Hello, I know itís been a while since I wrote in this blog. Sometimes itís just a little difficult to write something that I havenít already touched upon. So Iím just going to share with you a few of my thoughts.
The holidays are now past and the New Year resolutions are slowly fading into the winter sunset. They say February is a tough month to go through because of the short daylight hours and the gray skies that prevent the sun light from shining on us.
As for our company, we enjoyed a busy holiday period and would like to thank all of you for your support. Our Divine Ribeye roasts were a tremendous success, and we are very proud to supply our guests with what we believe is the best Ribeye roast offered in our area. We work hard to offer our guests great quality products for a price that offers you a great value.
I know we hear a lot of rumors out there about the ever increasing costs of product and the possibility of a shrinking supply of beef and pork, and Iíll admit I believe there is some reality to those rumors. But like all situations, they come and they change and then we continue moving forward. We have talked a few times about how to take advantage of the many specials offered through different marketing promotions. Prices are reduced giving you an opportunity to buy some of those commonly used items while they cost less and store them for a later day. Follow safe food handling instructions and you will find that it is easy to store a little extra food for that rainy day.
This is a great time to buy some nice grilling steaks for your spring time grilling season, you will find some great prices on T- Bone Steaks, Rib Steaks, New York Steaks, and Top Sirloins. Just buy them now wrap them in a freezer paper and freeze them until the sunshine shows us that spring is surely here. And by the way, who says we have to wait until spring to enjoy those great steak cuts anyway.
Finally, I would like to remind you that there is a nice supply of frozen wild Salmon and Halibut on the market for you to enjoy right now. We still have 3 months before we see the fresh salmon runs beginning.
I wish all of you happy days and good eating.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted FEB. 11th, 2013 by Kenny the Meat Guy
It's the New Year
Hello and Happy New Year to each of you!
I really like the New Year coming forth. It is easy for me to look back at the year and ask myself, ďwhat have I done well and what mistakes have I made?Ē I like asking myself those questions; it helps me make decisions about where I want to go from here. I can see the many good things that have happened in my life and that helps me get a better perspective on the few tough times. If weíre not careful, those tough times have a way of easily overshadowing the many good times.
The next thing I like about the start of the New Year is it gives me a place to draw the line and say, ďIím moving forward from this point right here.Ē You knowÖ a fresh start.
The same way works for me in my job as Meat Director for Yokeís Foods. Iím always looking back to see what was good and what may need improvement. I really enjoyed some of the feedback and questions I received through response to this blog.
I hope all of you will feel free to contact me through the blog, and let me know whatís on your mind. I would love to know what you like about Yokeís and especially in our Meat Department and even any issues you would like to see us improve. You could be like my extra eyes and ears. Seriously, sometimes a new perspective can really help me see an old picture from a different angle and gives me an opportunity to improve our Meat Departments, and most importantly, it could help improve your shopping experience with Yokeís. Now that would certainly be a win-win situation.
I have blogged about our different meat programs and why I chose the programs we are currently using. I would love to answer any questions you have about those programs or any other questions or suggestions you might share. It would also be fun for me to interact with you. I welcome your suggestions for topics to discuss through this blog.
Now, I would just like to thank you for reading this blog and being part of our family at Yokeís. Your thoughts, ideas, and your business is very much appreciated and important to us
Thank you and happy New Year. May this New Year be good to all of us, and may we all take a fresh start and see the great blessing that are in our lives
Best to you,
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 2nd, 2013 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Merry Christams - 2012
I guess I would like to start this blog off with a huge Merry Christmas to all! Now there may be some of you who feel differently about Christmas than I do, and I respect our differences. However, I love this season. I have observed over many years a change in the hearts of the people I associate with and our guests who shop in our stores. The Christmas spirit has a way of softening our hearts. We become more kind and giving to others which has a way of making us happier. Itís a great cycle that seems evident as Christmas preparations begin. As we give, our hearts begin to grow. If you donít believe me, watch ďThe Grinch Who Stole ChristmasĒ his heart grew a lot when he gave.
For our Christmas dinner, we will once again serve Yokeís special aged, trimmed, and seasoned Divine Rib Eye Roast...(the seasoning is optional, but our family loves it). It is so good!Now you may ask, is it really better than everyone elseís rib roast? The answer is yes!! The proof is in the pudding. Our success with this item has been phenomenal. We pre-sell 100ís of roast for the Christmas holiday. If you havenít already tried one of these Divine ribs, you really should. We wanted to offer our guests a pre-seasoned roast to make it even easier to prepare Christmas dinner. So we had a seasoning developed especially for Yokeís by a local company, and we apply it to the roast when our guests request it. We now sell over 80% of our roasts pre-seasoned.
Speaking of traditions we also love to eat Dungeness Crabs. Even Though they are available off and on throughout the year, the seasonís best offering happens in December. That is when you will find the best prices and availability on these great tasting crabs. They are a West coast product, we are fortunate to be so close to the supply of Dungeness crabs.
What a great time of year to enjoy Divine Rib Eye Roasts and Dungeness crab along with many other special treats we create right in our stores. I would like to wish all of you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And once again, I hope that we will all take a moment from our busy schedules and look around and see all the good things that are happening. We sometimes get downtrodden with a few negative things and forget about all the good stuff. Letís not forget to notice the good things, and I bet they will outnumber the negatives.
Have a wonderful week!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted DEC. 10th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
All Products of the USA
I just wanted to let you know a little bit more about our fresh meat products.I believe we provide you with the best quality meat and seafood at a very fair price.Our Certified Hereford Beef, Draper Valley Chicken, Prairie Fresh Pork, and Summit Creek Lamb are all products of the USA.We are proud of our fresh meat and seafood programs, and we are confident in the food safety and humane handling efforts these companies have in place.
Certified Hereford Beef
Hereford beef has been a breed of cattle that has been around for years. Itís famous for its reputation of producing tender and great tasting beef. In 1991, the American Hereford Association undertook the most ambitious and comprehensive cattle breed study in history to determine Herefordís genetic contribution to the beef supply. The Colorado State University studies were plain and simple. They wanted the consumer (the ultimate judge) to quantify Hereford beefís merits through our minds and mouths. The results showed Hereford Beef was superior in every category.
Draper Valley Chicken
Draper Valley Farms are based out of Mount Vernon, Washington. Thatís not very far from here. We have used this product for years and love the fact that their chickens are raised right here in the Northwest. They are fully integrated from the egg to the store. What that means to us is that they have complete control of their product. I have been to their farms and have seen the standards in place, and since they are so close, it means really fresh chicken! Draper Valley Chickens are raised hormone and antibiotic free.
We have built a relationship with Pacific Seafood over the last several years.They provide us with well over 80% of our seafood. Pacific Seafood is an industry leader in sustainability practices and food safety. That means we are trying to use products that have a managed sustainability program which will ensure the long term availability of great seafood for years to come.
Our main supplier of Pork is Seaboard Farms; we use their Prairie Fresh label. Seaboard Farms is a fully integrated company. They own and control all of their programs including the farms that raise their hogs. They control the feed and care for all of their products. We use their natural line of fresh pork which means there are no added ingredients to the pork. They have a top of the line processing facility that includes great food safety checks and humane handling of the animals.
Summit Creek Lamb
Summit Lamb comes to us from California. Our Summit Creek Lamb is all product of the USA and has never been given antibiotics or hormones. It is pre-packaged for us and seems to fit well with our other fresh meat programs.
Thanks for your great support
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 13th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
ďTrick or TreatĒ
Hello my friends, I do believe I mentioned in my last blog that if you were tired of the heat just wait a moment. Every now and then I get one right. We went from 80 degrees to 45 in just a short time. Iím still hoping for some fall weather. I have wood to cut and brush to burn.
Halloween is now upon us. I know there are some who donít like Halloween, but for our family, itís a fun time for the grandchildren. Ok and for me too. I mean you get to dress up, gather candy, and have fun carving pumpkins; how does it get any better than that?!!
This brings me to a short discussion on trick or treat. In our world today, we have many opportunities to choose where and what we want to buy. We are normally looking for price and quality, right? Everybody has ads in newspapers, on the radio, and other methods of advertising. The trickis to make sure that you compare apples to apples or in my language T-bones to T-bones. You have to compare quality as well as price to get the besttreat.
Take ground beef for example. Letís say you want to buy some lean ground beef, and you find ground beef on sale in two different stores for the same price. The question then becomesÖwhich is better? Lean ground beef is a general term and can have different lean content under the same description. In the Spokane area, I have seen lean ground beef advertised as 78% lean, 80% lean, and 81 % lean. That might not sound like much of a difference to you, but it is to me. We also know that the beef used in making of ground beef can vary in quality as well.
Iím not going to talk about other stores, but I would like to brag about ours (Yokeís Fresh Markets). I have worked for Yokeís for 30 years (thatís over half of my lifetime). I am very proud to be a member owner (employed owned). I have been the director of our meat department for 13 years and have worked hard to bring the best quality meat at the best possible price to you, our guests. We know without your support, we wouldnít exist in the market place, so thank you for choosing to shop with us! Our goal is to deliver great quality, friendly-helpful service, valued pricing, and clean, beautiful stores. All with the purpose of making you enjoy your shopping experience. I hope you find shopping with us a TREAT
In my next blog, I would like to outline what brands of meat we have partnered with to bring you what we believe is the best, safest, and greatest valued products we can find. Stay tuned for the next treat from me, Kenny the Meat Guy!
Happy Halloween BOOOO!!
Posted OCT. 29th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Time to Try Grilling in Winter
Wow, did the temperature change overnight. I saw 31 degrees this morning and you could really feel fall in the air. Actually, I thought I felt winter in the air! All of you who were ready for a change in the weather, I think you are about to get your wish.
As I have said before, I really do like living in a place with four distinct seasons. They give you such a choice of activities to enjoy. Of course, with the good things each season brings, you also get the not so good things to bear. For example, I love the snow and love to cross country ski, but I hate driving on the winter roads and the short daylight hours. But we learn how to cope with what Mother Nature brings to us, and we usually cope pretty well.
The changing seasons also bring a new variety of meals to try or experiment. For example, when winter winds down into spring, most of us canít wait to get outdoors and fire up the grill, right? We have been cooking in our microwaves or ovens, and we have been stuck in the house just waiting for the warmer weather to arrive and the chance to cook outdoors. But who says you canít cook on your grill outdoors all year around? Yes, we cook on the grill all year around except when the grill gets completely covered in snow, and I donít want to shovel the grill out.
What you need to do is cook different styles of food on the grill so you donít just have steaks and burgers all year long. With a little change in procedures, you can enjoy several different types of meals on the grill outdoors.
Here are a couple of ideas for you to try:
London Broils: Cook on a very low heat. Season or marinade your London broil the way you like it and be patient; it will take 45 minutes to 1 hour depending on how thick it is. Do not overcook this cut of meat or it will be dry. Slice thin with the grain of the meat (yes, thatís what I meantÖwith the grain). Most cuts we suggest cutting against the grain, but this cut really has a great texture with the grain.This is an excellent beef roast and will be a pleasant surprise to your guests when you pull this roast from your grill. Go ahead and bake your potatoes right on the grill with the beef, I would place the potatoes on the grill before starting to cook your roast. You will get the hang of timing so your meal all gets done at the same time.
How about cooking Cornish game hens on your grill? Prepare your game hens by making a stuffing like you would for a chicken or turkey. For most adults, I would cook one game hen per person. Stuff the cavity of the game hen with stuffing, and if youíre brave and want to try something really good, take some teriyaki sauce and with a turkey baster or injector squirt some of the sauce between the breast skin and the meat. It will form a little bubble that you can see. As the Game hen cooks, the teriyaki sauce will baste itself in the meat. Donít use to much sauce, put a little on each side of the breast. Place aluminum foil on top of your grates and cook on low heat for about 40 minutes. Itís great tasting and a fun meal to serve. Add a green salad and some French bread to complete your meal; donít forget the ice cream for dessert. Enjoy!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 4th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
The Season is Changing...
What a beautiful end of summer we are experiencing. The weather has been very warm, and thereís been no rain for several weeks. I heard a few complaints about the hot dry days, but that is normal. Iím sure there are changes in the weather coming our way soon.
I always chuckle to myself when I hear people wanting something different than what we have. A wise man shared this poem with me years ago (probably because I was complaining) and I have never forgotten it.
ďAs a rule mans a fool;
When itís hot, he wants it cool;
When itís cool, he wants it hot;
Always wanting what is not.Ē
Today, I thought we might take a look at a few changes that are coming up through the next couple of months. As we go from summer to fall, there will be several changes taking place. For example: the fresh wild salmon and halibut season will end and the frozen market will begin. So grab those fresh fillets while theyíre still available.
Another change is children and some adults will be returning to school. Beginning school changes some of our eating and shopping habits weíve developed during summer. As the weather begins to cool, our shopping lists have different items on them. We go from cooking outside on the grill, to inside using the oven. At Yokeís, we adjust to these changes to assure we have plenty of the products you want and need.
One last item to mention, as the summer turns to fall, daylight hours shorten which may make us feel like we have less time to accomplish everything we have to do.Feeling rushed often affects when and what we cook. Pondering seasonal changes really does make us realize how the seasons affect our life styles.
In our business, we take a look at what products we buy and prepare for our customers. The amount of hot dogs and hamburger patties we sell, for example, slows way down as well as other grilling items. We increase the production of items that we believe will more likely be cooked indoors verses outdoors such as beef roasts, stuffed pork chops, and stew meat. It all becomes a guessing game for us to try and determine what weather Mother Nature will send our way and how fast we need to adjust to these changes.
We have heard it a lot lately ďchange is good,Ē so enjoy the seasons and adjust to the change each season brings.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 10th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Being Happy with Changes
Time has been flying by. I hope those of you who were hoping summer would get here are very happy. Those of you who were wishing the rain would stop; I hope you are enjoying grilling and swimming weather. Those of you who are complaining about the hot dry days, just be patient, and you will see a change soon. Mother Nature has a way of always pleasing some and disappointing others. For me, I just try and enjoy whatever she dishes out. You may catch me murmuring a little, but overall, I love all the seasons.
We have been hearing a lot about the damage the drought may cause on food pricing. Iím sure there will be an effect, but the question isÖ how soon and how much effect will we experience? There are so many different things out there that change pricing at store level; it makes predicting the outcome of Mother Natures influences difficult.
So what do we do when we have to deal with these uncertain times? Just the best we can do day by day. I know it sounds silly, but it really is true. It seems like when we try to plan, something comes along and changes the plan. So here are some circumstances going on in the world of meat and seafood just to help you get a feel of the moment:
The fresh wild salmon season is beginning to wind down. It has been an interesting year for salmon. When we predicted good runs, we came up short on fish, and when we didnít think it was going to be great, the fish came in hard and strong. The Coho market is soft right now, but there are a lot of sockeye. No matter what the catch is, itís time to eat fresh wild salmon while itís available.
Pork has been taking small price increases and decreases week after week not really making much change in retail prices either way. I have eaten more pork this summer and have cooked it on the grill. Iíve really enjoyed the tenderness and flavor of grilled pork. Try some pork steaks on the grill. I think you will be pleased, but remember, donít overcook them.
Beef has taken some large price increases over the last several months. When I look year to year, beef retail prices have increased at least 30 cents per pound on less expensive cuts and a dollar or more on the higher end cuts of beef. However, because of the extreme heat in the mid-west, many cattle producers are processing more of their cattle to try and avoid future losses due to feed and other factors that increase the cost of raising cattle under these conditions. I believe we will see some softening of beef prices in the near future.
So as I said at the beginning, just do the best you can with the choices you have today and be happy. There is always the good, the bad, and the ugly to face, but we just need to find our way to figure the good as we push forward. Have a good week.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted AUG. 15th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
North to Alaska
I know itís been a while since I sent out a new blog. I have been really busy or maybe Iím getting a little lazy, but more likely a combination of the two.
We are definitely into summer now and grilling season is certainly upon us. It is so great to cook outside instead of in the house and just think, no pots or pans to wash at the end of meal. And the taste of food off the grill is so good.
I have been experimenting with grilling pork instead of beef the last few times IĎve grilled, and I have really enjoyed the flavor and tenderness of the pork. It has been a pleasant surprise at how well the pork performed cooking on the grill. So I suggest everyone try grilling some pork steaks, ribs, or chops and check it out for yourself.
We took a trip to Alaska two weeks ago; wow, Alaska is a beautiful place. Our purpose for the trip was to look at some seafood operations and to secure some business partnerships for our seafood departments. It is an eye opener to see the wholesale and processing end of the seafood business. I think most of us have seen the ďDeadliest CatchĒ and to actually realize what they do on that show is truly real life, makes it amazing in and of itself.
We met a lot of great people who have a lot of pride in their work. They were proud to take us through their plants and tell us about all of the safety precautions they have in place to keep the product fresh and clean. They showed us the programs that assure sustainability of their natural resources. It was fascinating to see fish count Stations set up to physically count how many salmon escape up the rivers to spawn. They want to be assured that there is plenty of fish to harvest year after year.
At the end of our weeklong tour in Alaska, we arrived home with a new found gratitude for the seafood industry. We learned that Mother Nature still rules the business and that we should be grateful for the abundance of fish and wildlife we are able to bring into our stores to sell to our great guests. We were grateful for the hard working men and women who give their all to bring us the freshest most beautiful salmon.
I would also like to thank Pacific Seafood, our largest supplier of fresh seafood, for being a great host and making it possible for us to see for ourselves this dynamic fascinating process. Bob and Matt, thanks for everything.You organized a great adventure for us.
