Tag Archives: pork

Belcampo Meat Camp

I recently went to Belcampo Farms’Meat Camp,” up near Mt. Shasta in Gazelle, northern California.

Over the course of a few days, some Instagram pals and I were able to get a sense of their operations, how they raise their animals and how delicious their proteins are.

The camp itself was pretty awesome. Home base was a nicely appointed “glamping” style tent that can sleep two, outfitted with extremely comfortable beds.

I was more comfortable here than I was in the hotel that I stayed at in San Francisco prior to the drive up. There are nice modern bathrooms with hot water showers near the tents too, so you’re not roughing it in some outhouse or washing up in a lake.

Here’s the event barn and main lawn, where most of the action took place:

Okay so let’s get down to business:

Belcampo Meat Co. is a 100% grass fed and grass finished organic beef producer. They also raise lamb, pork, chickens and turkeys, but they run about 3200 head of cattle total, including their cows, calves and bulls.

The animals are generally about 24 to 30 months old when they reach market weight, after which they go off to Belcampo’s processing plant in nearby Yreka. Most of their beef grades out at USDA choice or select in terms of marbling. However since intramuscular fat (marbling) isn’t a priority for Belcampo in the way that it is for traditional beef producers, the grading almost doesn’t matter.

This was the best tasting grass finished beef I’ve ever had. Truly outstanding!

As you can imagine, at a place called “Meat Camp” your daily scheduled activities are pretty awesome if you’re a raging carnivore like me.

We broke down a beef forequarter, which included the chuck and rib sections.

We also broke down a lamb shoulder, pork shortloins/t-bones, and chickens.

We portioned out chops for grilling, as well as ground up various meats for burgers and sausages.

Yes, we ate LOTS of it.

We even made sausage and tasted several of their incredibly delicious cured meat products with a charcuterie and wine pairing lesson. I think these bites were my favorites of the entire trip!

One of the many impressive things up at Belcampo is the fire wagon, which they use to develop embers and natural charcoal for cooking on their Argentinian style grills, their huge cauldron, and their “Asado Crucifix,” (all of which are made by NorCal Ovenworks).

 

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At breakfast on the last morning, everything was lit and ready to rock. The versatility and creativity of cooking with open flame was on full display for all to witness.

 

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Another fun lesson was about how they make their “bone broth” and sauce bases, like ragu and soffrito.

When we weren’t cooking, eating or butchering, we toured their farms, fields, and animal paddocks, which consists of about 5,000 acres of grasses and alfalfa.

We also visited the farrowing barn where newly born piglets were nursing from sows.

Just nine months later those babies are pushing 500-600lbs from eating a mixture of pasture, grains, acorns and nuts on the farm.

We saw their chicken train cars and barns, with the animals truly “free range” feeding on bugs, seeds and grasses.

I even got to see their turkeys along the road when I was out for a morning run.

Belcampo goes above and beyond to make their animals comfortable, and they exhibit the utmost respect for the environment. The farm is run like a family, and the love and care they give to their animals translates directly into a high quality product at the end of the animals’ lifecycles.

I think my biggest takeaway – and by far the most important one – is that not all grass-finished beef is the same. I had it in my head that I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste of grass-finished beef, but Belcampo’s product is truly amazing. They definitely changed my mind on that, but their other proteins and products are outstanding as well – especially that charcuterie!

This was a really great experience, and I’m looking forward to going back in the future for their advanced camps and specialty camps. If you can’t book a trip and get out to meat camp, you should still hit Hudson Yards in NYC to try the new Belcampo restaurant there. I know I’ll be going often!

Ichiran

I finally got around to trying the Japanese import ramen shop Ichiran. This place allows you to completely customize your bowl, where you choose the strength of the broth, the firmness of the noodle, and all of the toppings. Here’s how I ordered:

The ramen was awesome.

Deliciously rich, velvety pork broth. Perfectly cooked, firm noodles. Fork tender slices of pork loin and chashu.

The matcha pudding is really nice too, and I usually don’t like matcha very much.

So glad that this shop opened up so close to home on 49th.

ICHIRAN
152 W 49th St
New York, NY 10019

The Ribbon

The Ribbon is a neighborhood bar and restaurant that serves up an impressive list of chops and roasts. The place is very popular with families, and you’ll see a ton of parents with their kids in there on weekends during the day. In fact I think my table was the only one in the back of the restaurant that didn’t have a child at it (aside from my immature ass, of course).

My wife and I started with cocktails. I enjoyed this Ol’ Thyme Gin, which had pear, thyme infused gin, amaro and lemon.

The Mr. Pimm was light and refreshing, pairing gin with cucumber, lemon, mint syrup and elderflower.

