Meaning Behind the Body, Strength, and Flavor of a Cigar

Cigar Flavor

Smoking a cigar is a sensory experience, and everyone’s encounter is different, even if smoking the same cigar. The body, strength, and flavor all affect your enjoyment of a cigar. Rib’N Reef’s cigar lounge is the perfect place to savor your favorite cigar or to try a new one.

Making cigars is an art form steeped in tradition and knowledge passed down through the generations. All these years of experience and practice start from understanding seeds and growing conditions and end with the purposeful choice of tobacco and picking the perfect wrapper to create a balance of characteristics. There is nothing accidental about creating cigars meant for savoring.

As you contemplate Rib’N Reef’s cigar menu, you might notice our descriptions. As you develop your personal sensory experience with cigars, the cigar descriptions will help you choose the best cigar to enjoy.

The Body of a Cigar

The body of a cigar is related to the fullness or depth of the flavor and includes both the taste and the touch receptors. It creates a sense of heaviness or lightness. For instance, a mild cigar might be like drinking a light roast coffee. It feels light on the palate. A full-bodied cigar, on the other hand, will feel almost heavy in your mouth.

The Strength of a Cigar

The strength of a cigar is typically conveyed as light to full. The strength of a cigar is simply the physiological impact of the tobacco. Your physiological reaction might include your heart rate increasing or a feeling of light-headedness. The level of nicotine is a primary consideration for the strength of a cigar. A higher level of nicotine will create a greater physical impact.

Rib’N Reef includes the length of the cigar on our menu. We include this information because the length of the cigar impacts its characteristics, including the strength. For instance, a longer cigar means an increase in smoke time compared to a short cigar. Furthermore, the gauge of a cigar is an indicator of strength simply due to the volume of tobacco.

The Flavor of a Cigar

The flavor of a cigar can range from light to full. Every person will have a different experience with the magnitude of a cigar’s flavor because everyone’s ability to perceive flavor is different. Also, the physical taste of a cigar comes from the ability to both taste and smell. The chemical makeup of tobacco impacts the taste, as does the paper used to wrap the cigar.

If you are new to smoking cigars, Rib’N Reef’s cigar lounge is a perfect place to develop your experience and develop your unique taste for cigars. If you are an experienced cigar smoker with a refined palate for the body, strength, and flavor of a cigar, you will find much to enjoy from Rib’N Reef’s cigar menu.

The Science Behind the Sear: Is Searing Meat a Myth?

Searing Steak

If you have ever read a recipe on how to prepare a steak, you undoubtedly noticed instructions to sear the steak. At Rib’N Reef, we know how to prepare a steak that you will savor with the perfect balance of juice and a flavorful brown crust.

Searing a steak means to cook it quickly to brown the surface to seal in the juices. However, many chefs have scientifically proven that searing a steak does not add to the juiciness of a steak. In fact, steaks may lose more moisture after searing compared to roasted steaks. However, that does not mean the searing of steak does not have merit in a kitchen.

Locking in Juice

It is believed searing a steak somehow creates a situation where the juices are locked in. However, this theory was tested by cooking two steaks, one seared and the other not, and the moisture levels were found to be the same.

What Makes a Steak Juicy?

To understand what contributes to the juiciness of a steak, it is essential to understand what happens as a steak heats up. The muscle fibers react by contracting, which releases water. Also, the heat from cooking melts the fat, which contributes to the texture of the steak. If a steak is cooked enough to melt the fat, but not so much it contracts and releases too much moisture, the steak is a perfect balance of buttery and juicy. Many cooks agree that the optimal temperature results in a medium-rare steak.

What Is the Purpose of Searing a Steak?

While searing will not guarantee a juicy steak experience, there are still excellent reasons to sear your steak. The searing of steak creates a distinct reaction called the Maillard reaction, and this adds to the experience of eating a fantastic steak.

The Maillard reaction is a chemical reaction between the sugars and proteins within a steak. At high temperatures, this effect changes both the color and the flavor of food. This reaction between the protein and the sugar does not just change the color of the food; it also changes the entire aroma and flavor profile, making it even more tempting.