Below is a picture of a beautiful spawning sockeye who made the long difficult trip from the ocean back to its original spawning grounds.
Have a great week
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 9th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Happy 4th of July!
The 4th of July celebration represents freedom and an opportunity to live a life of our choosing. We that live in the United States of America, are fortunate to live in a great country where we have the freedom to choose what we will make of our lives.
Iím so thankful for those who have fought for our freedom and for those who have made certain we remain free. What a great blessing it is for me and my family to live in this great country.
As we watch the beautiful display of lights flashing and thundering in the sky, I hope all of us will take a moment and show reverence to this great nation and to all that helped her continue to be so. And from my personal belief I thank God for a beautiful Promised Land in which Iím able to raise my children and watch my grand children grow up in.
I thought I would share with you my technique for grilling steaks on the outdoor grill. I hope you enjoy some great food over this weekís celebration.
Pre-heat your grill to a medium low heat, hot enough just to sear the meat. I like to cook my steaks slowly verses the flame broiled technique. I cook the first side to the point of causing the liquid to begin to build on the up side of the steak. I always turn my steaks with a pair of tongs, never a fork. When you poke the meat with a fork you can watch the juice pour out of the steak. Now the tricky part: turn the steak over and cook only long enough to finish the steak to the reddish pink center of doneness. This just takes practice because it all depends on how hot your grill is, how thick your steak is, (and how hungry you are). When you overcook a beef steak it loses flavor and tenderness, so be brave and try a reddish pink center. Let the steaks rest from the heat for four to five minutes and then enjoy every bite and donít forget to chew on the bone if thatís allowed.
Now just for fun, I want to show you a picture of a beautiful, delightful meal of pork chops created by my new friend Awilda who lives in Puerto Rico. I thought it would be fun to post some pictures of dishes we create for those special meals or just some pictures of your favorite meals. If you want send your pictures and include your recipe to email@example.com I may share them through this blog.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 3rd, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Cooking Pork to Perfection
My friend Awilda from Puerto Rico was wondering if I had rib eye steak (my wifeís favorite) or T-bone steak (my favorite) for Fatherís Day dinner; it was the T-bone steak that won out between the two. The T-bones were so good, cooked to perfection by Kenny the Meat Guy himself. We also had boneless pork steak on the grill, and that was excellent as well. I hadnít grilled pork steaks before, but it was great; it will now fit into the cooking rotation in our home.
One of the greatest features about pork steak is the price. You can find pork steak on sale for less than 2.50 per pound; what a deal!They are easy to cook, tender and juicy.
Now, the problem with cooking pork comes from the ďole wives taleĒ where people cooked pork until it called out ďuncleĒ. There was some truth to that old tale in years gone by.The need to cook pork well done was the result of the parasitic disease Trichinosis which was found in porkand other wild game, and those varieties of undercooked meat caused problems for humans. So pork was cooked very well done to assure there was no chance to contract the disease from eating the undercooked pork. Currently, the USDA approves pork cooked to 165 degrees, since the risk of contracting trichinosis has now been virtually removed. The trick now is to reeducate consumers with this information so they will quit over cooking pork.
The Copper River sockeye salmon story has been good this year. All in all, we had a pretty good run on the Copper River salmon and the price was lower than we have seen over the last few years. The runs on Copper River sockeye are almost finished. There will be more sockeye salmon from other areas and the Copper River Coho will be coming along in a while.
Remember, take advantage of the wild salmon season while we have the availability to buy them fresh. It is also a good time to buy extra and properly prepare them for the freezer. If frozen fresh and stored properly, salmon will have great texture and will retain wonderful flavor when thawed.
Now is the time to be grilling outdoors and enjoying the unique flavor of outdoor cooking. Maybe we will review proper freezing and storing information in my next blog.
Until then, have fun with food, one of lifeís great pleasures; happy cooking!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUN. 21st, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Father's Day Steaks
Hello my Friends, Yes, I am excited, Fatherís day is right around the corner and with a little luck the sun will be out, the wind will be calm, and Iíll be spoiled rotten (I hope). So mark your calendars so no one gets forgotten.
Now, Iím not a breakfast in bed type of guy, but a grilled T-bone steak is more up my alley. Oh yeah, and a big bowl of ice cream to top off the steak (helps to digest you know). So letís review how to cook the perfect Steak for Fatherís Day, Kenny the Meat Guy Style!
First: You must start out with a great steak. Yes, it really does make a big difference. My choice is a Certified Hereford T-Bone or Bone-in Rib Eye steak. Remember I do like to cook a steak with a bone in it, because I think it adds to the flavor of the steak. If the steak has been in the refrigerator for two or three days all the better, aging adds flavor.
Second: I love cooking with only salt, pepper, and garlic. I go heavy on the garlic and lighter on the salt. Any more seasoning than that, I believe, hides the natural flavor of the beef steak. I season both side of the steak just in case you were wondering. If you love the flavor of the sauce more than the meat just put the sauce on a hamburger. Just kidding (kinda)!
Third: Pre-heat your grill to a medium low heat, hot enough just to seer the meat. I like to cook my steaks slowly verses the flame broiled technique. I cook the first side to the point of causing the liquid to begin to build on the up side of the steak. I always turn my steaks with a pair of tongs, never a fork. When you poke the meat with a fork you can watch the juice pour out of the steak. Now the tricky part: turn the steak over and cook only long enough to finish the steak to the reddish pink center of doneness. This just takes practice because it all depends on how hot your grill is, how thick your steak is, (and how hungry you are). When you overcook a beef steak it loses flavor and tenderness, so be brave and try a reddish pink center. Let the steaks sit off of the heat for four to five minutes and then enjoy every bite and donít forget to chew on the bone if thatís allowed.
Thatís it. Really simple but it works well for me and I hope you have great results too.
Have a great Fatherís day weekend and take a chance, chew on the bone!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUN. 12th, 2012 by
Better Try Some Copper River
Copper River Salmon jumped out to a big start. The 1st opener on May 17th, landed tons of fish and so did the 2nd opener on May 21st. That means you and I have a great opportunity to buy some of the richest tasting wild salmon the Pacific Ocean produces at a very low price (comparatively speaking to most years). You will see costs under $10.00 per pound. Last yearís opening price was between $15 & $17 per pound. Take advantage of this great start as soon as possible. It looks like the price will even drop more, but you never can tell what Mother Nature has in store for us. It may continue to be a hot market or it may shut down as fast as it started.
I was listening to a talk radio show last week and the guy commented that there was no difference between Copper River Salmon and any other wild Salmon caught in the Pacific. Iím going to state my opinion as loud and knowingly as he did, and I will tell you from my own experience and according to the experts; there is not only a difference but a huge difference! So there you have it; the only way for you to know who to believe is to try it yourself. Marketing can certainly play a part in the success of a product, but over the years, if marketing statements are false, the product will soon loose popularity. Just look at the fillets alone, and you will see a difference.
Scientifically explained, the Cooper River salmon has a tough trip going back to its spawning grounds. So between the extra hard workout and the very, very cold water the fish swim in, the fish become richer in omega 3 oils and the meat becomes firmer. There are other Salmon that go through similar treks and conditions, and they may be as good as the Copper River Salmon, but they too bring a little higher price on the market.
So between the nutritional values, lower prices, and the excellent flavor, donít miss the opportunity on this wonderful tasting salmon.
Next, I just wanted to mention Memorial Day and the reason for it. The purpose of this holiday was to show reverence and honor our fallen military soldier. Awhile later, it was expanded as a day for us to remember all of our loved ones who passed on before us. I hope we will all take a moment out of our three day weekend and remember those who have led the way for each of us. I also hope the sun will shine a little on us all. There is nothing like the feeling of warm sunlight hitting us, and I guess we absorb some vitamin D as a bonus. Isnít life a wonderful thing?
Have a Nice Memorial Day
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAY. 22nd, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Copper River Salmon
Well it has been a while since I have checked in with you all. Time seems to be going by so fast these days. Maybe itís because the longer daylight hours are keeping me outside later which limits my time inside working on my computer.
I love the springtime as the grass turns green and all the trees and shrubs bloom. What a beautiful time of year. Mother Nature sure has a way of creating beauty, and we just need to take the time to enjoy it. Other beautiful things that come with spring are all the new born creatures. We are seeing some baby birds, and of course, lots of baby geese. How is it that all of these little ones are so cute? I love watching their awkwardness as they learn to walk, eat, and fly? Yeah, I know, they donít stay little forever.
Other marvelous adventures that takes place this time of year are the salmon runs in the northwest. It is hard to phantom all of these magnificent fish fighting their way up streams and rivers to continue the cycle of life. Millions of fish fight against the rushing water, rocks, and other obstacles to return to where their lives began to replenish their species. We should be grateful for this abundant cycle of life that gives us the opportunity to enjoy the harvest of wild salmon with their great rich flavor and nutritional value. They are truly a delightful, healthy, and nutritious food.
So the famous Copper River Salmon are on their way, one of the most famous of the salmon we see each spring. The Copper River is beginning to shed its winter cover and will soon provide the harvest of these beautiful fish. The first season opener is scheduled for the 17th of May, and remember, the supply of fish is totally dependent on Mother Nature. Weíre waiting in anticipation for the first delivery of the Copper River Sockeye. We ask ourselves, how many will there be, how long will they be available, and what will the going price be?The answers to all of these questions will be determined in the fast pace race to market.
One thing for sure, you donít want to miss out on this great tasting fish. They are so good when cooked outdoors on the grill. Remember to use some aluminum foil to aid in easy cooking and clean up as you cook on your grill. They are quick and easy to fix. You can cook the whole fish or buy steaks or fillets. Anyway you cook it will provide a delicious healthy meal for you, your family, and friends. Look for Copper River salmon to show up at Yokeís Fresh Markets very soon after the 17th of May.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAY. 9th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
The Good and the Bad Response
After many years of living on our timbered land, we have discovered a new pesky pest that needs to be dealt with. I have only seen one porcupine in the 12 years weíve lived here, but a month ago, I discovered a tree with almost all of the bark chewed off. (See picture below) As I looked around, I soon found this was one of many trees missing large sections of bark. I contacted a forester, and he confirmed that the damage was caused by a porcupine, and the best solution was to try and trap the little varmint.
We also have a pair of geese that have decided to build their nest on top of our wood pile. That will be fun to watch over the next few weeks as the pair take care of their eggs until that magical day when the eggs hatch and there will be several little ones discovering their new found life.
Along with the joy wildlife brings to me and the fun of living in a place where we see deer, moose, coyotes, ducks, geese, birds, squirrels, beavers, raccoons, bears, and now porcupines, there is also a downside we must tolerate and that is the nuisance some of those same creatures bring with them. Yeah, I know they were here first, but still, I need to tolerate and deal with certain things.
The porcupines and beavers kill the trees; the geese, well if you have geese you know what they do. The deer eat our garden plants; the squirrels eat the seed I put out for the birds, and they chew up my hammock and use that material to make a nest. The raccoons get into everything; well you get my point.
Now as you usually say when you read this blog ďwhat does this have to do with your meat and seafood program?Ē and here is the tie inÖ
Spring is here and with it comes several wonderful opportunities for some really fine dining like Copper River salmon, fresh halibut, fresh Oregon shrimp, and so on. Spring brings easier conditions for the cattle to graze and not be so cold. Transportation is easier, not having to deal with the bad roads.But we also have new problems that come along like living with new restrictive quotas on seafood that limit the catch of several products, warmer temperatures cause refrigeration problems, and so on. I call this the opposition in all things theory.
So we take the good with the bad and focus all the good stuff and not let the bad get to us. As we see problems with supply, new products coming in, some products going away, or prices going higher, be patient, and look for the good; it will be there too. Enjoy the seasons and what comes with them. Now get out those grills, and put on a steak, chicken hindquarter, pork chops, hot dogs, or burgers and enjoy. Spring is here!
Posted APR. 17th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
It's My Birthday, and Halibut Season is On
As I typed in April 2nd, I realized that it was my birthday, wahoo another year older.
So what is the magic number where you go from hating to admit how old you are, to bragging about how old you are?Just wondering, I donít want to miss the change. It seems funny to me that when we are old enough to start understanding about birthdays and age, we brag about how old we are. You have all seen the little kids trying to hold up their fingers to show you how old they are, and they are so proud of it too. Next, is when we hit that magic age of 18 and then 21; oh yeah we are adults now.
Then the next stage is when you see tears of sadness in oneís eyes, and they must admit they turned 40 or 50 (50 was my painful number). Then at some point, we hit that magic number when we start to brag and find pride in the fact that we have made it for so many years.If we can, we will tell a little secret that comes along with the age.For example, you may hear (in an older voice) ďYep, I just turned 77 today, and I got dressed all by myself.Ē Oops, I guess thatís back to the three year old stage. Itís more likely; ďI turned 80 today, got up, and walked 3 miles without even stopping.Ē Iím just hoping to make it that long.
Ok, Ok back to the subject of meat and seafood. As I have mentioned earlier, spring brings the wild fishery season. Halibut is jumping out of the gates with a steady start. The catch quotas are down again this year, so we started with a big price on halibut. As the season opened, the first couple of days brought a lot of fish, so the price dropped a couple bucks a pound pretty fast.
Now I wish I could get out a crystal ball and tell you how the halibut season will continue, but I canít. I think the next couple of weeks would be an excellent time to enjoy some fresh halibut and maybe even buy a little extra to freeze for later. Remember, if you buy it fresh and wrap it up really well, the halibut will still have great texture and flavor for up to six months. Just make sure itís placed in a freezer thatís not going to allow it to soften and refreeze a bunch of times.
The next opener that excites me is the Columbia River King Salmon. We should be seeing fish in April. Then starting in May more and more rivers famous for their high quality salmon will open. For example, the Copper River Salmon, Stikine River, and the Taku River all open in May.
So the bottom line for wild fresh salmon and halibut lovers is to be ready to take advantage of all this great fish heading your way. Make a little extra room in your freezer to stock up, so you can enjoy wild fish even when the seasons close.
One thing for sure is that it doesnít get any better than fresh from the rivers and onto your table. Enjoy.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Oh yeah, and Happy birthday to me.
Posted APR. 2nd, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Boston Cream Pie
Greeting from Boston! I have been attending the grand ole Boston Seafood Show. WOW, it is an incredible sight to sea (oops I mean see).
The very night we arrived in Boston there was a story on the news about (pink Slime) being added to ground beef? I knew the questions would come flying in and they did. I canít blame any of you for being concerned about your ground beef if you saw or even heard about that story. We quickly answered the concerns we received and posted a response on our face book page, but I felt I should send out a response on this blog as well.
The good news isÖNo, there is no pink slime added to our ground beef. As I have stated many times in the past, we are pleased and proud to be involved in our Certified Herford Beef program. Certified Hereford uses only whole muscle meat in their ground beef and nothing else. That not only gives us a great wholesome product, but also a more flavorful ground meat. We know when and where the beef came from and how it is handled. When the mad cow scare was raised, we addressed the issue with confidence and were able to tell our customers that our product is safe and wholesome.
Well that made my week a lot better than it might have been. So instead of being worried sick, Iím sitting at this beautiful restaurant in Boston having a piece of Boston cream pie. Bet you wish you were here. Oh yeah, the sun is shining too.
Have a good week
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAR. 12th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Heading to Boston
Our cruise was so great; we were able to go to the Western Caribbean. The weather was beautiful with lots of sun and amazing warm water. Itís all about the water for me. As a young boy, I remember checking out many books about scuba diving and watching TV shows about underwater adventures.
Later in my life, I got my open water dive certification but living in North Idaho, I didnít get many opportunities to see the beauty I read about or the scenes I saw on TV. It wasnít until many years later when Paula and I went to Hawaii for our 25th wedding anniversary that I experience tropical water. What a thrill it was to stick my head underwater and see that beautiful sight I had read about and seen on TV for those many years. I couldnít believe it was as stunning as I had imagined.
Now Iím off again, but this time itís off to Boston to visit one of the largest seafood shows available. I go to these shows to look for new opportunities for great products to offer our guests and to learn about new technologies. Itís really important I get the chance see for myself the processing plants we partner with and that I become familiar with their products.Yokeís Foods is really supportive in giving associates opportunities to learn and grow. In April, I will be flying to Kansas to see one of the newest pork processing plants in the United States.
I look forward to seeing and visiting all these great places. For me, itís like the tropical water, I could read about it, and I could see pictures, but neither compare to seeing it all for myself. Seeing these companies and checking out their products for myself gives me confidence that I have made the right decisions in choosing our meat programs. Iím proud of my company and what we are able bring to you (our guests). Thanks for shopping at Yokeís.
Kenny the Meat Guy (scuba man)
Posted MAR. 6th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
This was a response I wrote to gentlemen who asked about beef grades and why so many retailers donít state the grade of their beef. I thought you all might be interested as wellÖ
I appreciate your question on grades of Beef. I understand your concern and the confusion that surrounds your question. Iíll try not to make my response too long. There is a lot of information that I could go into to help you better understand why we (Yokeís Foods) have moved in particular direction over the last 12 years. I will give you my explanation, and if you want to discuss it further, please feel respond by e-mail.
Over the years, the focus on determining good beef was on grading which was based solely on marbling found between the chuck and the rib eye. Over the last fifty years, there have been many changes in beef production. In the 1950ís, there was a desire to try and breed a larger animal which in turn would produce larger cuts of beef, more tonnage to be sold, and increase money for the beef industry.
They were successful in creating these larger breeds by crossbreeding larger work cattle with beef cattle for consumption. Two of the best breeds for beef consumption were Angus and Herefords, and there were a few others too. So they cross bred these breeds with the larger working cattle like Brahmas. What they werenít expecting was the eating quality to change with these new cross breeds.
