One of America’s Favorites – Pulled Pork

May 16, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pork being shredded with a fork

Pulled pork is an American barbecue dish, more specifically a dish of the Southern U.S., based on shredded barbecued pork shoulder. It is typically slow-smoked over wood (usually outdoors); indoor variations use a slow cooker. The meat is then shredded manually and mixed with a sauce. It may be served on bread or eaten on its own. In combination with spare ribs and brisket it is considered a part of the Texas Holy Trinity of Barbecue.

Pulled pork, almost always a shoulder cut, is commonly slow-cooked by first applying a dry rub, then smoking over wood. A non-barbecue method uses a slow cooker, a domestic oven, or an electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot).

Pulled pork, baked beans and mac and cheese from Peg Leg Porker in Nashville, TN

For the meat to ‘pull’ properly, it must reach an internal temperature of 195 to 205°F (90.5 to 96°C); the smoker temperature can be around 275°F (135°C). Cooking time is many hours, often more than 12 hours (though much shorter with electric pressure cookers, typically from 60 to 90 minutes).

In rural areas across the United States, either a pig roast/whole hog, mixed cuts of the pig/hog, or the shoulder cut (Boston butt) alone are commonly used, and the pork is then shredded before being served with or without a vinegar-based sauce. Before cooking, it is common to soak the meat in brine; this process provides the extra moisture needed for a long, slow cooking process.

One of America’s Favorites – Meatloaf

May 9, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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American meatloaf with tomato ketchup

Meatloaf is a dish of ground meat that has been combined with other ingredients and formed into the shape of a loaf, then baked or smoked. The final shape is either hand-formed on a baking tray, or pan-formed by cooking it in a loaf pan. It is usually made with ground beef, although ground lamb, pork, veal, venison, poultry, and seafood are also used, sometimes in combination. Vegetarian adaptations of meatloaf may use imitation meat or pulses.

The cooked meatloaf can be sliced like a loaf of bread to make individual portions. It can easily become dry; therefore, various techniques exist to keep the dish moist, like mixing in bread crumbs and egg, covering it with sauce, wrapping it, or using moisture-enhancing ingredients in the mixture, such as filling it with fatty meats, rich cheeses, or vegetables.

Meatloaf of minced meat was mentioned in the Roman cookery collection Apicius as early as the 5th century. Meatloaf is a traditional German, Scandinavian and Belgian dish, and it is a cousin to the Dutch meatball.

American meatloaf has its origins in scrapple, a mixture of ground pork and cornmeal served by German-Americans in Pennsylvania since colonial times. Meatloaf in the contemporary American sense did not appear in cookbooks until the late 19th century.

A meatloaf topped with tomato sauce and sliced.

During the Great Depression, cooking meatloaf was a way for families to stretch the food budget by using an inexpensive type of meat and left-over ingredients. Along with spices, it was popular to add cereal grains, bread or saltine crackers to the meatloaf to add bulk and stretch the meat. This tradition of additions still lives on, but with new goals: primarily, producing a lower-fat dish with superior binding and consistency.

American-style meatloaf is typically eaten with a sauce or relish, often applied before cooking. Many recipes call for a pasta sauce or tomato sauce to be poured over the loaf, which forms a crust during baking. A simple brown or onion gravy or a can of cream of mushroom soup can substitute for tomato-based sauce, but the meatloaf is prepared in a similar manner. Barbecue sauce, tomato ketchup, or a mixture of ketchup and prepared mustard may also be used. This style of meatloaf may be topped with a “meatloaf sauce” consisting of ketchup and brown sugar. Another variety of meatloaf, in the same style, is prepared by “frosting” the loaf with mashed potatoes, drizzling a small amount of butter over the top, and then browning it in the oven.

American-style meatloaf is normally served warm, as part of a main course, but it can also be sliced as a cold cut (and then used in sandwiches). This dish can be considered a typical comfort food in the US, and so it is served in many diners and restaurants. In a 2007 poll by Good Housekeeping, meatloaf was the seventh-favorite dish of Americans.

One of America’s Favorites – French Dip

May 2, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Roast Beef Dip au jus, with French fries

A French dip sandwich, also known as a beef dip, is a hot sandwich consisting of thinly sliced roast beef (or, sometimes, other meats) on a “French roll” or baguette. It is usually served plain but a variation is to top with Swiss cheese, onions, and a dipping container of beef broth produced from the cooking process (termed au jus, “with juice”). Beef stock, a light beef gravy, or beef consommé is sometimes substituted. The sandwich is an American invention, with the name seeming to refer to the style of bread, rather than any French origin. Although the sandwich is most commonly served with a cup of jus or broth on the side of the plate, into which the sandwich is dipped as it is eaten, this is not how the sandwich was served when it was invented.

