Foodie News

Don's Rants, Reviews and Tips from the Masters


"Dog Days 2015"

Aug 20 - Aug 22, 2015

Dog Days are Coming

You may have heard of the dog days of summer, but do you know what it means or where it came from?

 Well gather round chillens for some of Papa Don’s useless information.

The Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans all noticed that the dominant or brightest star in the predawn sky beginning in late July was Sirius, the Dog Star. This celestial event starts in late July and lasts about 20 days. It became known as the dog days of August.

Now, it did not take highly trained star watchers to notice that those 3 weeks are the hottest time of the summer. So the dog days came to be associated with the heat of summer. The wealthy ancients would move to seaside or mountain top villas to seek a milder climate. The dog days were also believed to be a time of evil deeds and supernatural malevolence.

So now you know.

But our 'Dawg Daze' celebration is about good things and fun.

So, we will have items for dogs on sale like bones, cookies sausage etc. and we will have free BBQ’d "smoked street dogs" on a bun on Sat Aug. 22nd from 11:00 A.M until 2:00 P.M.

In addition there is a free draw for Black Angus steaks and there will be door prizes for puppies.

"The Dog Days of Summer"

Here are All the Details!

August 20-22nd will be special days with special pricing on items for dogs and some sampling of our “Street Dogs” on a bun for dog owners on Saturday

Dawg Daze Specials for Dogs:

Limit 2 of each per family
Specials limited to inventory on hand

  • Beef and Bison bones 2 lb bag--$2.00 –Ok for human beef stock
  • Beef liver: Pkg frozen --$2.00  -- OK for cats & humans
  • Meat patties for puppies: pkg of 4 for $2.00
  • Sausage treats for puppies pkg $2.00 -- a.k.a. crack for puppies
  • Dog biscuit treats reg. $3.95, special $2.00/ ½ lb.
  • Door prizes to owners on location -- a spot prize every 15 minutes
        11:00 A. M. to 2:00 P.M. Sat 20th: dog toys, blankets, food etc



Dog Daze for Humans

Free Draw for Steak

Since some folks say they would need to win a lottery to purchase steak, we have made it easier. We are having a free draw for well-aged Black Angus steaks as part of Dog Days

  • 1st prize: -- 5 lb top sirloin steak—will be ordered and cut for you
  • 2nd prize: -- 2 strip loin steaks
  • 3rd prize: -- Steak & eggs—1 strip loin & 1 dozen eggs


On Sat 20th from 11:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M. we will be BBQing our smoked sausages and treating you to a sausage on bun.

It is going to be a fun day -- join us!

Jan 09, 2018


Going Green 2018

Having read the news that Montreal was going to ban plastic grocery bags, I thought “well why not me” So, I am not buying any more plastic grocery bags!

Several years ago while vacationing in Frankenmuth, Michigan my wife and I shopped in Krogers; it is a large store similar to Wal-Mart. They were using all paper bags. For large amounts they had a paper shopping bag with twisted paper handles. I thought at the time it was the way to go. They were of course nothing new as that type of bag was in common use when I was a youngster.

Outpost Packaging near Hastings had the bag I wanted plus other sizes of paper bags. So, our bagging programme is to use recycled cardboard boxes from our suppliers, the large paper bags with handles, a medium sized brown paper bag, reusable cloth bags available for purchase at cost and we will recycle/reuse plastic grocery bags that are brought to us (a bag of bags).

I think this will help in a small way to reduce the “plastic pollution” of our times.

April 24, 2016


Grilling The "B" Team Steaks

When I think of grilling steaks I mentally divide steaks into two teams, the A team and the B team. Last year I posted an extensive chart explaining the tenderness, flavour and cooking times for the A team steaks.

So, this year I am going to give you some advice on the B team steaks. The B team steaks are those that are considered a little tougher than the prime grilling steaks. They are of course considerably less expensive. I am going to limit my team to Sirloin Tip, Rump and Inside Round, although there other less common cuts.