In the late 50ís through the early 80sí, the beef industry experienced a large decline in beef consumption which of course alarmed the industry and forced the beef producer to once again examine their cattle producing standards.
Realizing that they had created a less desirable product that didnít satisfy the needs of those who loved beef, they began research to resolve this new problem. As the research continued, they now realized that not only did the marbling establish what made good eating beef, but also the breed. In-fact, there were studies and testing done, which established the breed itself was more prominent in determining good beef flavor than the marbling.
Over the next few years, we saw the creation of many new beef programs where different criteria were established to try and create a better eating beef product. The new beef programs created huge changes in the selecting process as the beef was processed in plants. Additional money was offered to ranchers who produced beef that would pass the criteria and would allow the product to be selected for the newly defined programs. So at the end of the day, the beef that wasnít selected or didnít meet the standards of the new programs was tagged commodity choice (if the marbling was there).
So retailers started jumping on these newly offered programs trying to find a way to define the product they were selling to their customers. If the retailer didnít choose a new program, they were stuck with the cattle that didnít make it into these new programs. So even though it may have graded ďchoiceĒ, it was still the poorest cattle of the herd. So now you see all of these retailers advertising the name of their program and less emphasis placed on grade only.
I canít speak to every program out there, but I can speak to our program. After much research, we chose Certified Hereford Beef. There were many reasons for this choice, and I will list a few of them. Certified Hereford beef can only be crossed with pure bred Angus or Short Horn (two well known beef eating breeds) and it has to be 51% or higher pure bred Hereford. Our program assures all product is born and raised in the USA. It is fed a 100% vegetarian corn based diet, and is on a withdrawal program to assure the product is free of any added hormones or antibiotics. There are several more requirements, and if you want more information, please let me know.
All of our beef is graded at the time of process by USDA inspectors as Certified Hereford Beef. There are other Hereford programs out there that differ from ours. Our Certified Herford Beef grades upper 2/3 select to lower 1/3 choice. One of the qualities of the Hereford breed is fine marbling placed throughout the meat and not as concentrated in singles areas.
I believe with all my heart Yokeís offers the best beef program we could find and you can taste the difference between our product and others. I would invite you to try our beef and hopefully you will find the same satisfaction in our product as we have found. I know this was a lengthy answer, but I hope it answers your question. If not, feel free to contact me for more information
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted FEB. 23rd, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
State of the Meat Address
Before I get into the meat of this blog (pardon the Pun) I want to share with you that Paula and I are going on vacation this very day. So if I seem even more scattered than normal, itís because Iím bursting with excitement knowing we are about to jump on a plane to Florida and then hop on a boat for a cruise whoowho.
Now, back to the state of the meat address. As the new year progresses, I promise you we will see more price increases as a result of higher fuel prices, feed cost increases, and increases in meat product exports.
I also promise, you will see more aggressive sales as retailers try to convince you to shop their respective stores to get the best price around, but since we will all be about the same price, I promise you Yokeís will deliver great product, more variety, cleaner brighter stores, and great guest service. Thatís where you will find the extra value when you shop with us.
This year we have the addition of nutritional labeling to help you determine the health value of meat products. This new regulation kicks in March 1st.
We are also coming closer to the beginning of the Alaskan wild fish season beginning with wild halibut in March followed by the salmon season openers in May. In fact, I have heard there will be some wild Yukon Keta salmon coming our way soon. This isnít your ordinary chum salmon; this will be much richer and more firm because of the very cold water they are harvested from.
Spring and summer also promises to present the unstoppable urge to fire up that grill and throw on some great tasting tender Certified Hereford steaks. Make no mistake about it; you can taste the difference between our Certified Hereford Beef and our competitors beef. If you canít take my word for it, try it out for yourself; you will taste a difference.
Last but maybe most importantly, I would like to thank you for allowing me to be in your lives, even if it is in a very small way. I enjoy sharing with you my thoughts and tidbits of knowledge throughout the year. If you will give me another year of reading this blog, I promise you will learn something new and maybe catch a laugh or two in the process. Thanks for shopping with us too, we appreciate your patronage.
Now it is off to the boat, Iíll catch up with you in a couple of weeks. Have a good week, and donít forget that smiles are contagious... J see!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted FEB. 10th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
On to February
When I ran track in school years ago, I was ready to run the 220yd dash and was disqualified for jumping the gun 2 times in a row. Walking across the center field was a shameful embarrassing walk. Trying to be careful not to jump out too fast on my New Yearís resolution, being healthy, wealthy, and wise, I havenít yet started my new yearís quest. But remember, we never fail until we quit, and I have yet to quit.
Now that January has come and gone, itís time to move on to February. I say we should celebrate right out of the gate.Itís leap year, that once every 4 year event. Just thinkÖ you get one extra day this year to help offset your complaint of never having enough time. I would be interested to know what you did with your extra 24 hours.
Now for the second event of February: Valentineís Day. This is that special day set aside to show your appreciation for someone special who has blessed your life. Itís really important not to blunder this one. As you know by now, my celebration will be based around food. My favorite dinner (if I have to pick just one) would be T-bone steak, prawns, green salad, and of course ice cream for dessert. If you were to ask my wife, Paula, about the dinner menu, she would change the T-bone for a rib eye steak and trade ice cream for chocolate. To make this a truly special day, you must also give of yourself unselfishly, so I guess it will be rib eye and chocolate. But then, shouldnít she give unselfishly too. You can see how quickly things can get complicated. Happy Valentineís Day to all of you!
To accommodate your Valentineís meal, Yokeís brings you exceptional values throughout the store.We define value by providing you with amazing food choices, great prices, beautifully clean stores, and exceptional guest service. This isnít just talk, we walk the talk.Let me describe what our meat department will do to help you make your Valentineís Day a great success:
We provide you with the best beef program we have found during our search for quality, Certified Hereford Beef. We purchased rib eyes to age them for over 5 weeks which enhances tenderness and flavor; then we reduced the price. We also located some beautiful snow crab sections to go with those steaks and reduced the price on those as well. We also have lobster tails, prawns, and many other great items. With this variety, you have several choices for your special meal, and we guarantee your satisfaction on all of our products.
I just touched on our special products in our meat department. You will find the same value, quality and service throughout our store, including flowers, chocolates, cards, and specialty gift items.We provide one stop shopping for all of your Valentineís needs.Try us, you will love us.
Happy days to all of you,
Kenny the Meat Guy
Yokeís Meat Department Specialist
Posted JAN. 29th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Seafood Market Dilemmas
So how are we all doing on those New Year goals and resolutions?Iíve heard that most people fall off track before the first month is finished.Well, I pulled a fast one this year, and I still havenít even started mine, so I feel I havenít failed. Iím beginning to build up my strength for when I get going on them though. You have to love the challenge of the New Yearís desire to make things as good as they can be.What I try to keep in mind are the following two principles:
You havenít failed as long as you keep trying.
Even the smallest improvement is better than no improvement at all.
So donít get discouraged or downhearted; just keep working at it, and keep the hope of a great year alive!
I want to touch base on the seafood market. It has been an interesting year. Once again as the Dungeness crab season started, it quickly tumbled downhill to a very poor harvest and higher prices.Two major events affected the market: First, the fill rate (which is how much meat is inside the body of the crab) was not up to par at the beginning of the harvest, and they delayed the seasonsí opening. The second was supply and demand (low supply and high demand) on the product which drove the prices higher.A really big part of the demand is coming from the export market where other countries (because of the financial markets) can now afford to buy and ship fresh Dungeness crab to their countries.
Even though it seems like a mild winter to us in the Northwest, there have been several storms making rough seas and delaying many boats from fishing.As a result of this weather, we have seen a short supply of fresh fish, especially affecting the bottom fish category, such as true cod, rock fish, and sole, for example.Also adding to the problem is that most fresh wild salmon and halibut seasons are closed.So the question arises: what do we do with the dilemma of a short fresh fish supply?
There are several frozen seafood options available to supply a nice variety of seafood for our menus.There are several good quality frozen wild salmon fillets and halibut steaks.There are also pretty good options for frozen cod or rock fish.And keep in mind, we still have fresh clams and oysters available.
So the best option for you is to ask our seafood associates for their best suggestions.Our well trained associates have studied the seafood market, and they know whatís available and how to determine quality; they will be honored to help you.
The good news isÖspring is on its way, and we should see some better fishing opportunities in a couple of months.So just like our New Yearís resolutions, be patient and wait for the good thing to come.
Have a great week!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 16th, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Hello and Happy New Year to all of you out there in blog land. I love the coming of the New Year. I can draw the curtain down on the old year and begin a brand new year. Of course, the next step is making and setting new resolutions and goals, and if achieved, it will make this a wonderful year.
Yeah, I know that there are some things that get carried over from one year to the next, but we can face those things with a new hope and maybe muster-up a little more gratitude for the many good things life has brought us.
So here is wishing all of you a successful and happy new year.
So what does the New Year bring to us in the world of meat?
We are seeing more and better meals in minutes. Meals in minutes are items we prepare for you to take home and cook yourself in a short period of time, and make it look like you slaved for hours creating a beautiful meal. Theyíre really a pretty economical way to cook for yourself or your family because you donít have to buy all the spices or ingredients for one meal. Meals like beef pin wheel, chicken cordon bleu, meat loaf, stuffed pork chops, pot pies, and many more delicious choices.
Other items you will find at Yokeís are more healthy choices such as gluten free or no MSG products. We are finding a greater demand for healthier food choices and are supplying the demand with a more selections.
We have developed a no MSG and gluten free dinner sausage and fryer breasts, and several gluten free fish and meat items. If you havenít checked out the Natures Corners section of Yokeís, you are missing a wide variety of natural and organic foods.
One more bragging point, all of our fresh beef, pork, and chicken are products of the USA. We offer our guests top of the line meat products that will that are healthy and safe
Thanks for sharing some of your precious time reading my thoughts and opinions, and I hope they bring a smile to your face and satisfaction to your table.
Happy New Year,
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 2nd, 2012 by Kenny the Meat Guy
It was a week before Christmas and all through the house, we were all hustling and bustling and running about.
Preparing mightily, for that special day, when all the good things come flying our way.
With family and friends, and great food on its way, I canít wait for the time, I call Christmas Day.
I love the laughter and joy I feel, and wish the good tidings with all of its thrills
To be upon you in this same way, as we all stop and enjoy Christmas Day.
By Kenny the Poet and Meat Guy
Oh yeah, you didnít know that along with my powerful writing skills, I had this poetic streak in me too. I really just want to wish you all the best and hope that we can all find some joy to share with others through this holiday season.
I guess for dinner itís all about hams, turkeys, geese, ducks, and for me Divine rib eye roast. There are so many good things to choose from. But here at Yokeís, we work extra hard to bring you the best Rib Eye roast possible. We age it for over five weeks to bring out tenderness and flavor, and weíll even season it for you on request. We trim it to be ready for the oven, cut the rib bones from the meat then tie them back on.This makes it be easy for you to carve but retains the flavors from the bones. We never freeze our ribs to save money, and we use Certified Hereford beef which I believe is one of the best beef products available to us. Enjoy Your Holidays!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted DEC. 19th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
I love the month of December.I know there are soft, kind, and giving hearts out there especially
during the Christmas season. Maybe
there is a magic in the air at this time of year. No matter how it happens, Iím grateful for all the kind deeds
I see taking place in our community. The bright lights, beautiful decorations, and the joyous
music, fill our senses as we go about our days.
This is also a crabby time of the year here in the
Northwest. WhyÖ because this is
the time of year the great Dungeness crab harvest goes into full swing.
There just aint nothiní better than crackiní and eatiní those wonderful, sweet,
fresh, Dungeness crabs. The month of December is the month to take advantage
of great pricing on our bountiful supply of crab. The season gets
underway usually in November and will run into the first of the New Year, but
now is the time to get the best deals.
The other good news on the crab seen is that the Dungeness crab
fishery is a well regulated.This
sustainable program ensures we will have a good supply of Dungeness crab now
and into the future. I have spoken
on sustainable programs in prior blogs, but the efforts put forth to protect
this valuable resource always impresses me.
If any of you out there have watched the show ďThe Deadliest
CatchĒ you have to appreciate even more, the gallant efforts of these fishermen
to bring us crab.
So as you sit in your warm house ready to chow down on that
succulent crab meat, pause for a minute and be grateful for the many wonderful
blessing we enjoy.
Happy holidays and MERRY CHRISTMAS to all of you!
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted DEC. 7th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Now that we are closing in on Thanksgiving, I thought we might talk Turkey. Most of us focus on the meat entrťe for Thanksgiving, and most of the time turkey or ham is the entrťe of choice. Some folks serve lamb, game hens (thatís a real fun choice), Rib Roasts, Lasagna, and other dishes, but today, letís talk turkey.
There are so many choices out there; it can become a chore selecting a Turkey. Let me define a few of those choices to make it a little easier for you to decide the bird best suited for your holiday dinner. Remember, most my comments are based on my experiences from working in this industry for 41 years. Since new technologies are continually changing and may have changed how turkeys are raised, stored, and processed, your experiences vary, so please place my thoughts in the ďfor what itís worthĒ category.
Frozen turkeys are processed and frozen almost immediately after processing so they should be really fresh (not old) just frozen. I believe that freezing any proteins changes the texture and taste some but very little. If handled properly, this product is great.
Fresh turkeys, now properly call Refrigerated turkeys, are never frozen. They do, however, allow the processor to drop the temperature of the turkey to 28 degrees which form a hard crust on the surface of the turkey. They do this to maintain quality by slowing the ability of bacteria to form on the outside of the turkey during shipping and storage, but the whole turkey never freezes solid.
Brands: As in all products, there are many brands available, and those brands can produce different quality based on how they are handled during processing and storage. Only research and experience can help you make a decision here.
Grades or quality are a factor in the differences of turkeys. The grades mostly speak to the visual appearance of the bird. For example, wing tips missing, skin tears oreven gouges in the meat. Many times this does not change the flavor but only speaks to the appearance of the bird.
Other differences are self-explanatory but still offer more choices. Some of these choices include basted verses non-basted, with or without pop-up timers, organic, smoked, and even boneless. Then you have whole turkeys, turkey breasts, hindquarters, thighs, legs, wings, and of course giblets.
There are definitely more choices and discussions that could be made, but this is enough Turkey Talk for one blog.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 11th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Saving for Soup
Welcome to the happy month of November as the ghost and goblins go back to rest until next Halloween. I wonder how many of us still have candy stashes stocked away in our own private crooks and crannies. I know my sweet wife will have a few morsels tucked away for safe keeping. She stashes those little chocolate candies away because she knows if she leaves them out in the open, I will be sneaking them for myself.I guess I canít really blame her for her private reserves. I have tried to stash some away for myself, but since I know where I put them, I canít stay out of them. Oh well, Iím not beyond begging.
I was talking to a chef the other day, and he was sharing with me how important it is in his business to offer really good soup. Apparently, he uses the end pieces of meal preparation, such as small pieces of onion, celery stalks, or trimmed pieces of meat. That really surprised me but made perfect sense. As we cut steaks, vegetables, and other items while preparing meals, we always have those parts and pieces left over, most of the time I chuck those little hunks in the compost bin or into my mouth. This guy collects all that good stuff and uses it in his soup. What a great idea; it saves wasting all that good food and helps create a great tasting dish. I didnít ask him how he saved the pieces until he got enough to add to the soup, but Iím guessing you could place them in a freezer bag and keep them frozen until you gathered enough to make the soup.
Weíve discussed how quick and easy soup is to make, and itís easy to store. Zip lock bags or other containers can be used to freeze or store in the refrigerator.The many flavors of soup seem to meld together and improve with time, so I like to eat it one or two days after I make it.
As we approach this wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, I thought I might mention two opportunities to use this ďsave the soup stuffĒ program. The leftover turkey carcass is first to come to mind. There is so much meat left on the turkey carcass; itís a shame to throw it all away. I always try and give my turkey carcass to my sister and let her make the soup. It really is quite an easy process. Just get a pan big enough for the turkey carcass; add just enough water to cover the carcass, and let it simmer for a couple of hours. The meat will begin to fall off the bones and the water will turn into the most luscious broth.Itís perfect for turkey noodle soup! Just remove the bones and add some noodles, vegetables, and seasonings and you will have a beautiful pot of soup.
The second item that comes to mind is that left over ham bone. It works the same way as the turkey carcass. Just go through the same steps and add some great Northern beans and you will have created a wonderful tasting pot of bean soup.
Itís your choice to decide what items you like in either the bean or turkey soup. I like adding potatoes, along with other vegetables to my soups. You can also decide if you want to thicken the broth with a little corn starch or flour. But it any case, this comfort food is economical, healthy, easy, and delicious. So keep those ideas in mind and watch for opportunities to collect end pieces to make your soup stock and enjoy!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 2nd, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
The weather is certainly changing and that creates changes in our meat departments and maybe in your own kitchens. Ok Iíll explain. As the weather cools down and gets a little bit more unpleasant, we tend to move from wanting to cook outdoors to wanting to cook indoors. We also have a tendency to cook different items, such as roasts instead of steaks, and soups in place of burgers.
As we change our cooking strategies, changes occur in the products we buy. Changes in buying habits create changes in supply and demand of certain items, which changes the cost of those items. Wow, all this just because the weather is changing.
So here is the bottom line to all the above confusion. You will find lower prices of beef steaks (especially on ads) and higher prices on roasts. This is all caused by the demand and ability to sell the whole animal. We must sell all parts of the animal so prices are adjusted on different cuts to encourage or discourage the movement of those cuts.