We started the steamed clams and a trio of pate, all of which were excellent. I was just hoping for a little heat with the clams since I saw “peppers” in the ingredient list. Probably just minced bells. The chorizo in there was nice though.

For our mains, we had the two prime ribs on the menu; pork and beef.

The pork was a little bit dry, but the apricot jam was a great way to get the juices flowing.

The 16oz king cut prime rib was great.

Nicely roasted to medium rare. I’m sick of ordering this dish and having it come to me raw and difficult to chew. They do it correctly here. It’s served with a nice jus and a light horseradish cream sauce. At $61 this may seem steep, but there’s no waste on it. Even the jiggly fat bits are edible. 8/10.

On the side we had some sauteed broccolini, which was a nice way to cut the fat.

And for dessert we shared the chocolate chip bread pudding (it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream). This had a nice brulee crunch to it on the edges, which made for a good mix of textures.

I definitely recommend this place, and I’ll be going back there to try more shit for sure. Here’s the William, FYI:

THE RIBBON
20 W 72nd St
New York NY, 10023

Wu’s Wonton King

My wife and I came here with a big group of foodie friends for a pre-Thanksgiving blowout. We ate a shitload of dishes, but the stars of the show were these two:

That’s right: a crispy skin suckling pig, and a 9lb king crab. Here’s some video of that pig being carved up for us, table side:

Those buns were amazing but the pork meat itself was the best I’ve ever had in terms of suckling pig. The flavors penetrated deep into the flesh of the meat. And if one pork dish wasn’t enough, we also fried this one as well:

The crab was prepared three ways: steamed, fried and in a steamed egg porridge:

We ate two kinds of clams:

We even ordered a steak. This was no good though. I tried one slice of this breaded t-bone and it was too tough for me to even finish half. 2/10. I left two points on the table because the sauce was interesting at least, and the broccoli was good with it.

All the other dishes were excellent though, including this chicken:

And this fluke:

Yes, we did eat some greenery:

And of course wontons, as per the name of the restaurant, in soup form:

There was even dessert that we somehow managed to eat: mango flan/jelly and a warm pumpkin soup that was reminiscent of Indian desserts:

I definitely recommend this joint. This was the best large format pig I’ve had to date. It runs $168 and you need to order a day or two in advance. It would probably feed five or six people if you ate just that and some veggies on the side. As for the crab? Skip it. It was delicious as fuck, but that shit runs $50 a pound.

WU’S WONTON KING
165 E Broadway
New York, NY 10002

Dry-Aged Duroc Pork Chops

WOW!

I finally sunk my teeth into these delicious chops yesterday, which you can ORDER HERE.

I did a very simple treatment on them: Himalayan pink salt and some cracked black and white peppercorns. Then, of course, I seared them off in my cast iron pan.

Sliced them up and ate them with apple slices that I browned in the pan with the pork drippings, along with some jalapeño apple sauce, broccoli and grilled bread.

I think everyone needs to try these. They take to the dry aging process very well. These babies were packed with funk!

ORDER NOW!

Boucherie Park

I’m going to keep this one nice and simple. Boucherie Park is the second location of Boucherie, which I love. The menu is the same, and the decor is very similar. While I like the ambiance of the original location a bit better, this joint has an area up front that I like to call the “meat bar,” where you can order freshly carved slices of prosciutto. They even offer baguettes and sandwiches during the day for lunch from this area. With that give and take on the ambiance of each spot, they actually even out at the same score: 95. You may as well jump over to that review to read more on each section (though I may need to update it). This place is excellent.

Steak Tartare:

Tomahawk:

Iberico Pork:

On another visit we had chicken and rabbit. Rabbit:

Chicken:

Flavor: 9
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Portion Size & Plating: 10
Price: 10
Bar: 10
Specials & Other Meats: 10
Apps Sides & Desserts: 9
Seafood Selection: 8
Service: 10
Ambiance: 10

NYC’s Best Steakhouse Bacon

Steakhouse bacon makes me smile.

Bacon is an important part of the steakhouse experience. After all, a slab of thick cut bacon is just as much a staple to the classic steakhouse meal as a side of creamed spinach, a plate of ice cold raw oysters, or a nice strong martini.

Devouring a plate of thick cut bacon before eating a steak is one of the most manly and satisfying things you can do. As such, I’ve endeavored to highlight the five best bacon dishes that NYC steakhouses have to offer.

Enjoy the selections, you savage beasts:

Delmonico’s Restaurant

These slabs are house smoked and cured, sous vide for days, and then rendered off to perfection with Tuthilltown Spirits’ Noble Barrel Aged Maple Syrup. At about an inch and a half thick per slab, you can almost order this as your main course and treat it like a “bacon steak.”

