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Health Packaged Food Science What's New

Hormel’s Newest Meat Products Are Designed For Those With Swallowing Disorders

For those with a form of dysphagia, or swallowing disorder, it can be very difficult to eat various forms of foods, especially meat. Hormel’s Health Labs has come up with a solution specifically for meat, developing a line of ready-to-go meats that are designed for those with forms of dysphagia.

Photo courtesy of Hormel Health Labs

To prepare meat for those with dysphagia, it has to be ground to a certain size and consistency for safety and comfort reasons. The meat products that Hormel Health Labs just developed were made in accordance with the International Dysphagia Diet Standardisation Initiative (IDDSI). These meat products are suitable for IDDSI level 5 (“Minced and Moist,” about 4mm in size, the standard size of chewed food particles) and level 6 (“Soft and Bite-Sized,” about 15 mm in size, small enough to prevent asphyxiation should food accidentally get in someone’s airway).

Hormel’s products fit within these standards, but are also meant to be a quick and easy way to prepare tasty meals for those with swallowing disorders. Considering that most meals for those with dysphagia tend to be poor in “quality of life” standards, these could signify a marked improvement in enjoying food when it comes to meals.

You can purchase these in turkey, chicken, pork, and beef varieties. They are available in resealable packaging, and can be portioned out to cook in the microwave or on a stovetop. Buying these requires getting in contact with a sales rep for Hormel Health Labs, which can be done at the above link.

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News

The U.S. Could Soon Be Seeing A Meat Shortage, Here’s What To Expect

You might very well see fewer meat options the next time you’re at the grocery store, as America may soon be facing a meat shortage in the not-too-distant future while the COVID-19 pandemic continues across the globe. This also means you might experience elevated meat costs, or limited selections while dining out. Yes, it sucks, but it’s reality right now.

Bloomberg reports that with slaughterhouses across the country closing down over workers falling ill to COVID-19, meat may be scarce in grocery stores in the months to come.

John Tyson, chairman of Tyson Foods, Inc, said in a statement that even if plants and facilities were to shut down for only a few months, that would equate to the loss of millions of pounds of meat. Animals such as chicken, pigs, and cattle will face depopulation resulting from the closure of processing facilities.

“The food supply chain is breaking,” Tyson says.

This shortage has already been affecting the fast food industry as KTLA reported 18 percent of Wendy’s stores across the United States have already stopped serving hamburgers due to meat closures. Due to this, the chain has shifted to highlighting their chicken sandwiches.

Folks, even with meat becoming scarce for a while, be sure to practice safe habits when shopping and never buy more than you need. Otherwise, this pandemic just continues on.

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News What's New

A Birria Festival Is Coming to Los Angeles, Of Course

Birria’s popularity appears to be reaching critical mass as Birriamania, an entire festival presented by L.A. Taco in honor of the stewed meat, will be held at San Gabriel Valley’s Santa Anita Park on March 21st. 

Very few foods had a moment like birria in 2019, as plates stacked with vibrant red, shredded meat-filled tacos lined Instagram explore pages and food websites alike– including ours

The new festival showcases many of the taco spots that became famous in the wake of birria’s explosion onto the scene, such as Teddy’s Red Tacos and Birria Gonzalez. 

There’s far more to birria than the oft-covered Tijuana-style birria de res, though. The line up reflects that, as it features the Zacatecan Birria Nochistlan and The Goat Mafia, a Compton-based joint that uses a more traditional recipe with goat meat. Other, more fusion-based choices, like L.A. Birria’s birria ramen, will be available as well.

In addition to a lot of tender meat and rich consomé, there’s also a prize at stake here: the fabled Birriamania Championship Belt. Each attendee will vote for their favorite birria, and a panel of judges with supreme birria knowledge will be in attendance.

Tickets can be purchased here for $19 until March 5th, when they become $30. Considering a ticket comes with four tacos and a beer, that’s not too bad at all. I’ve definitely spent $30 in much, much worse ways in LA. 

It might be time to skip the overpriced drinks and club cover charges, and spend a nice Saturday eating delicious birria and drinking cold beer. 

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Restaurants

Boston Market Offers Succulent Baby Back Rib Bouquet For Valentine’s Day

Any meatlovers out there struggling to find something succulent and finger-licking this Valentine’s Day for their soulmates? Look no further. Really.

In the spirit of the commercial holiday, Boston Market locations are offering a bouquet of Baby Back Ribs to all the romantics out there for a limited time.

Only available on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, the one dozen tender ribs celebrate the addition of the menu meat option on the restaurant chain’s menu. Cooked to the point where they’ll fall off the bone, the ribs are smothered in Sweet Baby Ray’s famous hickory barbecue sauce.

