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Meat Facts!

There's a lot of great information "out there" regarding the protein we
choose to digest, but sometimes it's hard to locate or understand.  

Below are a collection of Meat Facts Paulina Market has put together for
your data gathering purposes!

If you ever have any questions that are outside of the realm of what we
have included below, make sure to "Ask Butcher Bill!"

Q:           Despite being called a "butt", did you know a pork butt actually comes from the shoulder?                                                                                                                                                                                         

A:           Back in the colonial days of New England, the butchers took less prized cuts of pork like the front shoulder, and packed them in barrels for storage and transport.  Can you guess what these barrels were called...that's right, butts! (taken from the Latin word 'buttis' meaning cask or barrel)!  This particular shoulder cut became known as a New England specialty around the nation, hence the name Boston Butt.                                                                                         

Q:           Did you know that T-Bones and Porterhouse steaks are both cut from the same short loin section of the cattle?                                                                                                              

A:           T-Bone and Porterhouse steaks are both cut from the short loin section of cattle, which has a t shaped bone running down the middle with meat on both sides (strip steak on one side and filet on the other).  Main difference is, according to the USDA, a the filet section of a T-Bone ranges between 0.25" and 1.24" thick while to be dubbed a Porterhouse, the filet needs to be at least 1.25" thick.  Depending on what the carnivore is looking for in terms of NY Strip to filet ratio determines where on the short loin they get this steak cut from.                                                                                                         

Q:           Did you know, Charles Dickens may have been involved with naming of the Porterhouse steak?                                 

A:           While there are a few different tales on how the Porterhouse steak was dubbed such a name, one account takes us all the way to Ohio where a certain Porter house in Sandusky used to serve enormous sized steaks to its diners. This fact would have been unnoticed if not for documentation by Charles Dickens, who happened to be dining in Sandusky in 1842 where he got to taste the Porterhouse steak which, for him, was a jaw dropper.                                                                                                        

Q:           Did you know that a flat iron steak was only recently discovered in the 21st century?                                         

A:           Meat science professors at the University of Nebraska and the University of Florida searched the cattle for the needle in the haystack, looking for an exquisite new cut they could bring to the market.  The conclusion to their current scientific method?  The flat iron steak, which of course resembled nothing other than an old-fashioned flat iron, hence the name.                                                            

Q:           Did you know that cow meat is called beef due to the France conQ:uering England in 1066?          

A:           When it boils down to it, after the French took over England in 1066, there became two ways of saying a whole lot.  When it came to the gastronomic category of words, the French won out.  This is likely because the lower class Anglo-Saxons were the hunters and the upper-class French had first contact with these animals once they hit the plate.  So the Anglo-Saxon pig became the French porc, which was Anglicized to pork; the Anglo-Saxon cow became the French boeuf, which became beef; and sheep became mouton, (later mutton).  So per ususal, when you are chowing down on some meat, don't forget to thank the French for their part!                                                                 

Q:           Did you know the beef cut tri tip is also known as Santa Maria steak?                                                                                             

A:           In California in the 1950s, instead of cutting up the roast for stew or to grind for ground chuck, butcher Bob Schutz of the area cooked the roast on a rotisserie Santa Maria-Style (salt, pepper, garlic), and sliced thin against the grain.  It was a huge hit, and since this is the location which popularized the tri-tip roast, it can also be called the Santa Maria steak.                                                                                                                                 

Q:           Did you know that in addition to a superhero accessory, in livestock terms, a capon is a castrated male chicken?

A:           A capon, in fact, is a castrated male chicken weighing anywhere between 4 to 7 lbs and is typically for roasting.

Q:           Did you know that there are a total of 8 grades of beef?                                                                          

A:           First off, there are two types of grading systems, Q:uality and yield.  According to the USDA the yield grades have been established to designate where on the scale an animal falls in terms of lean to fat ratio of meat (more to come on a future post about the yield grades).  As for Q:uality grading, this system exists in order to identify the eating characteristics of the product, moreover the tenderness and palatability of the meat.  The higher the grade, the higher the Q:aulity and vice versa.  The Q:uality grades from highest to lowest are:  U.S. Prime, U.S. Choice, U.S. Select, U.S. Standard, U.S. Commercial, U.S. Utility, U.S. Cutter, and U.S. Canner.  The grading is determined by eating characteristics as mentioned, and eating Q:uality is mainly determined by degrees of marbling and maturity of carcass, hence the older the carcass the further it falls down the grading Q:uality scale.  For beef grading, Paulina Market is a choice + butcher shop with all are cuts of beef being listed as choice or prime grading.                                                                              

