Archive for the ‘Sandwiches’ Category

A brisket for all seasons

February 19, 2013


Who doesn’t love beef brisket?

Here on the East Coast, most people know and like it brined (corned beef). In Texas, it is a prime cut for long slow cooking (smoked). And then, of course, the ultimate brined and smoked brisket that is steamed (pastrami).

Years ago during one of our trips to New Orleans, we dined at Tujague’s. Reportedly the second oldest restaurant in a city known for all levels of dining, Tujague’s is more of a local favorite than a “tourists must visit” kind of place. It is not often written about in the foodie mags. It is, in its own way, a classic and one that in my opinion is worth seeking out.

One of the house specialties at Tujague’s is their “boiled brisket.” Nothing could be more humble in name yet more superlative in flavor.

Sometime after that trip, I discovered, on the restaurant’s website, their recipe for this dish. Since that time, I have made this brisket at least once year, usually served with latkes as part of my Hanukkah celebration honoring the Jewish part of my heritage. It amuses me that I prepare a New Orleans Creole brisket recipe to celebrate Hanukkah. This provides a rare opportunity for me to combine my love of New Orleans, my French (my maternal great-great-grandparents entered this country at the port of New Orleans) and my Jewish family.

Recently, I had been overtaken by a strong craving for the brisket and so we purchased a seven pounder from the local BJ’s and I cooked it up for Sunday dinner with friends.

Preparing for our trip next month, yesterday I happened to be checking, the website of the New Orleans Times Picayune. In one of those quirky little coincidences,. I came across a story about the passing of one Steven Latter, the proprietor of Tujague’s It was interesting to read about how he and his brother took over the restaurant without any real food service experience and preserved this treasure.  Mr. Slatter (who, by the way, was Jewish) eventually bought his brother out to become the sole owner. Reading about him made me a little sad that I hadn’t actually met him as I think we might have enjoyed each other’s company.

I read the story and was contemplating what it might mean for the future of the restaurant. Sometimes, owners can be more than just the “boss” at a restaurant; they may provide the very soul of the establishment. As I mused on this, I noticed a link to a story from last year that talked about how great the “brisket sandwich” was. The sandwich was basically a roast beef poor boy/po’boy (the New Orleans version of a “hoagie” or “sub”) made with the house brisket and available only at the bar.

Aha!  Now I knew what I would do with some of the leftovers from Sunday’s brisket.

This noon, I ran out to Italian Peoples’ Bakery and picked up a loaf of their stick bread.

Back home, I made the sandwich and I was not disappointed.

Thank you, Mr. Slatter, for keeping Tujague’s traditions. 


Boiled Brisket Po’ Boy

  • 12” length of good French or Italian stick bread sliced almost but not quite all the way through and opened up.
  • 5 ounces of leftover boiled brisket (see recipe below) warmed, slightly
  • Chopped lettuce
  • Fresh tomato slices
  • 2 Tbs Creole mustard (or dark, coarse grained mustard)
  • 2 Tbs mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbs prepared horseradish (or two taste)

“Dress” the bread with the mustard, mayo and horseradish. Add slices of tomato in one layer, then a light layer of lettuce. Cover evenly with slices of brisket (I warmed mine for one minute in the microwave). Close bread, using back edge of long knife to kind of stuff the filling back in while pressing down on the top of the bread with the palm of your free hand. Cut into two lengths and enjoy.  (I ate this myself but it would probably feed two normal people)

Boiled Brisket ala Tujague’s

  • Fresh beef brisket (about 4 pounds)
  • 2 onions sliced
  • 2 ribs celery chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tbs. salt
  • 12 whole black peppercorns

Put the beef brisket in a coup pot, having trimmed excess fat. Add the onions, celery, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, salt, and peppercorns. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn down heat and simmer slowly for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until brisket is very tender. When the brisket is ready, remove it form the pot, drain, and slice to serve. Serve brisket with horseradish sauce on the side.

Horseradish sauce

  • ½ cup horseradish
  • ½ cup Creole mustard
  • 1 cup Catsup.

Blend and chill.