Two Los Angeles restaurants have claimed to be the birthplace of the French dip sandwich: Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet and Philippe the Original. Philippe’s website describes the dish as a “specialty of the house”, and the words “Home of the Original French Dip Sandwich” are present in the restaurant’s logo. At Phillippe’s, the roll is dipped in the hot beef juices before the sandwich is assembled, and is served “wet”, while at Cole’s it is served with a side of beef juices. The sandwich can also be requested “double dipped”, where both halves of the sandwich are dipped before serving, at either establishment. Both restaurants feature their own brand of spicy mustard that is traditionally used by patrons to complement the sandwich.

A French dip sandwich

The controversy over who originated the sandwich remains unresolved. Both restaurants were established in 1908. However, Cole’s claims to have originated the sandwich shortly after the restaurant opened in 1908, while Philippe’s claims that owner Philippe Mathieu invented it in 1918.

The story of the sandwich’s invention by Philippe’s has several variants: some sources say that it was first created by a cook or a server who, while preparing a sandwich for a police officer or fireman, accidentally dropped it into a pan of meat drippings. The patron liked it, and the dish surged in popularity shortly after its invention. Other accounts say that a customer who didn’t want some meat drippings to go to waste requested his sandwich be dipped in them. Still others say that a chef dipped a sandwich into a pan of meat drippings after a customer complained that the bread was stale. Cole’s account states that the sandwich was invented by a sympathetic chef, Jack Garlinghouse, for a customer who was complaining of sore gums. Some accounts tell Philippe’s version of events, but assign the location to Cole’s. The mystery of the sandwich’s invention might not be solved due to a lack of information and observable evidence.

The French dip is now served at a number of restaurant chains including fast food places, diners, and standard restaurants. A sandwich based on a similar concept is known as a Baron of beef.

One of America’s Favorites – Short Ribs

April 25, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Flanken cut short ribs.

Short ribs are a cut of beef taken from the brisket, chuck, plate, or rib areas of beef cattle. They consist of a short portion of the rib bone, which is overlain by meat which varies in thickness. There are two major types of cuts: The “flanken”, which is cut across the bone and leaves the bone just 1 to 2 inches in length, or even less and the “English”, which is cut parallel to the bone and leaves the bone up to 6 inches in length. English cut short ribs may be served individually, or three or four may served connected to one another (a style known as the “plate”). Short ribs are popular in many international cuisines.

Meatpacking executive Richard C. Banfield notes that the term “short ribs” comes from the fact that the cut of meat contains only a portion of each long beef rib.

Using American butcher’s nomenclature, short ribs may be taken from the brisket, chuck, plate, or rib areas of beef cattle.

The serratus ventralis muscle defines the area in the beef carcass from where short ribs come, and is the preferred muscle tissue for short ribs. This muscle originates near the second rib, and covers most of the rib cage. In the chuck area (second through fifth ribs), the muscle is much thicker. Moving toward the rump, the serratus ventralis becomes less dense, and may not cover the entire rib. Outside of the chuck, the serratus ventralis covers the entire rib with a degree of thickness only in the plate area. Over ribs nine through 12, the serratus ventralis is too thin to properly create a true short rib, and meat here is usually turned into a “Royal short rib” or else stripped from the bone and used for ground beef.

The latissimus dorsi muscle lies atop the serratus ventralis muscle, and is separated from it by a layer of fat. This muscle is generally found in the chuck area and the upper portion (toward the spine) of the plate. It adds thickness to chuck and rib short ribs, but is less prized by chefs than the serratus ventralis muscle.

Chuck short ribs tend to be meatier than the other two types of ribs, but they are also tougher due to the more extensive connective tissues (collagen and reticulin) in them. Plate short ribs tend to be fattier than the other two types.

Short ribs cut from the rib area near the spine (the dorsal area) are better known as “back ribs” or “dinosaur ribs”. They consist of what remains of the rib in this area after the rib chop is removed. Due to the thinness of the serratus ventralis here, the meat on these ribs is generally intercostal muscle (e.g., the muscle between each rib).

Beef Short Ribs Bone In

Short ribs, by definition, are not the entire length of rib. When the rib bone is cut into a 3-to-6-inch length, left as a section of meat (a “plate”) containing three or four ribs or cut into individual ribs with meat attached, the short rib is known as an “English cut”. They may also be known as barbecue ribs, braising ribs, or fancy cut ribs. A section of short ribs from the plate (ribs six through eight, with their intercostal muscle) is known as a “short plate”. Rib short ribs are almost always sold as a plate.