Q:           Did you know that there are a total of 5 yield grades of beef?                                                                                                      

A:           Yield grading has been established by the USDA to designate where on the scale an animal falls in terms of lean to fat ratio.  Yield grade of 1 is the leanest whereas yield grade 5 is the fattest.  In terms of beef purchased and sold at Paulina Market, due to the excellent balance of lean to marble ratio we receive beef with yield grading of 2 and 3.  (This information is also true for the lamb Paulina Market sells.)       

Q:           Did you know that Halal is meat prepared following the dietary laws spelled out in the Qur'an?             

A:           Halal (or Zabiah Halal) is meat that is handled according to Islamic law and under Islamic authority.  So yes, similar to how Kosher meat is prepared under rabbinical supervision for those observing Jewish law.  (Paulina Market does not sell Halal or Kosher meat, this post is for information only...the more you know :) )                        

Q:           Did you know that the Delmonico steak originated in Manhattan, NY in 1837?                                   

A:           What is the origin of name for the Strip steak (which can also be referred to as Amabassador steak, Delmonico steak, Kansas city strip steak, the New York strip steak)? In 1837, Delmonico’s Restaurant opened in Manhattan and is self proclaimed as “America’s first fine dining restaurant.” One of its signature dishes was a cut from the short loin that was called a Delmonico steak. Due to its association with the city, it has since been referred to as a New York strip steak.  Other nicknames for this popular cut are Ambassador steak and Kansas city strip steak.                            

Q:           Did you know that your beef tenderloins are called "PiSMO"s by the back of the house?                       

A:           "PiSMO" stands for peeled, side muscle on.  When the butcher's receive a box of pismos, it contains whole beef tenderloins, fat and silver skin still on, and the side muscle attached.  The tenderloin muscle (Psoas major) runs the down the length of the backbone and sits below the ribs of the cow.  This muscle does very little work, hence why it is so tender.

Q:           Did you know that meat is typically wet-aged or dry-aged?                                                                                           

A:           Aging is the process during which microbes and enzymes act upon the meat over a period of time to help break down the connective tissue, for the sake of making the muscle more tender and enhancing the flavor.  Wet aging is performed in an air tight bag, allowing for the meat to age in contact with its own microbes, enzymes, etc.  Dry aging is performed by allowing the meat to breathe, lose water, and interact with microbes besides those found within the muscle itself.  Neither process is a better way to age than the other.  Both aging processes allow for tenderness and enhanced flavors to form.  Therefore preference of methodology is up to you, the consumer, on what your taste buds prefer!                                                                    

Q:           Did you know that Kobe, is not only the first name of a retired star NBA, but also a style of Japanese cattle?                                                                                                          

A:           Kobe is a variety of Wagyu beef.  Wagyu, loosely translated, means Japanese cattle.  Wa means Japanese and gyu means cow.  Kobe beef is comprised of a Wagyu cattle strain, "Tajima Gyum," which are raised to strict standards in the prefecture of Hyogo, whose capital city is Kobe, go figure.  Kobe beef regularly commands the highest per pound cost on the market which is determined by selection, care, feeding, and extraordinary efforst by Wagyu breeders.  Wagyu refers to one of four different breeds of Japanese cattle:  Japanese Black, Japanese Polled, Japanese Shorthorn, and Japanese Brown.  Kobe only comes from Japanese Black.  In Japan, Wagyu only refers to purbred cattle.  In America, Wagyu beef is at least 46.875% pure Japanese blood.                                                                                  

Q:           Did you know that bacon can come from other animals than just pig?                                                                        

A:           We know what you are thinking and you are right, bacon is awesome.  In terms of the standard three bacons of American, English, and Canadian the distinctions are as follows:  American is from the pork belly.  Canadian bacon is pork loin.  And English (or Irish) bacon combines the two leaving the loin and belly connected.  Paulina has ventured out and added a couple more bacons for the liking of our customers, beef, lamb, and veal bacon.  The beef bacon is dry cured like our pork belly bacon.  As for the other veal and lamb bacon, Paulina wet cures the belly of each animal, rolls and ties, and then smokes/cooks so it is ready to be sliced and fried for anyone craving some additional bacon options!

