Exotic Meats: Part 3

  • Camel

At its best, camel meat tastes much like lean beef. But certain cuts can be tough, and if the meat comes from an old camel, it can also taste gamey. Camels may first have been domesticated in the region around Somalia, where they have long been prized for their nutritious milk and meat, and as a mode of transport in the arid environment.

Camel Meat sounds exotic, but camel meat is national food and it’s popular in the whole Gulf. Camel meat is more tender when the camel is slaughtered at a young age.

  • Alpaca

There are many health benefits of alpaca meat in comparison to the traditional livestock meats. It is the meat of the Andes and one of the healthiest and oldest food sources of the Incan’s and pre-Incans, and remains a South American delicacy as well as important daily food source.

Alpaca meat is still relatively new to the American culinary landscape. However, outside of North America from Australia, New Zealand, and Europe where alpaca meat is viewed as a delicacy, to South America where it has been a staple for thousands of years, the idea of alpacas as a protein source is not a new one in the least.

Alpaca meat is not only rich in proteins, but also low in fat.  It has the lowest level of cholesterol of any meat.  It is a mild red meat which is tender, extremely lean and described by some as almost sweet.  Its flavor closest to beef without the fatty aftertaste.  Alpaca takes on the flavor of  what it’s mixed with making it a chef’s favorite!

  • Iguana

Eating iguana meat is nothing new. In fact, it’s a common delicacy in Mexico, Central and South America — and in trendy U.S. restaurants that cater to anyone craving a lizard entree.

Iguana gourmets in the U.S. are sometimes immigrants from other countries looking for a taste of home. Other times, they’re just red-blooded Americans looking for something new — like the iguana “popcorn” nuggets once sold in Washington, D.C.

Also known as chicken of the trees, Iguana meat is high protein and low fat.  It is well-suited for tacos, burritos, curries, soups, stews, gumbo and more, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. The meat is thick, so it’s often boiled for long periods of time to soften it up.

Thank your for reading this post.

If you have experience with any of these meats, please share with me.

Cheers,

Francine

Exotic Meats: Part 2

  • Python

On first, and possibly second appearance, eating reptile of any kind may not seem all that appetising. That said, set aside any misgivings of sinking your teeth into serpent; rattlesnakes are regularly consumed in the Midwestern United States but python is a truly exotic delicacy, although difficult to cook. Boneless Python meat is very light and tender.

Gamier than pork, whose taste it is often compared to, python can, if cooked poorly, take on a tough, rubbery texture. If you’re frying, slice thin and cook for under a minute each side. It’s even been offered as a pizza topping in Florida in what has been dubbed an ‘Everglades Pizza’. In one bite you may get a chunk of python meat. In the next, a frog leg with the bone in, and in another, maybe a slice of alligator sausage

  • Turtle

It can be stir fired, barbequed, made in to soup – you name it. Turtle meat makes any recipe delicious. Many people enjoy turtle meat fried. It is alsocooked in soup using the meat, skin and innards of the soft-shell turtle in East Asia or the snapping turtle in the United States, this is considered something of a Chinese delicacy.

Recipes for the first mock turtle soups appeared around the 1800s; indeed, the soup was so popular that diners preferred a fake version to no turtle soup at all.

For the complete history about turtle’s soup and a recipe, click here.

  • Testicles

Rocky Mountain oysters are not oysters at all. They’re mammal testicles, and most commonly come from bulls, bison, pigs, and sheep. That’s nuts, right?!

Some of the very first ranchers to inhabit the West needed inexpensive sources of food, so they experimented with different cuts of meat. And because they didn’t waste any part of the animal, they began cooking testicles with branding coals.

Now, these “oysters” are typically found in the American West and western Canada, where young animal castration is commonly used to control breeding, stimulate skeletal muscle growth for beef, and regulate temperament. Although Rocky Mountain oysters can be sautéed, braised, broiled, and poached, they’re most often peeled, pounded flat, coated in flour, salt and pepper, and fried. 