What does that mean to you? Simply thisÖif you buy the items that are of less demand, you will get better pricing on those items, and you will save money. The good part of this situation is that steaks tastes good weather it is cold out or not. So now is the time to stock up on the beef steaks and other summer cooking treats.
By the way, since I cook on the grill all year around, I enjoy great steaks regardless of the season, and as a bonus, I save a little money on steaks through the winter months. So enjoy the savings and the steaks.
Uumm, I guess I should say I cook on the grill all year around except when the weather looks like this. Notice my grill almost buried in the snow?
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 25th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Fall & New Ideas
Well, here comes fall; it has been a beautiful Indian summer. There is something special about the beginning of fall especially when we have those spectacular sunny days. Have you ever noticed how you can actually feel a difference in the air? It seems crisp, clear, and clean, and there is also a difference in the smell in the air. I donít know what causes that, and it may just happen in the great Northwest, but it is definitely a real deal.
Paula and I just celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary, and we had decided our gift to one another for this grand occasion would be kayaks. Donít worry, I also took her out for Chinese food (at least I didnít buy her a wheel barrel or some kind of cooking ware). Weíve been on the water in our new kayaks three times now. They are so quiet and easy to get around in and nature is so stunning this time of year. As I have mentioned many times in the past, lifeís joy is finding those precious moments that touch us in a simple peaceful way. I hope we can all find those moments as we go through these crazy, busy, and uncertain times.
As I was writing the first couple of paragraphs of this blog, Paula read what I had written and asked ďwhat does this have to do with meat?Ē No, I didnít have an answer, but here is how my thought pattern works. I like to share the nice side of life with others because I think we all need to remember that good side, and when Iím thinking of the good side of things, food always pops into my mind. So here is my food thought for this blog
One of the comments I hear from our guests when Iím in our stores is ďI need to come up with something newĒ. It is really easy to get in a cooking rut, and we have a tendency to fix the same meals over and over. Itís similar to when we go out to dinner; if we find a restaurant we really like, we go there over and over, and more than likely, we order the same meal weíve had before because we liked it a lot.
So my suggestion to all is to experiment with food a little more. Try different cuts of meat, and use a different cooking method. My daughter, Tricia, has been encouraging Paula and me to do just that. She sends us different ideas and recipes to try. New seasoning or sauces will bring a whole new experience to sensitive taste buds and may even make you shout when you taste your new creation. Itís fun and it might just make meal planning and cooking more exciting. Look on the internet to for recipes to experiment with, and enjoy these new ideas.
Eating the right food is certainly a focus of meal planning these days. From cooking shows to news articles, we hear about the need to eat healthier, and I think that is good advice. So keep health & wellness as a part of the equation when you experiment with your new cooking ideas. Until next time, have fun with your food preparation, and enjoy some new tasty treats.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 7th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Baked Potatoes on the Grill?
I heard someone saying that fall is in the air, and I agree, but this weekend weíre going to see the temperatures into the high eighties. So what are we going to do with that information? How about another great ďon the grill mealĒ?We need to enjoy this beautiful late summer weather while we have it.
So here is a suggestion to help make the baked potato a great part of ďthe grill meal dealĒÖ Get your potatoes all cleaned up and ready to bake (no foil wrap though) just wash them, take a fork, and poke the potato about six times all around its circumference.Now light your grill to start your pre-heat. Itís now time to stick those potatoes in your microwave and cook them on high for 4 minutes. Then turn them over and cook them for 4 more minutes on the opposite side.Now place the potatoes on your grill just the way they are.The best place to set them is on the upper rack if your grill has two shelves. If itís only one level, then place them on the coolest area of your grill (usually near the back or sides).Now itís time to season those beautiful steaks on both sides and get ready to put them on the grill too.
Iíll share my little grilling secret on when to turn those steaks over; I leave them on the first side until a little liquid purges to the top side of the steak. That is the time to turn them over.Now you have to guess when to pull them off. It will be a lot less time than it took to cook the first side. I usually guess Ĺ the time, but there are so many variables it really is a guess.
Now for the summary! By pre-cooking your potatoes in the microwave, the cook time is cut way down, and theyíre just finished on the grill. The grill will crisp the skin and will give the potato a nice finish. Theyíll be ready to pull when your steaks are done so everything is ready at the same time. You can prepare a green salad or hereís one more option, try corn on the cob in the microwave. It is so quick and easy, and itís delicious. Wrap the ears of corn individually with waxed paper and place them in the microwave.Cook on high for about 5 minutes for two or three ears. Start them just as you flip the steaks over, and they will be ready when your steaks and potatoes come off the grill. You can also cook the corn on the grill if you have room, just leave it in the husk and set it on the grill, turning it over when you turn your steaks. The corn should be ready when the steaks are done. Donít forget the butter for the corn and the baked potato. If you are grilling a Yokeís Certified Hereford Steak you wonít need any sauce.
I get so hungry when I describe cooking the great grill meal. I just may have to follow my own suggestion. Enjoy the sunshine!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 20th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Holding Back Price Increases
What a Beautiful Labor Day weekend we just enjoyed. Itís rare to have the weather cooperating the entire three-day weekend. We have had a long standing tradition of family reunions on Labor Day, and I canít tell you how many of those weekends were cold and wet. This year after having several weeks in a row of our children and grandkids visiting us (which was wonderful) Paula and I stayed home for the holiday. (No, Iím not complaining). We had a great Labor Day weekend.
Paula and I went fishing several times, and I think she crushed me on the total fish catch every time. We also went hiking, bike riding, and took a few walks.
We also enjoyed eating (of course). With fresh watermelons, cantaloupes, and mangos available, we enjoyed fresh fruits and salads each day. We also enjoyed wild sockeye salmon, turkey, Nachoís, Woodís smoked sausages (made right in Sandpoint), and smores.
What was fun about the meals was using the techniques I had blogged about during the last year. You just canít beat sitting around the campfire, roasting a Woodís smoked sausage, and finishing the evening with the perfect smore while gazing at the beautiful starry night. We had a great time!
Now back to a short report on our meat departments. As we all know, prices are moving higher. What you might not realize is that the retail stores are not passing along the entire price increases we're experiencing. A cost change of product to the stores occurs every week, and we donít usually adjust prices that often. As I see prices move up, Iím always hoping it will be short term, and we can absorb the increase for a while. The retail markets move up slowly because no one wants to be the first to move up on prices. All of the retail markets know how important it is to stay competitive. We have seen price increases on all meat, poultry and seafood, and no one knows where itís going to stop. We all hope itíll stop soon. I just wanted you to know that we too feel the pain!!
What can we the consumer do? Shop conservatively, watch for great buys, and take advantage of the opportunities you find to stock up on those good deals. Remember, only buy the amount you can use while the product keeps its integrity. If you buy extra and canít use it before it goes bad, you have just thrown good money down the drain. Freezing is a great way to keep meat products safe and good so take advantage of that process to save dollars.
We will all endure this financially difficult time together. In the meantime, keep smiling and always find the bright side.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 6th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
More on Cooking Methods
Boiling an egg in a paper cup is very easy. When your fire has died down to just red coals, fill a paper cup full of water, and drop a raw egg in it. Soon it will begin to boil and cook just like on your stove.
Frying bacon and eggs on a paper plate is a little trickier but it can be done. The trick is to make sure your coals have cooled down and are beginning to turn a little grey. If the coals are too hot, your plate will simply burst into flames. Get your paper plate warm by placing it near the fireís heat or holding it above the coals. It needs to be warm enough to melt butter or bacon grease to coat the plate. Once the plate is coated, place the bacon flat on the plate and set the plate in the coals. Your bacon will begin to fry. When your bacon is just about done, break the egg on the plate and it will fry it as crispy as you like. If you just want to fry the egg, just coat your plate with butter or oil, crack the egg onto the plate, set the plate in the coals, and fry away.
Baking Biscuits in a paper bag takes patience. You need to coat the inside bottom of your paper bag with oil or butter, and place the biscuit dough in the bag. Tie the bag closed with a thin rope, and tie the other end of the rope to a wood pole. Dangle the bag over the fire high enough to keep it out of the flames and adjust the height of the bag to keep it the right distance to the fire. There is really no set time on how long to bake before turning the biscuit over (it just depends on the heat). Once the biscuit is brown on the bottom, turn it over and brown the other side; now itís ready to eat. Donít forget the butter.
Bread on a stick is fun and easy and the kids love to make their own bread. Find a stick about an inch in diameter (a dry stick works the best). Clean off any bark or dirt on the cooking end of the stick. Preheat the stick by placing it in the heat of the fire like you would while roasting a hot dog. (Donít put the stick into the flames or coals of the fire). Once the stick is pretty warm, wrap your bread dough around the stick, and roast it over the fire until it turns brown. The heat from pre-warming the stick will help cook the inside dough. Teach patience, and donít try to cook the dough too fast or it will quickly brown the outside while the inside remains raw. Donít forget the butter. Enjoy.
Cooking an omelet in a freezer bag is fun and easy. (Make sure you use a freezer bag and not a sandwich bag.) Bring water to a boil in a pot big enough to hold the number of bags you will place in the pot. Place your omelet ingredients in the bag (including bacon or sausage if you desire) add a table spoon of milk and season. Mix the ingredients up by pinching with your fingers. Seal the bag and throw it in the boiling water. It will cook in about 7 minutes, and the meat will cook as well. Make sure you use small pieces of meat, peppers, etc.
These methods arenít the easiest ways to cook, but they sure are fun!
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted AUG. 19th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Fun Cooking Methods
I thought Iíd share one more round of outdoor cooking methods with you. I have been camping and cooking outdoors for as long as I can remember. I started working with the scouts when I was 24 years old, and we camped out often. I loved watching them cook over a campfire using unconventional methods.Weíve made pancakes on flat rocks, fried bacon and eggs on a paper plate, boiled an egg in a paper cup, steamed omelets in a freezer bag, cooked pizza in a reflector oven heated with hot rocks, baked biscuits in a paper bag over the camp fire, roasted kabobs on a stick, and my favorite, was roasting a chicken in my sleeping bag.
Iíd roll the chicken in my bag letting it cook while I back-packed in to a beautiful mountain lake. When I got to my destination and set up my tent, I would unroll my sleeping bag and pull out this very-well done roasted chicken.The boys were so envious as I ate my chicken, and they opened their ramen noodles sprinkling on the seasoning and eating it uncooked.
It was a load of fun showing them those unusual cooking methods, and it also introduced the boys to cooking.It taught them to enjoy cooking and to experiment with different types of foods and cooking methods. Iím sure many of those scouts still share that knowledge with their families and friends today.
One of my goals for this blog is to make cooking and eating fun and not such a burden. I want to help everyone understand the differences in all the meat-food choices available as you shop in our stores.
A common remarks I hear from our guests, is they want to try something new, and they are concerned with health and food safety.The internet is a great source for recipes and ideas to liven-up your meal preparation experience and it has health information as well. You just have to be brave and exercise a little ambition to open a new window of incredible foods.
We live in a world where we can prepare meals in minutes with the use of microwaves.You can come into Yokeís and buy oven ready meals that are as good as homemade yet quick and easy to prepare which for the most part is great.However, my concern is with all of this convenience, we have lost or failed to pass along our cooking skills to the next generation. It seems Iíve had more young guests asking what you do with a pot roast, round steak, and several other cuts of meat than in the past.
Ok, I got side tracked from the cooking methods listed above, so in my next blog, Iíll share with you how to use those methodsÖ
To be continued
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted AUG. 12th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
The Sunshine feels so good, and July is over pushing summer out in the open. Itís now time to get those grills and Dutch ovens fired up. We have discussed in the past some detailed information on how to prepare and cook on the grill and in the Dutch oven.
Remember, almost anything you can cook in your oven, you can cook on the grill or in a Dutch oven.The cool thing is its more fun cooking outdoors and for some reason, food cooked outdoors just taste better (I donít why). Take an old fashion hog casing all beef hotdog, for example; bake it in your oven and then grill one outdoors; you will taste what I mean.
Aside from the magical grill and Dutch oven, there is certainly no reason you canít roast a hotdog or marshmallows on a stick over the open campfire.
Try out this little well-kept secret next time you have a campfire. Start by roasting your hotdog on a stick over the fire, and when it starts to get nice and warm, wrap some bread dough around the dog until itís snug and warm in a thin blanket of dough. Then roast the bread wrapped dog over the fire. You need to be patient and just brown the dough. Keep the pig in the blanket high enough away from the fire to just bake the dough and prevent burning. It is crazy delicious!
Ok, one more. Replace the hotdog with a stick of string cheese wrapping the cheese with bread dough and slowly roasting it over the fire.
Here is a little tip on how to prepare the dough for wrappingÖ I make a snake (just like all kids playing with play-dough) then I flatten it out fairly thin. Start wrapping the dog or cheese at the top and work your way down.You must pinch the dough together at the bottom; if you donít, the dough will unravel as you roast it. I use the pre-made bread dough you can buy in the tubes at Yokes Fresh Market.
I will wrap-up this blog (get it - wrap-up) with one note about the quality of todayís hotdogs. They got a bad rap years ago about being junk. Regulations have really helped these little pigs be a better cut of meat with a wide range of choices, from turkey to all beef. You can eat hot dogs today and feel good about what you are eating. They are more expensive than they used to be because they are simply made with higher quality products.
So take your family on an adventure to cook and eat outdoors, and treat them to some fun food cooked over an open fire, in a Dutch oven, or on the grill. It will be fun and memorable for all!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted AUG. 1st, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Draper Valley NW Chicken
Iím back from a nice long vacation, and Iím sure I was missed by someone. Paula and I went to the East Coast with one of my daughter and her husband. We had a great time. It wasnít what you would call a relaxing vacation. We started out early and got back late every night, but what an education this old redneck got. To be able to see and read about all the things our teachers tried to teach us in American history, 40 years ago, was really neat.
New York City was amazing to me. The city that never sleeps, really earns its reputation. Washington DC was a mix of the past and the present, from the Statue of Liberty to the White House. Everywhere we turned was a new experience touching either things from our past education or our current experiences. It was marvelous. There is one thing I always remember though, and that isÖthere is no place like home.
I told you we would explore some of the meat programs I have chosen to use at Yokeís and the reason why I have chosen them. So letís take a look at our main chicken program.
We use Draper Valley Northwest grown fryers at Yokeís Fresh Markets for several reasons.
ōFirst, Draper Valley is a northwest company based out of Mount Vernon Washington. We are involved in a program with Draper Valley we call the ďCross DockĒ program. This program enables us to order our chicken one day and receive it into our stores the very next day.Now that is really fresh chicken.
ōSecond, they are truly a natural product, which means they are never given antibiotics or hormones. Their claim is written right on the package.
ōThird, they are fed an all vegetation diet, no meat by products ever.
ōFourth, they are a fully integrated company controlling their product from the egg to the market. That gives us confidence that they produce great chicken.
So to summarize, fresh, healthy, truly natural, local chicken is a great choice for us to provide for you.
Thatís pretty good reasoning as far as I can tell.
Chicken is great on the grill, and summer is here, so enjoy!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 13th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Well, it is officially summer time, and we are finally able to turn the heat down in our house. I love the sunshine; it has a way of penetrating right down deep into the core of your soul. I like to refer to it as ďthe cat in the window effectĒ. Now, like most things in life, the sun can be good for you, and the sun can be bad for you.
It has always driven me a little crazy when we are told this is good for us or bad for us depending on what report or study we hear or see. It is confusing for many of us when we try to make decisions based on data released from so many studies, especially when the studies conflict with each other.
I deal with the same problem in the meat world when trying to decide on what is the best program for our company and our guests. I guess itís like shopping for anything important to us. Paula and I have been shopping for Baby bearís bed, you know the one that is ďjust rightĒ. We visited several stores, talk to numerous sales people, laid on scores of beds, and searched the web for comments on particular products.
You may ask, did you find any big differences from bed to bed? And the answer is, yes. It really paid off for us to do the research. Now the other factor to the whole puzzle: even after all our research, Paula and I had different opinions on just what baby bearís bed should be. I liked a softer bed than she did, but we did find a great compromise, and we will sleep happily ever after.
Now back to subject of the meat world. Like the bed search, there are many different choices in meat products as well. And we will all have a different opinion as to what we desire from those meat products.
Some of us want organic meat, others Choice grade, some Angus, and for me Certified Hereford Beef. There is natural, true natural, withdrawal, and enhanced beef and pork. The list goes on and on. You can see that this can be a very confusing issue.
So what can we do to decide what is the baby bearís meat program? The answer is, to study, experiment, and to go in knowing there are a lot of different opinions out there.
So for the next couple of blogs, I will tell you what programs I have chosen and give you some reasons why I made those choices. I think this will be an interesting subject for all. Oh, and until then, just shop at our Yokeís meat departments, and you will find great choices for your meal planning adventures.
Welcome to summer, and check out this view from my deck. Itís beautiful!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUN. 25th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
This meat and seafood business is really a crazy business. There are several factors that create an ever changing, always guessing and hoping, and never knowing atmosphere for us do deal with. Some of the factors that affect this business are exporting meat and seafood to other countries, changing prices in needed commodities (fuel and corn)that make our business run, supply and demand of our products, and weather, just to name a few. I thought I might share a few examples of these ever changing factors and show how they affect our market and how it can be frustrating to all.
