Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mishegoss Pastróme

When people think of Pastrami they no doubt think of the memorialized version seen on every menu and in every deli. To be honest I thought the same thing until I had a dream about pastrami. Yea...yea, I am not kidding here either I actually had a dream about pastrami. In my dream I was thinking about all the different pastrami's I have had over the years and at times how uniquely different they seem to be. Everyone has their own unique recipe for pastrami and so do I of course (My Pastrami)

While in a blissful dream like state and dreaming about my favorite subject namely food it occurred to me that I could make a nontraditional pastrami using some of the ingredients and flavors I have come to enjoy. Some people might think this is sacrilegious to the pastrami but my retort of course it to ask this question. What is a pastrami? Pastrami by definition is cured meat. So with that I created something new. 

Here's a nice pic of the brisket flat unsheathed from its plastic home. I plan on trimming off the hard fat but leaving the rest.

Here is a copy of the recipe. This recipe will be modified over many times until I get it right of course. If you look closely there is a date in the lower right corner which shows when it was modified last. When I came up with my original pastrami recipe I must have gone through 300 lbs of meat until I dialed in the recipe. I called this rubb citrified pastrami because of the addition of orange and lime peel. 

Since this recipe has some unique ingredients I will discuss them a bit before moving on. 

Coriander- How do I love the. It's reminds of a cool winter morning when inhaled. I use this in a lot of my dishes. From Pastrami to sauces. It's commonly used as whole or ground. Roasting or heating in a dry pan heightens the flavor of course. It's used in curries and and garam masala.

Demerara sugar- This sugar type is cane sugar with fairly large grains and has a pale amber color. It has a pleasant toffee flavor and can be used in place of brown sugar. 

Grains of Paradise- What can I say? I love this stuff and I use it often in place of pepper. It has a peppery taste with hints of citrus.

Orange Peel-  What is it? There are different versions but I like the Orange Peel over at Penzeys. 

Lime Peel- I got it from a company called wholespice on Amazon. Here is the link.......

First thing I did was to assemble the ingredients. I added the salt & Cure # 1 together and applied to every nook and cranny. I took the whole spices and ran them through a electric spice mill, combined them with the other ingredients and coated the Brisket. 

Vacuumed sealed for 21 days in the refrigerator. I flipped it every day and smacked it around a bit too. 

A nice picture after the 21 day cure.

All rinsed off and ready for the Sous-Vide water bath. I plan on using 158˚ƒ for 24 hours. 

Cut in half. I decided to cut it in half......Did you notice how where I cut it? When I finally slice the brisket into slices it will be against the grain. 

All ready for the Sous-Vide....158˚ƒ at 24 hours. 

After the Sous-Vide the Brisket was Cold-Shocked and refrigerated. 

Simple dry rub consisting of Coriander, Grains of Paradise, Orange Peel, Lime Peel, Ginger and Muscovado Sugar.

Hot Smoked during a Rainy extremely windy storm in a propane smoker. Not my first choice. I always prefer Charcoal. Anyhow I used Cherry and Apple for the wood. I finished it off with a homemade Apricot BBQ sauce for the last 30 minutes. 

Review at the bottom of the pictures. 

REVIEW- I was extremely happy with the flavor profile. It had everything I wanted. I wish the fat content was higher. I was really happy with the Sous-Vide temp and time. I normally do 149˚ƒ for 48 hours. The 158 at 24 was awesome. I need to do this again with a traditional Pastrami. 

The propane smoker got away from me a little bit. I was caught in traffic and got home late. A windy rainy storm will cause extra traffic on the road. When we arrived at COSTCO the store lost power and it shut down causing a traffic jam. The mass exodus of customers caused slightly overdone pastrami.

The outside layer of the brisket got just a little overcooked for my liking. Overall I was very happy. I served it with a Daikon Radish salad. 

Update 05/09/2017- After trials and misgivings about time and temps I think I have finally nailed down the temps and times. That being said I think I have made well over 250 lbs of Pastrami to reach these new numbers (explains waist line too). Drum roll please... 142 f for 40-44 hours. Ta-da..... The lower temp ( 148 vs 142 f) and the lower time (48 vs max 40-44 hrs) produces a moister better textured Pastrami. Update Cure and Rub HERE and Latest Pastrami HERE.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

South East Asian Lamb Pastróme

So why the heck did I decide to make another pastrami? Of course this is a rhetorical question that can only be answered with one word.... "Quest". I am on a quest to make unique Kosher cured meat. 

Along the journey I came across some interesting ingredients and I decided to use them in a unique manner. Believe me it was not easy. Over a course of three hours and gulping lots of water I think I arrived at a unique cure. The cure is far from being perfect but I thought I'd give it a shot. No one is really going to know how it's going to turn out until we taste the cured cooked hunk of meat. 

These ingredients are not typical for a pastrami so I thought I would talk about them a bit before moving on

Hawaiian Black Salt- This salt taste great. There's a hint of sweetness and earthiness and I just love the color. It's mostly used a finishing salt but I thought it would go great in the cure. I have read it tends to bleed a little which I found curious and I thought would work great with cure.

Dark Muscovado Sugar- One of my favorite sugars. The sugar has a molasses flavor and it's better than brown sugar. The molasses is formed naturally and not added like Brown sugar. 