When the carcass is cut across the bone to create strips of meat with multiple rib bones, the short rib is known as a “flanken cut.” These may also be known as crosscut ribs, Eastern European-style ribs, Hawaiian-style ribs, Jewish ribs, Korean-style ribs, or “kosher ribs”. Flanken-cut short ribs incorporate at least two rib bones, and are often no more than 1 to 2 inches thick.

Retail meat shops often do not differentiate between short ribs which come from the brisket, chuck, plate, and rib. In the United States, short ribs from the plate are generally the least expensive cut, followed by medium-priced short ribs from the brisket and chuck, and premium-priced short ribs from the rib area.

Beef short ribs are the equivalent of spare ribs in pork, with beef short ribs usually larger and meatier than pork spare ribs.

“Boneless” short ribs are cut from either the chuck or plate, and consist of rib meat separated from the bone. “Boneless country-style short ribs”, however, are not true short ribs. They are found primarily in the United States, and are cut from the chuck eye roll (serving as a less expensive alternative to rib steak).

A specific type of short rib dish which originated in Hawaii is known as Maui-style ribs. In this dish, flanken-cut ribs are marinated in soy sauce, brown sugar, and ginger, and then swiftly grilled.

One of America’s Favorites – Beer Can Chicken

April 18, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 2 Comments
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Beer can chicken (also known as chicken on a throne, beer butt chicken, Coq au can, dancing chicken) is a barbecued chicken dish and method of indirect grilling using a partially-filled can of beer that is placed in the chicken’s cavity prior to cooking. The chicken is then stood up on the can and its legs vertically, and slow-cooked over indirect heat, usually over a propane gas or charcoal grill. The process is meant to add moisture to the dish, and some believe that steam from the beer serves to steam the chicken from the inside and add flavor to the dish. Some people are avid proponents of the dish, while others have contended that the efficacy of using the beer is overrated, and that the science regarding beer can chicken is debatable. It has been suggested that the dish possibly originated in the U.S. state of Louisiana.

Beer can chicken is a barbecued chicken dish and method of indirect grilling, in which an open can of beer or other canned beverage is inserted into the cavity of a chicken and then used to hold the chicken vertically while it cooks on a grill or in an oven. During the cooking process the beer in the can might steam, which might add moisture in the cavity of the bird, and some theorize that the beer vapor serves to add flavor to the dish. Because the chicken is in an upright position, the fat in the bird drains away and the skin is evenly cooked.

Prior to cooking, some of the beer in the can is typically removed, with a partially-full can of beer placed inside the bird’s cavity. Some cooks use a full can of beer. Some cooks use a standard 12-ounce beer can, while others use a tallboy beer can, a larger-sized can. The chicken is sometimes coated with a spice rub prior to cooking, and some use marinated chicken.

Some people are enthusiastic proponents of the dish, while others feel that the dish and process is overrated. It has been stated that the efficacy of the beer serving to steam whole chickens from the inside and adding flavor is debatable. Some critics of beer can chicken exist; one critic referred to the practice as “dangerous” and “a waste of good beer”. Another critic stated that the process may actually make the chicken drier compared to other types of roasting, and it has also been stated by some cooking experts that the beer does not reach a boiling point, and therefore does not steam.

Barbecue author Steven Raichlen helped popularize the dish on a global level. He has promoted the dish since 1996, when he first observed its preparation in the Memphis in May World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest. He has suggested that beer can chicken likely originated in the U.S. state of Louisiana. Raichlen has reported recipes for beer can chicken appearing around the same time in Mississippi, Texas, and Kansas. “There is a definite Louisiana connection.” Famous Barbecue Judge Ardie Davis compared the emergence of Beer Can Chicken to the domestication of animals: “It just happened everywhere at once.”

Beer-Can Chicken may have been prepared throughout the American South in the 1980’s; however, the first documentation can be found in the Houston Chronicle in 1993. The recipe was given by Wayne Whitworth to George H. W. Bush when he and his brothers built a barbecue for the president. The barbecue pits were sent to Camp David at the beginning of President Bush’s term.

In October 2014, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen purveyed a limited edition beer can chicken dish that was produced without the use of beer. The dish consisted of sliced chicken breast meat marinated in a spice mixture designed to mimic the flavor of beer can chicken, which was then battered and deep fried. The spice mixture was composed of butter, onion, garlic, rosemary, lemon zest, cayenne pepper and a “secret ingredient” that Popeyes did not disclose. The company’s chief marketing officer stated to a press source that the company had “… been working on the Beer Can Chicken for years”.