The Maillard reaction is different from caramelization, however. Although it does create browning, caramelization is a reaction of just sugars.

Enjoy Your Steak

It is understood that searing meat does little to lock in moisture and create a juicy steak to enjoy, as only proper cooking can create this sort of culinary masterpiece. However, searing steaks does improve the flavor due to the chemical reaction that takes place between the sugars and the proteins under high heat. If you are concerned the steaks you cook at home will not reach this level, come into Rib’N Reef to experience perfectly cooked steak on our charcoal pit.

Degrees of Doneness: How Would You like Your Steak Prepared?

Steak Grilling

Sitting down for dinner with a beautiful steak on your plate is a great way to end a day. As you sit down at Rib’N Reef, you can expect a premier experience with extraordinary food. Your steak is no exception. At Rib’N Reef, we pride ourselves on creating mouthwatering cuisine that we prepare to your exact specifications.

What Is Happening When a Steak Is Broiling?

As your steak heats up on Rib’N Reef’s charcoal pit, it goes through some changes. The protein molecules unwind, and the heat causes the muscle fibers to shrink. Muscle fibers are mostly water, and as the muscle fibers shrink, they force water out. At the same time, the fat in the steak melts and absorbs into the muscle. This action tenderizes the steak and contributes to the flavor.

Doneness Levels for Steak

At Rib’N Reef, we are committed to ensuring we cook your steak perfectly and to your liking. As you contemplate how you would like your steak prepared, it is helpful to understand the different levels of doneness and how that changes the flavor and texture of the steak.

Rare

If you order your steak rare, the internal temperature of your steak will reach 120 degrees. Your Rib’N Reef steak will be warm, but the center will be red. At this temperature, the fat of the steak will not have a chance to heat up enough to render, or melt, which is lovely for those lean cuts. However, for a steak with a higher fat content, a higher temperature is worth considering.

Medium-Rare

If you prefer your steak medium-rare, expect your steak to be cooked to 130 degrees and warm all the way through. Also, there will be a hint of red in the center, with the rest of the steak being pink. At this level of doneness, the fat has not been able to heat up enough to melt, but most of the moisture has not had a chance to evaporate yet. This balance allows for both a buttery texture from the rendered fat and plenty of juice.

Medium

A medium-done steak will be cooked to an internal temperature of 140 degrees, and the steak will be pink with no hint of red. The fat will have melted into the steak, but some of the moisture will have evaporated.

Medium-Well

If you prefer Rib’N Reef to prepare your steak medium-well, it will be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees. Just like the medium steak, the fat will have rendered into the steak, and much of the moisture will have evaporated. There will be a slight hint of pink at the center.

Well

A well-done steak will not have a hint of pink in the center, as it will be brown all the way through. The outside will not be burnt, however, because Rib’N Reef understands how to cook a well-done steak to an internal temperature of 170 degrees without overcooking the outside.

New Year, New Smokes: Three Cigars You Should Try

Fine Cigar lounge Montreal

Enjoying cigars to the fullest extent necessarily involves developing your palate and trying new experiences. There are so many variations and interpretations of fine cigars that exhausting the industry’s possibilities is practically impossible. This makes it important to hear what other aficionados are saying about their favorite new smokes.

 

The cigar market is ever-expanding, with wonderful offerings from rich Nicaraguan tobaccos and carefully crafted stogies from the Dominican Republic, as well as the classic and unequaled profiles of industry-dominating Cuban smokes. At Rib’N Reef, we love helping our patrons enjoy the best offerings in food, drink, and fine tobacco. That’s why we’ve picked three unique, stellar cigars you should check out for the new year.

 

Make sure to keep your eye out for these three all-star stogies — any one of them is sure to help you ring the year in right!

The Rocky Patel Hamlet 25th Year Salomon

The massive Salomon by Rocky Patel is sure to draw attention if you light it up in your favorite lounge or your next friendly gathering. The Salomon is an aesthetic masterpiece of beautiful, glossy Ecuadorian Habano Rosado wrapper leaves ingeniously combined with a Honduran and Nicaraguan long filler. Completed with a clipped perfecto foot and a delicate perfecto cap, the Saloman is a breeze to cut, light, and enjoy. This imposing 75/8 x 58 figurado should be enjoyed slowly when you have lots of free time since this is one cigar that under no circumstances should be rushed.

