Monthly Archives: February 2012

Meat Vs Meat, Real Vs Unreal ?

The news has brought two meaty stories that seem to coming from different perspectives … you be the judge.

In one story from this week it is reported that the world’s first hamburger made with a synthetic meat protein derived from bovine stem cells will be publicly consumed this October after being prepared by a celebrity chef, according to the inventor of the artificial mince.

Mmmmm .... looking good

Heston Blumenthal is the favourite to be asked to cook the £207,000 hamburger, which will be made from 3,000 strips of synthetic meat protein grown in fermentation vats. Dr Mark Post, of Maastricht University in the Netherlands, said the anonymous backer of his research project had not yet decided who would get to eat the world’s most expensive hamburger, which will unveiled at a ceremony in Maastricht.

Dr Post told the American Association for the Advancement of Science that a hamburger made from artificial beef protein was a milestone in the development of novel ways to meet the global demand for meat, which is expected to double by 2050.

“In October we’re going to provide a ‘proof of concept’ showing that with in vitro culture methods that are pretty classical we can make a product out of stem cells that looks like, and hopefully taste like, meat,” Dr Post said.

“The target goal is to make a hamburger and for that we need to grow 3,000 pieces of this muscle and a couple of hundred pieces of fat tissue. As long as it’s a patty the size of a regular hamburger, I’m happy with it,” he said.

A handful of researchers has been working for the past six years on the technical problem of extracting stem cells from bovine muscle, culturing them in the laboratory and turning them into strips of muscle fibres that can be minced together with synthetic fat cells into an edible product.

The technical challenges have included giving the meat a pinkish colour and the right texture for cooking and eating, as well as ensuring that it feels and tastes like real meat.

Dr Post admitted to being nervous about the final result. “I am a little worried, but seeing and tasting is believing,” he said.

At the same time, in another story, a prize bull called Fabio has set a world record at auction. The pedigree Limousin was expected to fetch £40,000 at the cattle market in Carlisle, Cumbria but went for £126,000 beating the previuos record by £21,000.

Fabio

Glyn Vaughan who bred Fabio at his farm in Machynlleth, Powys, said “When it hit £80,000, I hoped it woud reach £100,00. I’m not sure I remember what happened after that. It was unreal.”

The winning bid by Alan Jenkinson of Penrith, set a world record for a Limousin and a British record for a Bull.

Agricultural experts say the new owner will quickly recoup the money for the 17 month old bull through breeding. Mr Vaughan said “He’s a big fellow but very docile.  I’m sorry to see him go, but delighted he made so much money.”

Charlie the butcher

Pork Scratchings – scratching a living

Recently, there seems to be a bit of a thing about Pork Scratchings.  Perhaps people are latching on to my own method for making them at home ?  My earlier recipe is here.

Mmmmm .... hint of caraway seed added

So a bit more information on the subject is required …..

  • Pork scratchings originated in the early 19th century, when the production of meat began to be industrialised. The term literally means the scraps from the slaughterhouse floor.
  • An estimated 20 million packs of pork scratchings are sold each year as bar snacks. The Black Country in the West Midlands is the epicentre of the industry.
  • There are 606 calories and 2.9g of salt per 100g of pork scratchings (Source: Mr Porky’s, sold in 20g packs).
  • Traditionally, scratchings are fried and made with the softer, relatively hairless skin with attached fat, behind the hock (back foot) of the pig; crackling is roasted or baked, and can be made from a wider portion of the pig.
  • Before cooking scratchings, hair must be singed off and the skin blanched in boiling water to open the pores. Some swear by this to optimise crackling levels when roasting pork at home.
  • International versions include pork rinds and cracklings in the USA, grillons or grattons in France, chicharrones in Central America and the Spanish Caribbean.
  • 99 per cent of scratchings sold in the UK are made with Danish pork. Before recent changes in legislation, this was not revealed on labels.
  • When fried, the skin of the scratching hardens. All UK brands carry a label warning that contents are suitable only for people with strong healthy teeth.

There are also a couple of excellent websites devoted to Pork Sratchings with more on the history, recipes, reviews etc …. click on the logos

Enjoy.

Charlie the butcher