One of America’s Favorites – Pork Ribs

April 11, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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Balinese roasted pork ribs

Pork ribs are a cut of pork popular in North American and Asian cuisines. The ribcage of a domestic pig, meat and bones together, is cut into usable pieces, prepared by smoking, grilling, or baking – usually with a sauce, often barbecue – and then served.

 

 

 

 

Cuts of pork ribs

Baby back ribs served with fries and cornbread

Several different types of ribs are available, depending on the section of rib cage from which they are cut. Variation in the thickness of the meat and bone, as well as levels of fat in each cut, can alter the flavor and texture of the prepared dish. The inner surface of the rib cage is covered by a layer of connective tissue (pleura) that is difficult to cook tender; it is usually removed before marinating or cooking.

* Baby back ribs (also back ribs or loin ribs) are taken from the top of the rib cage between the spine and the spare ribs, below the loin muscle. They have meat between the bones and on top of the bones, and are shorter, curved, and sometimes meatier than spare ribs. The rack is shorter at one end, due to the natural tapering of a pig’s rib cage. The shortest bones are typically only about 3 in (7.6 cm) and the longest is usually about 6 in (15 cm), depending on the size of the hog. A pig side has 15 to 16 ribs (depending on the breed), but usually two or three are left on the shoulder when it is separated from the loin. So, a rack of back ribs contains a minimum of eight ribs (some may be trimmed if damaged), but can include up to 13 ribs, depending on how it has been prepared by the butcher. A typical commercial rack has 10–13 bones. If fewer than 10 bones are present, butchers call them “cheater racks”.

* Spare ribs, also called “spareribs” or “side ribs”, are taken from the belly side of the rib cage, below the section of back ribs and above the sternum (breast bone). Spare ribs are flatter and contain more bone than meat, but more fat that can make the ribs more tender than back ribs. The term “spare ribs” is a Middle English corruption (via “sparrib”) of “rippspeer”, a Low German term that referred to racks of meat being roasted on a turning spit.
* St. Louis style ribs (or St. Louis cut spare ribs) have had the sternum bone, cartilage, and rib tips (see below) removed. The shape is almost rectangular.
* Kansas City style ribs are trimmed less closely than the St. Louis style ribs, and have the hard bone removed.

Rib tips

Spare ribs cut into riblets with Chinese barbecue sauce

Rib tips are short, meaty sections of rib attached to the lower end of the spare ribs, between the ribs and the sternum. Unlike back ribs or spare ribs, the structure of the rib is provided by dense costal cartilage, not bone. Rib tips are cut away from the spare ribs when preparing St. Louis style spare ribs.

Riblets
Riblets are prepared by butchers by cutting a full set of spare ribs approximately in half. This produces a set of short, flat ribs where the curved part of the rib is removed and gives them a more uniform look. Loin back ribs don’t always have this removed. When not removed they have a rounded look to them and are often referred to as baby back ribs. Another product (imprecisely) called riblets is actually the transverse processes of the lumbar vertebrae. Riblets used to be thrown out by butchers, but have become popular due to their excellent flavor and lower cost.

Button ribs (or feather bones) are often confused with riblets mostly because Applebee’s sells these as “riblets”. In fact, what Applebee’s sells is found just past the ribs near the back bone, just underneath the tenderloin. This cut of meat actually has no bones, but instead has “buttons” of cartilaginous material with meat attached.

Rib tips (or brisket) are found at the bottom of the spare ribs by the sternum. The rib tips have a high proportion of cartilage. The rib tips give the spare ribs a rounded appearance. In an attempt to give the meat a more uniform appearance and make it easier to eat, this piece is sometimes removed, and the remaining spare ribs are referred to as Saint Louis style ribs.

Other cuts and preparations

* Button ribs are flat, circular-shaped bones located at the sirloin end of the loin. They are not actually ribs, as they are not taken from the rib cage. The button ribs consist of the

Smoked country style pork ribs

last four to six bones on the backbone; they do not have actual ribs connected to them. The meat on the button ribs consists of meat that covers each button and connects them together.
* Country-style ribs are cut from the blade end of the loin close to the pork shoulder. They are meatier than other rib cuts. They contain no rib bones, but instead contain parts of the shoulder blade (scapula).
* Rib roast (or bone-in pork loin rib roast, bone-in loin rib roast, center cut rib roast, prime rib of pork, standing rib roast) is a whole pork loin with the back ribs attached. They can be up to 2 ft long and 6 in thick. They are sold whole or in sections.
* Rib chops are pork steaks or chops that include a back rib bone and the loin meat attached. They are lean and tender.
* Rib patties – The meat from the ribs is taken off the bone and ground to make rib patties. McDonald’s McRib patties contain pork meat mostly from non-rib sections of the hog.
* Christmas ribs – About half of Norwegian families eat oven-cooked rib at Christmas Eve. Normally, they are referred to as ribbe or juleribbe. Traditional recipes include steaming half an hour before cooking in the oven to achieve a crisp surface.