Just as in sports sometimes the B team will beat the A team. It is a matter of coaching or cooking in culinary terms. As with any cut of beef the breed of the steer is important; stick with Black Angus, Hereford or Charlais. Avoid dairy cattle such as Holstein/Frisian.

Next it is important that the beef be dry-aged by hanging in a chilled locker for 21 days and finally the steak needs to be trimmed and cut thick. I recommend 1 1/2 '€œ for inside Round and Sirloin Tip and 1'€ for Rump. Rump steaks tend to contract and become thicker when you cook them.

These steaks can go straight to the BBQ at room temperature with a dry rub, but most often they are enhanced by brining or marinating. Marinating primarily is used to enhance flavour and it provides some tenderizing effect. Brining primarily adds moisture to the meat, tenderizes and enhances flavour if spices are used in the brine. The key to tenderising in both is the use of pineapple juice. Pineapple juice contains an enzyme that tenderises protein.

Steak Marinade
  • 1/2 cup canola oil,
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • Spices, wine to taste.
  • One B Team steak 6-8 oz per person

Prepare the Steak Marinade: Mix well. Marinate 1-2 hours max at room temperature, 4-6 hours if refrigerating.

Brine or marinate steak per instructions; pat steak dry, then rest 10 minutes. Rub with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Grill on high heat 8-10 minutes per side. Best not cooked past medium (Internal temperature should read 135 f to 145 F). Rest tented for 5 - 10 minutes.

Chefs use the push test. Using the back of the tongs push gently on the steak; compare the resilience to pushing on the underside of your forearm. The resilience from pushing on the wrist is well done. The resilience from pushing in the middle of the under forearm equals medium and the resilience from the soft spot just below the elbow equals rare.

For service you can portion the steak or cut thin slices with the grain for steak sandwiches etc.

That's it folks, practise your techniques and your B team steaks will rival the more expensive A Team

Buying and Grilling the Right Steak -- Part 1

Now that the BBQ season is upon us, I thought it might help to do a little Beef 101 and perhaps some Beef 102.

First make sure it is Canadian Beef; supermarkets often run loss-leaders with U.S. beef; U.S. beef farmers are allowed to use hormones and anti-biotics in the feed process.

Next determine what type of steer the steak is from. The top breeds are Angus (red or black), Hereford & Charolais. Avoid dairy cattle like Fresian/Holstein.

Next determine if the beef has been dry aged. Dry aging is the old time tested method of hanging the meat in a cool ventilated locker for 18-20 days or more. Dry aging tenderizes the meat and adds flavour. Wet aging is used by large packing- houses for supermarket consumption. In this method large primal cuts of beef i.e. the entire outside round would be placed in a Cryovac bag and sent to retailers for further cutting. Any aging is done in the plastic bag. The advantage of this method for the suppliers is no moisture loss compared to a 10% weight loss in dry aging. For the consumer it is not as tender and not as flavourful as dry aged.

Ok so we have a Black Angus steer well-aged and ready to cut up; I have made a chart of the available steaks including a tenderness rating and a flavour rating. As a cut loses tenderness it gains flavour. All steaks should be cut at least 1" thick-some thicker.

Steak Cut Tenderness
5 = most tender
5 = Best
Fat Content
5 = Lean
Tenderloin 5 3 4 --lean
Rib-Eye 5 5 2 fattiest
Rib Steaks 4 5 2 fattiest
Porterhouse and T-Bone 4 4 3
Strip loin and wing 4 4 3
Top Sirloin 3 5 3

They do not need tenderizing, marinating or brining.
The list below are steaks that grill well but need extra care in cooking, marinating or brining.