Greenwich Steakhouse

If you want a taste of something that’s slightly out of the ordinary but still satisfies your thick cut bacon fix, this is your place to go. This bacon has some kind of sweet chili glaze on it that separates it from all the rest on this list. It’s really unique, tender and crisp, but also really fucking thick (over an inch thick, so also big enough to eat as an entree). An absolute must try.

Benjamin Prime

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If classic, thick, un-fucked-with bacon is what you’re after, then this is the place to get it. This is some amazingly crisp and tasty stuff. Also very thick at about an inch. What you get here is your standard morning breakfast bacon, but at a whopping portion that comes off the grill looking so beautiful. Fucking insanity.

Quality Eats

While not exactly a full-on steakhouse, this joint represents the bacon scene with mighty force. They serve this thick-cut Nueskes bacon with a peanut butter sauce and jalapeño jelly. This shit is like fucking crack to my taste buds. You need to try this if you haven’t done so already.

Angus Club Steakhouse

Another great entry in the classic style category, this “Canadian” slab bacon is legit. Usually when I hear the words “Canadian Bacon” I think of circular shaped stuff that tastes more like ham than bacon. Not here. The soft, buttery fat banding alternates perfectly with the lean meat on these grilled slabs. They are also nearly an inch thick, so you really get great satisfaction from this dish.

I’d love to hear your thoughts for other possible candidates. I briefly considered Keen’s, Peter Luger’s, Bob’s, Palm Too, Strip House, and Ben & Jack’s, but ultimately I felt that they just couldn’t stand up to these five. They’re just on another level.

Hide Chan

This joint recently opened near work, so I popped in for lunch one day. I ordered the deluxe ramen for $17. It’s a tonkotsu pork bone broth with sliced pork (three pieces), boiled egg (sliced in two), kikurage mushrooms, scallions, onions, bean sprouts and cod roe.

 

I really liked it. The broth had a thick, rich flavor without being too oily, fatty or salty. All of the toppings and components were well prepared, fresh and nicely cooked.

The noodles are customizable, meaning you can choose wavy or strait, and whether you want them firm or soft. I went with firm and strait, like a Viagra cock.

I’ll definitely be back here again soon. They have some really interesting broth flavors outside of just tonkotsu, and some great looking sides and apps as well.

UPDATE 8/1/17

I went back with my wife and tried two different ramen styles, as well as the fried chicken app. The fried chicken was good. The breading was super light, if even present, and the thigh meat was really tender. I think I liked Zundo-ya’s fried chicken better, though.

Next up, spicy black garlic ramen.

For the first half of the bowl, I liked this better than the deluxe style from my first visit. However, the flavor was aggressive and I preferred the deluxe style while I was slurping the second half. I guess it depends on your taste buds.

Second bowl: veggie ramen.

The soy milk broth is super flavorful, and it inspired me to create a hybrid broth consisting of pork bones cooked in soy milk in order to have an even more milky consistency to the broth. I’ll have to try it at home soon.

HIDE CHAN
314 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

The American Dream

The American Dream is a package I put together for the 4th of July weekend, but since it was so popular, I decided to keep it available for a bit.

What You Get

1) Two dry aged Duroc pork chops, weighing in at 20-24 oz each;

2) A pound of thick cut bacon;

3) A pound of dry aged tenderloin tails;

4) And a 16oz Wagyu New York strip (my favorite steak of all time).

The Price Tag

Just $125 for about 88-96 ounces of delicious, high quality meat. I’ve marked this package down from $165, so get on it while I’m still feeling patriotic!

ORDER HERE

Helsinki

Helsinki is a BBQ joint and live music performance venue in Hudson, NY. My wife and I stopped in on our last night in town to try the food.

The space is beautiful; a reclaimed warehouse of some kind, totally refitted in a modern but old fashioned kind of way.

 

The upstairs is an event space for things like weddings.

There’s even a beautiful outdoor space that’s reminiscent of a walking garden path.

Anyway, the menu was really enticing.

Even the sides looked nice.

I had a couple of cocktails, one being a smokey and spicy mescal drink, and the other being a refreshing bourbon smash.

For a starter, we had the baked oysters with pimento cheese. Really fucking good. Highly recommended.

For our entree, we split a BBQ trio platter, which came with lean sliced brisket, Texas links, and ribs.

I really liked the links the best. The ribs were excellent though, and had a nice natural spice to them. The brisket was dry, unfortunately. I get that they are lean cuts, but they should still be juicy.

On the side we had cornbread, spaghetti squash and cherries.

Here’s a shot of my wife explaining the different sauces to me, since I missed what the waitress said while I was outside shooting pictures of the food.

Here she is again, patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures of the sauces.

The white one, an Alabama style sauce, was my favorite. You definitely need to hit this joint when you’re in town. It’s one of three places I highly recommend here in Hudson.

HELSINKI
405 Columbia St
Hudson, NY 12534