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cattle to grade Choice or better: USDA report
By Ann Bagel Storck on Monday, January 21, 2008
Higher feedlot placements during fall and winter could reduce the percentage of cattle grading Choice or better, according to the January Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Outlook from USDA's Economic Research Service.
Wheat prices are currently high enough that there is not likely to be wheat pasture available for graze-out this spring, the report said, shifting some fed cattle marketings ahead of a normal schedule. Because cattle will have been in feedlots during the winter months, when gains are poorer because animals must utilize feed for body condition maintenance instead of growth, the report predicts fewer cattle will grade Choice or better.
The situation could affect trade by
increasing the need for more fed cattle, fed beef or trimmings from
separation of meat and fat in bacon
By Oscar Esquives, Ph.D on 1/1/2008
In this article:
Pumping pressure and level
Raw material quality
Pressing and slicing
Fat separation and pickle pockets are manufacturing defects that have a direct impact on the appearance of bacon. Slice integrity is a very important attribute for bacon quality and processing yields. A good-looking slice will be priced higher, but slices presenting fat separation and/or shattering could not be used as high-quality bacon and would have to be priced as seconds, affecting production yields and economic profits.
Several factors need to be considered to minimize these defects: pumping pressure and level, raw material quality and pressing/slicing procedures.
pressure and level
Pump levels of 14 percent to 16 percent are common in bacon processing to achieve weight gain after cooking of not more than 1 percent. Given the nature of the bellies, excessive pressure upon pumping will tend to form pickle pockets between the layers of fat and lean. This additional curing solution will not be evenly distributed within the muscular tissue, and the lean and fat portions will more than likely separate during the slicing process.
Vacuum tumbling can help attain better distribution and fewer pickle pockets, but besides increasing processing time, labor and therefore production cost, it does not necessarily prevent fat separation. A good practice is careful examination of pumping equipment to determine the best settings so that the required pump level is achieved with the minimum pump pressure.
Placing the bellies fat side down on
the conveyor belt will improve pickle penetration, distribution and pick-up and
could prevent fat particles clogging the needles and causing pump level and
pressure variations. An adequate cooking schedule is also important to dry the
injected belly back to only 1 percent above green weight to obtain a firm and
well-textured product with acceptable slicing quality and yield
Raw material of poor quality is more susceptible to suffer from fat separation if pumping isn't adequate. Poor diets and unbalanced feeds may result in variations in fat quality and increased deposition of non-saturated fatty acids, which could produce softer fatty tissue in the pigs.
In this regard, the fatty acid profile of the lipids composing the ratio is important. Consequently, processors should be concerned about feed quality and livestock production practices even if they're not vertically integrated.
During fabrication it is important to be careful not to cause deep cuts on the belly that could reduce its value while trimming to the required specification. Usually the TA (transversus abdominis) muscle is removed from the bellies, but if left attached, it is prone to separation during pumping.
Temperature is critical for pressing as well as for slicing. Good results can be obtained with temperatures between 23 degrees F and 25 degrees F. If the bellies are pressed too warm, the muscle fibers will try to regain their original length, and the belly will tend to recover its shape. On the other hand, if the product is too cold, the fat may break and shatter upon slicing.
Similarly, during the slicing process, if the bellies are too cold, they're too hard. Besides the negative effect this has on the equipment, the cuts on the bacon slab won't be smooth and may cause breakage. Slicing bacon that is too warm can cause fat smearing and possible separation.
are a stale of every mom-and-pop restaurant in
getting to the sandwich, it’s important to understand its origins.
Pork tenderloins are closely related to schnitzel.
According to the food dictionary on www.epicurious.com,
schnitzel is a cutlet of meat, dipped in flour, beaten egg and bread crumbs
before being sautéed. Schnitzel is
frequently associated with
forward to the early 20th century, after German settlers had
established themselves in northeast
got his start selling hamburgers and veal cutlet sandwiches from a pushcart
before opening a restaurant, Nick’s Kitchen, in 1908.
The restaurant flourished, selling hamburgers and the breaded tenderloins
(which he eventually made of pork instead of veal) to the clientele Freinstein
had built while operating the pushcart.
to “In Search of the Famous Hoosier Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich,” a
video documentary by Jensen Rufe, the tenderloins at Nick’s owe some of their
tenderness to an unfortunate incident: local legend has it that Nick’s brother
Jake consumed too much alcohol one cold night in 1908 and passed out drunk in
result, parts of his hands were frostbitten and had to be amputated.