One of America’s Favorites – Hot Dogs

April 4, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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A typical hot dog with added mustard as a condiment

A hot dog (also spelled hotdog) is a cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed and served in a sliced bun as a sandwich. There are also Hot dog variants that include the corn dog and pigs in blankets. Typical hot dog garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, cheese, chili, and sauerkraut.

The sausages were culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United States, where they were a working class street food sold at hot dog stands that came to be associated with baseball and America. Hot dog preparation and condiment styles also vary regionally across the United States. The hot dog’s cultural traditions include the Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest and Wienermobile.

Claims about hot dog invention are difficult to assess, as stories assert the creation of the sausage, the placing of the sausage (or another kind of sausage) on bread or a bun as finger food, the popularization of the existing dish, or the application of the name “hot dog” to a sausage and bun combination most commonly used with ketchup or mustard and sometimes relish.

The word frankfurter comes from Frankfurt, Germany, where pork sausages similar to hot dogs originated. These sausages, Frankfurter Würstchen, were known since the 13th century and given to the people on the event of imperial coronations, starting with the coronation of Maximilian II, Holy Roman Emperor as King. Wiener refers to Vienna, Austria, whose German name is “Wien”, home to a sausage made of a mixture of pork and beef (cf. Hamburger, whose name also derives from a German-speaking city). Johann Georg Lahner, a 18th/19th century butcher from the Franconian city of Coburg, is said to have brought the Frankfurter Würstchen to Vienna, where he added beef to the mixture and simply called it Frankfurter. Nowadays, in German speaking countries, except Austria, hot dog sausages are called Wiener or Wiener Würstchen (Würstchen means “little sausage”), in differentiation to the original pork only mixture from Frankfurt. In Swiss German, it is called Wienerli, while in Austria the terms Frankfurter or Frankfurter Würstel are used.

Grilled hot dogs

Around 1870, on Coney Island, German immigrant Charles Feltman began selling sausages in rolls.

Others are credited with first serving hot dogs on rolls. A Bavarian immigrant named Feuchtwanger allegedly pioneered the practice in the American midwest; there are several versions of the story with varying details. According to one account, Antonoine Feuchtwanger’s wife proposed the use of a bun in 1880: Feuchtwanger sold hot dogs on the streets of St. Louis, Missouri, United States, and provided gloves to his customers so that they could handle the sausages without burning their hands. Losing money when customers did not return the gloves, Feuchtwanger’s wife suggested serving the food in a roll instead. In another version, Anton Ludwig Feuchtwanger served sausages in rolls at the World’s Fair–either the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago or the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St Louis–again allegedly because the white gloves provided to customers to protect their hands were being kept as souvenirs.

The association between hot dogs and baseball began as early as 1893 with Chris von der Ahe, a German immigrant who owned not only the St. Louis Browns, but also an amusement park.

Another claim of inventing the hot dog is told by Harry M. Stevens, an American sports concessionaire whose vendors sold German sausages and rolls to spectators at the old New York Polo Grounds during the winter. He called them “Dachshund sandwiches”, but a New York Post cartoonist “couldn’t spell dachshund, so when he drew the cartoon, he called them hot dogs.”

In 1916, a Polish American employee of Feltman’s named Nathan Handwerker was encouraged by Eddie Cantor and Jimmy Durante, both working as waiters/musicians, to go into business in competition with his former employer. Handwerker undercut Feltman’s by charging five cents for a hot dog when his former employer was charging ten.

At an earlier time in food regulation, when the hot dog was suspect, Handwerker made sure that men wearing surgeon’s smocks were seen eating at Nathan’s Famous to reassure potential customers.