Gone to the dogs

November 30, 2012
Two "Tony Goes" and a Turbo Dog

Two “Tony Goes” and a Turbo Dog

It was Friday evening of one of those weeks. The question was posed, “What do you want for dinner?”

“An Italian Hot Dog,” came the reply.

Not one to argue, I took a quick inventory of what we had on hand and what we would need to produce this local favorite. A quick trip to the store and I was set.

For those not familiar, the “Tony Goes” is the Trenton version of the Italian Hot Dog: a a dog served on a torpedo roll with yellow mustard, potatoes and green peppers. The “original” Italian-style hot dog, at least according to the Sbarro and Maccaroni families of Trenton. They ran the Casino restaurant (hence one of the dog’s aliases, “Casino dog”) where the sandwich was a specialty. It’s the place the NJ Legislature deemed the home of the offical “Jersey Dog” by proclamation.

Now, I understand that there are other restaurants in the state the claim to have been the originator of this sandwich. I am not going to enter into that debate.

What I know is that I grew up on the dogs from the Casino. They are the “benchmark” I measure all others against.  Or, I should say, the WERE the benchmark. The family sold the restuarant in Trenton a few years back. They made a stab at relocating across the river in Morrisville, PA that didn’t last.

Now, when the mood is upon us, we have to make the dogs ourselves. It’s not that difficult and the results are filling and satisfying. Ideally prepared on a flattop griddle, a large frying pan works well. The idea is to pre-cook the potato (a microwave works well…cook on high until fork tender) and finish it off in the pan with a little oil so it is a little crispy on the outside, soft inside. The pepper should be cooked so the skin is just starting to show some browing and the flesh is softening but retains a little bite. The dogs (we generally use Ballpark Angus bun-sized) are cooked in the fry pan, turning every few minutes until they have browned a bit all around.

Slice open a good, fresh torpedo roll from your favorite local bakery. Add a little yellow mustard, the dog, the peppers and potatoes (NOTE: there are NO onions in this sandwich, just peppers, potatoes and the hot dog). Serve it up. It’s a meal unto itself.

As for a beverage to wash the dogs down with, when I was a kid my choice was the “Lime Rickey” an electric green lime flavored soft-drink.

Nowadays, a beer is good. Abita‘s Turbo Dog works well.

It’s always time for pork roll

September 2, 2012

The Trenton area was put into a state of high alert earlier this summer. Venerated local company Case’s Pork Roll had a fire at its Washington Street facility.  Production was halted for several weeks while the clean-up and repairs were made.

Pork roll, if you don’t know, is regional specialty made from ground pork shoulder, seasoned, stuffed into a casing, cured and smoked. It’s a staple at cookouts all summer long.

Along with Taylor Provisions, Case’s is the last company actually making the product in Trenton. And both have their loyal folowers (think Chevy/Ford or Coke/Pepsi).

Anyway, pork roll (also known as Taylor Ham in some parts of the state) is versatile favorite.

A nice slice grilled and added to a grilled beef patty along with some melted provolone cheese and a thick slice of perfectly ripe jersey tomato satisfies like no other burger.

A couple of slices of pork roll, notched so they won’t “cup”, and fried off in a skillet or on the griddle makes a great breakfast meat to go with eggs and some homefried potatoes.

Perhaps the apex of the pork roll food pyramid is the pork roll egg and cheese sandwich.

Long before the egg mcmuffin and its legion of fast food imitators, this simple treat was standard fare at coffee shops, diners, food trucks and luncheonettes throughout the area.

Pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich

  • two, 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick slices of pork roll
  • two eggs
  • two slices sharp provolone cheese
  • one kaiser/hard roll
  • butter or oil for cooking the eggs
  • salt and pepper

In a small skillet or a griddle over medium high heat, cook* the pork roll slices until just starting to brown (about 2 or 3 minutes). Turn slices over.  If there is room, cook the eggs just until the yolks are no longer runny while the pork roll is finishing. If there isn’t room, just finish the meat and set aside but keep it warm while cooking the eggs.

Slice the roll open and lightly toast.

Lightly butter the roll if desired, layer the eggs, cheese and pork roll onto the bottom of the bun. Top, press down. Enjoy.

(serves 1)

Simple and comforting, the pork roll egg and cheese joins the pepper and egg and the salame and egg in the trinity of anytime sandwiches. They’re great for breakfast, lunch or a light dinner. They are a favorite for a late night snack.  Done well, they will comfort a hangover and cure homesickness in New Jersey expatriates.

Don’t call it a chili dog.

April 11, 2012

One cool, cloudy April Saturday in 1988, I threw on my jean jacket and headed “up town” to North Warren Street. Destination: Texas Lunch.

Texas Lunch, North Warren Street, Trenton, NJ

This was a little hole in the wall joint that had been a favorite of my father’s. Rare was the time we would pass by and he didn’t pull the car to the curb, hand me a dollar or two and send me in for a few Texas Weiners {sic…that was the way the neon window sign spelled it}

For the uninitiated, it is generally accepted that this style of hot dog appeared in Paterson, NJ before 1920 and Altoona, PA maybe a year or two prior to that. The dog is often fried, sometimes grilled and served in a bun with chopped onion, spicy mustard and the sauce. The sauce visually resembles a finely textured, rather thick chili but its flavor profile is more Greek than Mexican or Southwestern US. This is because the recipe for the sauce was most often concocted by the Greek cooks and owners of the little stands the popularized the treat.

Versions of these dogs appear in various regions of the country and some people even make the case they actually started in the upper midwest. It doesn’t matter. Its a great treat to find a good regional example wherever one happens to be at the moment that craving hits.

Here in Trenton, it was that little shop on North Warren that was a touchstone to my youth. And so, I set off to retrieve a couple of Texas Wieners that spring Saturday circa 1988. I fetched two of the dogs and returned home with them. Ann wasn’t interested so I sat down in the kitchen and devoured them both. I was satisfied.

Good thing I went that day. Not too long afterwards I had reason to be driving down North Warren Street and was shocked to see the restaurant and the other buildings that stood in that row had been razed! I was glad I’d made it over there for a couple of last treats.

More than a decade later, I had a chance meeting with Mrs. Calagias, the widow of one of the owners of the Texas Lunch hot dog stand. She asked me if I had ever known of a place called “Texas Lunch” on North Warren Street. I happily shared the story of my last visit to the luncheonette and commiserated with her over the loss of a food icon from the Trenton scene.

Mrs. Calagias passed away this past year. I’m glad I had the opportunity to meet her and relive my fond memories of the place she ran with her husband and his partner, Pete Muzithras.

Every now and again, I get an incredibly strong desire for a good Texas Wiener. Of course, when I do, my thoughts turn to the Texas Lunch.

A year or so ago, I got to speaking about the Texas Lunch with my friend, Mark Stradling. Mark had come across what purports to be THE recipe for the Texas Weiner Sauce from Texas Lunch on North Warren.

The story, as Mark recalls it, was that a scion of one of the owners of Texas Lunch was contacted by some charity or other that said its members wanted to publish a cookbook of recipes from area restaurants and sell the book as a fundraiser. The kid gave them the recipe. When his father found out he went bonkers and demanded it back from them, saying it was a big family secret. They gave it back but someone had already made a copy of it. The cookbook was never published, and the recipe finally ended up on a website.

Unfortunately, Mark didn’t bookmark the site and try as we might, neither of us has been able to find that site again.

Mark did have the presence of mind to copy and paste the recipe into a file. He tried his hand at the recipe and shared the resulting sauce with me. We found it rather sweet. Looking at the recipe, we noted the it calls for two, 8 ounce cans of tomato paste. Today those cans only hold 6 ounces.

Another thing was the specification to use Heinz catsup in the recipe. I’ve nothing against Heinz catsup. In fact that is usually what we have on hand here at home. A look at the ingredient list on the Heinz bottle shows that it contains both high fructose and regular corn syrups as sweeteners. Could today’s use of corn syrup based sweeteners and slightly less tomato paste have contributed to an overly sweet taste in Mark’s version?

For my attempt at the recipe, I upped the amount of tomato paste by 2 ounces and cut the amount of castup an equal amount. The recipe still has a sweetness to it…at least if you compare it to the more common concept of “chili”. Part of that comes from the use of nutmeg and cinnamon in the spice mix.