The Copper River Salmon market would be a good place to show you how fast and how extreme some of these markets can change. The Copper River season began in mid-May. The first fish to market are usually higher priced than fish caught and sold after the opener. We were quoted $15.99 per pound for first run whole sockeyes. The first run fish were extremely successful with many fish being caught. So within two days of the opener, the cost of Copper River dropped from 15.99 to 10.99 per pound.
Now, we retailers wanted to have first of the season fish, so we all bought product at 15.99 per lb. Then all of a sudden, the fish we bought for 15.99/lb. are only worth 10.99/lb. Thatís a big loss to absorb. The second catch was as good as or better than the opener, and that made the price drop again.Within a week and a half, the price dropped over six dollars per pound, and thatís why you saw so many different prices in the stores from one day to the next.
I guess itís pretty obvious to see how the cost of fuel affects the cost of goods across the board. Add the increased cost of grains, spurred on by bio-fuel programs, which affects pricing of feed for most animals, and we see large fluctuations in costs of goods. The tortilla business saw a huge cost increase as a result of the increased cost of corn and flour. So prices inflate temporarily, and then product backs up in the system and prices drop again, and thus the cause of fluctuating prices from one shopping experience to another.
The bottom line message of this blog is like they say about the weather. ďIf you donít like what you see right now, wait a bitĒ. The meat world has major swings in pricing right now, so watch the ads and buy when the opportunity presents its self. There are still great buys out there.
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted JUN. 16th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Memorial Day Treats
Memorial Day weekend was great! We got together with 4 out of 5 of my brothers and sisters and we met in Asotin (where my mom lives) along the Snake River. The Snake River is overflowing its banks, just a little, like many of the rivers in our area. Seeing the beautiful green hillsides rising above the majestic Snake River framed by the bright blue sky surrounding it all, was amazing. And it was so nice to be in the sunshine. Sunshine just has a way of generating a feeling of wellness.
Of course, when we get together as a family, food becomes an essential part of the program. We have talked a lot about food in this blog and have shared many recipes and meal ideas. Today, I would like to remind everyone that there are some great, quick, easy, and inexpensive meals. Here are a few ideasÖ
Hot dogs, grilled or roasted over a campfire are a wonderful treat. Some of you may be wrinkling up your nose saying ďhot dogs are junkĒ but thatís not the case anymore. You can buy many high quality hot dogs that are all beef and have a high standard in processing. There are the less expensive dogs containing pork, chicken and beef, so you can choose to buy the quality you desire. In addition to these, there are reduced fat, kosher, beef, turkey, bun length, smoked, and meat & cheese, and these are just a few example of whatís available.
Good olí hamburgers are another example of a great meal choice that are easy and quick to prepare. Like the hot dog, there are many choices of ground meat available to fit your needs. Some have ground beef with filler which makes them less expensive. But there is also a wonderful all beef patty of very high quality. Yokeís offers a Certified Hereford beef patty that is hard to match for flavor and/or quality. It is a 100% all beef, 85% lean, whole mussel meat, no filler, ground beef patty. These patties are available in a Ĺ pound chopped patty or the normal ľ pound patty. Try our Certified Hereford patties; they make a great burger. I like the Ĺ pounder chopped patty the best; it reminds me of a hand pressed patty but itís huge. They require a little extra cooking time, but they are worth it.
Burgers and dogs, quick and easy, and most of us really likes them. Itís a great menu idea when you have a larger group of people in an informal setting.
Now, here is one last picture of our Mallard Duck family. I see her and the ducklings often swimming in the lake just like in this picture. It has been fun watching her raise her family, from sitting on her eggs, to teach them how to survive in this big world in which we live.
Have a good week, and look for the brighter side of life; itís all around us.
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted JUN. 1st, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Memorial Day, Ducks, and Salmon
Either time is moving faster, or Iím moving slower, or some combination of the two.The first item on my agenda is to wish everyone a happy and safe Memorial Day.I know some of you are thinking of those who have gone before us, and to you, I wish sweet thoughts and memories.Itís always good to take a few minutes out of our busy schedule to reflect on our experiences.I hope we can find the good in them.
Second thing is to report on Mom Mallard and her 11 eggs.Well itís good news, she hatched all eleven chicks, and they all made it down to the lake.She hatched them a week ago Thursday, and I saw all 11 chicks on Saturday morning.Not that Iím counting, but Paula and I have 15 grand kids and 11 grand ducks. How can life get any better than that!Check out the picture at the end of this blog. This was Thursday afternoon, and I had checked on them, on Wednesday, and they were all still covered up.Yes itís another one of those great moments.
Copper River Salmon has begun its season. These great tasting Alaska salmon have hit the market with the first two openers being very successful and the fish being plentiful.What that does for us is allows the price to drop to a lower than normal retail.Take advantage of these great prices and enjoy fresh Alaskan Copper River Salmon while the season is open and the price is below normal retail.
The Copper River Salmon has a great reputation for its wonderful taste and high levels of Omega 3 oils. They are a very healthy, rich tasting salmon.The bright red flesh and rich oil level develops as these fish fight their way to the Copper River through the ice cold Alaskan waters to spawn.The Copper River Fishery is well managed for a sustainable bright future for these famous salmon.
This is an exciting time for the Alaskan fishing business as the wild salmon fisheries open up.For the next 4 months, there will be lots of opportunities to treat yourself to some of these beautiful wild fish. Copper River is just one of the many rivers that will produce high quality salmon for the market.
Remember,you can grill these fish easily by leaving the skin on the fillet,placing the fillet on a piece of aluminum foil skin side down, place it on the grill, season the top side of the fillet with your favorite seasoning, close the lid on the grill cooking the salmon on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Donít turn the fillet over it will cook through easily. The skin will stick to the foil which will allow you to serve a skinless fillet and clean up is a breeze.
Happy days, from Kenny the Meat Guy!
Posted MAY. 26th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Sharing Business Thoughts
Iím sitting in the San Jose airport waiting to catch my plane back to Spokane, and I just thought to myself, this would be a good time to share some thoughts with my friends.Notice Iím assuming those who read this blog are my friends.That is positive thinking.
I just finished a meeting with eight other meat directors from all over the United States, from Boston to Spokane, and we even have a guy from Kansas.We try to meet together twice a year, but we communicate back and forth at least weekly. We enjoy sharing thoughts, ideas, and concerns we deal with in our jobs, and what is amazing is how many of our concerns and ideas are similar even though we are from different regions in the country.
As this share group discussed a variety of subjects, many great ideas were developed to help each other.I guess thatís what Iím hoping this blog can do as well.I try to discuss things that will be of interest to each of you, but more than that, I hope some of those subjects will help everyone in some positive way, even if it just brings a smile to your face. Thatís what friends do.
Now Iím not trying to bore you, but here are some of things we discussed in our meetings, see if you can relate to them too.
1. The cost of fuel that is driving the freight charges up significantly which in-turn is driving up the price of our products?
2. As prices increase on products, and we must raise prices, will our customers still realize these prices are fair and competitive?
3.Nutritional labeling on fresh meat to help our customers make informed choices as they buy meat.
4.What will the cost be to implement this nutritional labeling requirement, and will it be useful to our customers?
5. What are some of the best business practices and programs we can use to help our businesses provide better experiences and satisfaction to our guests?
I guess the bottom line for me is that we should always be trying to improve our lives and the lives of others too.So here is how Iím going to end this blog
Remember the Mallard hen that Paula and I spooked off her nest, and she had 11 eggs she was sitting on. This is an update on them. (Scroll down for the previous mention and picture of her nest). This is a picture of her nest when she leaves it to get food, water, and what ever else she needs to do when she is away from home. She covered up her eggs with feathers and leaves to keep them warm and hidden while she was away.We are wishing her the best, and I will try to keep you informed. Yes, this is one of those beautiful things we find when we look for them. ENJOY YOUR DAY!
Have a good week!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAY. 16th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
More of the Little Joys in Life
I hope everyone enjoyed our beautiful Easter weekend. The weather was nicer than predicted; we had two beautiful days in a row, and that was almost more than we could take.As I mentioned in my last blog, sometimes we just have to pause and take a moment to look for the beautiful things in our lives.It is so easy to get bogged down in misery and stress that we forget how to look on the bright side.
This is one of those moments that I love.Paula and I went for a walk around our place, and we spooked a mallard duck off of her nest. Since I had already irritated her (not Paula but the duck) I decided we better look and see what she was sitting on. We wish her the best of luck (Wow 11 eggs, see the picture below) she will be one busy duck in a few weeks. It was a fun moment, and it really brightened our day.I hope it brightens your day a little as well.
Ok, now back to work.I wanted to explain a fairly new term that you may begin to see more often in our seafood ads.This is the term ďrefreshedĒ describing the state of the fish.We are familiar with ďfreshĒ and ďfrozenĒ so I will explain what ďrefreshĒ refers to.
Refresh is a method of taking a frozen whole fish letting in thaw out slowly under a controlled climate then taking the whole fish and cutting it into fillets. You may not fully understand the difference but with my expert writing skills and knowledge, I will impress upon your minds why Refreshed is different and better.
Instead of filleting the fish and then freezing the fillets for later use, they freeze the whole fish at sea with the skin on which protect the fillets from freezer burn.This gives the refreshed fillet a much fresher look and feel.Iím sure that clears it all up.The beauty is the fish is ready for the pan when you buy it from the store, not frozen.
Another fresh or refreshed learning experience for the day
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted APR. 27th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Back to Kansas
This is such crazy weather, even the cows are complaining.I went back to Kansas to go through the National Beef processing plant again.I took two of our Meat Department Managers with me so they could also see first hand why we say our beef program is one of the best programs out there.
Every time I visit the feed lots, meet the ranchers, and look at the continuing efforts to enhance food safety, I am convinced our decision to offer only Certified Hereford Beef was right for our fresh meat program.It has been tested and challenged time after time and has always come through with flying colors.
To finish the story about the cows complaining, they didnít say much, they just kinda moaned and groaned and look at us as we drove by. It was raining cats and dogs (which is really weird when youíre visiting a beef ranch).The wind was blowing 50-60 miles an hour to add to the nagging rain, and no body looked happy.
I just wanted to wish every one a Happy Easter and hope that we all pause for a minute and look at the good side of life even if itís just for a minute.I know we would love to have a little sunshine here in the Northwest and that would certainly brighten our day. The sun will come sooner or later so for now fire up the grill, throw on your favorite beef steak (mine is the infamous T-bone) and enjoy the great taste of our certified Hereford beef. It really is a cut above the rest.
Happy days to all of you from...
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted APR. 22nd, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Quality at Fair Prices
I just wanted to let you know a little bit more about the great quality of meat products we carry in our stores. We are unwilling to cut corners and sacrifice quality just to offer lower prices. We give you the best in quality at avery fair price.
Draper Valley Chicken
Our fresh chicken comes from Draper Valley Farms.They are based out of Mount Vernon, Washington.Thatís not very far from here.We have used this product for years and love the fact that their chickens are raised right here in the Northwest.(As you may have noticed, we really like doing business with local companies). They are fully integrated from the egg to the store.What that means for us is that they have complete control of their entire product.I have been to their farms and have seen the standards in place, and since they are so close, it means really fresh chicken!
Ok, one last really cool factor is that these chickens are raised without any hormones or antibiotics ever plus a 100% vegetarian diet.That is what we refer to as a true natural product.
We use three local seafood companies to primarily supply all of our seafood products to our stores. Once again, we have visited these companies to see for ourselves the quality and food safety practices they use throughout their facilities and feel fortunate to have a partnership with them.Pacific Seafood, North Star and Ocean Beauty use extreme care in their procurement and processing practices.Itís nice to know the seafood you get from our stores is top quality.
We are also very aware of sustainability practices.That means we are trying to only use products that have a managed sustainability program which will ensure the long term availability of that species of fish.
Superior American Lamb
As we searched for a new lamb company, we were introduced to Superior Lamb. This lamb product comes to us from California. It is product of the USA and has never been given antibiotics or hormones. It is pre-packaged for us and seems to fit well with our other programs.
I hope I havenít put you all to sleep but there is a difference in quality and care and we hope we give you the best of both. Have a great week.
Posted APR. 8th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Oranges to Oranges
Because of the volatile market right now, I have spent a fair amount of time in other stores checking prices to see what the market is doing.While doing so, I have become aware of an issue we should talk about.The issue isÖwe need to compare apples to apples (I guess as a meat man I should say, steak to steak, or Beef to Beef).
What I noticed was one store labeling 22% fat beef content as lean ground, and another store labeling19% fat beef content as lean ground. (By the way ours is the 19 % fat and 3% difference is a lot when youíre talking fat content for ground beef).
Another difference was bread. A loaf of bread selling for 88 cents and another loaf for 98 cents but there is a 3 oz. difference in the size of the loaf.I guess Iím encouraging our guests to notice the differences.
Iím hoping as everyone shops for price, we are also aware of the size and quality of the product.There are some big differences in quality and quantity in the market whether we are talking food, clothes, cars, and such.Hopefully this blog will remind everyone to pay a bit more attention to more than just the price.
Part of my job responsibility as meat director for Yokeís Fresh Markets is to acquire and establish high quality meat programs.I have stated before and will state it again; we have some of the finest meat programs available.All of our fresh beef, pork, lamb, and chicken are products of the USA.
Our poultry program is local from a company in Mount VernonWashington only 5 hours from our locations. Draper Valley Poultry is a ďnever everĒ program; they never use antibiotics or hormones in their products.
Our Certified Hereford beef program is controlled from the breed to the feed (that even rhymes). There are only 3 breeds of cows our Herefords can be crossed with, Angus, Short Horn, and Long Horn all which are known for their eating quality.
Seaboard pork is one of the finest pork programs I have ever seen. They are fully integrated which means they own the whole program from one end to the other. Strict genetics, feed, and care are what Seaboard stands for.
I guess I could go on and on and I might get more specific in the near future. Stay tuned and thanks for reading.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAR. 25th, 2011 by
The Pricing Game, We Can Win
Prices are going up; there is no doubt about it or way around it. Itís a simple domino effect, as corn and gas prices increase and our dollar decreases; we are simply going to have to weather the storm. For this discussion, we are talking about beef, pork, chicken, and lamb.
I heard on the news that prices have been skyrocketing for the last several months. Skyrocketing is a bit exaggerated, but they are definitely moving up. Iíve been holding back price increases for a while, but it has come to a point where I must increase prices to survive. Itís not a fun thing for me to do, and I really worry about the reaction our guests will have to higher prices. This brings a couple of questions to my mind:
The first question is how long and how much are these prices going to increase? And the answer is...who knows! The second question is what can we do to control our cost as we buy food for our families? To this question, I would like to share a few of thoughts:
1.One of the best ways to control a food budget is to examine meal menus, and adjust the type of meals we prepare. Meals such as beef stews or soups use far less meat per serving than portions of steak, for example, since one pound of stew meat will serve several people.
2.Choose less expensive cuts of meat like beef roasts, ground beef, chicken, or certain cuts of pork. All of these proteins have increased in price, but there are still some good values out there. And remember, if prepared properly, these less expensive cuts can be incredibly delicious.
3.Shop for the advertised specials. Yokeís always has great buys each week to help you stretch your food dollar a bit further. Buy a little extra when the item is on sale, and freeze it for later use. This can make a huge difference in what it will cost to feed your family.
There are many ideas to help save money and still eat really well. So donít get discouraged, make it a challenge to figure out creative options. Most of us are pretty good at adjusting and surviving. Be happy and enjoy eating; itís one of lifeís joys.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted MAR. 14th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Sunday Brunch Braid
Itís time for another recipe. This is delicious, pretty easy to make, and it looks amazing.Depending on your familyís appetite, you might want to make two because it went really fast in my household.
Sunday Brunch Braid
12 oz bulk pork sausage
Ĺ cup chopped onion
ľ cup chopped celery
ľ cup chopped green pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pkg (3 oz) cream cheese
2 tbsp chopped green onion tops
2 Tbs minced fresh parsley (1 Tbs if using dried)
1 tube (8 oz) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg lightly beaten
In a skillet over medium heat, cook sausage, onion, celery, green pepper and garlic until meat is no longer pink and veggies are tender; drain. Add cream cheese, green onion and parsley. Cook and stir over low heat until cheese is melted; set aside
Unroll crescent dough on a greased baking sheet; press perforations together. Roll into a 12-in x 10-in rectangle. Spoon the sausage mixture down the middle of the dough within 3 inches of long sides and 1 inch from the ends. On each long side, cut ĺ inch wide strips 3 inches into center.Starting at one end, fold alternating strips toward the center over the sausage at an angle forming a braid.
Brush the dough with egg. Bake at 350į for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
It is so good!
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted MAR. 7th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Sustainability Part II
Continuing on the subject of sustainability, I just wanted
to throw out a couple more things to help you as you make efforts to support
programs dealing with sustainability.
As you look at a list showing seafood products which are considered
endangered, make sure you understand what specific product are on the list.For example, I have seen wild Atlantic salmon
on an endangered list, and though ďwildĒ may be a real concern, the Atlantic
salmon we carry in our seafood departments are farm raised. They may have their own set of problems, but
they are not endangered. Columbia River
Steelhead is another species on the endangered list. Again, the steelhead fillets we carry most often
are farm raised though occasionally you may see wild steelhead on the market. Chilean Sea Bass is another example where wild
and farm raised are available, and we choose to use the more sustainable
The Alaskan, Oregon, and Washington
fisheries are the areas with which I have been most involved, and it actually
amazes me when I see the effort put into controlling the sustainability of
these products.Many of our rivers where salmon run to lay
eggs actually have sophisticated counting stations to assure plenty of fish are
returning before harvesting is permitted.Often, several harvest openings are allowed which last only 8-24 hours,
then the fishery is closed, and a count is made to verify the harvest doesnít
exceed sustainable ratios.The same
process of control is in place with Halibut, King and Dungeness crab and on and
on.They manage these fisheries by areas
to assure each area has plenty of fish left to repopulate future generations.