Ingredients:

Hormel hot dogs going into a smoker (1964)

Common hot dog ingredients include:

* Meat trimmings and fat
* Flavorings, such as salt, garlic, and paprika
* Preservatives (cure) – typically sodium erythorbate and sodium nitrite
Pork and beef are the traditional meats used in hot dogs. Less expensive hot dogs are often made from chicken or turkey, using low-cost mechanically separated poultry. Hot dogs often have high sodium, fat and nitrite content, ingredients linked to health problems. Changes in meat technology and dietary preferences have led manufacturers to use turkey, chicken, vegetarian meat substitutes, and to lower the salt content.

If a manufacturer produces two types of hot dogs, “wieners” tend to contain pork and are blander, while “franks” tend to be all beef and more strongly seasoned.

Hot dogs being grilled

Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are “skinless” as opposed to more expensive “natural casing” hot dogs.
Commercial preparation:
Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix the ingredients in the same operation. This mixture is forced through tubes into casings for cooking. Most hot dogs sold in the US are “skinless” as opposed to more expensive “natural casing” hot dogs.
Natural casing hot dogs:
As with most sausages, hot dogs must be in a casing to be cooked. Traditional casing is made from the small intestines of sheep. The products are known as “natural casing” hot dogs or frankfurters. These hot dogs have firmer texture and a “snap” that releases juices and flavor when the product is bitten.

Kosher casings are expensive in commercial quantities in the US, so kosher hot dogs are usually skinless or made with reconstituted collagen casings.

Skinless hot dogs:
“Skinless” hot dogs must use a casing in the cooking process when the product is manufactured, but the casing is usually a long tube of thin cellulose that is removed between cooking and packaging. This process was invented in Chicago in 1925 by Erwin O. Freund, founder of Visking which would later become Viskase Companies.

The first skinless hot dog casings were produced by Freund’s new company under the name “Nojax”, short for “no jackets” and sold to local Chicago sausage makers.

Skinless hot dogs vary in the texture of the product surface but have a softer “bite” than natural casing hot dogs. Skinless hot dogs are more uniform in shape and size than natural casing hot dogs and less expensive.

Home cooking hot dogs:
Hot dogs are prepared and eaten in a variety of ways. The wieners may be boiled, grilled, fried, steamed, broiled, baked, or microwaved. The cooked wiener may be served on a bun (usually topped with condiments), or it may be used as an ingredient in another dish. Various models of hot dog toasters exist that cook the hot dog and buns by toasting.

In the US, “hot dog” may refer to just the sausage or to the combination of a sausage in a bun. Many nicknames for hot dogs have popped up over the years. A hot dog can often be seen under the names of frankfurter, frank, red hot, wiener, weenie, durger, coney, or just “dog”.
Hot dog restaurants
Hot dog stands and trucks sell hot dogs at street and highway locations. Wandering hot dog vendors sell their product in baseball parks. At convenience stores, hot dogs are kept heated on rotating grills. 7-Eleven sells the most grilled hot dogs in North America — 100 million annually. Hot dogs are also common on restaurants’ children’s menus.
Condiments
Hot dogs may be served plain, but are commonly served with a variety of condiments, including ketchup, mustard, chile con carne, pickle relish, sauerkraut, onion, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and chili peppers.

In 2005, the US-based National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (part of the American Meat Institute) found mustard to be the most popular condiment, with 32% of respondents preferring it; 23% of Americans said they preferred ketchup; chili con carne came in third at 17%, followed by relish at 9% and onions at 7%. Southerners showed the strongest preference for chili, while Midwesterners showed the greatest affinity for ketchup.

A Coney Island hot dog with chili, onion, and mustard

Condiments vary across the country. All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs are topped with mustard, fresh tomatoes, onions, sport peppers, bright green relish, dill pickles, and celery salt, but they exclude ketchup.

Many variations are named after regions other than the one in which they are popular. Italian hot dogs popular in New Jersey include peppers, onions, and potatoes. Meaty Michigan hot dogs are popular in upstate New York (as are white hots), while beefy Coney Island hot dogs are popular in Michigan. In New York City, conventional hot dogs are available on Coney Island, as are bagel dogs. Hot wieners, or weenies, are a staple in Rhode Island where they are sold at restaurants with the misleading name “New York System.” Texas hot dogs are spicy variants found in upstate New York and Pennsylvania (and as “all the way dogs” in New Jersey), but not Texas.

Some baseball parks have signature hot dogs, such as Fenway Franks at Fenway Park in Boston and Dodger Dogs at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. The Fenway signature is that the hot dog is boiled and grilled, and then served on a New England-style bun, covered with ketchup and relish. Often during Red Sox games, vendors traverse the stadium selling the hot dogs plain, giving customers the choice of adding the condiments.

