Kitchen Catastrophe 63 - Loin Me Tender

Kitchen Catastrophe 63 - Loin Me Tender

Honestly, that may be the worst title I’ve ever written. I’m proud of how bad it is. I was originally going to write “Tender is the Loin”, but it turns out Alton Brown had an episode titled that, and now that he’s running a TV show again, I figured it was a bad time to try and go toe-to-toe with his lawyers. IN ANY CASE, Welcome once again to Kitchen Catastrophes, so sorry for the delay on this post, and thank you all for your lack of kind words. As an adult man of Irish descent, as John Mulaney says, my strategy for handling emotion is to bottle it up deep inside, confident in the knowledge that one day, I’ll die and never have to say any of it. So, let’s do something else. What’s on the ticket, Caption Jon?

Uhhh. You’re not gonna like it.

Nonsense! Anything to avoid talking about namby-pamby emotions! C’mon, what’s today’s topic?

…Valentine’s Day.

Ah. I see. Well then, Fuck me, I guess.

I'll warn you now: this showed up when I searched Valentine's day, and immediately changed most of this notes pictures into pugs.

The Primal Path of Persuasion

Yes, today’s post comes from the long-ago days of February, when things were damp, cloudy, and there was a still a chill in the air…Damn, Washington weather makes seasonal shift kind of meaningless, doesn’t it? Anywho, as I was saying, this comes from Valentine’s Day. Now, normally this is where I’d wax philosophical about what Valentine’s means to me as a holiday, the history of it, and all that jazz. But I’m not going to today. For one thing, it’d be real fucking stupid to go into whole thing about a holiday two months after it happened. You never read shit about the War on Christmas during President’s Day. Secondly, I’m in NO MOOD.


Yes, apparently all my moods can be represented by pugs. This is...less surprising than I feel it should be.

I have no proof for this claim, but I personally believe I have at least some degree of Seasonal Affective Disorder, meaning that I get mopey and listless during the sky-dark days of December and so forth. Or maybe I just hate being cold so much I turn into a grumpy piece of shit. Either way, I’ve felt like a Sour Sally for far too long, a sensation not helped by the recent unfolding of various tragedies in my life and the lives of several of my closest friends.

This forced a sort of emotional collapse on me Easter Sunday, where, due to fully committing to a bacchanal for the first time in MONTHS, I ended up making a Facebook post that may have implied that I was dying inside for lack of means of emotional expression. That implication, as I later had to clarify, is untrue: I was TRYING to talk about something completely different, and drunk me just made a bunch of bad calls on word choice. The next morning’s sea of notifications and messages from people reaching out to emotionally support me, praying for me, and so on, while, of course, well intentioned, was a real shitty experience when filtered through the experience of an introvert forced to wake up early to endure a five hour hangover.  By the end of the day, I sat at my computer, and had nothing to write for you guys. And that was the cruelest cut of all.

Like the time Master acted like he threw the ball, but there was no ball. 

“But Jon, “ you cut in with that irritating voice you use when interrupting my stirring soliloquies and sexy pug angst, “didn’t you say, like two hundred words ago that you DON’T want to talk about your feelings?” First off, no, I said I didn’t want to talk about feelings FIVE hundred words ago, try to keep up. Second, Shut up. And Third, yeah, I’m bad at doing things I want to do versus what I think would be best. But, luckily, yesterday’s emotional collapse turned out to be more of an emotional forest fire, burning away all the built up shit, and breaking me free again! DOUBLE LUCKILY, talking about this year’s Valentine’s Day doesn’t need a lot of emotion, because my family believes in MATERIALISM! AND MEAT!!!

Nation-Shaped Meat!

 Yes, as the title card and terrible pun told you long ago, today’s post is about TENDERLOIN. Why? Because my mother’s idea of doing something nice for Valentine’s Day was buying a $70 slab of beef to cut delicious steaks out of. Say what you will about our romantic tactics, but that’s the OLD School. That’s goddamn Caveman dating right there. “You look nice. Here Mammoth Rib. Me use pidgin English rather than refined series of hoots and clicks because this joke, not accurate representation of early Hominid Speech.”  Thank you, oddly well-spoken man-beast!

Let's Break it Down!

Now, no doubt you’re wondering, “Jon, what should I do with such a massive slab of steak?” In which case, I would say: “GIMME! GIVE IT TO ME! YOU’LL JUST RUINS IT, PRECCIOUSSS!” Ahem. I mean. “Trim it, of course!” Now, if you’ve never had to trim a whole loin before, let me be the first to assure you: It’s pretty easy to do. It’s not particularly FUN or anything, and you may run into a couple tough parts, but overall it’s pretty simple.

The first part is, sadly, the most fun part as well. See, there’s a portion of the loin called “the chain”. This is essentially the steak version of that weird extra flap of meat you get on chicken breasts sometimes. You know, where it’s clearly not like, bad, it’s just also pretty clearly not the same lobe of meat, and it’s a little more gristly and stuff? Well, like that but on a steak. What makes removing it fun is that it’s not actually held on very well: to remove it, you just pry it loose by hand at the small end of the roast, and peel it off like a giant, bloody bandaid. You’ll have to cut a little bit at the end, but overall, it’s just one big yank. I felt dirty by the end of that sentence.

Grasp your sticky meat log firmly.

After that, it’s basically “If something feels weird, cut it.” Pop a knife under the weird skin-like tissue, and drag the blade down to pry it off the meat, pushing both ways to ensure it’s all free, almost like using a butcher’s strop, but with beef sheath. See a weird patch of wiry silverksin? SNIP. Lump of fat like a sand-dune burying one end? SNIK.  And you just do that for like, 40 minutes. By the end, you’ve gotten something like 9 steak’s worth of Filet Mignon meat for $7 a steak. Or Like, 8 Lomos Al Trapo! Like 3 Chateubriands! You’ve got that meat like Arby’s, son! And without that slight mothball smell every Arby’s I’ve ever entered has had!

Steak Slug!

And at the end of the day, isn’t 9 steaks a great way to tell someone you care? I hope the answer’s yes, because otherwise, I’ve completely misunderstood how romance works. At least I have these stolen pugs.