The Cohiba Spectre

The Cohiba Spectre is one of those cigars every connoisseur appreciates because it is the result of a happy accident. A bale of 1995 Piloto Cubano tobacco had been uncovered in a General Cigar warehouse where it had been quietly aging for two and a half decades. These leaves became the long filler for this 71/4 x 54 Churchill that, all told, wields an astonishing eight kinds of tobacco from five separate countries. Combining a Nicaraguan long filler masterfully aged in Spanish sherry barrels and buried deep in Honduran tobaccos, the Spectre is bound together with a hefty Connecticut broadleaf and decorated with an exquisite Ecuadorian Sumatra wrapper. The Spectre boasts a unique reddish hue as a result of its curing process, with a scrumptious leathery and chocolate flavor and notes of vibrant rainforest. There are only 180 boxes of 10 Spectres available, so get them while you can!

 

La Gran Oferta by My Father Cigars

La Gran Oferta (Spanish for “the great offering”) unequivocally lives up to its title. La Gran Oferta takes its name (and art designs) from a now-lost Cuban brand from 1913, and the Ecuadorian Habano Rosado Oscuro wrapper immediately designates it a worthy offering to cigar smokers everywhere. La Gran Oferta offers a medium to full-bodied smoke with flavors of chocolate, cherry, and curry that is unlike any cigar in your humidor. La Gran Oferta is offered in five sizes, from solid robusto to delicate lancero, meaning its wonderful flavor and aroma can be enjoyed practically in any circumstance.

The Perfect Seafood for the Winter Season

Seafood Dinner

You might not guess that winter is a fantastic season for seafood — after all, most food production experiences a slowdown in the cold. However, you would be mistaken! Winter months get foodies abuzz about all sorts of seafood, especially shellfish. In fact, some kinds of seafood are at their best quality or abundance during the winter when colder waters predominate and spur on certain stages of these food sources’ lifecycles.

 

At Rib’N Reef, we love offering our customers the freshest seafood of the highest quality, skillfully prepared in our kitchen for the perfect flavor. If you are as obsessed with delicious seafood as we are, check out some of our top choices for the cold weather!

Gulf Oysters and Nantucket Bay Scallops

Oysters spawn in summer throughout the Gulf of Mexico, when they are flabby and not ready for eating. As winter draws near, oysters turn clear and solidify, peaking in quality in January and February. Gulf Coast oysters have a unique, creamy flavor with a “meatier” texture. They also tend to be much bigger than East Coast oysters. Scallops are also fantastic winter seafood. Scallops in Nantucket Bay peak in quality starting November and tapering off toward the middle of winter. Best served when only a day old (or less), Nantucket Bay scallops are renowned for their gentle taste and texture.

Maine Uni

Maine uni is a gamey, briny sea urchin from California that chefs and gourmands around the world love. Maine uni’s peak season starts in December and runs until February. Uni, the Japanese word for sea urchin, is a traditional delicacy in Japanese cuisine. Maine’s cold waters are the habitat of “bafun uni,” which became so popular in Japan that overfishing became an issue in the 1980s. Nowadays, Maine uni is sourced much more responsibly and has been making a name for itself in East Coast culinary circles. Rich and buttery, Maine uni is being used in everything, from pasta to pizzas. Once you try it, you will know why.

Northern California Dungeness Crab

The Northern California Dungeness crab is harvested starting in the middle of November into the rest of winter. Dungeness crab is known for standing up well to high-heat roasting and for its big, meaty legs full of incredible flavor. Dungeness crab has a sweet flavor throughout most of its body with a particular saltiness in its claws, making it a delightful combination with pasta, bread, steaks, and more.

If You Love Seafood, Eat It

In the winter months, people in the northern hemisphere are at greater risk for difficulties like seasonal affective disorder (SAD). These issues can leave you feeling lethargic, fatigued, and even depressed. Eating a diet full of healthy seafood servings is one way to combat the seasonal blues. Seafood is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and is the number one edible source of vitamin D. Both of these are critical for overall health, especially for the winter months, when we tend to be out in the sun less often. Whatever your seafood preferences, making sure you get a few fresh dishes a week can be part of a healthy, delicious diet!

