By guest blogger Katie Walsh
A few weeks ago, my departing editor at WhiskedFoodie.com gave me some last words of advice: “You’ve been neglecting meat! Don’t forget to include some good meaty dishes in your recipe repertoire.”
“Dang, she’s right,” I thought. I used to make a conscious effort to develop meat recipes, which I myself don’t eat much of, but in recent months I’d fallen off. In fact I couldn’t think of the last meat recipe I’d done.
So I started thinking a lot about meat. Why had I been avoiding it? My own eating preferences aside, a bit of introspection revealed I was actually kind of scared of cooking meat. So many different cuts and grades, dry heat and moist heat and internal temperatures…I was intimidated. As I thought back on my cooking experience, I realized I’d always shyed away from meat, delegating it to the men in my life or sticking to “safe” stuff like ground turkey and boneless skinless chicken breasts.
It was time to light up the grill and change all that. And who better to guide me down the meaty path than the Texas BBQ and Tex-Mex king, my very own pops? He was delightedly surprised to hear about my newfound interest in carne and gladly agreed to be my meat mentor. And so began a very protein-rich week of learning, tasting, and bonding over bones, burgers, and more.
The first thing we did when I got to Houston (after we ate, of course) was sit down with the Great Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells. It was an excellent introduction to the subject, with lots of basic information about the kinds of meats and the ways to cook them, and included a lot of info on sustainability, how we raise our meat, and labels like “free range” and “pasture raised,” which I especially appreciated and enjoyed. I learned why a steak has to be thick to come out medium rare and that slow-cooking techniques like barbecueing or braising are all about turning collagen into gelatin. Flipping through the pages, we got a lot of inspiration.
Over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing stories and recipes from our week full of meat adventures.
Somewhat appropriately, though, I’m putting off the meaty stuff (juuust a little longer!) in favor of a kicking off with a timely, seasonal tale. Check back on Monday to see what we did with a big crop of daikon radish we pulled up from the garden. On the Texas gardening calendar, daikon is on its way out and tomatoes are on the way in. So we want to share a great recipe for puttin’ up the Asian radishes while some of y’all might be pondering on what to do with yours. And besides, daikon goes great with meat!