Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Veal Loin and Rib. The Breakdowns.

Let me start by apologizing for not keeping this blog going over the last year and a half. I've been very busy, and less than inspired. Since my last post, I competed in Whole Foods Market's Best Butcher Competition, where I placed second, nationally. The experience was amazing, and the outcome was quite humbling. I've refocused on the finer details and have continued to hone my skills. The next time they have a competition, I definitely plan on entering.. this time, I'll be completely ready. 

Aside from Whole Foods, earlier this year I had the opportunity to work at Salt and Time Butchershop and Salumeria here in Austin. There are some amazing things happening at that shop on a daily basis, beginning with the overall quality of the meat they're bringing in. All the butchering is done while the sides and quarters are still hanging on the rail, and learning that aspect of the trade blew my mind. Easy, yet difficult. 

I have plenty of pictures from these experiences and hopefully I'll have the gumption to post something more meaningful about them. Until then.. here we go with the Veal:

Frontal view of a Split Veal Loin. On the left is the Tenderloin, on the right is the Striploin. Both would yield fantastic cuts by themselves, but with veal, it's best to keep them together. 

Another view of the Loin.

First off, start peeling the fascia away from the Loin Tail / Flap. 

This isn't very difficult, but if you're having a hard time grasping the fascia, use a towel for extra grip. 

Now that the Sirloin Flap is exposed, start clumping the Suet together for separation. 

To remove the suet, pull away from the ribs, towards the porterhouse-end - this should be pretty easy. If you need to snip some of the tissue to ease the motion, use the tip of a boning knife. 

Veal Sirloin Flap. 

Now for the T-bone Chops. Feel around for the empty space between the vertebrae, they will be equally spaced out. 

I'll usually feel out the first two to give myself an idea of the space between them, then I'll cut through the meat, all the way down on both sides. 

The reason I knife between the bones instead of taking the whole piece to the saw is simple: It takes more skill and the meat doesn't get town up on the saw. Also, this will inevitably extend the shelf-life. 

After you've made your cuts, take the primal to the saw and split between each chop. 

To help with presentation, I like to lay a sprig of Rosemary on the silverside of each chop, then tie.
Easy enough. Now for the Rib!

This is what's referred to as a Hotel Rack. There are 6 ribs for a rack of Veal. Each animal is treated a little different: For a rack of Lamb, there will be 8 ribs, For beef - 7, Pork - 13. These are the Center Cuts of each respective Loins. 

To start the Frenching (which the French call American-style), score the meat from eye-to-eye, all the way down to the bone. 

Score the inside as well. 

Next, score down the length of each bone. The goal here is to cleanly remove all the tissue on the bone, leaving it as clean as possible. 

Once you've scored each bone, start pushing the tissue away from the bone, beginning from the loin, down the bone. 

After you've done this for each bone, put down your knife and press the meat off the bone with your fingers. I like to get the first inch or so of each bone bare, then start working the entire piece. 

If you've done the first few steps well, the rest should be pretty easy. 

Clean as a whistle. Try to make your cuts between the ribs as square as possible. There's a million and one tricks for accomplishing this, learning them requires practice. Note the Veal McRib to the left :)

Now to tie the ribs.

Work your twine under the roast, aligned with the bone. Keep the 'free' end in your right hand, and the end of the twine still attached to the roll in your left. 

Bare with me here, for this is not an easy task to explain.. Each rib has a 'J' shape to it. Most butchers I've worked with will have two knots per bone to keep the meet from flopping over or working it's way out of the knot. You've tied a successful chop if, when you pick it up by the rib, horizontally, the meat does not sag. The know I'm about to try to explain is singular, but works from both sides of the bone. It's beautiful, and functional. Time saving, and simplistic. 

Starting from the hook side of the bone, work the string around the rib until on the way back, the twine crosses the 'J'. 

Now for the hard-to-explain part. keeping the free end of the twine on top, clamp the two ends together and move the free end underneath and around the anchored end. Release the knot, and...

Repeat the process again, but don't let the two knots get too tight, otherwise it won't slide. 

Next, slide the knot firmly into the meat, but not tight enough to cut into the meat. 

Close off the knot and snip the ends. Repeat. 

Repeat this process for each rib.. Marvel at its beauty!

Cut each chop between the ribs to yield six Veal Chops, ready for market.

I'll have to get a video put together for how to tie, because I doubt any beginner will be able to learn from the description I just put together. Sorry!