If you want to try testicles, click here for tips and recipe.

If you have tried any of these meat, please share your experience with me.

Thank you for reading the post. I will see you soon with more exotic meats.

Cheers,

Francine

Exotic Meats: Part 1

Are you bored with the usual chicken, beef, and pork on your plates? Are you looking for something unusual to eat that could excite your taste buds? There is a vast world of food choices out there – sometimes strange, but surprisingly delicious! So I decided to bring some ideas to help get you thinking about new types of meat to experiment with.

  • Kangaroo

Historically the staple meat for indigenous Australians, kangaroo is high in protein and low in fat, making it a pretty healthy choice. It’s gamey in flavour and served in multiple ways, from a simple steak to sausages or burgers. Although some animal groups are against the hunting and harvesting of kangaroos for meat, many ecologists see farming native animals as much better for the fragile Australian rangelands than cattle and say it could massively reduce greenhouse emissions.

Whilst not such a strange choice to those accustomed to Australian eateries, Kangaroo still remains largely unfamiliar to most. With low levels of fat, high protein content and rich in iron, zinc and omega 3s, not to mention beautifully tender when cooked well, Kangaroo is both healthy and delicious.

  • Ostrich

Despite being from a bird, ostrich is, surprisingly, a red meat and a good shade darker than beef at that. Ostrich meat is low in cholesterol, fat and calories (relative to beef). Ostrich Meat is similar in taste, texture, and appearance to beef. It’s comparable to beef in iron and protein content, but ostrich has less than half the fat of chicken and two-thirds less fat than beef and pork. What’s not to like?

Its taste has been described as not too far from it’s bovine equivalent, some even struggle to notice a difference, but due to this very low fat content, it isn’t marbled with the stuff, it can dry out when cooking. Marinade is highly recommend to keep the meat moist, as is eating it medium rare rather than well done.

  • Frog Legs

Frog legs are one of the better-known delicacies of French and Cantonese cuisine. They are also eaten in other regions, such as Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, the region of Alentejo in Portugal, Spain, Slovenia, northwest Greece, and Northern Italy, as well as the Southern regions of the United States.

Currently the world’s largest exporter of frogs is Indonesia, also a large consumer. In regions such as Brazil, Mexico and the Caribbean many frogs are still caught wild.

Frog legs are rich in protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin a and potassium. They are often said to taste like chicken because of their mild flavor, with a texture most similar to chicken wings.The taste and texture of frog meat approximately between chicken and fish, there was a slight fishiness that some might perceived it tastes mildly like fish

I remember spending the weekends in my family farm and my brother hunting frogs. It taste like fried chicken and I particularly apreciate frogs meat.

If you are interested in trying some of these meat. Click here.

If you have tried any of these meats, please share your experience with me.

Cheers,

Francine

Chicken, It’s More Than Wings

Chicken meat is considered as an easily available source of high-quality protein and other nutrients that are necessary for proper body functioning. Throughout the world, poultry meat consumption continues to grow, both in developed and in the developing countries. In 1999, global production of chickens reached 40 billion, and by 2020 this trend is expected to continue to grow, so that poultry meat will become the consumers’ first choice.


Fresh chicken meat and chicken products are universally popular. This occurrence can be explained by the fact that this meat is not a subject of culturally or religiously set limitations, and it is perceived as nutritionally valuable foodstuff with low content of fat, in which there are more desirable unsaturated fatty acids than in other types of meat. More importantly, quality poultry products are available at affordable prices.

When compared to red meat, the main advantage of white chicken meat is in its low caloric value and a low portion of saturated fat, so consumption of white chicken meat is recommended to people who want to reduce the fat intake, as well as to people suffering from heart and coronary diseases.

In addition to being very healthy thanks to its properties, chicken meat stands out for its flavour, versatility and texture in the culinary universe. There are countless different recipes and preparations: roast, pickled, fried… all delicious and very healthy in essence.

