September 20, 2007


   Home Page

 News & Features


 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note





 Pop Culture



   Video Games
   CD Reviews




   Grazing Guide



   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts





 Find A Hippo




   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad




 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover

In search of the right meat
Hanger is one good reason to befriend a butcher
By Darry Madden

There’s no glamour in it, and there isn’t a whole lot of money either, but there is some kind of cache, some nostalgic idealism, some something in butchering that keeps us all on the lookout for that tiny storefront adorned with hanging steer and ropes upon ropes of fresh sausage, a pot-bellied man in a white apron inside, whistling while he works.

It’s good to dream.

In reality, New Hampshire’s many local butchers have evolved from simple purveyors of sustenance to keen businessmen, revolutionizing the consumption of meat.

Take Marc Rousseau, for example, who runs Marc’s Sausage Heaven in Manchester. No longer interested in running a storefront butchery, Rousseau wants to provide the sausage to meat counters near and far. He is recreating himself as the go-to man for sausage. Or the folks at Meat Me at the Door in Nashua, the region’s only delivery business for fresh cuts. Then there’s Rick Bennett, self-proclaimed “meat specialist,” who in addition to running Bedford Meats where sirloin tips marinate in a high-tech 500 pound tumbler, acts as a consultant to other meat purveyors as they enter the business.

But some things don’t change, and what once made a good butcher still makes a good butcher, like their customer service, sense of good value and vast knowledge, said Chef Bryan Severans, an instructor of meat fabrication at the New England Culinary Institute.

A good butcher offers good choices to his or her patrons, from tongue to tips and from prime to select. Ever heard of hanger steak from your butcher? Well, you should have, because it’s a very decent cut for which restaurants are charging $30 a plate and that sells for $2 per pound at the local butcher. It’s a part of the diaphragm that hangs from the backbone, hence the name. How about flap steak? It’s a famously underutlized section of the sirloin, suffering, perhaps like hanger, from a bad name. Ask your butcher about them.

Small butchers don’t have a lot of buying power and therefore don’t have a lot of pull in the greater meat industry, said Severans. But still, he said, there is a “slight undercurrent” of interest in the decentralization of meat packing and the use of local meats. There’s another question for your local butcher.

How to cook a burger
Wood-Grilled Hanger Steak topped with Bourbon Demi-glaze on Gorgonzola-Potato Hash
Courtesy of the Commercial Street Fishery, Manchester

Hanger steak is one of those mysteries to most meat enthusiasts. It’s best marinated and cut on the bias for maximum tenderness. Ask your local butcher for a hanger — you probably won’t find it at the grocery store. At about $2 per pound, it’s very affordable.

Steak Marinade
hanger steak — see your local butcher
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbs. oregano
salt & pepper
Marinate hanger steak for at least 24 hours prior to cooking. Cook over wood grill, if possible, or pan sear and finish in a 450º oven if not. Cut the steak against the grain to serve — this maximizes tenderness.

Gorgonzola-Potato Hash
8-10 medium yukon gold potatoes, steamed & diced
1 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbs. fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 tbs. fresh tarragon, coarsely chopped
1 tbs. fresh dill, coarsely chopped
Lightly fry or roast the steamed, diced potatoes until just golden. Meanwhile, reduce gorgonzola and heavy cream over low heat until thick. Add herbs. Assemble by mixing reduction and potatoes.

Bourbon Demi-Glaze
(Demi-glaze, or reduced stock, is available at most grocery stores)
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. demi-glaze (they use veal at the Commercial Street Fishery)
1.5 oz. heavy cream
1 tbs. fresh chives
handful fresh cherry tomatoes
Heat bourbon in warm pan and set on fire to burn off the alcohol, which would otherwise overwhelm the flavor of the sauce. Then add demi-glaze and heavy cream and simmer until slightly reduced. Add chives and tomatoes.
Serve cut steak atop potato hash and smother in the bourbon sauce. At the restaurant, they serve wood-grilled asparagus as a vegetable, and top the whole dish with lightly fried onions.

Meat grade
Meat grades probably don’t mean a lot to us average picking-up-some-dinner-after-work types. After all, the three most common USDA grades all sound pretty good — prime, choice and select don’t translate literally to exquisite, so-so and you’ll-need-to-cook-this-awhile.

Meat is graded at the time of slaughter based on how it compares to the ideal. The shape and length are considered, as are the tenderness, juiciness and flavor. There are five more grades beyond the top three: standard, commercial, utility, cutter and canner. Don’t worry about those. Here, educate yourself.

• Prime: About 2 percent of graded beef and lamb is labeled prime, and most of it ends up in the hands of restaurants and specialty meat markets. Prime grade meat is very marbled and flecked with fat, as well as being tender, flavorful and of a fine texture.

• Choice: This is usually the highest grade available at the grocery store. While it’s not as marbled as prime, it’s still of high quality.

• Select: This is the most common grade, and while it’s still tender, it has a higher ratio of lean meat to fat than the top two grades. The meat is less juicy and flavorful than prime or choice.

Timing & Doneness
First of all, go buy a meat thermometer. They cost only $10 and will take a lot of guesswork out of cooking meat. The low-tech solution is to press the meat with your finger — the more tender, the less done.

Here’s a handy chart of doneness for all meats, whether on the stove or the grill — though with a hot, hot grill you may get there faster (but keep in mind that meat continues to cook 5 to 10 minutes after it’s been removed from the heat).

Fresh ground beef, veal, lamb or pork: 160ºF

Beef, veal or lamb (roasts, steaks or chops): rare 135ºF; medium-rare 145ºF; medium 160ºF; well-done 170ºF

Fresh pork roasts: medium-well 160ºF; well-done 170ºF

Grill vs. Stovetop
To grill is not to barbecue. We know this is coming as a shock to many of you. Grilling is the outdoor equivalent of pan searing, only the open flame of the grill yields a charred and crisp exterior and a juicy tender interior. Barbecuing is the outdoor equivalent of slow-roasting, and the hardwood charcoal should be kept in a separate chamber from the meat so the cooking is indirect.

Get meat
• Bare Bonz Butcher Shop, 707 Milford Road, Merrimack, 889-9600,
• Bedford Prime Meats, 132 Bedford Center Road, Bedford, 471-6328.
• Bull Run, 1100 Hooksett Road, Hooksett, 669-0891,
• Concord Square Mall 79 S. Main St., Concord, 226-3474,
• Meat House, 254 Wallace Road, Bedford, 472-5444; 291 South Broadway, Salem, 685-0302,
• Meat Me at the Door, 295 DW Highway, Nashua, 888-1170,
• Mr. Steer Meats, 103 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 434-1444.
• Prime Butcher, 58 Range Road, Windham, 893-2750.
• Sausage Heaven, 21 West Auburn St., Manchester, 886-879-1961,

9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out

9/13/2007 Get ready to eat

9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch