Kid-Friendly · Pork · Poultry · Recipes

WTF: The Easiest Stir-Fry Ever

Yea yea, I know, I haven’t posted a recipe since April. I don’t really have an excuse – I just haven’t been writing much, though cooking plenty. So let’s just skip all the apologies and whatnot and get down to business.

If you saw my post on the SlowCarbSnacktime Facebook the other day, I mentioned that I want to start a new series of posts for the blog entitled “What’s in The Fridge” or WTF. After some feedback from friends and readers, I realized what the people want: fast and easy options for living a slow carb life. Many of my recipes comes from the same “base” recipe – once you know how to cook a type of dish or protein, you basically have free reign to make it your own, fit it to your needs and the foods you have on hand. I’ll be sharing some of these “build-a-bear” style recipes to help you get things started, with some ingredient recommendations to make it your own.

Before we get started with the recipe, a mini update just to say that I have changed my Instagram username. Neither blog nor their respective Facebook pages will be changing, but I decided to update my IG to something more inclusive of the actual content I post and to better reflect my personality. You can now find me on Instagram @lipsticksanddeadlifts.

On to the easiest stir-fry ever! Due to the make-your-own style of this recipe, I have not included any photos for the time being.

You will need: 
Large non-stick pan
Cutting board
Sharp knife
Spatula
Tongs

Ingredients: 
1 lb sausage in casings (pork or chicken)
10oz bag frozen pepper strips
10oz bag frozen sliced mushrooms
1 onion, halved and sliced thin

Seasoning & Spices: 
salt
garlic powder

Since I’m working with frozen veggies, it takes a bit longer to cook, but it’s worth it for the added nutrients.* Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat and dump in the peppers and mushrooms – you don’t need any cooking fat right now, the veggies need to defrost and lose some of their water. Stirring occasionally, cook the veggies until the water begins to evaporate (7-10 minutes) and then add in the onions. The onions will also let go of some water – once all the liquid has evaporated, add your cooking fat (ghee, tallow, coconut oil, olive oil, etc), salt, and any herbs or spices you like.

mild-links220_0Once the vegetables begin to caramelize, add in your sausage links. I prefer to use uncooked sausages and usually buy Mulay’s brand, but cooked sausages like Aidell’s Organic are just fine too! Just be sure to check your ingredients. If you are using raw sausage, let them cook for 5-7 minutes, turning once – continue to stir the veggies as well. Using tongs, remove the sausages one at a time to the cutting board and slice them into rings. If you are using pre-cooked sausages, you can slice them right away.

Continue to cook the veggie-sausage mixture until the sausages are cooked through, mixing occasionally so that nothing sticks to the pan. Serve immediately.

***

Okay, so that’s my basic sausage stir-fry, but you can make it work with almost any veggies you have available. Here are some options that I have tried or would, but you can use whatever you like:

  • fresh or frozen sweet peppers, sliced
  • fresh hot peppers, chopped
  • fresh or frozen mushrooms, sliced
  • onion (any kind)
  • scallions
  • shallots
  • broccoli
  • cabbage, sliced
  • green beans
  • carrots

Some herb and spice options, though I would not recommend using them all at once:

  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Chinese five-spice
  • oregano
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • thyme
  • white pepper

*Notes:

If the veggies you’re buying are out of season, you’re better off buying frozen vs. imported. Produce begins to lose nutrients once its picked and the longer it takes to get to your plate, the less you benefit from it!

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Pork · Recipes · Skills/Techniques · Vegetarian · Whole30

Kimchi Fried Cauli-Rice

A few months ago, The Boyfriend and I took a little trip through Seattle and Vancouver, BC to celebrate his 30th birthday. While in Vancouver, we had the good fortune to grab seats at the bar at one of the renowned Guu Izakaya restaurants. The special that evening just happened to be kimchi fried rice with pork intestine… and we’ve been talking about it ever since.

There’s just something about fried rice – it’s both exotic and comforting, simple and complex. I could philosophize for ages, but let’s just get to the cooking.  I’ve made cauliflower rice before, so switching out regular rice for the cauli-good-stuff was no big deal. I had originally intended for this part of dinner to last us at least two days, but that just didn’t happen. Thankfully, cauliflower is packed with far more nutrients and other healthy goodies than rice so no real harm in filling up, other than the lack of leftovers. Guess I’ll just have to make it again!

Ingredients: 
1 large head cauliflower
8 oz kimchi
5 slices bacon (optional*)
3 large eggs
salt, to taste
black pepper, to taste

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
Food processor or food mill
Large non-stick pan
1 small bowl

* if you are not using bacon for dietary or personal preferences, you will need about 3 tbsp of oil (avocado recommended) to replace the bacon grease.