Demerara sugar- This sugar type is cane sugar with fairly large grains and has a pale amber color. It has a pleasant toffee flavor and can be used in place of brown sugar. 

Grains of Paradise- What can I say? I love this stuff and I use it often in place of pepper. It has a peppery taste with hints of citrus.

Chinese Long Pepper- This is a description from serious eats website. The authors description is beautiful. "Its flavor is much more complex than black pepper, reminiscent of spice blends like garam masala more than a single spice. It possesses black pepper's heat and musk, but in a less harsh, more nuanced way, tempered by sweet notes of nutmeg, cinnamon, and cardamom. Its finish lingers on the tongue with a tobacco-like coolness; where black pepper stings, long pepper balms." 

Coriander- How do I love the. It's reminds of a cool winter morning when inhaled. I use this in a lot of my dishes. From Pastrami to sauces. It's commonly used as whole or ground. Roasting or heating in a dry pan heightens the flavor of course. It's used in curries and and garam masala.

Ground ginger- What can I say. It smells fresh and taste great. Comes from the ginger root. This stuff is used as a palate cleanser with sushi, it used in stir fries, desserts, and pastrami's and has many other uses. 

Kaffir Lime Leaves- The leaves have a limey fragrant aroma that is just beautiful. Use primarily in Tai cuisines for soups and curries. 

Dried Galangal- Comes from the ginger family. Used in soups and stews. Very fragrant. 

Ceylon Cinnamon- Hailed as the true cinnamon. Much healthier than the Cassia version. It's much milder (not harsh) than the Cassia version with a hint of vanilla and a warm floral note with hints of honey fruit. It has a deeper cinnamon flavor which is unlike cassia. Cassia can be harsh whereas Cylon has a deep cinnamon flavor that plays well in savory dishes. 

Lime Peel- slightly sweet yet bitter, while aroma is tart and sour. 

This is my spice mill I used to experiment. I must have spent 3 hours testing different ingredients and combination until I got it just right. No to mention all the water I drank to cleanse my palate.  

Pre-measured ingredients nicely laid out in bowls. I like being extremely precise when it comes to measurements and recipes. 

One technique that is unique to my process is the way I apply the dry-rub and cure. Some people combine the salt/cure, herbs and spices together first then apply to meat. I like to first combine the Salt, cure then apply to meat making sure I get it into every nook and cranny. When you apply everything at once some of the rub is going to run off the meat and you never know how much cure actually got on the meat. It's imperative that the right amount of salt and cure makes its way on to the meat. 

The next step is just as easy. Take the Grains of Paradise, Chinese Long Pepper, Coriander and toast just a bit in a dry fry pan to bring out their natural oils. Take the above ingredients and the Dried Galangal, Kaffir Leaves, Dried lime peel and toss in electric spice and grind. Add all the ingredients together and combine thoroughly with the exception of the salts and cure. 

I started out with American Lamb. I used used this product before and it was amazing (Lamb Pastrami). Prefer this Lamb over the Austrian Lamb. 

Netting removed and opened up. 

I butterflied it open a little which thinned out the walls a little which will ensure cure penetration. I plan on using Transglutaminase to make this whole again. The Lamb Pastrami  I made a few weeks ago underwent a different procedure. The mistake I made was this. I first molded the muscle into a cylinder using Transglutaminase then proceeded with the cure. The cure took a long time to reach center and to be honest I think the very center did not get cured to 100%. This new procedure/technique is superior. Cure first then mold using the TG. It will be evenly cured and molded to perfection.

Salt and Cure thoroughly applied getting it into every nook and cranny. I combined the rest of ingredients doing the same. 

Vacuumed sealed!!!! All residual stuff that fell on plate was placed in bag too. Nothing went to waste. Will be flipped every day in the refrigerator for 21 days. 

After a thorough rinse this is what it looks like after 21 days. 

Very difficult to do but I found a way to put it back together using of course Transglutaminase (RM).

Getting ready roll it up in a tight cylinder using professional 24 inch plastic wrap.

All rolled up!! The Transglutaminase RM will need 24 hours to set up. Afterwards the Lamb will be double vacuumed sealed then Sous-Vide for 9 hours at 131 f degrees. 

After the elapsed time the Lamb will be Ice-Shocked then refrigerated overnight.

Here is a picture of the lamb after 24 hours of refrigeration.

All Pastrami's need a rub. 

Roasted at 190 degrees (no smoke) until an internal temp of 131 degrees was reached. At rest it climbed to 134 degrees.

Review- Outstanding!!!! All the flavors came through. However I will reduce the salt back just a tad. Wife loved it but I thought it could have used a little less. 

The question now is how should one eat this marvelous Lamb. If it was me I would make Pickled Veggies. I would layer the lamb in crunchy bread along with an aioli and the pickled veggies with some cilantro.  

Take some Daikon Radishes and julienne along with Carrots, Seedless Cucumber, Red Onions and a colored Bell Pepper if you want. Blanch veggies first and set aside. Bring your favorite Vinegar, some water, and olive oil to a boil and toss over veggies. I like White wine Vinegar or Champagne Vinegar. You can customize the flavors to match your dish. In the jar containing the veggies toss in your favorite stuff. I.E Bay Leaf, all and any herbs, Asian spices and herbs to match this dish, Peppercorns, Star Anise, Cardamom Pods, Ginger, Orange peel, Lemongrass and sugar or honey to taste.