Why Fabricate Your Own Proteins?
Home cooking often breaks down to cooking what is the easiest, and or most convenient. I believe this to be true due to the frantic nature of the lives of many people in America and around the world. With little time to cook, well, the convenience is uncanny, with little work to do why not just buy the meats you need precut to the pieces you want. You can get just about anything post fabricated and packaged in a ready to go container. But why can’t we do our cooking just a little better at home? I don’t see any major reason as to why most people can’t or should not. Going that extra mile in cooking is that first step into understanding how to add depth to the flavors you are cooking with.
I personally always fabricate my proteins. Unless I’m preparing a lot of food for a large family gathering or party. But like I said, I prefer to buy whole cuts. Whether they be chickens, tenderloins, or something greater. The main reason for me is that often the price per lb on a whole cut of mean often beats out the price per pound on prefabricated meats. Not only that, but you will end up with more product that can be cooked in other ways. All of which I will find uses for. This is a big reason commercial kitchens may choose to purchase a whole hog and sell a special using the tenderloin and bellies for one thing. Another dish includes the shanks, and so on. Proper utilization means dollars in the eyes of chefs. But It also means something greater, respect for what you are cooking. Leaving little to no waste of the life we have taken.
To learn to properly cook these cuts, you can follow many of my recipes within the recipes page. Search for protein-specific food items, or the type of cut should return you with some delicious recipes you can make at home!.
Another aspect of food that I get when I perform my own meat fabrications is a layer of respect for the food. I hope you too get this when you take on this guide. We as Humans are often too keen towards using comfortable and easier options in life. When we do this with our food we just don’t get as good of a product as possible. In my opinion, that’s not fair to the life we are taking just to consume it. I take my chickens and do my best for each and everyone I’ve cut. Same goes for pork, beef, lamb, fish, etc. No matter if I’m at work or at home. I respect the animal for the life it was, and for the people it will feed. I hope that by using this guide you too are able to gain this respect for the food you make!
How To Use This Guide
To learn to fabricate your own meats, via this guide or any one of our other guides here, you need to find a starting point. Read over these guides in their entirety beforehand. Get your station set up and walk through each step again. Then, as you do the work follow carefully along with the photos. Doing all of this should help to ensure you do your best job possible!
The tools you need: Chefs Knife, Cutting board, Small bowl for scraps
Before you begin to set up, I first suggest that you don’t be scared. Be comfortable with your knife, your work station, the people in your surroundings, and understand what you are about to do. Afterall it is only a piece of meat. If you mess it up, well it’s not the end of the world. That being said, make sure to respect the meat. You are taking this extra step in preparing your foods. Don’t butcher the thing to pieces, instead make small educated cuts that when put together, form a beautiful meal for yourself and the family and friends you’re sharing it with.
To begin the pork rib fabrication process, gather your materials and have them at your ready. As you may be able to tell, today I am working with St. Louis style ribs. If you happen to be working with another style this guide should still follow fairly closely and can help you in the cleaning and meat prep for your recipes.
I suggest having a tray of ice handy to keep things cool and atop of it another empty tray for holding your ribs.
My goal when cleaning up pork is to generally remove the white layer of fat, skin, and gristle so that you’re left with a great end product. However, it is also very important to remove the tough layer of silverskin covering the bottom side of the bones. If this is not done properly, you will have a chewy piece of meat with an off texture in just about every bite.
The second step begins with you trimming a bit of the excess fat off we talked about. Fat is good, I’m all for it in my foods as the taste is great. But only some fat, more if your goal is to eat healthier.
One thing that severely can end my happy meat-eating mood is chewing on the large chunks of dis-tasteful fat globs. So go ahead and remove anything too atrocious for your taste.
Now for the important parts here. Removing that underlying silverskin on the ribs. As I have previously stated, this is important to do so. Providing a better bite and a better rib after cooking. This is a process you should take when using any cooking method on your ribs!
Begin the third step by finding the middle rib in your slab. Using your knife or a butter knife, slide it alongside the bone and under the skin and lift. This should create an open space for us to use as a grip.
With our little flap of skin now created, you should be able to firmly grasp onto the skin and pull upwords agains the bones. Generally this is a smooth removal of the entire portion of skin.
If you are lucky, this process can be done in one action. However I was not so lucky, and the skin tore along one of the outer bones. Therefore I continue to repeat this process until the skin has been removed from the entire underside.
Step four I often will consider as optional. From here on out i’m working for a bit of presentation. Whats wrong with sexy food? My aim here is to trim up the tips of the ribs and remove a bit of the meat and fat. This helps to show the bone off after it has cooked. Want to see my sous vide cooked St. Louis ribs? Check it out here.
To start the trimming process, take your knife and gently run it across the outer edge about 3/4 of an inch from the bone. Creating a line to follow for later trimming. This line is our guide.
With the line cut all the way to the bone now, you can begin working between each rib bone. Removing that outer edge of meat and fat between each part. Reference the below image for this step.
From here, each bone may have some gristle and stray pieces of meat, so using the tip of you knife you can scrape this meat away so that the outer edge of the meat shows off a beautiful bone that is fairly clean of any meat fibers.
With the fibers cleared away, your ribs should look something close to these images:
Now this is an optional step, but it will definitely take you to a new level of presentation. I will always 100% suggest taking this short step for a better meal!
The last step when you are fabricating your ribs will be to portion them out. This is not always a requirement. But for me, a full slab would not fit into my vacuum bags at home. To get around this, I simply portioned the slab of ribs to 3 pieces, 4 bones each. These would comfortably fit into my vacuum bags to be cooked at a later date.
If you liked this guide please share it with your friends! I love making these helpful posts and even more, I love the feedback I get from you all! Please leave a comment below if you have any comments or questions! Thanks and happy cooking!