Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meat Tenderisation, Aging Beef, Amethyst and Rock Spa.

meat-mechanical-tenderize-cbcWell. isn’t that delightful, there is a warning on CBC news about mechanically tenderised beef and if you look at the video here it shows how beef is tenderised by prodding it with spikes which have a tendency to push any bacteria, such as E coli, from the outside of the meat into the middle and lower layers meaning that such meat would need extra heating in order to kill the bacteria. There is a suspicion that this was the problem at XL Foods where a humungous amount of beef was recalled because it had been making people sick. OK if you cook your beef to death anyway, but if you tend to eat your beef rare or medium rare this could affect your health due to this mechanical tenderisation. It also appears, reading the article, that this practice is common with both stores and restaurants and the government is working with involved producers to have food labelled stating it has been mechanically tenderised. They say this could happen as early as next week. I knew that in North America meat was not ‘hung’ like it was in Europe (or used to be) with the result that it tends to be a lot tougher. I have, somewhere, a recipe for tenderising beef in the fridge, will have to see if I can find it.

This article is from Recipe du Jour and was written by Simply Tim. I have never tried it, but having read about mechanical tenderising I think I will be trying it out on my next piece of beef.


1. Rich already mentioned the flank steak, so I can move along to the good part: how to age meat in a refrigerator. Unwrap and rinse the store bought cut of meat as soon as possible. Pat dry. (So far I've only tried flank steak, but I now have a sirloin roast and a London broil aging away in the refrigerator even as I speak.) Place the UNSEASONED meat on a wire baking rack such that air can freely circulate all around the meat. Then place the wire rack inside a large baking pan to catch any juice runoff. Place the pan UNCOVERED on the top shelf of your refrigerator (slightly warmer up there).

2. Turn twice a day, rinsing the rack and drip pan when necessary. After about a week, I noticed the flank steak appeared dry around the edges. So I rinsed off (massaged) the steak with cold water and patted dry. Worked great. Friday night's flank steak had aged for about 1-1/2 weeks. Next time I will go a full two weeks. Maybe longer.

3. Friday morning I removed the flank steak(s) from the refrigerator and rinsed them off. I wrapped one in plastic-wrap and put it in the freezer for a rainy day, and seasoned the remaining one with sea salt (or coarse Kosher salt), fresh ground rosemary, and coarse black pepper. Nothing more. I pressed the seasoning well into the surface of the meat.

4. I seared the flank steak for 90 seconds on each side on a VERY hot (on high) open grill. Then cooked the steak on each side (medium heat) for an additional 4 minutes. (2-1/2 minutes to 3 minutes would have probably been better*, although a small portion of the steak remained medium rare.)

5. And there you have it. My observations: I did not discover any unpleasant odors from the aging meat. In fact, the meat-locker smell was rather pleasant. Any negative odors came from the drip pan not having been rinsed often enough. There was NOT an excessive amount of juice. The steak gradually grew to a deep burgundy color as aging continued. The final feast could be cut with a fork. Just ask Rich.

6. And, oh--- yesterday I thawed the frozen flank steak and prepared it exactly the same as above, except I *reduced each subsequent side's cooking time to 2-3/4 minutes. Outstanding. Try aging your next roast beef purchase before your next cookout. You'll be glad you did.

7. Next up: aged leg of lamb?

Ever since Sia McKaye did a guest post on Amethysts for me I have wanted to Amethyst 001supplement the amethysts I already had with a pendant. I already have a couple of rings and some stud earrings, so I wanted a pendant to complete the set. I had often passed The Rock Spa – actually it is close to our hairdresser – and so the other day we decided to go in. What a fascinating place with stones and rocks of all kinds, could have spent hours browsing. It turns out they are actually a spa as well and they do all kinds of treatments specifically with salt. I have seen travellers in various programmes getting salt baths – they looked pretty good. They also have qigong which I learned in conjunction with my T’ai Chi. An interesting store. We ended up finding me a nice amethyst pendant which is my Christmas present, yeah, I know, its not Christmas yet. My camera (or maybe the photographer) doesn’t know how to do justice to amethyst  unfortunately, but you can take it from me, it is an amethyst and quite lovely. The chain is one I already had.

Here is a beef recipe, maybe you should make sure its not mechanically tenderised before you make it.

Tomato-Herb Marinated Flank Steak

WebMD Recipe from

In this recipe, we make a dual-purpose sauce from garden-fresh tomatoes, shallot, marjoram and rosemary. We use half the sauce to marinate the steak and use the other half as a basting sauce. Pasture-raised, grass-fed beef is gentler on the environment, free from growth-promoting hormones and typically lower in fat and calories than grain-fed beef. Marinating grass-fed beef for atomato_herb_marinated_flank_steak full day helps make it tender. Look for it at natural-foods markets or find it online.


  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 shallot, peeled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons marjoram, chopped fresh
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary, chopped fresh
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds flank steak, preferably grass-fed, trimmed


  1. Purée tomato, shallot, vinegar, marjoram, rosemary, salt and pepper in a blender until smooth. Set aside 1/2 cup, covered, in the refrigerator. Scrape the remaining puree into a large, sealable plastic bag. Add steak and turn to coat. Refrigerate for 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high. Remove the steak from the marinade (discard the marinade). Oil the grill rack. Grill the steak 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare or 6 to 7 minutes per side for medium, turning once and brushing the cooked side with some of the reserved sauce. When the steak is cooked, turn it over again and brush with more sauce. Transfer to a clean cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak crosswise and serve with any remaining sauce spooned on top.

Have a great weekend



  1. I've never had a salt bath but I have swam in a saltwater pool.

    1. The nearest I've got to that is swimming in the ocean/sea. Not really checked, but I don't suppose its cheap.