  1. Breast – Most often sold in bone-in, boneless, and tenderloin forms. Great for grilling, baking, and frying. 
  2. Drumstick – Dark meat best for roasting, broiling, grilling, and braising.
  3. Thigh – Sold bone-in or boneless this is an economical cut of dark meat good for roasting, broiling, grilling, and braising.
  4. Wing – Great for roasting, broiling, grilling, and braising. They make a great party food.

For ideas about how to cook chicken, click here and here.

Below, a video about how to cut a chicken in 8 pieces…

I hope you liked the post. Please leave a comment with your favorite chicken recipe.

I’ll see you next.

Cheers, Francine.

Everything You Should Know About Pork Meat

Pork is the meat of the domestic pig (Sus domesticus), and It’s the most commonly consumed red meat worldwide, especially in eastern Asia, but its consumption is forbidden in certain religions, such as Islam and Judaism. For this reason, pork is illegal in many Islamic countries.

It is often eaten unprocessed, but cured (preserved) pork products are also very common. These include smoked pork, ham, bacon, and sausages. Being high in protein and rich in many vitamins and minerals, lean pork can be an excellent addition to a healthy diet.

The most desirable pork is grayish pink in colour, firm and fine-grained, well-marbled, and covered with an outer layer of firm white fat. About 30 percent of the meat is consumed as cooked fresh meat; the remainder is cured or smoked for bacon and ham, used in sausage, and rendered to produce lard. Pork must be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 °F (71 °C) in order to be safe.

The chief pork-consuming countries (on a per capita basis) are Germany, Denmark, Poland, and Austia. In Western cooking fresh pork is commonly roasted, choice cuts being the loin, leg, and rib sections (spareribs). Chops from the loin and ribs are usually grilled or pan-fried. In Eastern Europe, a spit-roasted whole young piglet, or suckling pig, is a delicacy; wild pigs have traditionally been cooked in a similar manner throughout the Pacific.

Less desirable parts—ears, tail, hocks, feet, brains—and the fatty portions of the back of the carcass (fatback), may be cooked with various greens, especially in the southern United States; although originating in economic necessity, this distinctive style of pork cookery has an important place in American regional cuisine.

In China and Southeast Asia, pork is commonly shredded or cubed and stir-fried with vegetables and spices. Pork-and-vegetable mixtures are also used to stuff a variety of small rolls, buns, and dumplings.

No matter which cut of pork you serve, from tenderloin to chops, there are recipes for every night of the week.

1. Jowl – Often called jowl bacon, this cut can be fried and eaten or used as a seasoning in soups and stews.
2. Shoulder – The pork shoulder contains cuts such as Blade Steaks, Boston Butt Roasts. These cuts are best slow cooked or roasted.
3. Rack – This portion contains cuts such as Country Style Ribs and Baby Back Ribs. These are best roasted or grilled. 
4. Loin – The loin is cut into boneless and bone-in roasts and chops. These cuts are best roasted, braised, or grilled. 
5. Sirloin – The sirloin is cut into roast and chops and is best roasted or grilled.
6. Ham – Hams are most often sold cured, but can be found uncured. Some are sold ready to eat and others require oven roasting before serving.
7. Belly – Pork belly can be sold fresh for frying or braising or cured as bacon.
8. Spare Ribs – Spare ribs are sold in slabs and are great for roasting or grilling.
9. Shoulder – The arm shoulder is often sold as Picnic Roasts or ground for Ground Pork or Sausage. 
10. Hocks – Ham hocks are great for seasoning in soups and stews. They are often sold smoked.


To learn more about pork cuts, click here and here.

If you want to try news pork recipes, take a look in the video below.

I hope you liked the post, thank you for staying with me. And if you want to share a recipe, please leave a comment.

Cheers, Francine.

Lamb or Mutton? Do you know what are you eating?

