Starting early in the morning and going late into the evening, the 33 Philippine meat industry professionals who participated in the Feb. 21-22 seminar at the Oasis Hotel in Angeles City outside Manila worked their muscles, their imaginations and their taste buds as they learned about U.S. beef, pork and lamb, tested new recipes and learned firsthand about the qualities of U.S. red meat.
“This two-day intensive training program was a valuable and enriching experience for the participants,” said Sabrina Yin, USMEF-ASEAN director and co-instructor for the program with Alex Chong, executive chef of the Heritage Hotel Manila. “These people are hungry to learn more about U.S. red meat, and they brought home notes, meat charts, educational brochures and factsheets on U.S. beef, pork and lamb.”
Topics covered during day one of the training, which focused on beef, included an overview of the U.S. meat industry, discussion of the U.S. beef grading system, storage and handling of chilled and frozen meat, a cutting demonstration, cooking tips and information on rubs and marinades.
The cutting demonstration covered the chuck roll, top sirloin, top blade muscle, short plate, shoulder tender and hanging tender. Chef Chong prepared a menu for the participants that included:
- Slow-cooked beef chuck roast with white radish and shiitake mushrooms flavored with star anise oyster sauce
- Asia wok-fried hanging tender with udon noodles and crispy beef wonton
- Grilled top sirloin with shallot merlot reduction, blue cheese potato croquettes and white oyster mushroom fritters
- Malaysian-style marinated beef shoulder tender with tomato rice on banana leaf and percik sauce
The participants also were encouraged to marinate samples of the meat and cook them using their own recipes at the evening barbecue session.
Day two of the program focused mainly on U.S. pork as well as lamb. Topics covered included product cuts, qualities and specifications, and a cutting demonstration on Boston butt, Kurobuta pork loin and lamb loin chop. The group also viewed several videos including “U.S. Pork: Production and Harvest, a Commitment to Excellence” and the National Pork Board’s “Pork. One Cut at a Time.”
In addition to a luncheon featuring U.S. pork sausages, the participants enjoyed a day-two menu prepared by chef Chong that featured:
- Bistro-style grilled Boston butt steak, crispy chips and Thai red curry sauce
- Simply “fusion” grilled Kurobuta pork loin with marinated baby vegetables, balsamic reduction, and mango and pineapple salsa
- Oven-roasted bone-in lamb loin chops with red lentil dhal, seared asparagus roast garlic jus
- Oven-baked chuck short ribs, beetroot and onion salad with mustard vinaigrette
“From the feedback we received, we know that the participants were impressed both with the quality of the U.S. meat cuts as well as the opportunity to learn about alternative cuts,” said Yin. “Since most of the participants were chefs, we know they’re looking for the hands-on experience of cutting and preparing the meat, and are looking for ideas they can bring home to their own restaurants. The session was a huge success.”
Support for the program was provided through the Beef Checkoff, Pork Checkoff and USDA Market Access Program (MAP), while most of the meat samples were contributed by three sponsoring meat importers.
The Philippines is one of the top destinations in the ASEAN region for U.S. beef and pork. In 2011, it bought 38,883 metric tons (85.7 million pounds) of U.S. pork valued at $92.2 million and 12,760 metric tons (28.1 million pounds) of U.S. beef valued at $38.1 million.