Introducing alternative cuts of U.S. beef and pork to importers, restaurant operators and retailers from central China, the U.S. Meat Export Federation recently partnered with the Xin Guo Hua Company for a series of cutting seminars in Shanghai and Hangzhou. Designed to boost sales of U.S. red meat, the training seminars were funded by the USDA Market Access Program, the Texas Beef Council, the Beef Checkoff Program and the National Pork Board.
At all three seminars, USMEF's overview of the U.S. pork and beef industries included an explanation of the USDA grading systems. An experienced butcher from Xin Guo Hua shared new ways to incorporate U.S. beef and pork cuts into a variety of dishes and demonstrated how to break down and prepare the cuts to get the most value.
Shanghai (U.S. beef and pork cutting)
More than 80 importers, distributors, restaurant operators and retailers attended a session on Japanese and Korean styles of cutting and culinary applications.
The Xin Guo Hua butcher demonstrated cutting techniques using U.S. beef knuckle tips, outside flat, inside round, striploin and bone-in ribeye steaks, along with U.S. pork CT butt. He suggested cooking methods to get the most out of the cuts, including Japanese-style roasted pork butt, considered a "zero-waste" dish for restaurants. Another example combined Korean-style sauces with top blade and rib fingers for barbecue dishes.
"One of the points we stressed was that the versatility of these alternative cuts makes U.S. beef and pork a very affordable option for retailers and restaurants," says Ming Liang, USMEF marketing director in China. "There were a lot of very practical ideas, such as new ingredients and grinding methods for U.S. beef burgers and using roasted U.S. pork boneless butt for dishes in the foodservice sector."
Shanghai (City Super U.S. beef cutting)
More than 15 meat department employees of City Super Group, a flagship retailer in China, participated in this cutting seminar. They were taught new methods of cutting U.S. beef and how to promote the resulting products to consumers.
City Super has been working to increase the presence of U.S. beef in its stores, noted Liang.
"The chain already features U.S. beef short ribs and ribeyes, but it would like to add value items like top blade, rib fingers, hanging tenders and chuck eye roll," Liang says.
Among the dishes created during the training session were Korean-style rib fingers and bone-in chuck short ribs, thick-cut butterfly hanging tender slices for hot pot and burger patties made with trimmings and fats remaining from the other cuts.
"City Super had explained that they have a pretty high amount of trimming waste, so we showed them how to grind some of the trimmings and mix them with curry or other spices for flavorful burgers," says Liang. "The chain can increase its profits by reducing the waste associated with trimming."
A tasting session of the U.S. beef dishes completed the seminar.
"The reaction was great, as people complimented the tenderness of the hanging tender hot pot slices, rib fingers and short ribs," says Liang, adding that City Super plans to partner with USMEF in a future promotion of those cuts.
Hangzhou (Heige staff training)
USMEF held a staff training seminar for the Heige Company, which operates a variety of hot pot, yakiniku and burger restaurants in China. The wholesale side of its business has potential to utilize more alternative cuts from the United States.
The seminar included training in Korean and Japanese culinary concepts using U.S. beef and pork. A cutting demonstration detailed where and how to break the cuts, along with how to effectively display U.S. beef bone-in short ribs, top blade, rib finger meat and U.S. pork CT butt and spareribs for customers.
The result was Korean-style bone-in short ribs sliced, then folded, for yakiniku presentations and thicker slices of the pork butt for barbecue and hot pot dishes.
Ideas to boost the flavor and juiciness of U.S. beef patties included one recipe that adds broiled onion juices.
"Heige staffers now have a better knowledge of U.S. beef and pork, and we educated them on how grain-fed beef and pork are more tender and flavorful," says Liang. "Company representatives are now more confident about importing more U.S. product. They have started importing beef directly from Greater Omaha Packing Company on a regular basis, with the first containers arriving in Shanghai. So, we feel this kind of training will help continue the momentum for U.S. red meat in the region."