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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, March 1

Gapers Block

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gohere / May 26, 2005 3:02 AM

I get my meat here:

Is good stuff

Cranky / May 26, 2005 8:17 AM

I like to hunt my own: deer, rabbit, folks who leave irrelevant and self-promoting links to dumb quizzes. Is good stuff!!!!

paul / May 26, 2005 8:57 AM

I'd love to say I get all my meat from Heartland Meats, available at most farmer's markets these days.

But paying restaurant prices for steak that you still have to cook yourself isn't in the everyday budget. For bbq's where I'm feeding others it's Sam's or Dominick's. Although for better prices on lamb and chicken, the independent markets like Devon Market or Lincolnwood Produce rock.

Lincolnwood Produce also has good prices on huge bags of Cowboy Charcoal, the natural stuff that let's you taste your meat, not petroleum.

One piece of advice- buy a new grill every season (not the whole Weber, just the grill). In some cases it might be cheaper than buying those fancy grill brushes that you'd need to clean it.

Michael / May 26, 2005 9:00 AM

When I can afford it, Paulina Meat Market has a great selection of premium meats. Otherwise, I tend to shop at Jewel, which has terrific Italian sausage.

craftymonkey / May 26, 2005 9:57 AM

mooooooo & o-o-o-oink

Eamon / May 26, 2005 9:58 AM

Bornhofen Meat Market
6155 N Broadway St
(773) 764-0714

Great butchers who don't mind stupid questions.

Mr. IML / May 26, 2005 10:03 AM

Anywhere I can get it, big boy.

(sorry, had to be done).

davin / May 26, 2005 10:26 AM

this is a not a very vegetarian friendly question.

black bean burgers anyone?

e_five / May 26, 2005 10:27 AM

Cheap cuts can be greatly improved with marinades.

And I wholeheartedly agree with Eamon on Bornhofen's Meat Market. Their meatballs are tremendous!

Jeremy / May 26, 2005 10:32 AM

I usually just get my meats wherever, but the best grilling tip I can give is don't use lighter fluid, or crazy charcoal like Match Light. Invest ~$20 in a charcoal chimney, and you'll have the hottest fire you've ever built in about 15-20 minutes, without using lighter fluid.

Benjy / May 26, 2005 10:33 AM

CostCo! It's almost a cliche, every time I'm up on my roof grilling a neighbor will ask where I got my meat and I'll say CostCo, and it's always the same when I ask them.

Their lamb chops are huge, tasty and pretty damn reasonable. Their steaks are nice, too. Try the ribeyes.

Another bargain a few friends and I did last summer was to buy a whole filet mignon tenderloin -- it was something like 12 lbs. of meat for about $55. We each took 1/4, and each quarter could be sliced into about 5-6 filets. So that came out to about $2.50 per filet mignon.

Naz / May 26, 2005 10:51 AM

This Fuel goes along nicely with this one.

Cinnamon / May 26, 2005 10:56 AM

Use more coals than you think you need.

Marinade! Marinade! Marinade!
Unless you're buying super-expensive, high-quality cuts of meat, flavor that stuff before you slap it on a grill.

And don't forget the veggies.
You can make a foil pan by folding up the sides on a sheet of aluminum (make sure the dull side is toward the heat, the shiny side will reflect all the heat back to the fire). Cut up some veggies (and maybe some fried tofu) in a bowl and toss with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbs before spreading into an even layer in the foil pan. This will take just as long as your meat to cook.

Or you can skewer veggies. But be careful or you'll end up with all your softer veggies in the fire.

If someone is veggie, make sure they've got a cleaned-of-old-meat section on the grill and don't use that greasy burger-tasting spatula on their veggie burger.

I've got a bee in my bonnet to find a way to grill (or smoke) tofu.

Paula / May 26, 2005 11:18 AM

For ground beef and cuts of beef I try to buy from Heartland Meats or Whole Foods, but if I'm grilling sausages I go to Meyer's in Lincoln Square or Schmeisser's in Niles.

No grilling tips from me - I'm never the one manning the grill, but I recommend a decent marinade or meat rub.

waleeta / May 26, 2005 1:33 PM

Meat from Whole Foods always cooks well.

If you're in the burbs, try Valli's (Roselle and Higgins) for very, very cheap and very fresh fruits and veggies and all the ethnic food you can ask for.

Carlos / May 26, 2005 1:34 PM

I get my arachera at "La Chiquita" on Pulaski and 27th.

My tip would be "slow and steady wins the race". By no means am I a BBQ expert but I have noticed that taking your time gets you nicer, jucier carne asada.

Sadly my dad is not of this philosphy and he tends to serve his carne asada a bit dry. But I grew up on it so I love it anyways!!!

Andy / May 26, 2005 3:48 PM

There's not a big secret to meats. Just buy a decent cut, whatever you can afford. You can make any meat tender by, as mentioned above, using a marinade (for beef, marinate overnight, for chicken, at least 3 hours).

Or if you prefer a more aggressive form of tenderization, use a meat tenderizer (a kitchen tool, a 2x4, your fist, whatever). Cover with wax paper to protect your meat from tearing or ripping.

Tip 1 - When the food is cooking, make sure to always keep the cover on your grill. This accelerates cooking due to increased temperature and reduces flare ups by controlling oxygen. Your food will cook, instead of burn.

Tip 2 - Don't flip your meat over and over again. For any grilled food, you should only flip once. Flipping several times not only makes the meet look less appealing, it can also damage the meat and make it less juicy, tender. Look at any general cook book for average cooking times per side depending on thickness. Learn those and you'll have a general sense of when to flip over.