The true test comes when the whole sandwich is put together. Per the instructions in the recipe:

“Hot dogs should be deep fried until the outside has a bit of a snap when biting into it. Open hot dog bun and put about 1 tbsp chopped onion evenly down center from end to end, add hot dog, then top with all-the-way sauce until dog is covered.”

I don’t deep fry the dogs, but a thin layer of vegetable oil in a hot cast iron skillet can get you a wiener with a nice snap to it.

The sauce mixture I made was pretty tasty. The dogs we assembled from it were very good.

Can I say without a doubt it is “the Texas Lunch” version? No. Will it do? Yes.

Texas Weiner Sauce

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 3 6oz cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 ½ tbsp chili powder
  • ¾ tbsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp garlic salt
  • ½ tsp celery seed
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 4 oz Heinz ketchup
  • 2 tbsp spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion

The process is just as important as the ingredients, so please do not try to rush this.

1) Put all measured dry ingredients above into a small bowl and mix well, set aside.

2) Brown the ground beef while breaking it into the smallest pieces possible, drain most of the grease, leave a little.

3) Add tomato paste and water directly to the pan with the beef, medium heat, combine well.

4) Sprinkle all dry ingredients evenly into beef/tomato paste mixture while keeping a medium to low heat.

5) Add all other remaining ingredients to pan and stir/mix well. Remember, only 1 cup onion goes in.

6) Slow simmer for 90 Minutes, adding water as necessary so as not to dry out or burn.

7) After everything else was in, I sprinkled a little cayenne pepper (no more than 1 tsp…if that much) evenly over the mixture and then stirred well.

Your final sauce should have enough consistency so it does not drip or get too runny, yet thin enough not to clump into a ball.
Hot dogs should be deep fried until the outside has a bit of a snap when biting into it.
Open hot dog bun and put about 1 tbsp chopped onion evenly down center from end to end, add hot dog, then top with all-the-way sauce until dog is covered. EAT.

Momofuku this!

February 21, 2011

Even with all of my eclectic food experiences growing up, “Chinese” and other Asian cuisine was a stranger to my palate.  That is, unless you count frozen and canned “treats” from the likes of La Choy and Chun-King. 

It wasn’t until about 30 years ago when one of my friends from high school suggested an evening out in Philly’s Chinatown that I experienced the real deal and liked it.  From there, the doors to my stomach were opened: sushi, curries, and tandoori, love it all.  

As pretty much of a late comer to the various types of Asian cuisine, I have very little experience preparing it at home.  Yeah, we have a wok…an electric one that we dig out of the cabinet and use every so often.  And we’ve been known to toss a package of frozen samosas into the toaster broiler on occasion.  But most of our consumption of “eastern” foodstuffs is done at restaurants or from those oh so typical cardboard takeout cartons.

So when friend Mark passed along a link  to the blog “” that detailed how to make steamed pork buns ala Momofuku,  I took it as much as a challenge. 

At first, I was going to attempt to prepare the buns from scratch but it seemed like a bit more work than I wanted to delve into at the moment.  It was suggested that one could find the buns in the frozen food section of any good Asian grocer.  

A quick Google search turned up a likely spot…the Asian Food Marketin Plainsboro, so off I headed up Route 1. 

The store is part of a chain and sure enough, the frozen food aisle was a treasure trove of frozen goodies, including the Mantou I was searching for. 


Then it was on to the produce section for the fresh Kirby cucumbers and the green onions.  On the way, I swung by the meat case and found very nice packages of sliced pork belly.  This would be slow roasted for the filling of the buns and the veggies used for garnish.

The greatest challenge was locating and deciding upon the jarred hoisin and sriracha sauces. The aisle was long, the shelves head high, and filled with multitudes of dipping and seasoning sauces.  I could have spent all day pondering the selection but urged myself to get on with it. 

Finally, I gathered up all my goodies, checked out and headed home.

Arriving back at the house, I gave Mark a call and invited him and the Mrs. to lunch the next day.  He set me on this path…so he was going savor or suffer the result. 