Hot dogs outside North America
In most of the world, “hot dog” is recognized as a sausage in a bun, but the type varies considerably. The name is applied to something that would not be described as a hot dog in North America. For example, in New Zealand, it refers to a battered sausage, often on a stick (which is known as a corn dog in North America), and the version in a bun is called an “American hot dog”.

The world’s longest hot dog created was 197 ft, which rested within a 198 ft bun. The hot dog was prepared by

Pictured in August 2006, the world’s longest hot dog stretched 60 meters (197 ft).

Shizuoka Meat Producers for the All-Japan Bread Association, which baked the bun and coordinated the event, including official measurement for the world record. The hot dog and bun were the center of a media event in celebration of the Association’s 50th anniversary on August 4, 2006, at the Akasaka Prince Hotel, Tokyo, Japan.
An Austrian “hot dog” can use a hollowed-out baguette as the bread
In most of the world, a “hot dog” is recognized as a sausage in a bun, but the type varies considerably. The name is often applied to something that would not be described as a hot dog in North America. For example, in New Zealand a “hot dog” is a battered sausage, often on a stick, which is known as a corn dog in North America; an “American hot dog” is the version in a bun.
A hot dog prepared by head chef Joe Calderone in Manhattan sold for $69 during the National Hot Dog Day in 2010, making it the most expensive hot dog sold at the time. The hot dog was topped with truffle oil, duck foie gras, and truffle butter.

On May 31, 2012, Guinness World Records certified the world record for most expensive hot dog at $145.49. The “California Capitol City Dawg”, served at Capitol Dawg in Sacramento, California, features a grilled 18 in all-beef in natural casing frank from Chicago, served on a fresh baked herb and oil focaccia roll, spread with white truffle butter, then grilled. The record breaking hot dog is topped with a whole grain mustard from France, garlic & herb mayonnaise, sauteed chopped shallots, organic mixed baby greens, maple syrup marinated/fruitwood smoked uncured bacon from New Hampshire, chopped tomato, expensive moose cheese from Sweden, sweetened dried cranberries, basil olive oil/pear-cranberry-coconut balsamic vinaigrette, and ground peppercorn. Proceeds from the sale of each 3 lb super dog are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children.

One of America’s Favorites – Breakfast Sandwich

March 28, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | 1 Comment
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A breakfast sandwich on sourdough bread

A breakfast sandwich is any sandwich filled with foods associated with the breakfast meal. Breakfast sandwiches are served at fast food restaurants (for example, the Burger King breakfast sandwiches) and delicatessens or bought as fast, ready to heat and eat sandwiches from a store. Breakfast sandwiches are commonly made at home. Different types of breakfast sandwich include the bacon sandwich, the egg sandwich, and the sausage sandwich; or various combinations thereof, like the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. The breakfast sandwich is related to the breakfast roll.

Breakfast sandwiches are typically made using breakfast meats (generally cured meats such as sausages, patty sausages, bacon, country ham, scrapple, Spam, and pork roll), breads, eggs and cheese. These sandwiches were typically regional specialties until fast food restaurants began serving breakfast. Because the common types of bread, such as biscuits, bagels, and English muffin, were similar in size to fast food hamburger buns, they made an obvious choice for fast food restaurants. Unlike other breakfast items, they were perfect for the innovation of the drive-through. These sandwiches have also become a staple of many convenience stores.

A breakfast sandwich featuring eggs, bacon jam, and microgreens on a buttermilk biscuit

Although the ingredients for the breakfast sandwich have been common elements of breakfast meals in the English-speaking world for centuries, it was not until the 19th century in the United States that people began regularly eating eggs, cheese, and meat in a sandwich. What would later be known as “breakfast sandwiches” became increasingly popular after the American Civil War, and were a favorite food of pioneers during American westward expansion. The first known published recipe for a “breakfast sandwich” was in an 1897 American cookbook.

Types of bread used
There are several types of bread used to make breakfast sandwiches:

* Hard roll: The traditional breakfast sandwich of the northeast’s tri-state region of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. It is believed to be one of the earliest forms of the breakfast sandwich in the United States. It consists of a hard roll, eggs, cheese and sausage, bacon or ham. In New Jersey, a common breakfast sandwich is the Jersey breakfast which consists of pork roll, egg, and cheese on a hard Kaiser roll.
* Biscuit: Consists of a large, or cat-head biscuit, sliced, on which meat, cheese, or eggs are served. Popular biscuits include: Sausage biscuit, bacon, tomato, and country ham. Fast food restaurants have put smaller versions of fried chicken fillets on biscuits to create chicken biscuits. Scrambled eggs and/or American cheese are often added.
* Bagel sandwiches: Due to its connection with German and Jewish ethnic groups, Bagels often have foods popular in these communities. Deli meats, Canadian bacon, lox or other smoked fish, and cream cheese are popular on bagel sandwiches.
* English muffin: Generally contains egg and cheese with either breakfast sausage or ham. Often served in US fast food outlets such as McDonald’s and Starbucks.