Those interested, be sure to camp out at your local Boston Market location, because chances are these ribs will fly off the steamers once doors open. You can find the BAE-by Back Rib Bouquet available in all Boston Market restaurants nationwide Feb. 14 for $29.99. Wonder if I can make a special request for a meatloaf bouquet ahead of next year’s holiday?

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Restaurants Video

This ENTIRE Beef Shank Is Dropped Into A Deep Fryer, Katsu Style

There’s something primal and majestic about holding an entire slab of meat on the bone. Whether it be a tomahawk ribeye or a fat Disneyland turkey leg, that feeling calls to our inner carnivore and urges us to surrender to our most basic instincts and tear it apart.

That bone-in aspect has been the reason why steaks, pork chops, and other similar cuts of meat are often served bone-in. Beef shanks also come with the bone, but are typically braised to the point that attempting to hold it results in all of the rich, tender meat sliding off. At Momofuku’s Bar Wayō in Manhattan, however, you can get a whole beef shank served as if it were a massive fried drumstick.

Bar Wayō’s Katsu Beef Shank takes a whole braised hunk of beef, breads it, then drops it in the deep fryer. Then, when it’s ordered, it goes through a second breading and deep fry process before being served with a curry sauce, pickles, and other accoutrements. Turning it into a sandwich seems to be an especially baller move at the bar.

You can find the Katsu Shank on the menu most nights, but it’s available in hyper-limited quantities and on a first come, first-serve basis.

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Science Sustainability Technology

Meat Was Just Produced In Outer Space For The First Time In History

With concerns growing that humans may not be able to produce enough food to sustain the entire population, out-of-the-box solutions have continually developed. The latest of those innovations has also broken significant ground in history, as meat tech company Aleph Farms has become the first to ever successfully produce meat in outer space.

Working in the Russian wing of the International Space Station, Aleph was able to grow one of their cell-based steaks without a massive strain of natural resources. It’s a major step in the scientific progress of being able to produce meat, no matter the environmental conditions.

Aleph’s technology works by taking cells typically found in a natural cut of steak (ie. fat, meat, support cells, and blood) and using them to grow meat under controlled conditions. They claim to be able to make a piece of meat in three weeks as a result of this process, although it is still relatively costly, at thousands of dollars per pound.

Photo: Aleph Farms

By producing this steak in space, Aleph proves that even if climate change and other factors prevent beef from being raised sustainably in the next few decades, science and technology can eventually still ensure that folks can have their meat, no matter how harsh the conditions are.

They’re still years out from the technology being scaleable or affordable, however, so we’ll have to wait a while before we can taste this extraterrestrial experiment for ourselves.

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#foodbeast Cravings Culture Features FOODBEAST

What I Learned: Santa Maria-Style Barbecue

santa-maria-bbq

Photo: Peter Pham

I have always been fascinated with barbecue culture. Waking up at the first light of dawn to tend to the fires, choosing from an assortment of wood to burn to enhance the flavor, and the plump and tender reward that comes from hours of manning the smoker.

There have been so many different styles of barbecue, each specific to a region, that always leaves me salivating for details. Every time I visit a new barbecue joint, I find my inquisitiveness for the details just as powerful as my hunger for the ‘cue.

Here I am, just a dude who loves barbecue ready to seek out pitmasters from all over to see what’s the story and techniques behind these different types of barbecue styles.

First up on my barbecue tour of knowledge is Santa Maria-style.

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This Central California-based type of barbecue is the lifeblood of pitmaster Jason Espiritu’s Stoked! concept. Found at Smorgasburg Los Angeles, Espiritu runs the Stoked booth with fellow pitmaster Mario Dolete where the team serve hungry barbecue fans Santa Maria staples like tri-tip, garlic bread, and pinquito beans.

I spoke to Espiritu, eager to learn more about his craft and where his barbecue comes from.


So what’s Santa Maria Barbecue?

santa-maria-bbq

Photo: Peter Pham

According to the pitmaster, the Santa Maria style barbecue tradition began in the 1800s when California was still a part of Mexico. A region ripe with cattle, Mexican ranchers known as “vaqueros” were the gatekeepers to the supply of beef.

The vaqueros would throw huge barbecues for the community a few times each year, bringing everyone together for a feast. I’d like to picture it as a meat-filled House Party prequel, complete with an 1800s Kid ‘n Play.

A few cows would be chosen to be butchered and all the cuts would be cooked over a large pit dug into the ground. The meats would then be seasoned with a simple rub and whole logs of red oak thrown into the fire, letting the wood burn beneath the meat for hours.

Espiritu recalls:

“During the summers every weekend there would be 10-20 barbecue pits set up all up and down our main street in Santa Maria called Broadway. The smoke would literally fill the air making it where we had to drive a little slower. This almost served as a surefire way to bring everyone together.”