Wash and clean the cauliflower, chop into medium-sized florets, and set on a paper towel to dry. Working in small batches, pulse the cauliflower in a food processor or run it through a food mill until it resembles rice (you can see the full length recipe in detailhere). Place cauliflower “rice” in a large microwave safe bowl, microwave for 60 seconds, and set aside.

Using a very sharp knife, chop 8 oz kimchi into smaller pieces (I make them just slightly larger than “bite size”) and set aside. Again using a sharp knife, slice bacon strips into smaller, bite-size pieces. Finally, using a fork or whisk, scramble three eggs together in a small bowl.

Heat a large non-stick pan on medium-high heat (~ 8/10). Add about half of the bacon pieces, using tongs or a spatula to make sure they don’ t stick together. After about 2 minutes, add the rest of the bacon pieces – varying the cooking times makes for a fun change in texture and keeps everybody happy (The Boyfriend prefers the crispiest of bacon, I’m less excited by this). Continue cooking bacon for 3-5 minutes, stirring/flipping often to insure even cooking and that pieces don’t stick together.

Add all 8 oz of kimchi to the pan, stirring frequently for about 3 minutes or until cabbage begins to soften. Dump the entire batch of cauli-rice into the pan, stirring immediately so it’s not just sitting on top of the bacon and kimchi (it will start to burn this way). Continue cooking cauliflower mixture, stirring often, for about 7 minutes or until cauliflower begins to brown. Finally, dump the scrambled eggs over the cauliflower mixture, stirring/flipping all contents of the pan (so the eggs are fully incorporated) for about 3 minutes or until eggs are no longer raw.

Remove contents of pan to a large bowl and serve immediately.

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Kid-Friendly · Pork · Recipes · Skills/Techniques · Snacks

Render: Maximizing Bacon Fat

While I’m not particularly interested in the fake bacon flavor that seems to be found in everything these days, there are few things better than real, freshly cooked bacon. I love bacon, I really do, and now there’s a way to get some of that savory goodness every day without destroying your kitchen daily: rendering bacon fat. This is obviously not a new concept, I’m sure people have saved bacon grease since bacon was first discovered, but I struggled with the process for a while before I found a system that really works for me. If you have a fat rendering method that you love, more power to you, I’m just here to share my method for those still working on a way to cook with bacon grease on the regular.

Reserved bacon fat is excellent for quick meals like fried eggs or adding some flavor to simple dishes. Remember though, this will have a lower smoke point than other oils so if it’s crispy mushrooms you’re looking for, head for the olive or avocado oils.

Appliances/Special Equipment: 
2 medium-sized heat proof bowls (glass recommended)
1 medium-sized heat proof container with airtight seal (Pyrex recommended)
1 small-medium non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep
1 small fine mesh strainer (3″ – 4″)
1 pair heat-safe tongs (not plastic)

Ingredients: 
5 slices pork bacon, thick-cut (7 slices regular cut)

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Using a sharp knife, slice the bacon into small chunks – I usually keep the strips together when removing from the package and cut them all at once, 6-7 pieces per slice. Separate the pieces so they aren’t all stuck together.

Heat a non-stick pan, at least 2″ deep, over medium heat. Add bacon to pan and fry over medium heat, turning often with tongs, until all pieces are cooked through – the idea here is to render or melt as much fat as possible without burning the meat. I usually cook until the bacon is just slightly crispier than my personal preference (The Boyfriend will eat it all anyway).

Using the tongs, gently “shake off” excess fat from bacon pieces and remove them to heat-safe bowl. Place the mesh strainer over the second bowl and carefully pour the grease from the pan through the strainer into the bowl. Repeat by straining the grease from the bowl through the mesh into the heat-safe container. You should strain your bacon fat at least twice, as described above, but the more times you do it, the “purer” your fat will be – the fat in the photo above was strained three times.

Eat fried bacon pieces within 12 hours. Store rendered fat in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

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Date Night · Kid-Friendly · Pork · Recipes · Veggies + Side Dishes

Perfect Pork Chops ++

In our ongoing effort to avoid sugar, I feel I’ve gotten a little carried away with fat recently. Yes yes, certain types of fat are good for you, but even the good stuff should be consumed in moderation. I decided to go for a super simple, fast, low-key dinner tonight and it was absolutely delicious. Originally I had no intentions of posting this recipe since I just made it up on the spot and went with what felt right, but I picked up Nigella Lawson’s How To Eat at Powell’s last week (for $8.00!) and she is a firm believer in authenticity over originality, so here it is. I didn’t make anything weird or complicated, just straight up good food. Needless to say, there were no leftovers.