A New-York-style bacon and egg sandwich on a roll

* Toast: Toasted bread is one of the oldest forms of breakfast sandwich in America, and the closest to the original sandwich in form. While any number of items might be served on toast, eggs and bacon are the ones most associated with breakfast.

* Specialty breads: Mostly served by restaurant chains,[citation needed] there are other breakfast sandwiches that do not use one of the common breakfast breads used in the United States. Burger King uses a croissant to make a breakfast sandwich called the Croissan’wich, or croissant sandwich, depending on the market. McDonald’s offers its traditional biscuit fillings on a sandwich made from maple flavored pancakes called a McGriddles. Dunkin’ Donuts has a waffle sandwich that is similar to the McGriddles. These can be found at American fast food franchises worldwide. Kangaroo Brands makes a variety of breakfast sandwiches made with pita bread.

One of America’s Favorites – Banana Bread

March 21, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Pale banana bread cake made with unripe bananas and molasses

Banana bread is a type of bread made from mashed bananas. It is often a moist, sweet, cake-like quick bread; however there are some banana bread recipes that are traditional-style raised breads.

Banana bread recipes began being featured in well-known cookbooks across North America as baking soda and baking powder were being mass produced and becoming available in grocery stores in the 1930s. It appeared in Pillsbury’s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook, and later gained more acceptance with the release of the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book in 1950.

National Banana Bread Day is February 23. Bananas appeared in the US in the 1870s and it took a while for them to appear as ingredient items for desserts. The modern banana bread recipe began being published in cookbooks around the 1930s and its popularity was greatly helped by the introduction of baking powder on the market. Some food historians believe banana bread was a byproduct of the Great Depression as resourceful housewives did not wish to throw away overripe bananas (as they were still a costly item to purchase), others believe the modern banana bread was developed in corporate kitchens to promote flour and baking soda products. It could also be a combination of both theories, insofar as being developed in a corporate kitchen to promote flour and baking soda products, as well as marketed as a method to make use of overripe bananas.

 

Variations

Blueberry banana bread

* Banana raisin bread
* Banana nut bread (often featuring chopped nuts, such as walnuts, pecans or almonds)
* Chocolate chip banana bread (featuring chocolate chips)
* Banana bread muffins
* Banana Crumble Bread
* Vegan banana bread (made without eggs or dairy products)
* Blueberry banana bread (or other fruits such as raspberry or orange to add additional flavors)

In the Philippines, banana bread is usually called “banana cake.” It was introduced during the American colonial period of the Philippines.

One of America’s Favorites – Pork Jowl

February 28, 2022 at 6:02 AM | Posted in One of America's Favorites | Leave a comment
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Sliced jowl bacon

Pork jowl is a cut of pork from a pig’s cheek. Different food traditions have used it as a fresh cut or as a cured pork product (with smoke and/or curing salt). As a cured and smoked meat in America it is called jowl bacon or, especially in the Southern United States, hog jowl. In the US, hog jowl is a staple of soul food, and there is a longer culinary tradition outside the United States: the cured non-smoked Italian variant is called guanciale.

Jowl bacon can be fried and eaten as a main course, similar to streaky bacon, such as in a traditional full English breakfast. Often, it is used as a seasoning for beans, black-eyed peas or cooked with leafy green vegetables such as collard greens or turnip greens in a traditional Southeastern meal.

Fried pork jowl

Jowl meat may also be chopped and used as a garnish, similar to bacon bits, or served in sandwich form. Pork jowl can be used as a binding ingredient in pork liver sausages such as liverwurst and braunschweiger.

A Southern US tradition of eating black-eyed peas and greens with either pork jowls or fatback on New Year’s Day to ensure prosperity throughout the new year goes back hundreds of years. During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), the peas were thought to represent wealth to the Southerners, while the Northern army considered the food to be fit as livestock feed only. Pigs (and by extension, pork products) were symbolic of “wealth and gluttony” and consuming jowls or fatback on New Year’s Day guaranteed a good new year.

Storage – Because pork jowl can be cured, like many other cuts of pork, it has been a traditional wintertime food as it is able to be stored for long periods of time without refrigeration.

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