Nick put Jake to work in his restaurant pounding out tenderloins with his
resulting stumps. Today, the
tenderloins are always pounded or put through a meat tenderizer.
Kitchen is still there, selling tenderloins with the wager, “Bet You Need Both
Hoosier Farmer, Summer 2007
Dewig’s Tour to IFFA Frankfurt, Germany
Every three years the American
Association of Meat Processors leads an educational visit to the world’s
largest meat trade fair, the IFFA, in
More than 61,000 people attended the IFFA show to discover the latest trends and products, exchange ideas, and maintain business contracts.
After a couple days at the IDDA fair, the group visited RAPS, a seasoning company that offers a wide range of flavoring and seasoning products for the food and meat processing industry. One of RAPS new seasoning is ketchup or mustard flavored hot dogs. These hot dogs were stuffed into natural sheep casings and were very tasty.
The tour continued into southern
The remaining time was spent in
Another day was spent touring the
water-canalled city of
The IFFA was a learning experience since this was out first trip out of the country. We learned to live their way with no air conditioning, warm drinks, no ice, warm beer, lots of wine, and cold cuts for breakfast.
Tom and Janet Dewig
from the Past…….
Where There’s Hope There’s
If you want to find Merrill Clouse,
Executive Secretary of the Indiana Meat Packers and Processors Association (IMPPA),
he lives in Hope, IN, just south of
The similarity in the names of these
two towns is not unusual in rural
Imagine my wonderment upon finding there wasn’t more to Hope than I thought there would be. Well! Actually, Hopewell consisted of little more than a school, church, and a service station whose attendant wasn’t much help and acted as if he didn’t care if there was any Hope in my future or not. At any rate, being a resourceful person, my motto is, “When all else fails, reread the directions!” A closer examination of the roadmap revealed the errors of my ways and put my foot on the straight path, as it says in the good book and I can give testimony to the fact that Hope IS where you find it.
I’m sure by now, Merrill Clouse is
accustomed to folks like me having fun with the name of his hometown.
But more realistically, Clouse has helped in many important ways to put
Hope on the map, so to speak. (Once
the puns start rolling, they’re hard to stop.)
In addition to having a prominent business, Clouse’s IGA Grocery and
Meat Market on the town square, he has spent many years as an active participant
in several civic endeavors. They
include service to the Retail Merchants Association, which Clouse helped to
found, the Hope Library, the
The Clouse family goes back a long
“In 1942, my career in the meat and grocery business was interrupted by a call from the U.S. Army which lasted until 1945. My dad decided then that I should learn to cut meat and not long afterwards, in 1946, we built the locker space as an attachment to the grocery store. More expansion phases quickly followed. In 1950, we added a large room that is now occupied by our blast freezer. In 1951, the slaughter plant was built and in 1953 another addition was made consisting of a processing room and a built in smokehouse. In 1969, my father retired and I took over the responsibility for the entire operation.”
“It wasn’t long before my wife, Norma and I started looking for some help in running the business and logically we turned to our son David who was now 18. The only problem was, he wasn’t very interested in the grocery business, but we convinced him to get involved. Over the next year and a half, he came up with more ideas on how to improve the business than I had even thought about in a lifetime. He expressed such a great deal of enthusiasm about making changes, it became obvious that we should start planning for retirement and let him implement some of his thinking. About two years ago we made it official, although Norma and I still help out here and there.”
“One of the last major business projects I worked on was an arrangement David and I worked up for the Masonic Homes. They have a large number of elderly residents so meal service is important budget item in their administration. To keep costs as minimal as possible, they have a farm operation which produces many food items including beef and pork for their commissary and kitchens. They accepted our proposal to do their slaughtering, boning, curing, smoking, grinding, etc. The only processing equipment they needed to rely on internally are slicers. They deliver the animals to us, about 25 hogs and cattle as a monthly average. In turn, we give them back 100 percent boneless cuts and all they have to do is slice them up into portions. We also grind their hamburger and chop stew meat for them. All the ham and bacon is cured and smoked ready for their use. We give them whole boneless hams, but we slice all the bacon.”
“As you can see, this has turned us into the HRI business as well as retail meat for the grocery operation. With this as a basis, David has offered to supply some other IGA stores in adjoining counties and nearby towns with our fresh and smoked pork sausage. Some have taken us on as a supplier for these products and now we’re looking at doing some custom slaughter and processing to supply a part of their other meat needs. I say we, but I really mean David, who is making all of this work.”