You will need two pans for this recipe. I highly recommend using cast iron for the chops and a large non-stick for sautéing the spinach.
Please note, I made these dishes at the same time and tried to write the recipe as such, but be sure to keep tabs on the process so you don’t burn or overcook anything.

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Ingredients: 
2 pork loin chops, about 1″ thick
3-4 cups fresh baby spinach
3.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
mayonnaise, for serving (optional)

Seasoning: 
1/2 tsp freshly cracked salt (for spinach)
~ 1 tsp salt
~ 1 tsp pepper
Cocky Cajun Seasoning, to taste

Using a sharp knife, cut off any excessively large pieces of fat from the pork chops – not everything, you want some fat to render and help the cooking process, you just don’t want to chew on it either. Season each side with salt, freshly cracked pepper, and my Cocky Cajun seasoning (I went a bit heavy, but put as much as you like) and rub it in a bit.

Pre-heat the cast iron skillet (for the pork chops) on medium-high and the non-stick (for the spinach) on medium-low. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to the cast iron and 1 tbsp olive oil to the non-stick.

Add the pork chops to the cast iron. Cook on medium heat, about 5 minutes per side or until internal temperature reads 155*F (for medium).

One to two minutes after adding pork chops to the cast iron, add all the spinach to the non-stick pan. Pour 1/2 tbsp olive oil and freshly cracked salt over the spinach, mix well and cover with lid. Check on it every 2-3 minutes and stir. Within 7-10 minutes, all spinach should be wilted. Remove from stove and transfer to serving bowl.

Serve immediately. Mayonnaise optional.

Enjoy!

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Cheat Day · Party Food · Pork · Whole30

Cheat Day: Bacon’d Date Bundles

Happy 2014! Big news here today, new year new ideas! After some deliberation with The Boyfriend, and a few tweaks to our personal slow carb journey, I’ve decided to expand SlowCarbSnacktime’s recipe arsenal. Lately we’ve been cooking more and more of our cheat day meals at home in an effort to consume less processed food, so in addition to the slow carb/gluten-free meals you’re used to seeing here, I will now also be adding some of my gluten-free Cheat Day recipes as well. Mostly this just means I will be using more ingredients like fruit, cheese, and other natural sugars. My focus has never shifted from preparing and consuming fresh, local, organic ingredients with minimal processing and I just felt like it was time to share my approach to Cheat Day as well. Realistically, I can only hold off on a Taco Bell craving for so long, but for the rest of the time it’s just as easy to avoid gluten and weird chemicals for Cheat Day as it is the rest of the week (plus this gives me a chance to test out all these great treats I’ve been dying to experiment with).

For our first Cheat Day adventure, I’m sharing a snack I made for our New Year’s Eve party. Pecan-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates. Yah, more bacon, couldn’t help it, sorry. These are great for cocktail hour, appetizers, date night, or even a quick snack. All you need is a box of dates (like I said before, Costco has everything)! I’m writing out this recipe with the quantities I used for our party (30 pieces for 12 people), but you can of course make more or less. Cooking time will remain the same.

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Ingredients: 
15 whole Medjool dates
1 lb bacon strips (regular cut)
30 whole salted, roasted pecans

Pre-heat oven to 400*F and cover a large baking shit with aluminum foil. Using a sharp knife, cut lengthwise down each date to remove the pit and separate into halves. Cut the bacon strips into halves as well – I just removed the whole thing from the package in one piece and did them all together to keep from stretching the fattier pieces too much. Press a pecan into the center of each date half, rounded side facing inwards, and wrap with a piece of bacon. Place on the baking sheet seam-side down.

Bake for 10 minutes. Flip bacon bundles over, secure with toothpicks, and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until bacon is completely cooked through. Serve immediately.

Note: Before you roll your eyes at having to flip the dates over, I did try to bake them without this step before and it just doesn’t work. If you do not flip the pieces over, the dates will burn before the bacon is cooked through.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to photograph the completed dish because they were gone by the time I got the B^3 out of the oven. Guess I’ll just have to make them again!

Kid-Friendly · Party Food · Pork · Recipes · Whole30

B^3: Butternut Bacon Bites

No you didn’t read that wrong, it actually says butternut squash and bacon. Baconnnn. What a perfect little holiday treat! It took some time to put these guys together, but they made for an amazing cocktail hour at our “Chrismukkah” New Year’s Eve/housewarming party last night.

If I were making this just for The Boyfriend and myself, which I’m sure I will do in the future, I would probably peel and dice the squash myself. However, I needed to make a ton of them for our lovely little shindig so I managed to get some squash that was already peeled and diced. Costco has everything.