The pork belly slices were rinsed and patted dry.  Then I put them into a plastic bag with a mixture of  1/3 cup each of sugar and kosher salt.  The meat was tossed and rubbed in the sealed bag until thoroughly coated then placed in the fridge overnight.  

In the morning I got up early and removed the pork from the bag.  Some recipes suggest rinsing off the sugar/salt rub. (I didn’t but it is an option.) I placed the pork slices, fat side up, in a roasting pan lined with aluminum foil.  This went into the oven preheated to a very low 250 degrees. I slow roasted the pork for about three and half hours and then finished by cranking up the oven to 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.                

About a half an hour before my guests were due to arrive, I sliced the Kirby cukes and tossed them in bowl with a mixture of 3 parts sugar to one part salt.  I also sliced up some green onions, set the table and sliced up the pork. 

About 15 minutes before my guests were due, I poured some water into my (electric) wok and brought it to a boil.  I steamed some frozen shrimp shumai that I had also purchased on my trip to the market and served them as starters while I steamed some of the frozen mantou.

Steamed pork bun with shrimp shumai


We took out places at table and assembled our steamed buns. 

I’ve not had the original or any other version of this dish but found it pretty tasty.  I think my guests did to…we finished off the package of buns and about two thirds of the pork belly.   


The best part came the next morning.

 I opened another package of mantou and cooked one in the microwave (it wasn’t much different than steaming them and since I was only doing one…).  I dressed the split bun with a schmear of hoisin on each half.  Then I laid on a single egg, fried over easy.  Topped that with some of the leftover pork belly and  chopped scallion and a dash or two (or three or five!) of sriracha.

Voila!   MomofukoMcMuffin!   

Waste not

November 16, 2010

Ann’s brother and sister-in-law were visiting the other day and after a great afternoon touring the Grounds for Sculpture, we returned home for a dinner of roasted beef tenderloin, caramelized onions in red wine sauce, green beans and mashed potatoes.

When I buy tenderloins I trim them myself and cut into filets or roasts as the menu dictates.  This always leaves me with the “chain,” the ends and various odd sized pieces of good meat that I hate to waste.

I also had a stick of Italian bread, some peppers and some mushrooms in the fridge (I’d forgotten about them when making dinner for us) and some provolone cheese. For lunch today, I decided to put those trimmings to good use and make a version of a cheese steak*.

In a large skillet I heated a few tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat.  To that I added one Italian frying (Cubanelle) pepper and one jalapeno pepper, both sliced lengthwise.  In went a small yellow onion sliced thinly.  I hit them with a little salt and pepper and tossed them in the oil for three or four minutes. 

In the meantime, I took the stems off of the shitake mushrooms and cut the toughest parts off of the oyster mushrooms.  The peppers and onion got pushed to one side and I added the mushrooms to the pan.  Another sprinkle of salt and pepper was laid over the mushrooms and they were stirred occasionally.

While the mushrooms cooked, I made sure the beef trimmings were free of fat, silver skin and any other undesirables.  Then I sliced the bigger pieces very thinly (as if for stir fry…and this would have been easier if I had thought to partially freeze the meat first. Oh well).  The smaller pieces were just rough chopped into bite size pieces. 

Mixing the mushrooms in the pan with the peppers and onion, I then pushed everything to the side and added the meat.  More salt and pepper and frequent stirring to brown the beef on all sides followed. 

Once the meat was done, I mixed it up with the mushrooms, peppers and onion and laid two slices of provolone cheese over the top.  Once the cheese melted into the mixture, I loaded it all into the bread, which had been sliced lengthwise. 

It wasn’t as pretty as it should have been, but it was a tasty use of “leftovers” fit for a king.

Take that “Pat’s,” “Geno’s,” “Jim’s,” “Rick’s,” et al!

*Remind me sometime to share the story that lays claim to Trenton as the home of the steak sandwich.

Another all day sandwich

October 23, 2010

Salame and eggs doesn’t seem to be as common or popular as when I was younger, but it still makes a great anytime sandwich.

Follow the directions for the pepper and egg sandwich, substitutinng about 4 ounces of kosher or hard salame for the cubanelle peppers.