This subject would not be complete without mentioning the
caring people I have met along the way.They love this business and love the natural beauty they work in. To be working and being part of a program that
helps protect these and many more of our natural resources is a satisfying
feeling. We know we are not perfect in
controlling all of these needs, but many people are investing time and money to
We have made large strides in identifying and finding
solutions to some of the concerns that sustainability addresses. I hope as you become more aware of what is
being done on this front, you will give credit to those who are making a real
effort to find ways to protect our environment. Take time to recognize their efforts by giving
them a pat on the back and saying "thanks for a job well done!"
Have a great week
Posted FEB. 21st, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
February 14, 2011
Well, I guess I can say Happy Valentineís Day because Iím
writing this on February 14th.This blog wonít be posted until the 15th, but Valentineís Day
Sometimes I feel a little confused when we talk or read
about different subjects in the meat and seafood business.We have been hearing more and more about
Sustainability. I have had groups
contact me and ask if we are supporting this group or that group which are
organizing efforts to strengthen sustainability programs.
I believe, part of the problem is misunderstanding about
what constitutes sustainability, who it affects, and what we can do to support
that kind of program.
First things first: Sustainability is simply the practice of
controlling the resources we use to assure we donít destroy the ability to have
that resource available in the future. It
doesnít matter if we are talking about trees, air, fish, beef, oil, or even
life its self.We see many of efforts of
sustainability, like putting animals on endangered lists, or where we can drill
or not drill. The list can go on and on
and on and on. You get the point.
There are always varying opinions that get spewed for or
against actions toward these efforts. The
grey wolf is one example. Some want less
of them and others want to protect them. Both sides have valid and reasonable
considerations they use to form their opinions.
Having said all that, I want to touch base on seafood
sustainability.It only makes sense to
me that since Iím in the seafood business, I would want to protect my future
livelihood by making sure we are protecting and using good sustainability
practices. Thatís what we look at as a
company.We want to do business with
fish management teams that work hard at protecting the very products they sell.
And we do our best to buy our seafood from
such companies.The importance of
providing seafood products to you now and in the future is high on our list of
One of the resources we consider is Marine Stewardship
Council (MSC) and many of the companies we do business with use MSC as well. They seem to work with all sides to help put
programs together that help manage many fisheries.When I see the efforts that are being set
forth to control and manage seafood, it gives me great confidence that our
fisheries will be protected and preserved.
More on this in my next blog
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted FEB. 15th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Something fishy is going on
here. It is getting so hard to know what to believe when you here
different reports on what or how much of a particular food to eat. I just
received this article from Intrafish Media. This was published February 01,
2011. Iím just going to quote a few of the remarks that I thought were
Americans Should Eat More Fish
Jan. 31, the guidelines suggest that U.S. consumers should eat at least eat
8-12 ounces Ė220 grams to 340 grams, the equivalent of two to three
servingsómore seafood per week.
intake of 8 or more ounces per week (less for young children), about 20 percent
of total recommended intake of protein foods of a variety of seafood is
recommended,Ē the guidelines say.
a ďvariety of seafood,Ē the USDA says, can help reduce the risk of
evidence shows that consumption of about 8 ounces per week of a variety of
seafood, which provide an average consumption of 250 mg per day of EPA and DHA,
is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without
pre-existing cardiovascular disease.Ē
guidelines also specify that pregnant and breastfeeding women should eat at
least 8 and up to 12 ounces of seafood each week to ďimprove (babies) eye and
to the USDA, pregnant and breastfeeding women currently eat less than two
ounces of seafood per week.
I just thought this article gave
some good recommendations for all of us to ponder. I here about the
health benefits of eating fish often. So as you make your weekly menus
out donít forget the fish and certainly remember we here at Yokes Foods work
hard to bring to you the freshest seafood possible.
So I guess Iíll sign off with this
ďCatchĒ you later
Kenny the Meat and Fish Guy
Posted FEB. 7th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Itís a brand New Year and I thought I might just remind all
of you about a great way to buy your meat and save some moneyÖ
Every week our stores (Yokeís Foods in case you forgot) run
ads in the newspaper, on the radio, and through in-store promotions.We as a company go to our suppliers and ask
for good buys on products to feature in our ads.We pass these saving directly onto you, plus
we pass on additional saving from our end of the business.What this means is a great deal on specific
products. For example, if we run ground
beef in the ad at a great price, buy whatever quantity you want and freeze some
extra so you will have it for the future. Make a list of items you would like to put in
the freezer for later use then watch our ads.Week after week you will find great deals on a wide variety of
items.Just buy extra and freeze it and
you will have more for later.By using
this method, you can buy exactly what and how much you want. I think you will see a big savings in your
monthly food budget.
We know exactly how our beef is raised, fed, and cared for.The highest quality is guaranteed as well as
good pricing.Beef when wrapped
correctly, can stay in the freezer for 12 months and still be of the highest
quality. Pork and Chicken can stay frozen for at least 6 months.
So take advantage of our ads and other opportunities we offer
to help stretch your dollar a little further.
Thanks for shopping with us.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 26th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
I had to look back to see when I wrote my first blog. The
date was February 12, 2009 which means Iíve been writing a blog about meat every
week for almost 2 years. So Iím guessing I have written about 100 blogs so
far.As I reflect on these blogs, I
realize I drift off the subject of meat from time to time and have also
included some of my personal life thoughts and feelings over these past two
years.I hope those of you who have been
steady readers have enjoyed hearing my point of view on meat and other subjects
and have gleaned some useful information as well.
One of the most challenging considerations in writing my blog
is to assure Iím not insulting or offending anyone or damaging the image of my
great company.So as I begin my third
year of writing, I will strive to rise to the challenge.I also hope I can bring each of you helpful
and fun information.I have received
several comments on my blog site and would like to invite any of you to comment
or ask questions. Your questions will
give me subject matter on which to write and it will help me when I struggle
with writerís block. Itís hard to come
up with ideas every week even though I really enjoy writing this blog.
So here is my comment for the week.
The frozen food category within the meat department is
increasing in variety and achieving better quality.There are several products on the market
today that rival fresh home cooked taste and texture.They provide us with choices that can make
meal preparation much faster to prepare and that look and taste like home style
cooking.You may wish to experiment with
these great products and see for yourself how good they are.
As always, there are some trade offs, and for the frozen
food arena, it is usually cost. I guess
if youíre having someone else do the work, you have to pay a little more for
that service and for many of our guests it is well worth it. However, the value benefit I see with these
frozen products is they reduce the cost of seasonings, sauces, and other
supplies you may use only once to prepare your meal.Everything is in the box and ready to go. I think this is especially relevant when
preparing a meal for one or two people.
I guess each of us needs to weigh expense and time.If your budget allows for the additional
expense and your time is short, then these frozen meals are a perfect match.For me, making a meal from scratch and having
my family and friends rave about it is so fun the extra time is worth it.I suppose we could do both; cook from scratch
when time allows, and use these quick and easy meal solutions when weíre in a
hurry or just donít feel like cooking. Yes, we can have the best of both
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 17th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
It's a Brand New Year
Hello to all; it is a brand new year. I hope all of you are full of hope and
excitement that this year will be even better than last.Iím sure there are many new goals and resolutions
to be accomplished. Iíll be pulling for you,
and I hope you will be pulling for me too.
Iím sure one of the biggest goals is to eat healthier and to
get our bodies and minds in better shape. As you choose your wellness method, please
look seriously at some of the nutritional values in the meat category. There are many healthy choices in meat-proteins,
and they are easy to include in your meal plan.
American cattle farmers and
ranchers know the nutrients found in meat are an important part of a healthy
diet and believe consumers will be surprised to learn beef is a good source of
10 essential nutrients. You will be hearing more about this subject as
this year progresses.
There are new requirements just
passed into law for labeling meat products. The new laws go into effect January, 2012.It will create an additional expense for our
industry and may be a complicated program to implement, but quite frankly, I
think it will surprise most people.In
regard to wellness programs, meat often receives a bad rap.These labeling requirements will provide consumers
with information about the nutritional value contained in meat, and that should
prove to be beneficial to our industry in the long run.
Have a great week and a healthy
Good luck this year.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JAN. 7th, 2011 by Kenny the Meat Guy
The Last Report of the Year
I really enjoy the holiday season. Christmas time was a wonderful time for our
family. Now here comes New Year's Eve right
on its tail.What I like about New Year's
is it brings an opportunity for a fresh start. No matter what or how things are going, I seem
to be able to draw a line in the sand and say ďalright, here is a new year.ĒI can move forward with great hope that the new
year will bring with it great blessings.Itís also a time to set new goals and shed bad memories or habits.
Like many of you, Iím setting some
of the same goals I set every year. You know, like ďI will loose weight and
exercise more.ĒI do have some success
in that area each year, but it will probably always be a struggle to eat right
and to exercise enough.They say you
donít loose the race until you stop running.
Paula and I have set other goals as
well. Some goals we set and work on together, and some are individual goals. It is a time to re-motivate ourselves in a
positive manner.My number one goal is
to be happy and kind to others (which makes me happy). Itís funny how that works.
As for goals for Kenny the Meat
Guy, I hope to write at least some things that are fun, helpful or entertaining
in my blog. I hope I can be more
inventive in developing new and better programs in our meat department and
bring our guests opportunities for cooking and enjoying great tasting meat and
healthy meals. Of course, I hope we all
keep sharing needs, thoughts, and ideas with each other. Thatís what makes my job fun.
OK, here is one last easy recipe
for you to try at your New Year's party.Take eggnog and orange pop (soda) and mix them together 50-50 (no
nothing else to mix with it). I think if
you even like eggnog a tiny little bit, you will really like this drink, try
Remember, there is certainly a
place for meat in your new healthy meal planning.Meat provides some great nutrients and health
benefits. Besides that, meat really,
really tastes good.
Happy New Year to all of you!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted DEC. 28th, 2010 by
HO, HO, HO
I really do love the Christmas spirit. I watch as the magic of giving and sharing
creeps into many of our lives. Hearts
often soften, families and friends get together, and a lot of food appears from
nowhere.I really believe the colder
temperatures and snow on the ground helps the spirit come alive. Perhaps, itís the feeling of cold air on our
faces and the slight chill we get when weíre outside. Then when we walk into a nice warm house, we get
that ďcat in the windowĒ feeling. You know, where we just want to curl up,
close your eyes, and relax.I hope Iíve
painted the picture of peace, joy, and tranquility for you.
Now this portion of the blog is pointed at those who get the
feeling of stress and panic when thinking about getting everything ready for
the family gatherings, the big dinners, and all the presents that need to be
bought and wrapped before the big day.So please let me share my point of view to avoid getting all stressed
outÖand you thought I only cut meat and cooked.
So how do I cope with the planning
and stress of the holidays? I just tell
myself ďdonít sweat the little things.Ē Really,
why do we get so worked up and worried about cooking food and having fun? It always works out to be a great time. The first thing we have to realize is no one
else is worried about the spot on your carpet or even that your bed isnít made.
I mean really, have you ever heard
anyone whisper, ďDid you notice their bed wasnít made, or look at the dust on
their end tables?Ē The truth is theyíre
glad everyone isnít meeting at their house. So relax and the important stuff will get
done. I remember one year when it was
about time to eat our beautiful turkey dinner, we checked the turkey only to realize
we had forgotten to turn on the oven. We
still had a great time. We simply ate a
little later than normal (like 3 hours). Boy was everyone thankful for the food when we
finally got to eat. Now that has become
one of our favorite memories. Life is
too precious and short to sweat the little stuff. Enjoy the holidays whatever the situation
So now I expect everyone to look in
the mirror and say, this is going to be the best holiday season ever. And donít forget to pick-up your Divine Ribeye
RoastÖ(you thought I was going to forget to talk about meat).
From all of us at Yokeís, we wish
you and your families a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted DEC. 17th, 2010 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Snow - Dungeness Crab
Let it snow, let it snow, let it
snow.I love new fallen snow.Itís so pure and white and makes everything
look bright and fresh. Of course there is opposition in all things and
that would be the difficulty of driving on slick roads and shoveling driveway
and sidewalks.Itís also hard to sit
outside on the deck.
Speaking of snow, we are pushing
snow crab in our seafood department this season. The reason for this
change is because the price of king crab has increased drastically.
We will still have king crab available, but it will be more expensive than in
years past.Now back to the subject of
snow crab.We have found some larger
snow crab legs.They seem to be of a
very high quality, and the bigger size gives a much better presentation.Plus there is obviously more meat in the
legs.Give these snow crab a try; I
think they will be a pleasant surprise.
Continuing with the crab newsÖwe are
in the beginning of the Dungeness crab season.In my opinion, Dungeness crab is the best flavor and a great value while
the season is in full swing. So take a moment out of your busy holiday
prep time and savor the flavor of some of the best crab of the year.
Oh yeah, here is a picture of my
back deck.Paula (my wife) kept telling
me to put the deck furniture away.I
guess you can see I didnít get to it and everyday I get the pleasure of seeing
that it still needs to be put away. Oh well, there is always tomorrow.
Have a good week
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted DEC. 3rd, 2010 by Kenny the Meat Guy
A Divine Idea
I hope all of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day or
weekend. The weather was a little tough
if you were travelingÖwow, lots of snow. Paula and I actually spent Thanksgiving Day by
ourselves for the first time in 30 years. We have had several traditions come and go as
our family circumstances have changed.This time it was the weather that changed our plans.We were going to travel to Lewiston,
but we chickened out when we found out my mom wasnít feeling well, and the
roads were closed due to snow.So, we
stayed home and had a wonderful weekend.I guess the joy of the day is being around those you love.
Now onto the Divine
For most of us, Christmas is a wonderful time of year shared
with family and friends.Hearts are
softened, and we seem to become a more loving and giving people.I know thatís true because I have watched our
guests prepare for this special holiday for years.
This is one of those times when we donít cut corners on
quality when choosing our holiday meals. So Iím just suggesting you try our Divine rib
eye roast for your special dinner. If
you have tried this great roast, you already know how good it is, but if you
havenít, itís time to try it.WhatĎs so
special about this fabulous cut of meat?Let me describe how we make our roast ďdivineĒ!...
We buy our Certified Hereford beef ribs five to six weeks
before we need them for the event.This
enables us to offer a beef rib eye roast aged for at least five weeks.Then we trim the rib so that it will be ready
to go in the oven.We even cut the rib
bones off and tie them back on which allows the roast to be cooked with the
bones attached for extra flavor and juiciness. Once the roast is cooked, you simply remove
the string and pull the rib bones away.We even had a spice rub developed by a local spice shop and offer the
choice of having your Divine rib seasoned or plain.We sell about 80% of our ribs seasoned.
We have been offering this special roast now for five years
and have had great success with it. Our guests have been very pleased over the
years. As the old saying goes ďtry it, you will like itĒ Happy Holidays!
Kenny the Meat Guy.
Posted NOV. 29th, 2010 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Less Expensive Options
Continuing on with the subject of finding great value in
less expensive ways, I guess it is like generic names verses brand names. Sometimes the generics are every bit as good
as the brand name items. However, there
are also those occasions when you canít substitute anything for the real
deal.T-Bone steaks come to mind. They are my very favorite steaks. There are some steaks that are really good,
but they are no substitutes for T-bones.
So here is an idea to try a less expensive item in
exchange for a more expensive cut. The
ground beef steak may be one to surprise you. This is going to replace the cube steak that
is normally used for chicken fried beef steaks.I like to use ground chuck or ground round. You can find these two items on sale often in
our meat cases.
I take a large amount of ground meat and make a thinner
patty than normally used for a ground beef patty.Then I bread the patty with the same breading
used for breading chicken or cube steak.Next, season the breaded patty
with your favorite seasonings (you all know by now mine is salt, pepper and
garlic). If you can cook two or three of
these steaks in your frying pan, it will create enough broth for you to make
the gravy for your chicken fried steaks and potatoes.
Preparing the pan for cooking is an important step for
success with this recipe. Use a generous
amount of oil to fry the steaks in. Remember,
the breading will absorb part of the oil and there should be enough left in the
pan to cook both sides of the steak. The
extra oil will create a crispy outside crunch to the steak, and it also helps
to create the gravy mixture needed for the gravy. Preheat the pan and oil to the point that the
meat will immediately be sizzling when it hits the pan. This will keep too much oil from
absorbing in to the steak. The steaks at
this heat will cook quickly. As soon as
they are crispy on the bottom, turn them over, and as soon as they crisp on the
other side, pull them out of the pan.
Now to make great gravyÖRetaining the heat at medium, take
some flour and sprinkle it over the juice left in the pan. Use just enough flour to absorb the juice; there
should be a wet flour mixture in the pan.Add milk (start with a Ĺ cup or so, stirring constantly. As the mixture begins to smooth out, keep adding milk
until you get the desired texture (but make sure the gravy comes to a low boil).
Now taste the gravy and add seasoning according to your taste.There will already be some seasoning left from
the juice, but it usually takes a little more. And there you have it. I hope you like it. I know I do.
Have a great week
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 20th, 2010 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Bloggins from Chicago
Iím blogging from beautiful Chicago.The biggest surprise so far has been the
weather. The sun has been shining
everyday, and the wind has been mostly still. We toured the city yesterday without jackets. It was about 65 degrees outside; beautiful and
unexpected great weather, gave us the perfect day to see Chicago.