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Ingredients: 
~ 50 pieces peeled butternut squash, cut into 1″ cubes (I used about half of a 2lb container)
1 lb bacon strips
1.5 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp chili powder (to taste)

Pre-heat oven to 400*F and cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, toss the butternut squash cubes with 1 tbsp oil, salt, and chili powder.

Using a very sharp knife, cut the bacon strips into thirds – I just removed them from the package in one piece and did it all at once to keep from stretching the fat too much. Wrap each piece of squash with a piece of bacon, placing them seam-side down on the baking sheet.

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Bake the bites for 20-25 minutes or until squash is fork tender and bacon is crispy. Serve immediately.

Note: Squash can be wrapped a few hours ahead of time and stored in the fridge, but I would not recommend doing it the day before.

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Kid-Friendly · Pork · Recipes · Soup · Vegetarian

Easy Peas-y: Split Pea Soup w/ Sausage

*Moving to Oregon: 10 days*

The other day, I posted on my Facebook page that I probably wouldn’t be adding any recipes over the next few weeks as The Boyfriend and I start packing and relocating to our new home in Hillsboro, but this soup came out sooo tasty I just had to share!

Like most of my fall soup recipes, you’ll need an immersion blender, food processor, or regular blender.

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Ingredients: 
1 lb dried split peas
2 32-oz containers chicken stock
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 lb grass-fed pork sausage
3 tbsp pasture butter

Seasoning: 
2 tsp salt
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper

 

Place the sausage in a medium-sized stock pot and cover with chicken stock. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove sausage from pot and allow to cool (this will be added last). Reserve the chicken stock as this will later be added to the soup.

In a large stock pot, melt the butter on medium-high heat and add the chopped onions and garlic. Sautee for a few minutes, until onions and garlic begin to change color, then add salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Add the split peas and continue stirring for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved chicken stock from the sausage, the rest of that container, and the second quart of chicken stock. Bring soup to a boil, then let simmer for about 35 minutes, stirring occasionally.

If using an immersion blender, remove stock pot from heat and blend directly in the pot on high power. If using food processor or blender, blend in batches and add back to the pot. Slice the sausage into rings and add to the blended soup. Continue cooking on medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

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Beef · CrockPot · Kid-Friendly · Pork · Recipes

North Philly Chili

Now that the fall weather is finally on its way, I can’t resist a spicy little number like my dad’s goulash or slow cooker chili.  I’ve been playing with my chili recipes for quite some time and I am finally ready to share my “red chili” secrets (vs. white, which isn’t too far behind). As usual with the crock pot, prep is quick and cooking takes a while so I’d recommend setting this up the night before or early in the day so it’s ready in time for dinner.
Got kids? Skip the jalapeno and make sloppy joe’s!

Ingredients: 
1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
1/2 lb chorizo, removed from casing (~ 2 links)
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, halved and thinly sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
2 scallion bulbs, finely chopped (just the white part)
2 15-oz cans black beans, rinsed until water runs clear
1 28-oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 7oz-can Chipotle peppers in Adobo sauce
1/3 cup sugar-free beef stock e.g. Rachel Ray
2 tsp oil, for the pan (wok or olive oil are great)

Seasoning: 
2 tsp Cajun seasoning (for the meat)
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp chili powder
1.5 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp onion powder

In a food processor, combine the San Marzano tomatoes, 1/2 can of chipotle peppers in adobo, and 1/3 cup of beef stock – pulse for a few seconds at a time to blend, but not liquify (we want it to be a little bit chunky). Add the tomato/pepper mixture to the bowl of the crock pot as well as the chopped onion, shallot, scallion, jalapeno pepper, and beans. Add all seasoning (except for Cajun) and adjust to taste.

Heat a large, nonstick skillet on medium-high heat and coat with oil. Add the chorizo and ground beef in chunks, making sure to break it up as much as possible – we need ground beef here, not patties. Sprinkle 2 tsp of the cajun seasoning over the meat and mix well to blend. Continue cooking on medium-high heat, mixing occasionally to cook evenly and prevent clumps from forming, about 15 minutes or until meat is uniform in color. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat from the pan and add to the crock pot mixture. Mix well.

Set the crock pot on low and cook for at least five hours. Serve with a slotted spoon.

chili

Note: This is a pretty large amount of chili so if you are saving any for the next day, I would recommend removing it to another container using a slotted spoon to drain some of the liquid/fat. This will make the reheated dish a bit less messy and tastier (in my opinion).