Enjoying Fine Steaks While on a Diet

Healthy Steak

Diets can be a real challenge. It is difficult to find a balance. On the one hand, healthy eating is essential. But some indulgence can help you reach your goals without feeling stressed. People who take care of themselves deserve to be rewarded.

 

Is it possible to reward yourself without undoing your hard work? As it turns out, it is. A delicious steak can be a great way to indulge a little without ruining your diet. Steaks can even be part of a healthy diet.

 

At Rib’N Reef, we applaud our customers for living healthy lives. So how does a luxurious steak fit into a healthy diet?

 

Health Benefits of Steak

 

You might not think that steaks can be part of a proper diet. Of course, as with anything, moderation is the key. Eating too much red meat can contribute to obesity-related illnesses like heart disease. However, as an occasional meal, there is no reason why a steak can’t be healthy as well as delicious.

 

Steak is surprisingly low in fat and carbohydrates. In general, an 8-ounce steak contains between 10 and 16 grams of fat. There is a widespread belief that steak only contains saturated fat. About 40 to 50 percent of the fat in steak is indeed saturated. But the remaining fat is monounsaturated. This is the fat that is often recommended to improve heart health. It is found in olive oil and is popularly called “healthy fat.”

 

Steak can also be a source of essential nutrients. It is high in protein, with about 45 to 50 grams in an 8-ounce steak. Steak is also a great source of iron and vitamin B12. A single serving can provide your daily iron requirement. This makes it an excellent choice for those with iron deficiencies.

 

How Steak and Dieting Can Coexist

 

Although there are nutritional benefits, you should still make healthy choices while dieting. There are many ways to make sure your steak is a benefit to your health instead of a detriment.

 

The cut and the cooking of your steak can affect its nutritional content. Different cuts vary widely in calorie counts and fat content. If you are dieting, it is usually better to choose a leaner cut of meat. Bottom round and sirloin-tip side steaks have some of the lowest calorie counts.

 

The way your steak is cooked is also vital. Avoid fried steaks wherever possible. Of course, as in everything, moderation is key. If you are watching your nutrition, don’t choose the biggest steak of the menu. Opt instead for a smaller steak with healthy side dishes.

 

Remember, as well, that steak is only one part of a meal. You can keep it on the straight and narrow by choosing healthy sides. Opt for vegetables, whole grains, and even fruits over fried foods.

 

Steaks have a reputation for being luxurious, and they certainly are. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a delicious cut of meat while watching your diet – as long as you do so prudently.

Best Fruits and Veggie Pairings for Steaks

Veggies & Steaks

Some people make the mistake of thinking that an excellent steak is just a piece of meat. In reality, the best steak meals are far more than just a cut of beef! Much more goes into a delicious steak dinner than merely cooking it properly. The best steak meals are paired with tasty sauces, veggies, and even fruits!

 

If you are looking to take your next fine steak meal to the next level, try some of these outstanding fruits or veggies as garnishes and sides. There are plenty of reasons that fruit and vegetables have become some of the classic companions to fine dining. Check out some of our ideas for the best fruits and veggie pairings for steaks, and you are likely to find a new favorite!

No Shortage of Scrumptious Selections

Fruits are a great flavor and nutritional complement to any steak. Citruses are especially popular, so any chance you get to add some orange, lemon, lime, or pineapple to your steak is a great opportunity. Citrus helps bring out the flavor of foods, and steak is no exception. Mango is another popular choice. While often thought to be a citrus fruit, mango is a tropical fruit with a sweet, tangy flavor that can complement a good steak.

 

Other fruits are not as sweet or tart but enhance a steak dinner, as well. Zucchinis are a classic pairing with steaks since they have a light flavor and a delicate consistency. They can be roasted, fried, or steamed in a variety of ways, each influencing just how the zucchini tastes. There is no wrong answer for most people since zucchini is nearly a universal favorite.

 

Avocado is an increasingly more common addition to steak dinners. Avocados are packed with savory flavor and healthy fats that can bring out the character of some cuts of steak.