Last blog we talked about how to choose something perceived
to be of lesser value which actually may be of greater value. The story about the creation of Woody
Woodpecker came to my mind. (You can
refer to the blog just before this one if you missed it.)We had an experience yesterday that again
shows the possibility of what we perceive to be of lesser value but turned out
to be of greater value.
We spent the day in Chicago seeing the unbelievable sights. The aquarium, museum and other city sights
were amazing. It was a great day, but we
were really hungry by the end of our tour, and so we decided to eat dinner in
Chinatown.As we walked down the street
of Chinatown, we saw several restaurants to choose from.We looked at a few menus to help decide which
restaurant to choose. (I admit, I gasped
when I saw the pricesÖI knew I was buying.) There were several nice looking places, but as
we looked inside there werenít many people eating.
As we continued our journey down the street, we noticed a
place that said Tasty Place Bakery and Diner. It wasnít fancy at all.In fact, it was really quite plain with
linoleum floors, white walls, and tables with no decorations. There were several people eating; so we
decided to try it.It was wonderful! And the prices were way more reasonable (thank
goodness).The service was really good, and our waitress
very personable. The food was authentic
Chinese and delicious. We ate family
style, and each of us chose an entrťe.We had a great experience and left satisfied and happy.
There are ways to have great experiences in food and fun on
a budget.Sometimes what seems to be
less may end up being more.We will
continue to explore some possibilities.Saying bye from Chicago
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 10th, 2010 by Kenny the Meat Guy
Making the Most of the Situation
It is hard to believe November 1st is here.Time goes by so fast looking back but can
sometimes last forever looking forward.How does that work anyway?
I guess we all know winter is just around the corner. Some say itís going to be wet and mild and
others say itís going to be cold with lots of snow.I say be prepared for which ever may come our
way. That comment comes from all the
years of working with the scouts (be prepared).
Iím actually good with either side of the winter
possibilities. Wet and mild lets me have good roads as I drive from Sandpoint
to Spokane, and the cold and snowy side gives me more opportunity for snow
skiing.So I say, just be prepared and
take the good part of either situation.
Isnít that how most thing work? There is an upside and a downside to most
choices, like purchasing meat products. You
can buy a higher quality cut of beef like T-bone steaks and grill them for the
perfect steak dinner (but that costs more money) or you can purchase ground beef
and settle for burgers and save some money.So how do we make the right choice?I donít know.So for the next
couple of blogs, maybe we will take a look at how to win with either choice we
make. We can call it ďthinking outside
of the box.Ē
Thinking outside the box reminds me of a great storyÖlong ago,
a family suffered from the noise and destruction of their home of a huge
woodpecker. This went on for quite a long period of time until finally the home
owners had to make a decision on how to resolve the problem. (By the way this was a Pileated woodpecker,
the largest woodpecker in the world, and we have them in our area. You may have even seen one; they are black and
white with a big bright red and white head). The obvious choices were to just put up with
the crazy bird or eliminate it. But this
couple thought out side the box, and they started to draw the bird and use it
in a comic script. The comic caught on and the couple made a lot of money using
this big woodpecker in their comic strip.You may know the pesky old bird as Woody the Woodpecker (true story).
So letís discuss some ways to make great meals from less
expensive cuts of meat. Can we have our
cake and eat it too? Stay tuned.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted NOV. 1st, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
A New Product
We have been trying to develop two
new products to offer our guests for about two years. I have always wanted
to offer fully cooked pork and beef pot roasts. We teamed up with
Ameristar a local company in Spokane to help with the development of this product.
The reason I thought it was
important to offer fully cooked roasts was because of the lengthy amount of time
it takes to cook them. In many modern day families, both parents work which
drastically limits meal preparation time and makes cooking beef or pork roasts
nearly impossible (unless, of course, you use a crock pot).
So here is how we do itÖ
We pre-cut the roasts, season, and seal them in a bag that
we actually cook them in. The roasts are then cooked very slowly.
The awesome thing is that all of the juice released from the meat stays in the
bag, and all you have to do is thicken the juice for great gravy. The
other cool thing is by cooking them in a sealed bag all bacteria is destroyed
so the roasts have a great shelf life and food safety is fantastic. Oh, one more benefit, you can actually heat
the product up in the microwave right in that bag, it is so easy! The
roasts are lean, tender, and delicious. The only downside is the end
product directly from the bag is not real pretty looking, but once it is heated
and put on a plate or in a bowl, itís beautiful.
We have taste tested this product over and over again with
great results, people love it. But the real test happened when we had
dinner guests over to our place. It took
20 minuets to complete and have the whole meal ready to serve. That was the roast, mashed potatoes and gravy,
and a green garden salad. It was
Please try these new boneless fully
cooked roasts; I know you will be delighted. The price is more than
reasonable; in fact, the price is outstanding. The picture is what the product looks like in
our meat cases.
Kenny (we make it easy) the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 19th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Teriyaki Game Hen
I want to share one of my favorite ways to fix game
hens, especially if you like Teriyaki flavor.Here it is...
Teriyaki roasted game hens (Kenny the Meat Guy Style)
Being fond of game hens, and because it's fun, I use one game
hen per person. So when dinner is served, each guest gets his or her very own
hen. Itís exciting and easy to fix. To complete the meal, just serve one of your
favorite mashed potato dishes and a green salad.
Prepare the roasting pan exactly the same as you would for
a roasting chicken. I spray my pan with a non-stick spray. If you purchased the game hens frozen, thaw them completely before preparing.
Wash each game hen, then
season the outside with salt pepper and garlic. Now for the little trick!
Poor some teriyaki sauce in a cup and then suck the sauce up
into your turkey baster (you know, the tool you use to baste your turkey). Caution, game hens are only about 1 Ĺ pounds so you donít want to use very much
sauce. Maybe, Ĺ tablespoon on each side.
With the game hen facing breast up, gentle loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers from the cavity to the neck. Place the baster between the skin and the meat on one side of
the breast about half way between the neck and the cavity. Then squeeze the bulb to force the teriyaki sauce out, it will form
a pocket of sauce between the skin and the meat. Repeat on the other half of the breast.
Place the game hen in the roasting pan breast up so the
pocket of sauce is on top. Pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees, and roast uncovered (so it browns nicely) for 35 to 40 minutes. If you wish, you can stuff the game hens
with your favorite stuffing, but If you stuff them, increase the cooking time to about
As each game hen roasts, the sauce will work its way down and
through the entire hen. It is wonderful. Happy cooking!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 11th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Time for Something Different
The idea to blog about some different types of meat products
came from my friend Meg Major (Editor In Chief of Progressive Grocer Magazine).
So, thanks for the idea, Meg.
You may be asking yourself, what in the world could he be
talking about; hissing cockroaches, chocolate covered grasshoppers, or maybe
something a little tamer like cow stomach, or beef kidneys? Yes, all edible proteins but not exactly what
I had in mind.
I was thinking more like Cornish game hens, duck, lamb,
veal, or corned beef. You knowÖgood
stuff but maybe not the items you would see on your menu every week.A few weeks ago, I wrote about changes our
industry goes through on a continuous basis and maybe itís time for you to look
at adding a few new menu items to your list as well.
Roasting duck is very easy and delicious (if you like duck).
Treat it just like you would a chicken.
Duck is all dark meat, and is little moister and oilier than chicken. Iím sure
you could fry it as well, but I havenít tried that personally.
Corned beef can be cooked a couple of different ways, but
try baking it using low heat. I would
suggest 250 degrees and cook it for 3-4 hours, depending on the size and thickness
of the piece. I think you will be
surprised how good it is and how easy it is to prepare. Remember, corned beef is usually sliced thin
and is best cut across the grain.
For instructions on how to cook the other meats mentioned above,
just go on line or to your favorite cook book for a great recipe.I hope you try some new types of meat; there
are even more varieties than Iíve mentioned. Just take a few extra minutes looking through
our meat counters the next time you shop and look for something different you
Cooking and eating new things can be delicious and lots of
fun.I have to admit, Paula (my wife)
gets a little nervous when I start experimenting in the kitchen, but we have
some great meals and a nice variety to choose from. Stay tuned, in my next blog, Iíll talk about a
cool way to cook a game hen.
Enjoy and have a great week!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted OCT. 1st, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Change is Constant
Paula (my wife) and I have had a whirlwind of a summer, but
we feel the change of seasons heading our way. Not only in the weather, but we are also ready
to slow down a little too.However, I
must mention the fishing competition is still alive. We went out on the lake, and I caught two fish to her 0 fish that means I
won.The rule is any size fish of any
species counts. Why am I boasting? See Paula's the fish at the end of this blog; she won with it last time. Now you may understand.
Speaking of change, we all understand change is a constant.
(I thought that was kind of a clever play on words).In the food business, changes are always
taking place. Thatís why when you just find a product you like, and you go back
to get more, itís nowhere to be found.
I meet with vendors every Wednesday, and they are always
bringing in new items to try.When new
items come in, some old items have to go.It is quite a job to decide which items go and which items stay.No matter what the decision, it makes someone
somewhere upset. We use movement reports
to help us identify the slower moving items. They are usually the ones that get
discontinued. On the other hand, we may
try new items for a short trial and will discontinue them because of low sales.
Like all industries, the products are continuously changing
and the winners are really chosen by consumers (thatís you and me).Yes, we decide what goes and what stays by
what our guests purchase. Since you
ultimately make the decision, I hope you feel the power.
So next time youíre disappointed when one of your favorite
items has disappeared, think of the adventure you can have in determining the
next great product.Change really keeps food
products fresh and fun.Wouldnít food become
boring without change?
There are some great foods out there just waiting for you to
try and judge. Remember, you make the
Enjoy the adventure
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 16th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Roasting, A Great Method of Cooking
There are several different meats that roast well, beef,
pork, chicken, and lamb just to name a few. And within those proteins, there are some
types that need to be cooked slowly with moisture and for a longer period of
time, and some that need higher heat cooked in a dry oven. I will share with
you a few of my thoughts and approaches to roasting particular cuts.Remember, Iím certainly no chef, but I really
enjoy cooking and eating.
Chicken is fairly simple and diverse.You can cook a chicken slow and with moisture
(for example in a crock pot) or you can bake it in the oven at 350 degrees for
a couple of hours. There are a large variety of spices or rubs you can use. It is just a matter of choice.
Beef becomes a little more complicated, but there is a general
rule.If it is a cut from the shoulder,
the best cooking method is slow with moisture and low heat. Cross ribs roast or boneless chuck roasts, for
example, I usually cook in a pot on top of the stove which is probably why they
call them a pot roast. I take a little
oil and coat the bottom of the pot, season the roast generously, and then
preheat the pot so the meat begins to brown immediately. I like to brown both sides so the browning flavors
are retained and the moisture is sealed in the roast, and then I add a couple
inches of water to the pan. At this
point, you can also add carrots, potatoes, turnips, onions, or any other
veggies you wish. Next, lower the heat
to the point where the water just barely simmers, cover the pot, and let it
cook for three or four hours. Remember
to check the water level so it never runs dry.The meat is done when it pulls apart easily with a fork.Add flour to thicken the liquid for a tasty
gravy, and if it gets to thick just add a little milk to thin it.
There are several roast cuts in beef that you can roast in the
oven, for example: rib roasts, London broil, bottom round, rump, and sirloin
tip. My favorite dry oven technique is
to cook the roast at a low heat (around 250 degrees) and use a thermometer to
watch the temp.Remove the roast from
the oven when the center temperature hits about 150 degrees. Season according to your taste and slice the
meat thin.You could add potatoes with
this technique as well, but the veggies will be drier without the moistures,
and Iím not a fan of dry vegetables.This method takes a little more time. If you donít have the time, turn the heat up
to 350 degrees and still monitor the thermometer to the same 150 degree temperature.
Iíll finish a few more thoughts in my
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 7th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Labor Day and the Beginning of Cooler Weather
Fall is definitely in the air.You can just feel the difference as the sun
goes down. The cooler, fresh air quickly
setting in and the morning seems to have a cool dampness about it as well. We also see those daylight hours beginning to
As fall comes rushing in, it creates several changes within
our households. If you have children,
the morning routine changes completely as the rush to school goes into
effect.For me, I start driving to work
in the dark. Daylight is so much better!
Some other changes we experience centers around meal
planning and cooking methods. Now we
switch to more indoor cooking and less outdoor grilling, and meal selections
change as well.
One method of cooking I would like to talk about is roasting
in the oven or on the stovetop. I
believe with our busy lifestyles, and with both parents working in many
households, roasting is a diminishing method of cooking.The sad part about it is that roasting can create
some awesome meals and is really not difficult to do.The down side is the time it takes to cook
the meal.There are a few solutions to
One solution is the use of a crock pot.You can throw all the ingredients into the
pot in the morning and have a delicious meal waiting for you when you get home.
Another thought is you can cook your roasts on the weekends or on those days
your schedule allows you more time for meal preparation.
There are basically two types of roasting methods, slow
roasting and dry oven roasting.Those
two methods are determined by what type of meat you are cooking.
We will look at some of the different choices of meat and
discuss what cooking method will work well for them in the next couple of
Until then, just keep grilling those steaks and fish fillets
and enjoy your Labor Day weekend.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted SEP. 1st, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Back to School
Can you believe that school is starting within the next
couple of weeks? Summer is coming to a
quick end, and it seems like we just got a good start on the nice warm weather.
Maybe because we had such a long cold
spring, it took a bit for us to thaw out and realize summer had started.
As we listen to the news and hear the many conflicting
reports on the economy, it can be a bit confusing and can leave us wondering
what the future holds. Housing, stock
markets, gas prices, health insurance, employment and so forth, have us spinning
in circles trying to figure out how to play the game. Our meat and seafood market is no different
this year. We have had a ton of
fluctuation in pricing and availability of product all spring and summer.Starting with the halibut and salmon market
and now continuing with the poultry, beef, and seafood products. It makes it difficult to forecast and predict
the future market. It feels like the
producers are trying to push market prices up but the consumer isnít buying
those price increases. Then product begins to back up and the price drops
dramatically.We are experiencing those
fluctuations on a weekly basis.
Because we write our ads 4-6 weeks ahead of time, we find
ourselves facing constant changes with availability of products or huge price
swings.What does that mean to you and
me as consumers?Just this, itís hard to
know when a product is at a good price and when it isnít.For example, boneless, skinless fryer breast
have jumped as much as 35 cents in one weekís time, so you will see an ad 35
cents less from week to week, and depending on when you made your purchase, you
are happy or disappointed.
I guess the bottom line is this: we just need to get through
this unstable time in our history and hope that we can get back to a more
stable market on all fronts.Meanwhile,
find the good things in life and focus on enjoying them. You know like smores, grilled steaks, and of
course ice cream, fishing, playing
with the grandkids, swimming, and on and on.
Have a Happy Week
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted AUG. 30th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Properly Prepared Fish
Have you noticed I havenít blogged for a while? I decided to go on a fishing trip in Canada.
It was a lot of fun. There I was sitting in a 17 foot boat, just
me, a friend, and Mother Nature. We were
continuously surrounded by these huge whales that would come out of the water,
showing off their magnificence. When
they blew out their air as they came to the surface, it echoed across the
water. What a great experience
witnessing the whales working together to gather food. I think they are much better at fishing than
Anyway, on to the subject I would like to share with you
today.I was fortunate to catch enough
fish to give a few to friends and still bring home a sizeable catch.Now that we have these fish in our freezer,
the trick is how to prepare them so one might enjoy their rich flavor. Remember, fish are one of the greatest sources
of protein and a healthy choice as well.
Cooking fish presents two problems, however.The first is the odor that lingers in your
house when the fish dinner is finished, and the second is the fact that many of
us over cook our fish and it becomes very dry and chewy.Several people Iíve talked to thought they
didnít care for fish, but when they tried it cooked properly, they were
Problem one: The fish
odor.Simply cook your fish on the
grill outside.I had discussed this
earlier in a blog (refer to my March 30th 2009 blog). It gives detailed steps on how to grill your
fish (yes, that was a long time ago but it is still there and hopefully worth your
time to read it again).
Problem two: Donít
over cook your fish.Whether you
grill, sautť, or bake it, over done fish is simply not good.Watch for that translucent color of the fish
to turn opaque.As the flesh of the fish
cooks, it turns color. As soon as you
see the color change, itís time to take the fish away from the heat. Use your fork to separate the layers of fish,
it will flake away and the color in the middle will just barely go from
translucent to opaque. Your fish is now
ready to eat. You will be surprised at
how moist and succulent that fish is compared to that dry almost chewy over
cooked fish. Trust me; it will make all
the difference in the world.I hope you
will delight yourself and those who dine with you with a marvelous fish dinner.
Fish is really easy to prepare and when cooked
properly, it is delicious!
Happy fishing from
Kenny the Fish Guy
Posted AUG. 23rd, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Just For Fun
After sharing with all of you my very secret Smore making
technique, I thought it might be fun to share a couple of other things I cook
around the campfire. Campfires just have a magic charm that surrounds them. People enjoy sitting around the fire watching
the flames. Itís a great place to share
stories, sing songs, and eat campfire goodies like banana boats, or
smores.I find that children are
especially excited to be around the fire and that it is a great place to teach
them important principles. I have been in Scouting for years and the campfire
has always been a special place to teach and have fun. Thatís why I have 4 different fire rings
around my place. We build a lot of fires.
So back to the subject of cooking fun...
Bread on a stick is one of my favorites. I just buy that
prepared bread dough (or you can make your own). Roll it into strips (like we did when we made
snakes out of play dough). Find a stick thatís about an inch in diameter.