Pork

Schnitzel-ish Pork Chops

If you’ve never had schnitzel, it’s an excellent meat dish found in countless European countries (most famous in Austria and Germany). The meat – usually veal or pork – is pounded very thin, then coated with flour, beaten eggs, and breadcrumbs, and finally fried. Since committing to the slow carb lifestyle, I have really been missing my mom’s schnitzel, so I took it upon myself to recreate this dish with a new little twist – slow carb and gluten-free! Grab your meat tenderizer and get poundin’.

Ingredients & Seasoning: 
3 boneless pork loin chops
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
2 whole large eggs
3 tsp nutritional yeast
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
2 tsp salt
1 tsp hot Hungarian paprika
1 tsp onion powder
freshly cracked pepper, multi
freshly cracked pepper, white
high-quality olive oil & clarified butter
1/2 fresh lemon

Rinse the chops with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. On a large cutting board, cover each chop with a piece of plastic wrap and pound them out with a meat tenderizer until they are an even 1/4″ thick (this may take a while).

Combine the flour, 2 tsp of nutritional yeast, and all the seasoning (Cajun, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder) in a shallow dish or bowl. In another shallow bowl, whisk the eggs and the remaining teaspoon of nutritional yeast. Lightly dredge each piece of pork in the egg mixture and then in the flour, making sure to coat both sides evenly.

Lay the cutlets on a clean cutting board or piece of parchment paper for about 10 minutes. This gives the coating a little time to dry and will help it stick to the meat better through cooking.

Heat the oil and ramp butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat, allow the butter to melt completely. Pan fry the cutlets one at a time until they are crispy and golden brown (about 3-4 minutes per side, longer if you were not able to get them down to that 1/4″ thickness). Make sure to add each piece to the pan gently so you don’t get splashed with the hot oil – this is really an unpleasant experience and is easily avoided. Put a paper towel on a clean plate and transfer the schnitzel to this plate when done, giving them a few minutes to drain.

Serve while hot with a squirt of lemon juice.

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Schnitzel-ish Pork Chop w/ Sexy Mayo
Baked · Pork · Recipes

Spare Ribs: Gangnam Style

EDITED 3 Jul 2013: My second attempt of this recipe was far more successful and I have updated this post to reflect the changes I made that resulted in amazing ribs (my friend even said so and he’s from Kentucky so you can believe these are legit).

Mmm porky goodness a la spare ribs! While barbecue season is officially in full swing, sometimes you just crave a slightly different flavor profile. Enter: Korean BBQ (sort of). Tasty things from my oven. This marinade is super quick to make (especially if you already have some grated ginger) and you can bake them inside if you’re a city kid like me and don’t have a patio/grill.

Ingredients: 
– 2 lbs Korean-cut spare ribs (flanken)*
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 2 oz rice vinegar
– 6 oz Tamari (gluten-free soy sauce)
– 2 tsp grated ginger
– 1-2 tbsp minced garlic
– 1 jalapeño pepper , chopped
– clarified butter (to grease the pan)

Seasoning:
– salt
– pepper/white pepper
– onion powder
– hot Hungarian paprika

Combine all of the ingredients (excluding the meat) in a medium-sized bowl and mix well.

The ribs came in one long strip and I used a smaller pan, so I cut them into smaller sections just to make ’em fit, but there is no size rule really as long as they can lay flat in the pan. Place the ribs in a large Ziploc bag (heavy duty/freezer bags recommended) and pour the mixture over the ribs, making sure to seal the bag tightly! Shake it around a bit to make sure the meat is well-coated and place back in the refrigerator to marinate – the longer the better, overnight would be great. For my second attempt with this recipe, I intended to marinate them for a full 24 hours, but then I got lazy so it ended up being more like 45. Best idea! (Note: when putting back in the fridge, I would recommend lying the ribs and bag flat on one side and flipping over about halfway through your marinating time. This seemed to help the meat lock in more flavor and kept each piece coated.)

When ready to cook:

Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil (makes for easier clean-up!) and rub the bottom with some clarified butter to prevent sticking.

Remove the ribs from the marinade and place them on the pan, bone side down. Drizzle a few more spoonfuls of the marinade liquid on top of the ribs, but try not to drown them. We don’t want them sitting in liquid the whole time.

Roast ribs until they are cooked through and tender, about 2 hours.

Something about raw meat still always looks delicious to me
“Before”
Something about raw meat still always looks delicious to me
I can't even describe how amazing these smell
“After”
I can’t even describe how amazing these smell

 

Recommended side-dish: Perfect ‘Stachio Guac

*Korean- or Chinese-style ribs can be found in most Asian markets (like the Vietnamese place on 10th and Washington, if you’re in Philly). This cut is also called “flanken” and refers to the cut of meat cut lengthwise across the rib bones.