Q:           Did you know that there is a difference in a ribeye steak depending on where it is cut from on the same cattle?                                                                                                                                                                                     

A:           Yes in fact there is!  On one end of the rib roast, the rib-eyes are cut towards the chuck portion of the cattle.  Therefore these steaks tend to be a bit fattier with more marbling and contain more of the spinalis dorsi (the ribeye cap meat which some say is the most tender and flavorful part of a ribeye).  Coming from the opposite side of the rib roast, the ribeyes are cut from the loin side of the cattle and tend to be leaner.  In addition, they don't have as much of the ribeye cap meat, but contain more meat in general due to a lower ratio of fat to lean.  Life is all about preferences, but there is definitely a difference the makeup of a ribeye depending on where it is located on the cattle.                                          

Q:           Did you know that there are primal AND subprimal cuts of beef?                                                                                                      

A:           A primal cut or cut of meat is a piece of meat initially separated from the carcass of an animal during butchering.  Examples of primals include the round, loin, rib, and chuck for beef or the ham, loin, Boston butt, and picnic for pork.  Subprimals are the cuts that come from the primal sections, examples would be steaks, chops, stew meat, etc.                                                                                                             

Q:           Did you know that there is a difference between a cow, a bull, and a steer?                                                                                                      

A:           A cow is an adult female bovine who has produced a calf.  A bull is a male bovine animal which is uncasturated.  A bovine is a member of the cattle family.  A steer is a male bovine animal which has been castrated and cannot breed.  A heifer is a female bovine which has not produced a calf.  A calf is a young bovine animal usually within its first year.  Got it?  Good! This one is going to be on the final exam at the end of the year :P                                                                                                          

Q:           Did you know that the earliest evidence of butchery is thought to be over 12,000 years ago?                                                                                                  

A:           University of Miami scientists and underwater archaeologists discovered the remains of a butchered giant sloth at a Florida sinkhole. The remains are thought to be about 12,000 years old. An earlier discovery of a sharpened stick and tortoise remains had led them to believe the area was used as a butcher shop for early man.                                                        

Q:           Did you know there is an inside and outside skirt on a steer?                                                                         

A:           The outside skirt steak is from the plate section, below the rib and between the brisket and flank.  The inside skirt comes from the flank and is narrower and thinner than the outside skirt.  The outside skirt is already on the thinner side in terms of steaks so the inside skirt is typically leaned out for trimmings.  The outside skirt is a long and thin steak that can be tough depending on how cooked, but also very tasty when prepared well!                                                     

               Like with any cut of meat there are numerous options for preparation, but some suggest grilling be the most opportune plan of attack.  Because it is so thin, tossing it on a sizzlingly hot grill will allow for the external portion of the steak to be well browned while the inside will remain tender and juicy!  Skirt steak is also a great steak for marinating since it is so thin and the muscle fibers are so loose and open allowing for the marinade to have a lot of opportunity to spread itself throughout.                                                           

Q:           Did you know that salami's name origin breaks down to salt?                                                                      

A:           In the Italian language, salami is the plural of salame, which comes from sale which means salt.  Sale is a derivative of the Latin word sal which of course also means salt.  At the end of the day, salami is a delicious dry cured sausage which is typically served in slices. These dry cured sausages are processed in a way where they are not fully cooked and still safe to eat due to control of pH level and moisture content.  Nowadays there are soft salamis available which are fully cooked and need to be kept refrigerated unlike the

Q:           Did you know that summer sausage was given the name due to its shelf stability?                       

A:           Summer sausage was given its name due to the fact that the sausage needs little to no refrigeration (due to its pH levels and low moisture content) and therefore can last through the warmer months all the way through summer.  Before Kenmore and Frigdidare were around this was obviously a very important techniQ:ue to utilize in order to save meat slaughtered throughout different times of year.                                                  

Q:           Did you know that while you cannot caterpillar meat, you can butterfly it?                                                 

A:           To butterfly meat is to cut a thick piece of meat almost in half and open up to create one wider/thinner piece of meat.  Common cuts of meat which can be butterflied are beef filets, boneless skinless chicken breasts, and boneless pork chops.  Spread your wings and fly high the next time you are in and ask your trusty Paulina butcher to butterfly some meat for the grill!