Tip 3 - For bbq sauce, wait until near the end of cooking time (5min or less) to put it on food. That way it won't burn (the sugar in the bbq sauce does that)

Tip 4 - Let the grill do the work and have fun.

Dunl / May 26, 2005 4:21 PM

... and this question during National Vegetarian Week!! (Okay, so "national" as in "UK," but still...)

paul / May 26, 2005 5:54 PM

Ok, here's where the friendly Fuel question fires up a religous-fervor debate - when to flip.

For steak, there's a philosophy being taught in grilling schools that you should turn early in the cooking process since the pool of blood you see form on the top of the meat is moisture (juiceness) escaping due to the fact that one side is raw and one is hot as hell. Turning constantly is bad, but chicken, and other big pieces o' meat, benefit from rotating. Getting even heat all around, plus adding nice cross-hatch grill marks.

Mister C / May 26, 2005 7:44 PM

Tons of great meat-getting suggestions already, so I'll just add some random grilling lore:

A friend of mine who's a master griller once laid this enigmatic koan on me: "The secret to great grilling is knowing when to take the stuff off."

My Flipping philosophy: Turn a steak or chicken piece as many times as you'd like (though it's best not to mess with them too much), but try to only turn a burger once.

I'm definitely with the Marination Chorus. I like to marinate a day or two before the cookout just to get it out of the way. Even the toughest meat will tenderize when marinated that long.

Have a little squirt bottle of water handy for those grill flare-ups. They also keep you amused whilst waiting for things to cook (squirt the sides of the grill and watch the water sizzle away into little puffs of steam).

Another Veggie-friendly tip: Make sure the carnivores don't eat up all the tasy vegan side dishes before the herbivores have had a chance to get their fill (or just make heftier batches of couscous salads and such).

Kevin / May 26, 2005 9:32 PM

As far as where to get the meat: Paulina Meat Market on Lincoln. Anyone who loves steak will know they're home when they walk thrugh the door. But be assertive. The butchers are a little gruff.

On the marinade tip: a chef friend of mine implores people to only marinade for about 20 minutes or so. Anything longer has a tendency to make the meat soggy instead of yummy.

Emerson Dameron / May 26, 2005 10:12 PM

My girlfriend's a vegetarian, which pretty much makes me a vegetarian. Spare the whip crack sound effects - that's a direct quote from Samuel L. Jackson's Pulp Fiction character, and his wallet says "Bad Motha Fucka" on it. I do still enjoy a good burger. However, if you're cooking out with vegetarians, might I suggest making the world's biggest pancake? My friend Aaron has promised to do this, but I think he soured on the idea when he realized he inadvertantly cribbed it from Uncle Buck. It's still a solid idea.

Erica / May 27, 2005 8:51 AM

Last night I was watching Alton Brown (love him) and he demo'ed how to make your own super burgers by chopping chuck and sirloin in a food processor! He fries his, but no doubt you can throw these babies on the ol' grill.
Impress yr friends this summer, yo.

Cook Time: 20 minutes
Yield: 3 servings

8 ounces chuck, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
8 ounces sirloin, trimmed, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

In separate batches, pulse the chuck and the sirloin in a food processor 10 times. Combine the chuck, sirloin, and kosher salt in a large bowl. Form the meat into 5-ounce patties.
Heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-high heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Place the hamburger patties in the pan. For medium-rare burgers, cook the patties for 4 minutes on each side. For medium burgers, cook the patties for 5 minutes on each side. Flip the burgers only once during cooking.

e_five / May 27, 2005 9:58 AM

I, for one, am disgusted that you would pose this question during National Self-Imposed Starvation Week (at least in Bolivia). Also, killing vegetables in order to eat them is murder. How DARE you!!

Lee / May 27, 2005 11:26 AM

Yeah, yeah. Vegetarian jokes are always such a hoot. Tell me, though - when was the last time a vegetarian *honestly* said something like that to you.... I mean a vegetarian that wasn't some righteous college-aged nouveau-hippie. I haven't eaten meat since I was five, but I couldn't give a shit if other people do. Please.

Also, anyone know where I can get natural-ish charcoal for the grill? Lincolnwood Produce is hella far away.

Michael / May 27, 2005 11:57 AM


You can get hardwood charcoal (the same brand) at Trader Joe's.

I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.

curtsy / May 27, 2005 2:43 PM

Bari Foods on Grand for Italian sausage. The butcher shop on the NW corner of Jackson and Halsted in Greek Town for lamb.

Brian / May 27, 2005 3:24 PM

Marinating is all well and fine, but where's the talk of a nice brine??? BRINE your chicken, brine your pork, brine that turkey!

If pork, watch out for the so-called "Enhanced Products" that come swimming in some kinda imitation MSGesque liquid. These products are already salty (and hammy) so if you can't avoid 'em, rub/prep with less salt than you might otherwise.

Skip the Kingsf*rd bricks and get natural lump, cowboy charcoal or better yet go to Berger Bros Charcoal for natural lump in the 40 pound sack -- just south of Division across from Jetro. Lights up fast! Lump burns a little hotter so drink beer faster. No fillers in the lump, just wood, much less ash to blowing around. No acrid flavors.

And get a smoker, cook it low and slow. Throw a brisket on after dinner and get a head start on lunch! That's what three day weekends are for!

Mister C / May 27, 2005 8:10 PM

Kevin- I only marinate chicken that far in advance, your chef friend's probably right as far as beef goes.

Exo Vegetarian / May 27, 2005 10:22 PM

Treasure Island has the best meat for grocery store prices...

And, as for Tofu, Miss Cinnamon, it is quite simple: firmer tofu on skewers grills quite well and you can mix them up with vegetables. I would also highly reccomend Veat.

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