Peel the bark away from the stick and
pre-heat the stick in the fire (just so it gets a little warm). Flatten the
bread dough; wrap it around the stick, and roast it in the fire until itís
golden brown. (Treat it like the marshmallow; roast it slowly.)Then just melt some butter on the outside and
WOW is it delicious!One important hint
to remember - pinch the bread dough together on each end so it doesnít unravel
as it roasts.
Now use the same technique but put a hotdog or sausage on
the stick. Roast the hot dog just like always,
then wrap the hotdog in the bread dough and roast it on the fire again, slowly.
I call it pig in a blanket.
How about putting a cheese stick on a stick, wrapping it in
the bread dough, and roasting it slow?Now you have a braided cheese stick.
Cooking on the open fire is great fun. You can cook all
kinds of stuff on the coals of your fire, so have some family fun and enjoy
cooking out doors.
Kenny the Meat guy
Posted AUG. 6th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Well I hope some of you took advantage of my smore advice
and gave the smore rock a chance. If not, there is still plenty of time before
campfire season is over.
As the grilling season is definitely in full swing, I
thought this would be a good time to review the beef steak list so you will
know which steak you want to grill next time.Remember, grilling is a quick and delicious way to cook, and the clean
up is so simple, enjoy!
The T-bone steak is my very favorite. It consists of two distinctly different steaks
held together by the bone (those two steaks will be on the list as well). They
are the fillet and the New York. The T-bone steak has it all for me.
The New York is an excellent steak, but I like the bone-in
cuts because I believe the bone adds flavor to the meat when cooked. Boneless is a real plus for some people and
certainly is easier to eat.I still
like the bone to chew on, as long as the company I am with doesnít mind that
Iím gnawing on a bone.There is a
Bone-in New York which is the same as the T-bone minus the fillet and that
almost works for me.
The fillet is a very tender cut of meat but not as flavorful
as some of the other cuts.Usually itís
a leaner cut of beef without as much marbling, hence not as much flavor.The size and tenderness attracts the
attention for this steak.It is also the
most expensive of the group.
Rib Steak can be boneless or bone-in, your choice (my bone
theory still applies for this steak).Many meat eaters claim this is the most flavorful cut of steak because
of the vast amount of marbling.I canít
debate that fact, but there is too much waste for me.It is usually a little less expensive than
other cuts of steak we have discussed so far.Itís my wifeís very favorite steak though, so we have them more often
than the T-bone.
Tri- tips, top sirloins, petit fillets (ball tips), London
broils, and even chuck steaks can be delicious on the grill but may need a
little special attention to get them ready to cook.Most of these cuts are also more economical
and may be a worthwhile trade off. There
are several great marinades that will tenderize the meat if that is an issue
The most effective way to decide what you like best is to
sample them all.Remember, we carry
certified Hereford Beef, and I think you will find there is a difference in the
quality and flavor of our beef.
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 26th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Smores Very Important
We have talked about a lot of thing over the past 14 months,
but this next subject is really important, and one that can make or break a
marriage.This subject is basically
geared toward the husband or boyfriend but can be used by woman in some
The following is the
proper instructions on ďHow to Prepare a SmoreĒ.
∑1 flat rock (big enough to hold 3-4 graham
∑1 bag fresh marshmallows
∑1 package graham crackers
∑Lots of Hershey chocolate bars (having too little
chocolate can be devastating)
∑1 roasting stick
∑1 campfire with beautiful red coals and very
1. Start by building your fire.
Make sure you start the fire early enough to produce a nice bed of coals with
some but not many flames (both coals and flames are good).
2. Place the flat rock near the
edge of the fire. Make sure all bugs, worms, and dirt have been removed from
the top of the rock, and it is clean enough to set your graham crackers on.
3. Place the graham crackers on the
flat rock near the fire. Place three
sections of HersheyĎs chocolate on each cracker. This process will preheat the chocolate while
you are roasting your marshmallows. ďThis
step is very important.Ē The chocolate
should start melting by the time you have completed roasting the marshmallows.
4. Place two marshmallows on your
roasting stick. A good smore takes two
marshmallows.It is very important to roast the marshmallowslowly which ensures it is gooey all
the way through the center and golden brown on the outside. (This may take
5. Now itís time to put it all
together.Place the perfectly roasted
marshmallows on top of the partially melted chocolate using the top graham cracker
to slide the marshmallow off the roasting stick. Squeeze the sandwiched mallow
or chocolate lightly and let it sit for two minutes.
6. Always,Ö let me repeat thisÖ ďalways
serve the ladies firstĒ!
If you follow these instructions carefully, you will serve
the perfect smore and you will be a hero!
Kenny the Happy Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 16th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Prince William Sound
I guess Iíve
been slacking a bit on the blog, but itís been really busy and crazy these last
few weeks. Just a short description of
my July, remember I live in Sandpoint (one of the most beautiful places in the
we had a new baby Granddaughter in Utah; July 3rd
we had another baby Grandson, we have a Wedding on July 31 in Utah,
and then we have another wedding in Sandpoint on August 7th, and I
still need to get my work done. Life is
I told you I
would give you a little information about Prince William
Sound. It is a beautiful
place.Right now we are getting a lot of
Salmon from this area. This is the time
to really enjoy Alaskan wild Salmon. The
season will only be a little while longer.
There are 3000
miles of coast in Prince William Sound alone.The soundís many fiords and islands were carved by glaciers.Itís a very deep body of water compared to
the relatively shallow Gulf of Alaska.
The cold arctic
air cools the water surface.The cool
water drops to the bottom and (in convection current) the warmer,
nutrient-laden bottom waters rise to the surface.The result is Alaskaís huge plankton bloom
which supports many types of marine mammals, sea birds and fish.It also attracts the whales from warm
southern seas where they over-winter.
I know I have been stuck on the fishing
subject lately, itís just been an unpredictable year for fishing, and I though
you might enjoy following the season. We
will have a new subject next week.
Happy Fishing to All!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUL. 12th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Wow, the sun has been shinning and it
finally feels like summer may be upon us. It is hard to believe that July is just a
couple of days away. I have talked about
this crazy halibut and salmon season several times and it continues to be
unpredictable but it is what it is.So I
thought it might be fun to talk about the different species of salmon we have
from our Northwest Waters. I hope you enjoy these facts:
King Salmon: For sports
fishermen, one of the most sought after fish is the King salmon also known as a
Chinook or Black mouth (you guessed it, their mouths are black).Most identification documents will describe
Kings as having teeth emerging from the gum line on the lower jaw and circular
black spots on the tail.
salmon are our regions ultimate trophy fish weighing in at around 20 to 30
pounds.Washingtonís state record is 70+
pounds.Wild Kings spend from three to
seven years in the sea before returning to their native river to spawn.Hatchery fish weigh between five and fifteen
pounds.Whether wild or hatchery raised,
Kings grace the table of many Northwest backyard BBQs and are rich in flavor.
Salmon:Coho or Silver salmon are
normally smaller than Kings, and their teeth emerge from
a white gum line on the lower jaw.Spots
are usually missing on the tail, but it may be lightly spotted on the upper
portion.They usually spend about three
years in the sea before returning to spawn but grow exceptionally fast during
These fish are characterized by creating
quite an excitement among sports fishermen often putting up a great fight
leaping clear out of the water a number of times before being brought to the
boat.Kings on the other hand, dive deep
trying to use the girth of their bodies to wear out the anglerís arms.The meat of Coho salmon is bright pink and is
delicious prepared in a number of different ways.
Sockeye Salmon:Sockeye salmon, also called red salmon, are colored blue-tinged silver while living in the
ocean. But just prior to
spawning, they turn red with green heads and sport a dark stripe on their
sides.Males develop a hump on their
back and the jaws and teeth become hooked during their move from salt to fresh
water.Sockeye spawn mostly in streams
that have lakes in their
watershed. The young fish will spend up to three years in the freshwater lake
before migrating to the ocean. Some stay
in the lakes and do not migrate.
Sockeyes are very full-flavored, almost
strong, and faintly crab-like.Sockeyeís meat is the firmest of salmon, possibly because they have the
longest migration patterns and range.Very little seasoning is needed for this fish; they are excellent cooked
any way, but be careful, they are easily overcooked.
Pink Salmon:Pink salmon or humpies (named after the huge
hump the males develop in late spawning season) return to Washington waters
every other year on odd years.The
average Humpy weighs between three and five pounds, but some have been caught
up to 14 pounds.While Humpies are the
smallest of the Northwestís salmon, they are tenacious fighters.The fish is characterized by a white mouth
with black gums, no teeth on the tongue, large oval-shaped black spots on the
back, and an anal fin with 13-17 soft rays.
Though many anglers refuse to admit pinks
are good eating, if handled properly immediately after catching, they are
excellent especially smoked.The trick
is to cut the gills immediately so the fish can bleed out, and clean the fish
as soon as possible after that.Humpies
that are handled improperly quickly become soft and lose their flavor.Most salmon commercially canned are pinks.
So those are some of the fun facts about
some of our Northwest Salmon.We are just
starting to get Salmon from the Alaskan Prince William Sound. I will tell you a little about this region in
my next blog.Enjoy these fresh wild
Alaskan salmon while they are available.
Kenny the meat Guy
Posted JUN. 28th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Thatís how I feel about the wild halibut and salmon catches this year. I donít remember a time when the halibut stayed this high in price or when Copper River Salmon runs were so poor for so long. It has been very frustrating for everyone. They keep thinking the runs are going to get better but they havenít. Some experts think the salmon runs are just late because of the weather, but everyone is beginning to wonder if there will be a good run at all.
Then we have to face our guests and try to explain to them why we have Copper River Salmon in our ads but no fish in the market. I guess thatís just one of those things. We have had to try really hard to get any wild fish into our stores at all lately. We do have Wild Keta salmon fillets, but they are simply not as rich or flavorful as the Copper River Salmon. I guess we just wait patiently and see what develops.
Iíll mention a couple of other questions I have been asked lately. Farm raised Atlantic Salmon are in short supply at this time and will be for a while. This issue has driven the price higher and the wild salmon market isnít helping that situation either. Yes, the oil spill is affecting the wild shrimp market already and everyoneís concerned about the future of Gulf shrimp.
Wow, this blog feels a little negative, so I guess Iíll tell you one more fish story. I took my wife fishing Saturday evening. The lake was beautiful and it was just the two of us with a fishing pole in each of our hands. We were slowly trolling for a bass with nothing happening for a long time. Suddenly, my wife yells ďI think Iím caught on the bottom.Ē I said, ďI donít think soĒ as I watched her pole jerk around wildly. I yelled, ďCome on, reel it inĒ and she finally brought this beautiful 17 inch cut throat up to the side of the boat. I quickly remarked, ďoh sweetie that fish is going to be great on the grillĒ! She replied, ďbut it is so prettyĒ. I knew what was coming next. ďWell, what would you like to do with your fishĒ (the only one caught the entire evening) I asked. She replied ďwhat would happen if we let it go.Ē I said with a quieter voice, ďit will just swim away.Ē She smiled a big smile and said, ďletís do thatĒ and we did and it did.
Kenny the Fishless Guy
P.S. I had popcorn for dinner when we got home. There wasnít even any ice cream!
Have a great week and happy fishiní.
Posted JUN. 15th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Itís time for another recipe from my unusual list of nonconventional
cooking!I usually call it slop gourmet,
but to make it more palatable, Iíll call it ďFrito Chip CasseroleĒ. Try this one; it may surprise you.
You can make this in
a casserole dish, 9x13 cake pan, or a Dutch oven.It makes 4-6 generous servings.
1. Mix one large can of chili and the same amount of cream of
mushroom soup.Add no water; combine both cans in a sauce pan; heat to simmer.
2. Use one medium size bag of Frito corn chips, and 1 Ĺ -2 cups of
3. Layer Frito corn chips on the bottom of the pan follwed by a
layer of the soup chili mix, and then a layer of shredded cheese.Repeat, you should have enough for three
layers ending with cheese on top.Place
the casserole in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes long enough to melt
and crisp the cheese on top
4. The last step is to build a 2-3 inch layer of green salad mix on
the top and serve.
5. Some people add salsa to the salad mix before eating. I actually
add salsa mixed with Thousand Island dressing. That adds a lot to the dish for
Of course itís good, especially
if you serve ice cream for dessert!
Now, if you noticed this recipe is a meatless dish (well, unless
you add burger to the chili)Öthat just happens sometimes.You can make up for it by having a big steak,
burger, chicken, or pork chop the next night, just to make sure you keep your
diet well balanced.
Have a great week!
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUN. 7th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Shoul a Guy Blog on a Rainy Day?
Thatís the question I asked myself as I sat down to share
some thoughts with you today. Of course, the answer has to be yes or there
would be very few blogs written this spring.
So letís just take a minute and look at the bright side of
things this morning. First, as we look outside itís still a beautiful place to
live, everything is so fresh and green, flowers blooming, and all that new life
budding, showing promise for a bright future. Second, no drought here, I havenít even had to
get the hoses out to water the lawn yet. Third, I still believe we live in the greatest
country in the world, and Iím so thankful for all those who have sacrificed a
lot and in some cases everything so we can have what we have today. Iím thankful for those who continue to serve
our country today and that will guarantee our freedom for our bright future. So look around and see all the good things we
have to be thankful for, including the rain that brings forth life for the
future. A bright smile can bring a lot
of brightness to those around you. So
help brighten someone elseís day and you will notice it will brighten your day
On to some fish &
Copper River salmon are not showing up in very
large numbers, and the cost is going to remain high for the near future. Iím grateful that they manage the catch so
there will be a bright future for the Cooper River Salmon too.
Pork and beef prices are still on the rise but retail prices
are holding steady for now. Meat
proteins are still affordable, and there are some great ad prices to take
advantage of every week.
Plan your menuís around good buys and that will stretch your
grocery dollars a lot. However, there
are those special times that you want a particular item for your meal. In that case, just buy it and enjoy every
There is so much great food around us that you should always
be able to find a great deal on a great meal. Roasts, casseroles, and fresh baked cookies
sound good to me during this cooler weather. Take advantage of cooking in the oven while
itís cooler out. It will help warm your
house while you cook.
Have a great week and remember be happy. It just feels
Kenny the Meat Guy
Posted JUN. 1st, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
More About Salmon
Copper River salmon is the ďfrontline fisheries
talkĒ these days, and we continue to watch the pricing with each opening. Currently,
we are on opening number four and the price keeps slowly dropping. Iím
sure it will continue to drop as more waters open and more fish are caught. We will see some of the other rivers and
fisheries come alive soon as well, and that will take some of the pressure off Copper
One more thing I want you all to know is that there are
three different salmon from the Copper River. At this time, we see mostly Sockeye salmon and
some Kingís. Later this summer, we will have the opportunity to bring the Coho
salmon on board. They too are a
beautiful bright red color which signifies the rich flavor and oil rich meat.
The other great news about the Alaskan fisheries is how well
they are managed. All of the entities involved
with these fish work hand in hand to make sure the fish remain plentiful. They work hard at maintaining a sustainable
environment that will produce this product for years in the future. These entitities carefully monitor the number
of fish that make it to spawning areas and ensure the next yearís runs will be
There are many good rich salmon harvested each year other
than Copper River.Itís funny how this river became the big name
for salmon.We will be featuring other
fisheries as they open for fishing.These salmon will be great just like Copper River salmon, so
take advantage of this wonderful time of year as the fresh wild salmon and
halibut make their way to market. Look in our ads as we feature these fish
often at this time of year.
There are many articles that boast about the goodness of
these fish especially about the health benefits. It just seems like a win win situation all the
way around, great taste and great health benefits! Remember, these fish are excellent grilled,
and itís quick and easy, and there is no fishy odor in the house.Also, clean up is a breeze when you place
foil down before you grill the fish.
Have a great week!
Posted MAY. 25th, 2010 by Kenny the meat guy
Copper River time is here again
Salmon season is always an exciting time of year. It is traditionally one of the first fresh
salmon openers weíll see as the Alaskan fisheries begin to open. I blogged last year about how we had to guess
at Copper River salmon prices when we began to
market these beautiful fish each year. We have to guess because our ads are written
and set for print before the fish are even processed. We try to use the information we gather, and
then we just hope we are in the right marketing range. I thought I would share a sample of the
information we get plus a picture. The
season is upon us, enjoy.
Hereís the latest news from Copper
of yesterday, a strong weather system has moved into the Gulf
of Alaska, bringing high winds, rain and snow. In Cordova yesterday,
it was blowing 50 knots. Today, winds are expected blow 25-50 knots, with gusts
from 70-90 knots. Winds are supposed to abate by Thursday, but some of the
fleet has voiced concerns about taking to the grounds if the weather and seas
donít lie down.
The projected catch for round #1 (from
ADF&G data):Kings: 785 fish. This
equates to 17,270# round wt = 12,952# dressed weight, industry-wide, all
packers combined Sockeye: 8,986 fish. This equates to 59,187# round wt =
44,390# dressed weight, Industry-wide, all packers combined
The river continues to ďbreak upĒ. Open
water is visible at many points from the Million Dollar Bridged downriver, but
water levels overall remain low. There are many sea lions at the mouth of the
river (on the many sandbars), but none have gone upriver at this point. This is
a sign that salmon are not yet in the river, and instead are ďoutsideĒ. The
sonar counters have not yet been deployed at the MilesLake site.
Copper River round #2 will be
Monday, and a 12-hour fishery is the most likely scenario. ADF&G wonít give
the fleet a 24-hour period until they see enough fish being caught and/or going
upriver. The Monday fishery will commence without inside-water closures. Round
#3 (on May 20) will have inside-water closures in effect.