“One of my earlier accomplishments I’m quite proud of, is the way I was able to reduce our energy costs by utilizing energy already there. This is best described by reprinting portions of an article I wrote recently for the Indiana Association of Meat Processors Newsletter on this subject entitled:
“I’ve always considered myself a conservative person, but when it comes to paying for heating purposes, I’m real tight! With all the refrigeration units in our plant and store, there is no need for more expense on gas and oil for heat. Some might say, ‘We are running our boiler anyway to scald or render, or to heat a smokehouse, etc,’ but heat itself is expensive even if it’s tied in with another necessary expense. We are heating four thousand square feet of retail area.”
“I purchased a commercial air handler for heat reclaiming to put in our checkout area. It was plumbed to a 5 ton compressor which operates more efficiently for LOW TEMP. It operates a multi-glassdoor store freezer. The 502 Freon unit has a higher head pressure which helps us to extract more heat for heating. This worked so well, I purchased another air handler to put in the farthest corner of the sales area. This one was plumbed to another Freon 502, 5 ton unit connected to a blast freezer, These two units were all we need to take care of the entire store.”
“I wish I would have installed electric solenoid valves connected to a thermostat to control the heat flow instead of hand valves. Some mild days, we tend to overheat. Now I said I’m tight, but I’m also lazy and it’s a bit of a chore keeping up with the outdoor temperature, so electric valves would be much nicer.”
“Also in the basement, under the sales area, we have seven compressors. This keeps the surrounding area 75 to 80 degrees in the wintertime. We’re able to move this heat out into the sales and office area with a used furnace blower… more free heat. You might wonder about the heat in the basement in the summer, but these units are also hooked up to remote condensers on the roof.”
“We had a steam radiator in my office, but my wife’s desk was away from it and often she was cold. But, she’s warm now. I also installed a used cooler evaporator coil, the low profile type, which draws air in from the bottom and blows out the side, I mounted it on the ceiling and plumbed it to a Freon 12, 5 ton compressor unit. I should add there is an open walkway from the office to two cooler doors and to one freezer door, but this little unit keeps the office girls happy and warm.”
“We have a dry grocery stock room, 20’ by 20’ that was as cold as a frog, in the winter. It has an outside door on the North side and with delivery people coming and going at all times of the day, it was never warm. So I installed another used, low profile evaporator in this room. I should add we put 1 ½” styrofoam on the ceiling and the exposed block walls. The evaporator is connected to a 3 ton Freon 12 unit which handles an 8 foot, 3 deck fresh meat case.”
“The only work areas we have not taken care of with Free Heat are the dressing floor and the processing area. I toyed with the idea of heating water with free heat from the refrigeration units, but in the end we installed two 4 x 12 foot Solar units on the roof. From these we get 170 degree water in the summertime and we only have to heat it an additional 10 degrees or so, I look at this as kind of Free Heat, also. Perhaps this sounds like a lot of time, work, and money, but really it isn’t, since we accomplished most of it by ourselves.”
“Here’s another example. About 18 years ago, I bought a second retail grocery in an adjoining town. We now operate it as a convenience store. The refrigeration units are housed in a shed at the side of the building. It is insulated with Styrofoam, but in the summertime the sides and ends open for ventilation. In the winter, these are closed and all the heat stays inside. To capture some more of this Free Heat, we cut a vent in the wall at the ceiling with duct work pointing toward the front glass windows, where our greatest heat loss was. We use an old furnace blower to pump the heat into the sales area and cut another hole in the wall at floor level serving as a cold air return. This keeps the sales area comfortable in the winter until we get zero degree weather and then the oil furnace kicks in.”
These innovative ideas are just an example of the thinking process of Merrill Clouse. It’s no wonder the many organizations he has served, finds his talents useful. In addition to the one’s mentioned earlier, Clouse has spent many years as a dedicated member of the Lion’s Club, holding various offices in it as well as the Masonic Lodge in which he rose to be a Grand Master.
Retirement hasn’t really slowed him down very much. His experience as a member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Meat Processors several years back provided the right kind of knowledge which now stands him in good stead as the new Executive Secretary of the Indiana Meat Packers and Processors Association, an AAMP affiliate.
It’s difficult to end this article about Merrill Clouse, because just when you think the subject is all covered he gets involved in another new venture. Therefore, a fitting ending and one which seems to fit his style, would be merely to say, “To Be Continued… At Some Future Time.”
November 1987, Meat Plant Magazine