Episode 28 – Bin Food

KevinBeef, Braising w/ Fire, Butchering Beef, Cooking w/ Fire, Dry Stacked Oven, From Local Farms15 Comments

This is a follow up to Episode 27, the reaction to which I must pause to thank you all for. I was more than slightly apprehensive in the days just prior to shooting it, fearful that if it didn’t go well, it could reflect badly on the subjects of the story. Turns out the result has been an outpouring of praise, appreciation, and value for the transparency, respect, and approach. I’m very grateful for you all and for having a brilliant individual to interview.

This is far…lighter, although still a serious topic near and dear to me: food waste. I left that day with 60-70 lbs of off-cuts from only 1 of the 5 cows killed, and it wasn’t even all the off-cuts. 100 lbs of edible ‘waste’ from one cow might be a good rough estimate. I’ll repeat myself to death that it’s the consumer demand that drives this waste. I’ll lump myself in there. I didn’t grow up eating heart, tripe, kidneys, caul fat, oxtail, etc – so I’m still learning about all this stuff too. But I now render all my lard from our annual pig, and easily use it all up. And I thoroughly enjoy roasted pig head which I would never have considered a few years ago. Pig skin crackling makes a regular appearance in my kitchen. There’s still a lot of an animal that I could learn to use better. So in this one, you get to see me make a dish with a bin cut that quite frankly should not be.

How did it taste? The flavour was intense and outstanding, and the mouthfeel unparalleled. For stews, I’m not sure there’s a better cut of beef. If the local restaurants don’t scoop this reject cut, I might, it’s that good. And for those that ‘don’t have the time’, please note how long it took to prepare.

15 Comments on “Episode 28 – Bin Food”

  1. Jeff

    I hope you weren’t outside cooking during the last few days when it’s been minus a zillion……. That must have been Sunday as it still looks pleasant and tolerable. Looks like a fantastic stew. I was also really impressed with the nature and content of all the comments on the kill floor episode. You are doing good work and opening a lot of eyes. Kudos to you

  2. Deb Krause

    When you were talking about beef stew and an off cut I was thinking cheeks or tongue… to me oxtail isn’t an off cut so it wasn’t the first to come to mind. but it sure does make a wonderful stew!
    Chefs are starting to put more of it on the menu, as an off cut i think it’ll find a hold in mainstream cooking sooner than others.
    Great video (and dinner) once again :)

  3. Judy Z

    The stew looked great. i was fascinated with the tool that you used to take the lid of your hot pot. Is it something you created for that specific purpose or was it a nail puller? Maybe I’ll go back and take another look to see if I can answer my own question.

  4. Judy Z

    Nope, not a nail puller that I recognize although that might work for the task if you don’t have that handy tool.

  5. Kevin

    Jeff – nope, not outside cooking in the -32, but was still outside shooting next week’s episode. Can’t wait to ‘air’ it. Glad others are appreciating the thoughtful comments as well.
    Deb – I know. So many of episodes of bin cuts in my future. I was going to do more with this one – try to use a bunch of items, but the weather and children wouldn’t cooperate – then decided having way more opportunity around this topic left undone is fine. I look forward to doing more.
    Judy – that tool is specific to the task. It came with an old-school cast-iron dutch oven I picked up, which I’m sure will make an appearance on video soon enough. The Creuset in the video is a different kind of old school – I think my folks got that pieces as a wedding gift. Sustainable cookware. ;)

  6. Sherri

    My mouth actually watered when you took the lid of the pot! I adore simple food made with homegrown, quality ingredients. No complicated recipes, just pure, good food from the cellar, larder and farm, a little seasoning, and a little heat… magic on a plate!

    LOL about the Le Creuset… it will still be going strong when your kids start cooking with it :) Love the stuff…

  7. Jennifer

    You are truly inspiring! We slaughtered all the animals we raised when we were farming, it is a tough thing to do but we felt strongly that these animals deserved a humane ending in a safe place by the same hands that raised them. I can’t say we used everything, but we tried.