Clodhammer, Chuck tender, flat-iron, & tritip 2 au natural; 3 after brining 5 4
Rump steak & sirloin tip steaks 2 au natural; 3 after brining 5 4
Eye of round, Inside round steak & minute steak 1.5 au natural; 3 after brining 5 5 -leanest
Blade steak 1 au natural; 2 after brining 5 4
Flank & skirt 1 au natural; 2 after brining 5 2

All grilling steaks should be cut at least 1" thick. I like 1.5 " on tenderloins and 2" on top sirloins.

To cook the grilling steaks you need to bring the meat to room temperature. Ten minutes before grilling, rub steak with a dry rub containing salt. A simple rub is sea salt, ground pepper and garlic powder.

Heat your BBQ to hot, oil the grill plates (not the steak). Grill on high, lid closed, for 5-8 minutes per side -- 5 minutes will be rare. Don't poke or press steak!

Then the steak must rest for 8-10 minutes on a rack over a warmed steel pie plate tented with foil.

So that is part one; next week we look into the myths and mysteries of marinating and brining and explain more about the lesser known and less expensive steaks that are bursting with flavour.

Buying and Grilling the Right Steak -- Part 2

The Myths, Magic, and Mystery of Brines and Marinades

Last week I began a piece re. grilling steaks and dealt with tender grilling steaks. This week is about less tender steaks. These steaks take a little more cooking skill. The chart below lists them and their comparative tenderness and taste. I have cooked these steaks without marinating or brining with good success; but then I like them quite rare.

Steak Cut Tenderness
5 = most tender
5 = Best
Fat Content
5 = Lean
Clodhammer, Chuck tender, flat-iron, & tritip 2 au natural; 3 after brining 5 4
Rump steak & sirloin tip steaks 2 au natural; 3 after brining 5 4
Eye of round, Inside round steak & minute steak 1.5 au natural; 3 after brining 5 5 -leanest
Blade steak 1 au natural; 2 after brining 5 4
Flank & skirt 1 au natural; 2 after brining 5 2

My reference for a lot of the information is ( recommended reading for serious foodies) and my own experimentation.

I cooked three tritip steaks; one brined, one marinated and one au naturel. The brined steak was the most tender. Most recipes and cookbooks will tell you that a marinade will flavour and tenderize a steak. The flavouring part is true; but for the most part marinades barely penetrate the surface of the meat-perhaps 2-3 mm. If the marinade is acidic it can make the meat mushy. Marinades with tenderizing enzymes such as those found in pineapple juice offer more tenderizing but again minimal penetration. So, marinades as a tenderizer are mainly a myth. Meat is already mostly water; so think of a loaded sponge. How much more will it absorb if you put it in a pan of water.

Brines are more of a mystery as there are several things going on at once. A brine is a salt solution with whatever else you care to add. Again penetration is not very deep and the best part is the first hour or two. Long soaks don't increase penetration greatly. So the brine enters the meat by osmosis and by diffusion. When the salt solution enters the cells by osmosis it induces them to hold more water. So in cooking the outer part does not dry out as quickly as un-brined meat. Now here is the magic part, as the meat heats up the brining effect intensifies; the brine is driven deeper into the meat and this again keeps it moister = more tender.

When a magazine, Cook's Illustrated, did a test, they discovered that a chicken breast soaked in plain water and another soaked in a brine both gained about 6% by weight. When they cooked both as well as an unsoaked breast straight from the package, the chicken straight from the package lost 18% of its original weight, the chicken soaked in water lost 12% of its pre-soak weight, and the brined chicken lost only 7% of its pre-soaked weight. Add to that the 6% water gain of the brined breast, and you have a breast that is 11% more juicy than straight out of the package.

All grilling steaks should be cut at least 1" thick.

A simple brine is 1/4 cup pickling salt, 1 cup hot water, 2 cups tepid water, 1 cup pineapple juice, 1-2 Tbsp. worcestershire sauce. Mix salt & hot water, then add tepid water, worcestershire & pineapple juice. Mix & chill. A simple marinage is 1/2 cup canola, 1/2 cup pineapple juice. 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce.