An all day sandwich

October 3, 2010

Simple to prepare, a pepper and egg sandwich on a good torpedo roll is a pleasure whether served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  It can be quickly

 produced from ingredients that are almost always readily at hand (at least in my house); it satisfies; and it may even have restorative powers if you are suffering the after effects of a little over-indulgence.


Pepper and Egg Sandwich

  •  1 cup Italian Frying Pepper (Cubanelle), cut up (4 ounces or about two medium peppers)

    Everything you need for a pepper and egg sandwich

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 Tbs of olive oil
  • 1 good torpedo roll
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • butter

Heat the oil in a small omelet or sauté pan over medium heat.  Add the peppers, season to taste with salt, pepper and red pepper if using. Toss until just the peppers just start to soften (three or four minutes). Crack the eggs into a bowl or measuring cup and whisk until well blended.  Pour eggs over peppers in pan.  Cook until eggs are set but not dried out.  (Some people use an omelet type technique, but I find that with this ratio of pepper to eggs, it is somewhat difficult.  Instead, I sort of lightly scramble the eggs by turning the set portions over in the pan just enough to make sure they are cooked through).

Slice the roll (you can warm it in the toaster oven if you like), lightly butter it and place the egg mixture in it.  Enjoy.

Pepper and egg sandwich

Ok. This is bad.

September 16, 2010

Pepper dogs

Even before “Chopped” appeared on the Food Network, I was familiar with the concept of trying to make something to eat out of whatever was at hand. 

I mean, really, haven’t we all done this?  Ok, maybe not with a cash prize at stake, but we’ve all rooted around in our pantries and fridges to scavenge the makings of a snack or a meal.

There was one solo weekend years ago when I discovered a box of arborio rice, several bottles of clam juice and a tin of smoked oysters on the shelf in the pantry.  Voila!  The resulting risotto was quite nice, thank you very much.

Yesterday I found myself a little extra hungry at lunch time.  There was an open package of Ball Park All Beef franks in the fridge,  a couple of hot italian banana type peppers, a small piece of cheddar cheese from Bobolink Farm (recently relocated to Milford from Vernon, NJ) and some hot dog buns.

I removed the stem, seeds and ribs from the peppers and split them.  Tucked the hot dogs inside them an nuked them for two minutes.  A little mustard on the buns, a slice of cheese and the franks swaddled in peppers.

Say what you will, I liked it!

Burgers plain and simple

August 17, 2010

The topic was hamburgers.  How we got to it, I don’t recall.  What I do remember is that Mark said that he had followed Tyler Florence’s suggestion to use ground brisket instead of the usual chuck or chuck/sirloin mix to make burgers and found them quite tasty.

Ground brisket? Really?

This notion rattled around in my head for awhile before I acted upon it.  Then one day I was at the store and spied some nice brisket flats in the meat case.  So I picked one up.  I also picked up a chuck roast and a small piece of sirloin.

Back home, I trimmed some of the excess fat cap off of the brisket and cubed it into roughly one and one half inch pieces.  I spread them on a cookie sheet and popped them into the freezer to firm up.  I also put the auger, blade and dye from my mixer’s grinding attachment in the freezer as well.*

Cubed brisket goes into freezer

After about 30 minutes, I assembled the grinder parts and attached them to mixer.  I tossed the meat chunks with some kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper before sending them through the grinder.

Fresh ground brisket

Working quickly, I formed patties from a handful of the freshly ground, seasoned meat.

I let them rest at room temperature while I fired up the grill.  

Patties of ground brisket ready for the grill

The patties were grilled over medium high heat for about 5 minutes per side.  Although they were a little more done than I prefer, the resulting burger was still quite moist, with a good meaty flavor and an almost fluffy texture. 

For comparison, I followed a similar process with the beef chuck and sirloin.  Mixing and grinding equal portions of each, shaping the patties and grilling them off.


  • Tasty, but not as flavorful as the ground brisket. 
  • Not quite as moist as the ground brisket.
  • Chewier and more dense in texture than the brisket burgers.

Preference: ground brisket for its flavor, juiciness and lighter texture.

Give ground brisket a try the next time you are making burgers.

*Freezing the meat keeps it firmer so it is easier to grind.  It also adds a margin of safety in handling the meat avoiding spoilage.