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Tom34's Profile

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What's Best for Cutting Pizza?

I have had them where they were cooked in a cast iron type pan and they were good but very different from our NY/NJ/Philly pizza which is my favorite. I think they use a little lard on the bottom of the cast iron pan as the bottom 1/8 to 1/4 inch of the crust gets pretty crisp/hard which is where I think that the rocking blade cutter excels.

about 15 hours ago
Tom34 in Cookware

Veal . Your thoughts ?

Boy those look good! Last time I had them (braised) at a small South Philly row house Italian restaurant. I have a BGE and will have to try smoking some with Lump Charcoal & some apple wood chunks.

about 15 hours ago
Tom34 in General Topics

Veal . Your thoughts ?

"On the other hand....I feel anything made with Veal...can be improved by substituting with Pork."

I would agree in some cases, especially pounded thin and sauced. However, IMHO, a nice double thick bone in veal chop that is not overpowered with sauce has a different flavor profile than its pork counter part. Different price profile as well. I love them both but they are different.

On a pork note, I ran out of my nicely marbled Leidy's PA Dutch pork and my wife picked up a whole loin from the grocery store but it was pumped. I did your low slow roasting method. Melt in your mouth tender but not a god damn trace of pork flavor.

about 16 hours ago
Tom34 in General Topics
1

What's Best for Cutting Pizza?

Yeah I just have a supply house 4" wheel cutter. I could see one of those 20" rocking knife blade type cutters though for thick bard bottomed pan type pizza.

about 20 hours ago
Tom34 in Cookware

Walmart steak,not that I would but has anyone tried? [Moved from General Chowhounding board]

Yeah I don't know all the particulars with the Giant story, just what was in the article. Big difference between mandated USDA Inspected and voluntary USDA Graded and Giant's beef executives knew it. They also know that on average there is a good dollar or more spread between Select & choice when bidding on beef.

about 20 hours ago
Tom34 in Chains

Walmart steak,not that I would but has anyone tried? [Moved from General Chowhounding board]

I don't know for sure but I think if you make "no" reference to the USDA grading program you can call it what ever you like.

On another note I stopped in a Bottom Dollar the other day for a loaf of bread and saw individually cryovaced Select Grade steaks and the label said something like "up to 12% solution added". I knew they were doing this with chicken and pork but that was the first time I saw it with high value "cuts" of beef. Maybe I am just sheltered.

about 20 hours ago
Tom34 in Chains

Veal . Your thoughts ?

Yeah, monkey brains dead or alive don't do anything for me.

about 21 hours ago
Tom34 in General Topics

Walmart steak,not that I would but has anyone tried? [Moved from General Chowhounding board]

This is straight from the UDSA rules and regulations:

Maintaining Grade Identity and Certified Schedule Program (CSP) Identity:

"As long as an officially graded product is marketed using grade references, the grade identity of the product must be accurately maintained. Each link in the market infrastructure must take appropriate measures to ensure that grading terms used on labels are accurate, and that grade and other certified marketing claims can be substantiated using routine audit methods."

My interpretation of this along with what happened in the recent Giant beef labeling matter is that if you use a label claiming "USDA Graded" , the grade must be declared.

about 21 hours ago
Tom34 in Chains

Walmart steak,not that I would but has anyone tried? [Moved from General Chowhounding board]

There was an article attached to a Chow post 10/13/14 that indicated the Giant Supermarket chain got into trouble with the USDA for doing just that...... Labeling beef as "USDA Graded" and not listing the actual grade.

about 21 hours ago
Tom34 in Chains

Veal . Your thoughts ?

I think the majority of the people shop price regardless of how the low price was achieved. With animal products I think some of this has to do with a general disconnect between people and livestock. Farms have been replaced with housing tracks and the grade school trips to the local dairy farms are long gone.

I think the theory that "Time heals wounds" also comes into play. Its been decades since the Veal story broke and the initial shock factor that moves people has faded and followup stories produce less and less impact.

I think the incredible advances in technology placing the world's problems and atrocities at peoples fingertips have largely drained peoples empathy reserves as well.

about 22 hours ago
Tom34 in General Topics
1

Veal . Your thoughts ?

Yes.......have split them with friends and family. A friend packed 2 cases when she went back down to Florida.

1 day ago
Tom34 in General Topics

Walmart steak,not that I would but has anyone tried? [Moved from General Chowhounding board]

Yeah I don't know for sure but it seems that if you use the USDA shield or make mention of the product being USDA graded you then have to declare the actual grade itself.

1 day ago
Tom34 in Chains

Veal . Your thoughts ?

I am lucky Catelli has a facility right near a Restaurant Depot I frequent but must buy by the case. They seem to be the preferred brand w/Italian restaurants in Philly too.

1 day ago
Tom34 in General Topics

Veal . Your thoughts ?

I have done the pork substitute as well with good results but there is a noticeable difference. Catelli is a pretty respected brand if you can locate it.

2 days ago
Tom34 in General Topics

Why is the raw frozen shrimp at Trader Joe's so expensive?

Shrimp prices are up considerably this year. Wild U-15 @ $16.00 lb is probably where they sit give or take a buck.

2 days ago
Tom34 in Chains

Cooking ground poultry?

A friend makes absolutely delicious chicken burgers at his restaurant. He told me to grind white meat and the fat from where the thigh connects.

I tried and as many have said the grind was overly wet and no chicken flavor. I then realized what the problem was, I had purchased Tyson chickens from the supermarket which were labeled up to like 12% solution (water) added.