  8. Mary

    Hi Kevin Brilliant.
    It’s so irritating to walk into a butcher shop (so few we have in Edmo) and not be able to get anything but prime cuts — the most unusual anyone goes is flank! Give me a break. You can get beef cheeks on several menus around town but not at a retail counter.
    Did you happen to read the article in the J/A2011 TOMATO about Argentine asado? Talk about using non-prime cuts.They cook with all the bits that are rejected here. Had amazing beef heart at CHARpop in Calgary last Sunday night. Tastes like steak, really.
    I think customers want this stuff— but the modern commodity beef industry says it’s not ‘efficient ‘ to sell here, and I’ve been told can make way more money selling it offshore where these cuts are better valued. My answer is don’t buy commodity but we need baby steps too.
    So, people: Next time you are buying meat: ask for ox tail, ask for heart, ask for short ribs, please!

    I have a half pig in my freezer, from Nature’s Green Acres this year. Couldn’t get the ears or face, the butcher kept those ‘for dog treats’, I think he said. As much as it is a bit unnerving to have a pig foot fall out of the freezer when I open the door; I tell myself if I eat meat, I have to be ready to eat all the bits, and I know they will taste great.
    best, Mary

  9. Dulcie

    Oh, love oxtail soup!! Local Malaysian restaurant used to have it on the menu, but doesn’t seem to anymore (BSE fear?) We scooped up a feeble package of oxtail at Superstore recently. Congrats on your bounty!

  10. Sharon in Surrey

    I love ox tail soup & I can still find ox tail in ‘ethnic’ shops – my local Chinese market has chicken feet too! I also love steak & kidney stew – the older generation did it up in pastry but I’m too lazy & not a pastry lover anyway. But, no one sells the kidneys any more . . . . not even my Chinese market. I think the cholesterol hype – no shellfish, no organ meats, no butter, no whole milk, no eggs – killed off the offal sales. Now that we can ‘safely’ eat eggs & shellfish again, maybe organ meats will return. Nothing like a nice tongue sandwich with a little grainy mustard & broccoli sprouts on whole grain bread . . .

  11. Ruth

    When trying to find organs for comsumption try calling your local abatoir (aka kill shop). Most butchers don’t carry organs or off cuts but the abatior has lots of them. In Winnipeg I go out to Carmen (about 45 min away) to get them. Come in a huge bag of mixed organs for a very small price. Doesn’t contain lungs, tripe or brain (by law). But the heart, kidney and liver taste great! My pup loves the rest of the stuff in the bag.

  12. becky3086

    So how did it taste?
    It is kind of sad because I always thought that there really was no waste. I always thought they used it for dog food or something.
    We are fairly lucky in that we can buy almost all parts of pig and beef here. Wal-mart of all places sells a lot of the beef “off” parts and IGA sells all sorts of pig parts as well as chicken feet. We buy pigs ears to cook up for our dog all the time but we recently have tried smoked hog jowls and are quite hooked on it. Cheaper than bacon but tastes a lot like it. Pork neck is very popular here and I bought it once but need to learn a better way to cook it.
    Anyway, very good post and I will be looking forward to seeing more. Thanks.

  13. ron

    The author of this site claims that the consumer drives the market on these types of animal products. I strongly disagree; I see oxtail, kidney, liver, heart, and tripe in my grocery stores and I NEVER buy it anymore because it costs just as much or MORE than regular beef. If it was ever a reasonable price, consumers would buy it all. But instead it gets thrown out when it expires. This is if it ever makes it to market. Many animal livers and kidneys are so obviously diseased from poor care or the wrong feed, that they look too terrible to take to market. Even the beef kidney that visually “check out” these days are often riddled with hundreds of kidney stones. I bought beef kidney 4 times in one year and all four times, I crunched down on a small kidney stone in the first bite…. Just utterly disgusting! This proves that consumers in fact DO NOT drive the market, otherwise the insanely high prices of these less popular meats would go down. In my opinion, you don’t want this meat anyways, unless its from a free range grass-fed animal.

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