Meat Madness

Flat iron steak
Flat iron steak Photo by Jeffreyw
It's the last few days before Lent, which, as you may or may not know, is a religious observance that starts on Ash Wednesday, March 1 and lasts for six weeks. During this time many observers will be giving up certain luxuries— meat, in particular. So this weekend is the time to gobble up all those beefy dishes you desire. Unless of course, you just eat meat all year long, in which case, carry on.

Halal meats, anyone?
Photo by Violette79

What is Halal Meat, and Why Should You Care?

"These things alone he has forbidden to you: What is already dead, blood, the flesh of swine, what has been offered up to other than Allah."

Al-Anam 6:145

While driving around Houston, you've probably noticed signs for Halal meat markets or Halal delis. You've probably read labels touting that a certain meat is halal or skimmed over articles noting a trend toward more and more people purchasing and consuming halal meat. Unless you're Muslim, though, you probably don't understand all that must be done for food to be called halal.

Toreore Korean fried chicken at Super H Mart
Photo by Michael Shum
The Rest of the Best: Houston's Top 10 Fried Chicken

"What's your favorite fried chicken in Houston?" I asked my mother a few days ago over the phone, curious to see if I'd overlooked any old favorites on the top 10 list I was compiling. A sixth-generation Texan, my mother has lived here for more than three decades and cooks for a living. Needless to say, she's very often my point person for Texan and Southern staples such as fried chicken.

There was a pause on the other end of the line. I could imagine her face in my mind, looking at me as if I'd asked for directions to Jupiter. And then, finally: "You know I only make fried chicken at home. I don't eat that stuff out."

Oven cooked brisket, mmkay?
Photo by Jeff Balke

Delicious Oven-Cooked Barbecue Brisket...Seriously

Okay, before you go on and on about how "real brisket is smoked by manly men with manly intentions" and all that, let me just preface this by saying my father did the majority of the cooking in our house and made one of the most incredible briskets in the history of cattle. And he did it in the smoker I believe he considered his most prized possession.
Inside Dittmer's
Photo by Phil Denton

5 Houston Meat Markets That Will Make Any Carnivore Happy

For many people, heading to the local megachain supermarket to get a few steaks or some ground meat for the evening's meal just won't cut it. Instead, those folks prefer to seek out meaty treasures from a standalone meat market, a type of business that is not as common as they once were, but that often offer cuts of meat and in-house specialties that are not likely to end up on the shelves of most regular grocery stores.

Fortunately for residents of H-Town, the Houston area has quite a few good options for those individuals who want different types of choices when it comes to the meat they buy. Many of the existing meat markets have a definite old-school charm as a result of being in business for many decades, and a trip to some of these places can feel like a trip in a time machine. Regardless of whether they trigger a nostalgic journey down memory lane or not, all of these meat markets offer their customers choices they won't easily find elsewhere.

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Gwendolyn Knapp is the food editor at the Houston Press. A sixth-generation Floridian, she is still torn as to whether she likes smoked fish dip or queso better.