Friday, September 25, 2015

Shefele "פּאַסטראָמע" Pastróme

Shefele "פּאַסטראָמע" Pastróme

Lamb Pastrami with a touch of Yiddish flare. Why? Why not I say!!! I have made Beef, Turkey and Duck Pastrami so why not try Lamb and see what happens. I have a killer recipe that must stretch its wings. Besides I love lamb. BTW-Shefele is Lamb in Yiddish. 

Let's begin the journey by saying I have been wanting to make Lamb Pastrami for quite some time but sourcing American Lamb is hard and I am very picky. I went to Ray's Meat Market in Gig Harbor and purchased the perfect boneless Leg of Lamb. I looked at about a half a dozen until I found the right one. I wanted the leg to be big but have the right shape. My buddy Mike works there and he was nice enough to bring them all out for me to pick from.  

Unpacking the Lamb and evaluating how I wanted to proceed. Yes every step is important. 

Ok....all unpacked. This is the step where I decide how I am going to reconstruct the Lamb into a Pastrami. I looked at every opening and decided on a course of action. I planned on using Transglutaminase to bind the meat. I wish my daughter was home to assist with the camera. I was not able to take pictures and apply TG and wrap in plastic.

So I applied the TG to every opening, nook, cranny, and to every knife mark. I wanted all the proteins be bind and be seamless. I used probably 6 feet of plastic wrap to ensure the the shape of the lamb. I used rope and several tying techniques to secure lamb. 

Vacuumed sealed up to ensure shape and help bind the proteins. It will take a minimum of 24 hours for the proteins to bind. 

A thing of beauty. I waited about 30 hours before unveiling.


As always I took the whole spices herbs,(Bay Leaf, Grains of Paradise, Coriander,Juniper berries, Whole cloves and mustard seeds) and placed them in a dry pan and applied a little heat to them to bring out their oils. Ground in a spice grinder. NOTE: Picture is not from this recipe. 

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. 

Now the simple part. Combine the rest of the ingredients and pack them on to the meat. There will excess rub that will fall to the side but don't worry about this. Make sure to coat every inch of the piece of meat. No rub will go to waste because the excess rub will be tossed in bag.

Carefully place your meat into a vacuum seal bag making sure not to scrape off too much rub. Make sure all salt and rub gets into that bag. Refrigerate and flip every day for 21 days. If this was a smaller piece of meat it would only need about 14 days. I am using a precise equilibrium cure so I am not worried about over curing because that can't happen. 

Meat is all cure now and ready for the next step. I actually cured the lamb for 25 days instead of 21. I think it's important to point out that I was right on the cusp of having to inject the cure but only time will tell if I was right or not. It's girth is somewhat big and I wanted to make sure the salt and cure made its way into the center. 

Rub applied and ready for smoke. I spray a little canola oil on the lamb to help the rub adhere. 

In my smoker and will cold-smoke for 9 hours using A-Maze-N cold-smoker. Note: outside temp was only about 60 f and by night time it had fallen to about 47˚ƒ. 


Next step will be a double vacuum bag seal. The Lamb will be Sous-Vide at 131˚ƒ for 12 hours. note: important part!!! After the long thermal bath I will shock the lamb in an Ice-Water bath, refrigerate overnight. The following day or there abouts I wll hot smoke the Lamb. 

This beautiful lamb was Sous-Vide for 12 hours at 131˚ƒ. Came out perfect. I am coating coarse ground black pepper for the next step. 

Hot smoked between 180-205˚ƒ until an internal temp of 142˚ƒ is reached. 

The review following gratuitous pictures. 

Review- It came out great as expected. I used a lot of my other recipes to extrapolate a perfect recipe. It cured actually 25 days instead of 21. It was on the thick side and was concerned about cure reaching the center. Any thicker I would have injected the cure at 200 ppm than dry-cured for 21 days. The 131˚ƒ was perfect!! I will say having a professional Berkel slicer really helps. Slicing this by hand and getting this thin slices is the key to a perfect lamb pastrami. If you don't have a slicer you may need to cook it at higher temp or a little longer to get if softer to slice.  

Note: things to consider. Cure the lamb in this stage which will help the cure penetrate the center.  After cured apply TG and wrap up.