 

Tomatoes are a classic addition to steak dinners and can be used in all kinds of ways, from sauces and glazes to diced sides or toppings. The acidic flavor of tomatoes can bring out the best in a good cut of steak.

 

Vegetables are a natural pairing with steak since so many of them go so well. Steamed asparagus is a healthy, flavorful option. The slight bitterness of asparagus is right at home next to the intense flavor of beef. Spinach, too, brings a crunchy, leafy palette cleanse that can help the flavors in skillfully cooked meat shine.

Of course, if you are stuck between a few options, you can always mix them and see how they work out! When you find yourself in an indecisive mood, or if you are unsure what you might like best with steak, opt for a side salad. Not only is this a healthy side option, but it can also help you figure out which flavors you enjoy best. Remember, the most crucial part of a steak dinner is that you enjoy it. Finding the best pairings for steaks is really about what you like best.

Creative Ideas for a Great Holiday Smoke

Montreal Cigar Lounge

There is no better time for a fine cigar than during the holidays. Something about the sudden coming of winter and being surrounded by family and friends creates a beautiful setting for a relaxing smoke. The number of places and occasions to enjoy your favorite cigar seems practically limitless. Plus, the holidays are when family or friends who do not regularly enjoy cigars may be more willing to try them with you. This makes for great opportunities for bonding with relatives or breaking the ice at parties.

 

Lots of things can enhance a fine cigar, and cigars can make even the simplest activities much more enjoyable. This is even truer around the holidays when everyone wants to relax, unwind, and enjoy the finer things in life. Getting ready now means you will have everything you need to sit down and enjoy your favorite stogie. At Rib’N Reef, we have you covered. If you are looking for some great ideas for a holiday smoke, look no further. Any of these ideas will be sure to put you in the yuletide spirit.

A Fireside Smoke

There is little that is more refreshing and comfortable than a cigar by the fireplace. Not everyone can light up a cigar in their home or has a fireplace to sit beside, but a bonfire, fire pit, or any other source of heat and flame can be a great alternative. Perhaps no setting pairs as well with a good cigar as a warm fire. Add holiday decorations, gifts, the smell of food, and a nightcap, and you have a winning combination.

On a Scenic Winter Walk

Nobody says you have to smoke your cigar sitting down. If you have never been on a quiet walk through the woods or your neighborhood around the holidays, you are missing an excellent opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and your favorite smoke. Where you walk is not as important as getting out for some fresh air with a delicious stogie to help you appreciate the little things.

Over a Delicious Dinner

If you are having guests who enjoy cigars, why not have a smoke over dinner? This is not an option for many people. Not everyone wants to smoke inside his or her homes, and many family dinners have small children present. However, there are other ways to enjoy a good smoke over a satisfying meal, like popping in for a holiday meal at Rib’N Reef or another location that allows for indoor smoking.

The Key to a Great Holiday Smoke

The most crucial aspect of a great holiday smoke is to make sure it is a pleasant experience for everyone involved. Whether you smoke alone or with family and friends, make sure that you mind your manners around people who may not want to partake. Make sure beforehand that you let people know you plan to have a family cigar by the fire or over dinner and keep others’ preferences in mind. With a little bit of planning, you can set yourself up for your best holiday smoke yet.

Cigars and Seafood: A Match Made in Heaven

Seafood

Pairing cigars and fine food is practically an art. So much thought can be put into bringing together cigars, food, and drink that the combinations are endless. For many people, pairing cigars and seafood is not at the top of their list. However, make sure not to miss out on the opportunities for enjoyment when combining cigars and seafood. This short guide will give you some tips for the best pairings of seafood and cigars for an unforgettable dinner. Even if these tips do not work perfectly for you, take them as a starting point. Each cigar smoker has to explore for themselves which cigars they enjoy with seafood and vice-versa. The most important point is to find what you like and learn how to complement it.