Style of Cooking

In Santa Maria, meat is smoked directly over fire in an open pit grill. Traditional cuts of beef such as tri-tip, top sirloin, and ribeye are most commonly used.

A cooking grate is used to lower or raise the meat in order to control the temperature over the course of the smoking process via a crank and pulley system.

Red oak wood, a local wood to the Central Valley of California, is deemed the King of Oak Wood. The wood burns strong, but the smoke doesn’t overpower the taste and texture of the beef.

A typical Santa Maria dry rub consists of salt, pepper, and garlic salt. The idea is to focus more on bringing out the natural beefy flavor of the barbecue.

On The Menu

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Tri-tip

-Tri-tip is typically red oak-smoked and simply dry rubbed.

-It is cut both thin or thick against the grain and served medium rare.

Garlic French Bread

-Garlic butter on French bread toasted over a wood-fired pit.

Pinquito Beans

-A bean local to Santa Maria that’s smaller than the pinto.

-Originated in Mexico, the crop was brought to California where it flourished.

Salsa

-Santa Maria-style barbecue doesn’t use barbecue sauce. Instead, the meat is served with salsa.

Local Central Valley Wine

-Because the Central Valley of California is a well-known wine region, barbecue is sometimes served with wine.

-The robust profile of the wine pairs nicely with the barbecue.


Jason concludes his crash course into the richness of Santa Maria barbecue by reiterating that Santa Maria-style isn’t complete unless it’s shared with others. Seriously, no one wants to eat barbecue alone.

Anyone curious to try the authentic Santa Maria tri-tip smoked with red oak and served with garlic bread may want to check out Stoked! at Smorgasburg LA every Sunday. Currently, they are working to open a brick-and-mortar location in Los Angeles.

Categories
Features Feel Good

How To Treat Your Dad To A Meaty Father’s Day

There are those of you who like to plan your Father’s Day ahead of time, and others who tend to wait until the last minute to figure something out. There’s no wrong away to go about it, just as long as whatever you do comes from the heart.

For example, my dad’s a guy with simple tastes. He LOVES meat. Rather than picking up a new shirt or wristwatch this year for Father’s Day, I began thinking up a few different experiences I could share with my father.

Here are some easy to execute activities I came up for my dad. Hopefully they inspire you to come up with some that fits yours!


Grab That ‘Cue

My dad loves barbecue. Give him a well-smoked brisket, sweet fall-off-the-bone ribs, some cheddar jalapeño sausages, and he’ll be a happy man. If your pops is the same, then find a good BBQ joint open on Father’s Day and treat him to a little of everything.

We’re talking brisket, pulled pork, smoked chicken, wings, sausages, and whatever sides your poppa’s heart desires.

Now if it’s anything like the Hog Heaven, that massive off-the-wall BBQ Birthday Cake, just make sure you bring a few extra family members to help you pick it apart. That thing’s massive.

Steak Recipe Free-For-All

Some of my best memories with my dad are simply the two of us cooking together, grilling meat, and frying fish.

Not too long ago, the Foodbeast editorial team were sent different cuts from this company called  Porter Road. Each person was tasked with creating a dish from a specific cut of meat: tri-tip, petite sirloin, shoulder tender, and flap.

As someone who looks for father figures wherever I go, it was interesting to see how my coworkers functioned in a kitchen setting and the dynamic between everyone when in full cooking mode.

Perhaps just running to the nearest Costco and picking up a few random cuts of meat, blasting some Carlos Santana on the stereo and just getting creative in the kitchen is something dad would enjoy.

Did Someone Say Hot Chicken?

Popular DTLA-based Howlin’ Ray’s is lauded for their Nashville Hot fried chicken. What they’re also known for is that ridiculously long line that rounds the block. If your dad is someone who appreciates an immaculate piece of fried chicken, I recommend taking him here.

A post shared by HOWLIN’ RAY’S (@howlinrays) on

Sure, you’re guaranteed a multi-hour wait for your meal but that simply gives you plenty of time to catch up with him while you inch closer to the storefront.

Now, if you’re not based near Los Angeles, the same theory applies for any dope spot whose lines rival a sneaker drop. Just pick a restaurant, put on some comfy shoes, and get yourselves ready for some genuine conversation while you wait.

Let’s Hit The Grill

If your dad is someone who enjoys manning the grill, set everything up for him this weekend.

Put together a few quick and easy recipes and have everything prepped and marinated ahead of time. Clean out the grill, smoker or stove and have everything preheated and ready to go.

Once your dad is up and about this Sunday, all you have to do is hand him a beer, a pair of tongs, and pull up a chair with him.

All he’ll have to do is watch the flames, tend to the meat, and share an ice-cold brew with his kid.

Hope everyone has a safe and fun Father’s Day Sunday!