diet, with no antibiotics or growth hormones. The buffalo dogs had a strong smoked flavor, and definitely tasted more like a beef hot dog than any other typical type of frank. When bit, the dogs came apart in big chunks, which I liked. One of my friends agreed with me that the buffalo dogs were much better with condiments and a beer; on their own the flavor was a bit raw. My other friend, who doesn’t like condiments, thought the buffalo dogs tasted like old socks.

Bottom line: while the flavor is not as refined, if you love a heavy, pungent stick of meat that you can load up with a ton of condiments, this could be your dream wiener.

Best Baseball Stadium Meat

Posted in Burgers, Chicken, Hot Dogs, REVIEWS [Restaurants], STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags , , on June 11, 2008 by chomposaurus

The cheap food reporter for the NYTimes visited 12 baseball stadiums across the country, looking for the best and the worst they have to offer. There’s also an interactive map.

Of course, I also saw plenty that deserved jeers: in the cramped confines of Wrigley Field’s concourses, I watched a large man, his head thrown back, guzzling spicy curly fries from a cup like they were a beverage. I ate mushy hot links, bone-dry hot dogs and hot wings with no heat. And in Baltimore, I came face to face with a crab cake sandwich that edged out guinea pig (yes, guinea pig) as the least appetizing dish I have ever tried.

My favorite stadium food? The kettle corn at Fenway.

Review: D’Artagnan Duck Dogs

Posted in D'artagnan Duck Dog, Gourmet Dogs & Sausage, REVIEWS with tags on June 11, 2008 by chomposaurus

A hot dog made of duck you say? Why that’s just crazy enough to work! And D’Artagnan definitely does succeed with their succulent new gourmet duck hot dogs, made with Pekin duck fed a natural diet. All three reviewers who tried these dogs loved them – they thought they were spicy and rich, like the very best hot dogs, but with a mellower texture. Eating one was sort of like biting into the inside of a chicken tender from heaven. In fact, we agreed that condiments weren’t even necessary because these dogs were so easy to eat on their own.

The only downside to these delicious babies is that, like most duck related products, they are incredibly fatty, with about 28g per link. That’s twice as much as D’Artagnan’s other gourmet dogs. Our suggestion: just don’t tell you friends at the BBQ, and let them go on enjoying the best grilled frank they’ve had in a long, long while.

Beef Riots Erupt in South Korea

Posted in MEAT POLITICS, World of Meat with tags , , on June 10, 2008 by chomposaurus

Apparently, Koreans have done a particularly good job of convincing themselves that American beef is teeming with mad cow disease, even though the cases reported here have been small and isolated. They could be right – there’s certainly a lack of adequate oversight here, so we could all be dead in ten years – but it’s unlikely. Either way, the South Korean government’s decision to reopen their markets to American beef has been met with gigantic protests.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators filled central Seoul to protest [the] agreement to resume suspended imports of American beef and to denounce a broad range of other government policies… Overhead, large balloons carried banners that read “Judgement day for Lee Myung Bak” and “Re-negotiate the beef deal.” One widely distributed leaflet said: “Mad cow drives our people mad!”

Of course, what they’re really protesting is a stagnant economy and high oil prices, but there aren’t as many catchy slogans for that. I’m just glad that we have a chance to talk about “beef riots” with a straight face.

Bacon for the Endtimes

Posted in REVIEWS on June 9, 2008 by chomposaurus

Looking to ride out the apocalypse on a tidal wave of smoky flavor? Then look no further than Yoder’s new Canned Bacon!

I’d comment, but I think a can of pre-cooked bacon that lasts 10 years without refrigeration speaks for itself. Thanks to Mr. Baconpants for spotting this.

Review: Turducken Leftovers

Posted in REVIEWS, Turducken, Turducken Sandwich with tags , on June 9, 2008 by chomposaurus

I’ve spent all weekend devouring turducken sandwiches, and let me tell you, the birds get even better the third, fourth and fifth times around. It’s better than a standard leftover turkey sandwich, because the turducken has so many different flavors and different textures. Plus, it seems to have gotten spicier, which I can’t argue with. It’s been four days and I still have plenty left (even after ten people attacked the roast the night I made it), so I’m definitely getting my money’s worth.

Sunday Protein: Junk Food Doesn’t Make You Fat?

Posted in Fast Food, MEAT POLITICS with tags , on June 8, 2008 by chomposaurus

A new study came out recently which proclaimed that junk food doesn’t make you fatter; or rather, access to junk food doesn’t make you gain weight. Its methodology was suspect; it found highway intersections with a lot of fast food, and then looked at obesity patterns (using BMI) for people who lived different distances from the food. On the one hand, that makes sense; since a Chipotle opened up near my house, I eat there a lot more. But on the other hand, I don’t think living five miles from Chili’s as opposed to one mile really stops anyone from going there who wants an Awesome Blossom. It will take a lot more than this to convince me that a person with a limited budget who lives or works near junk food will not suffer consequences from eating it too much, no matter how much they tend to adjust their other eating habits. Remember that sedentary lifestyles are encouraged by the frequent crashes and burns of a high-fat, high-sodium and high-sugar diet.

I thought Megan McArdle’s comments on appetite, in response to this study, were very interesting:

Appetite is an evolutionarily wired signal on par with pain; urging obese people to just eat less is like urging someone to tough out root canal surgery without anaesthesia. Every day. Peoples’ calorie consumption is dictated by their appetite. Which makes sense, if you think about it; it only takes a swing of ten calories a day (about five tic-tacs) to gain or lose a pound over the course of a year. If our appetites weren’t doing a surprisingly good job of regulating our weight, we’d all be bone thin or morbidly obese.

Which I think is less of an argument that you’re destined to be one weight or another, but rather that your body doesn’t need that much help to get you to a healthy weight if you can cut out the trips to McDonald’s and resist buying Spicy Sweet Doritos for the cupboard. You probably won’t need to do much else.