If you say you don’t like lamb, you probably really mean you don’t like the preparation of lamb you were served. Either that or you were served mutton, not lamb. If you have never savored the rich, tender, beefy (never gamey) flavor of a lamb loin chop or rack of lamb, no mint jelly allowed, you are missing what I consider to be one of the best red meat in the world

You might be thinking that lamb and mutton are just different names for the same thing because they are both domestic sheep. While that seems to make sense, it isn’t entirely correct. They have distinct differences, mainly in their age. As you probably know, the age of an animal can affect the flavor and how tender the meat is. And that, in turn, affects how you prepare that meat.

Lamb is a domestic sheep that is up to one year old. It is much less fatty, and much more tender than a sheep that is over a year old. As an animal gets older its meat gets tougher and stronger in flavor. A spring lamb is a sheep that is three months old and gives the sweetest and most tender flavors. One of the most coveted and more expensive cuts are the lamb chops.

Mutton is the name given to the meat of an adult sheep, that is over a year old. This meat tends to be tougher, and more gamey in flavor  than a younger animal. Some people have acquired a flavor for the older animal and prefer the strong taste it provides. The best cuts of mutton are usually the loin, rib and rump.

For safety, the USDA recommends cooking lamb patties and ground lamb mixtures such as meat loaf to a safe minimum internal temperature of 160°F as measured on a food thermometer. However, whole muscle meats such as roasts, steaks, and chops may be cooked to 145°F (medium rare), 160°F (medium), or 170°F (well done). Times are based on lamb at refrigerator temperature (40 °F). Remember that appliances and outdoor grills can vary in heat. Use a food thermometer to check for safe cooking and doneness of lamb.

Sheep meat that’s eaten all over the world and its rich taste combines well with spices and other highly flavoured ingredients. For a complete guide to sheep meat recipes, click here and here.

If you want to learn more about how to butcher a lamb and how can you prepare the cuts, take a look in the video below.

Thank you for reading the post. Leave your comment or share this post.

See you soon!!

Cheers, Francine.

The Color of Meat

Lean color is the primary factor that determines the fresh meat quality discerned by consumers at the point of sale, whereas taste components (such as tenderness, juiciness and flavor) of the cooked meat determines the overall palatability, affecting the consumers’ repeated purchasing decision. 

The amount of myoglobin in animal muscles determines the color of meat. Lamb and Pork are classified  as “red” meat along with beef and veal as they contain more myoglobin than chicken or fish, which is considered “white” meat. When fresh pork is cooked, it becomes lighter in color, but it is still a red meat.

Raw poultry can vary from a bluish-white to yellow. All of these colors are normal and are a direct result of breed, exercise, age, and/or diet. Younger poultry has less fat under the skin, which can cause the bluish cast, and the yellow skin could be a result of marigolds in the feed.

Optimum surface color of fresh meat (i.e., cherry-red for beef; dark cherry-red for lamb; reddish-pink for pork; and pale pink for veal) is highly unstable and short-lived. When meat is fresh and protected from contact with air (such as in vacuum packages), it has the purple-red color that comes from myoglobin, one of the two key pigments responsible for the color of meat. When exposed to air, myoglobin forms the pigment, oxymyoglobin, which gives meat a pleasingly cherry-red color. The use of a plastic wrap that allows oxygen to pass through it helps ensure that the cut meats will retain this bright red color

Exposure to store lighting as well as the continued contact of myoglobin and oxymyoglobin with oxygen leads to the formation of metmyoglobin, a pigment that turns meat brownish-red. This color change alone does not mean the product is spoiled. Color changes are normal for fresh product. With spoilage there can be a change in color often a fading or darkening. In addition to the color change, the meat or poultry will have an off odor, be sticky or tacky to the touch, or it may be slimy. If meat has developed these characteristics, it should not be used.

Thank you for reading the post, and for visiting the blog.

Please leave a comment, and I will see you soon.

– Francine