I then got a few high quality chickens (no water added) from a purveyor friend and sure enough the grind was not too wet and the burgers tasted like sweet chicken just like my buddy's at his restaurant.

Oct 16, 2014
Tom34 in Home Cooking

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

The USDA grading program is voluntary and so is displaying the grade if it is USDA graded.

If a decision is made to disclose that it is USDA graded there are strict rules that have to be followed

Oct 15, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Thats a good point GH, anybody who buys by the case would most certainly be interested in the grade.

Oct 15, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

As I said above, most Hounds have more knowledge about food products than the average person. They know the 4 key things to look for when evaluating beef which I listed above.

The average person does not and the grade is a good indicator of quality which is why the program exists.

Do us all a favor and list reasons we should do away with the grading system which costs less than .50 cents a carcass.

Oct 15, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Agreed, lessor quality cuts can be more difficult to judge the quality which I pointed out but what the grader sees between the 12/13 rib has been proven to be a reliable indicator of the carcass quality as a whole. Not perfect but pretty accurate. Therefore the USDA grade sticker is even more important for lessor quality cuts.

As for small operations not using USDA graders, I covered that somewhere and made specific mention of small ranchers & niche operations. I didn't want to get into grain fed (vs) grass fed as that is another subject in and of its self.

"Trying to save money by not grading"......Agreed..... up stream I wrote that it costs about .38 cents to grade a carcass. Even if my source was dated and say it costs .50 cents or even 1 dollar to grade a carcass its insignificant.

No matter what angle I look at it from, Giant's failure to list the actual USDA grade on their beef label when the sub primal cryovac has the actual USDA grade on it as well as the boxes the sub primals came in .......is a deliberate attempt to deceive the consumer.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Lean color, fat color, texture & marbling are all key but for the average person looking for good quality meat it starts with looking at the grade. From there some have the knowledge we speak of and can pull the best piece from within that grade. Hounds likely fall into this category. Others may not have that knowledge but at least they are getting the grade they are paying for.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Most of what you wrote is well documented in countless sources but I am not sure what it has to do with a supermarket chain buying USDA graded beef, labeling it as USDA graded but not listing the actual USDA grade on the label.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

I think a lot depends on the cut when determining marbling. I think its easier with high value cuts than cheaper cuts.

I am sure there are small outfits that source local beef such as niche butchers, Amish type markets & small independent ranchers who sell very high quality non USDA graded beef. Their low volume just does not merit a USDA grader making the trip.

However, all the "no roll" non USDA graded beef I have seen from the major packers was devoid of marbling and was being sold for specialty menu items in the restaurant business that were being heavily tenderized (think Chinese takeout) OR extremely thin sliced (think steak sandwiches) or Mexican dishes where it was both tenderized and blasted with seasoning.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

Consumers should educate themselves on everything they purchase but more often than not they don't. Take Lobster tails. Big differences in quality between cold and warm water lobsters, big price difference and also noticeable differences in appearance yet I would bet less than 25% of the public could distinguish between the 2 without reading a label.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

I think thats the problem Eat Good Food. As per the USDA (see above post), virtually all Chain stores purchase their meat from the major packers and virtually all of it is USDA Quality Graded. Either way they are putting labels on it so there is no savings going on there and if they fail to use a label that reflects the USDA assigned grade they are being deliberately deceptive.

The savings end up in the pocket of the store because they are charging more for what is likely Select graded meat.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

I would like to give the benefit of the doubt too Ennuisans but it just doesn't add up.

According to the USDA, a grader can quality grade up to 400 head of cattle an hour at a cost of 38 cents per carcass or 1/20th cent per pound and virtually all meat sold via large retailers is USDA quality graded. According to the USDA, the only time the big packers don't quality grade is if the meat was of such poor quality that it wouldn't make a grade. I suspect old dairy cows would be a likely source of such meat.

If a retailer is paying for USDA graded Choice they are going to market it as such. My guess is they are bringing in some Choice and labeling it as such and maybe even throwing on a proprietary label in addition to the USDA Choice label. On the other hand, I would be willing to bet this new "USDA Graded" label is a Select grade product and the cases it came out of would reflect that.

Oct 14, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

I don't know of any major US grocery chains that do but there is "Standard" grade and "no roll" (ungraded beef) out there avail to restaurants for certain cooking applications.

Oct 13, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Supermarket relabels "choice" and "select" USDA meat grades as just "USDA-graded"

To pay more for Choice graded meat and not label it as such does not make any sense.

More than likely they are paying less for Select graded meat but don't want to make it obvious with a Select label.

If there is a good private butcher within a reasonable distance I would try them . It does cost a little more but its usually better quality and properly aged.

Oct 13, 2014
Tom34 in Food Media & News

Am I being too cheap? Splitting restaurant bill on family vacation

When the kids were little we used to fly and stay in the WDW park (no car). They discourage drinking and charge $36.00 for a six pack of domestic beer everywhere in the park.

We quickly learned to take the little boats to Downtown Disney, cut through the employee parking lot and hit the Hess gas station / convenience store on the other side of the main road. Lifesaver, normal prices for both beer & bagged type food.

Oct 13, 2014
Tom34 in Not About Food

Steak salting

If you really want to speed things up you can put a little Camco Fridge Airator fan in the fridge. About $15 and runs about 30 days continues on 2 D batteries. I use one in the spare fridge when I dry age whole sub primals.

Oct 13, 2014
Tom34 in Home Cooking