To cook the brined or marinated steaks. Rinse them and pat dry. Ten minutes before grilling, rub steak with a dry rub with little salt. A simple rub is sea salt, ground pepper and garlic powder. Heat your BBQ to hot, oil the grill plates (not the steak). Grill on high, lid closed, for 5-8 minutes per side-5 minutes will be rare. Don't poke or press steak! Then the steak must rest for 8-10 minutes on a rack over a warmed steel pie plate tented with foil or in a warm oven (200 F.)


Also see Grilling "B" Steaks

Grilling Steaks

This is not a recipe, but rather a simplified list of steaks best suited for grilling.

Most grilling steaks come from the hind-quarter of a steer, but there are some from the front. This may be a little simplified for some, but I am using the rules of recipe writing, which states that a recipe should be understood by an eight year old and an eighty year old.

So, I am sure you all have a mental picture of a steer; now remove his head, hide and lower limbs. This is the whole carcass. Next saw it in half along the back-bone. You now have two sides of beef. The sides are then hung in cold storage for 18-21 days. This process ages the beef for flavour and stretches the muscle protein strands to tenderize them. Most of the huge modern plants skip this step and cut the steer into wholesale cuts and Cryovac the cuts. They are then aged in Cryovac. When beef is hung it loses about 10% of its weight; when Cryovac'd it does not lose any weight. Beef aged by hanging is more tender and flavuorful.

Next the steer is cut into quarters; the cut is made between the 12Th and13th rib. The hind quarter starts at the 13th rib. Now in your mental picture you have the back half of the steer, draw a vertical line just in front of the hip. Then draw a horizontal line through that piece. The upper portion is called the long loin. The front part is called the short loin and back portion is the sirloin.

The tenderloin, which is the most desirable cut, runs through the entire long loin; it is small near the 13th rib and increases in diameter as it passes through the sirloin. If the whole tenderloin is removed then there are no T-bone or porterhouse steaks. You can cut the T-bones and porterhouse steaks and then remove the butt portion of the tenderloin from the sirloin—a popular option. So if we have removed the entire tenderloin, the short loin will cut into strip loin steaks. The sirloin (rear portion) will cut into sirloin steaks and tenderloin steaks.

If the tenderloin is left in the short loin, starting at the 13th rib and working towards the back end, you will cut wing steaks, then T-bone steaks, as the tenderloin becomes larger the T-bones become Porterhouse steaks. The tenderloin in a porterhouse is almost as large as the top cut.

From the front quarter there are two popular steaks; they are cut from the 6th to the 12th rib. If you simply slice it bone in you have rib steaks, like slicing a prime rib roast into steaks. If you remove the bone, fat etc to leave just the eye or round portion you have the rib-eye steak—after the tenderloin the rib eye is the most desired cut for tenderness.

Name of Cut Tender Bone Fat
Tenderloin, filet mignon Most None Marbled
Rib eye Very None Marbled
Strip loin, New York strip Tender None Marbled
Porterhouse Tender T-Bone Edge/Marbled
T-Bone Tender T-bone Edge/Marbled Tender T-Bone Edge/Marbled
Wing steak, Club steak Tender Edge RIb Edge/Marbled
Rib steak Tender Edge RIb Most fat

Drop in and Chat!

If you need any information on Free Run Chickens, Black Angus Beef, Mennonite Meat, Home-made and Naturally raised or grown products, recipes you would like to see, or food items you can’t locate, visit our Farm Market 3232 Burnham St. N., Cobourg, ON (Camborne VIllage). 
Click here for map.

Open weekends (see hours below). 

Watch for our ad in Thursday’s Cobourg Star classified section or email me.

Most of the products we feature are also available at Glover’s Farm Market in Warkworth.


Wednesday:11:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Thursday:10:00am - 5:00pm
Friday:10:00am - 5:00pm
Saturday:10:00am - 5:00pm
Sunday:12 noon - 4:00pm

As always, we will be available for any products you need by appointment or by chance.

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