 

Pairing Seafood and Cigars

 

Seafood like shrimp, clams, fish, lobster, and crab are all rich in flavor and highly nutritional. Despite these characteristics, seafood tends to be very easy on the palate. Try picking out a cigar with the same gentle presence. The flavor should be rich but not heavy on the tongue. Full-bodied cigars can often crowd out the softer flavors of seafood dishes. Both shrimp and lobster can have a delectable sweetness, while salmon is coated in delicious oil and a sweet profile. Mussels and clams, being especially delicate in flavor, often come with butter or sweet red sauce. A medium-bodied cigar with a sweet wrapper makes a spectacular choice for these dishes. The aroma of a medium-bodied cigar mixes with the scent of fresh seafood quite positively.

 

Another option is a mild, gentle Connecticut. This cigar ensures the flavor of the seafood comes through loud and clear. Make sure that the cigar you pick still has enough strength to stand up to the flavor of the food, though.

 

Again, these guidelines are just suggestions. If you are a newer cigar smoker, opt for a softer smoke that gives more room to your food. If you are a longtime aficionado, take a chance on something stronger. Or, if you prefer softer or stronger cigars, opt for what you like. Never be afraid to branch out and try something new. Remember, with a little risk comes the potential for great reward. Exploring new combinations is the best way to get a better feel for your palate’s preferences. Trying new pairings can open up whole new possibilities of sensory delight.

 

The Perfect Meal for Your Cigar

 

We here at Rib’N Reef love helping customers match scrumptious meals with the right cigars. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran smoker, we put the tools at your disposal for finding the best cigar and seafood pairings. Or, if seafood is not your style, we offer a variety of delicious steaks, juicy roast beef, and well-aged wines. At Rib’N Reef, our patrons’ enjoyment is our priority. Pop in for your next night out and let us accompany you through a brand new smoking experience.

Cigars for Cool Summer Nights

Cigar at night

Now that summer is winding down, we all begin to shift gears. Often, without realizing it, we make countless decisions each day differently, depending on the season. As we transition from one part of the year to the next, our comfort foods change, we stay at home a lot more or less, and we take up different hobbies or activities.

 

When it comes to cigars, seasonal change is just as real. Spend any time around cigar enthusiasts, and you will eventually hear one talk about “the perfect winter smoke” or a cigar being “perfect for spring afternoons.” While this is obviously in part a matter of taste, there really are qualities about certain cigars that many people find best during certain times of the year.

 

So, as we begin to move further toward the coming autumn, what should you keep in mind when picking cigars for cool summer nights? Below are some pointers to help you get the most out of every cigar in your humidor.

 

Match the Smoke to the Season

 

Summer nights are a big relief after sweltering daylight. Think of the first taste of cold beer after a day in the sun. Or remember how satisfying a fine steak is on a hot afternoon. Your goal is to take the concept so often used to pair cigars with food and drink and apply it to your environment, the weather, and your mood. Summer nights are usually spent enjoying the outdoors, going for walks, or gathering around a late-night fire. Picture the cigar you want to enjoy on a cool summer night when activities are finished after a long day, and you hear crickets calling to each other.

 

Matching Flavor With Feeling

 

A spicy cigar with a bit of bite can be the perfect jolt for a lively fireside conversation.  Or a mellow, sweet cigar would complement a backyard dinner. The Cohiba Maduro 5 Genios is a prime example. This extra-dark cigar creates a subtle sweet smoke that is big on flavor but light on the tongue. The H. Upmann Magnum 50’s smooth, full-bodied flavor would be the perfect reinvigoration before bed after a night with family and friends as well as the perfect campfire cigar. Depending on your preference, you might be in the mood for the rich coffee notes of a Montecristo No. 4 or the exciting complexity of a Flor De Claro. Strong, full-bodied cigars can make wonderful companions for late summer nights. With the world quiet and the day completely done, many aficionados find a jolting cigar can be quite refreshing.

 

Cigars, Summer Nights, and a Steakhouse

 

Cool summer nights are the traditional time for a cigar on the porch or in the backyard. They are also spectacular occasions to go out for a great meal. At Rib’N Reef, we are happy to give every steak-loving cigar enthusiast the perfect environment for enjoying both. We offer a top selection of cigars sure to please the pickiest smoker. Once you try our steak, you will immediately know why we are recognized as one of the top steakhouses in Montreal.