Tuesday, September 15, 2015

The Majestic Ribeye Pastrami

"Frugality Has No Place in Culinary Epiphanies So Sayeth Me"

So I started my Pastrami blog with a notable quote from yours truly. These thoughts came to me after I received some interesting feedback after posting a picture of my future Ribeye Pastrami in a Facebook group I belong to.

Some of the comments were...."Dang that's pricey Pastrami I don't get it", "do you feel this is a good use of a ribeye roast opposed to steaks? Is it THAT much better than brisket (or whatever else you may use), or is it more novelty and experimentation?

These were just some of the questions and comments I received when I posted that picture. For me food has always been about experimentation and thinking outside the culinary box. There is nothing wrong with tradition but when a culinary epiphany pops in my head there's no stopping me. I don't care what it costs, how far I have to drive to get that one ingredient because at the end of the day I can look back and say I did it "My Way". I refuse to let anything limit my creativity whether it's money or just plain information. Let's be honest here, one does not prepare food in this way because it's more economical; on the contrary we do it because we have too. 

"I am a culinary Heretic with no constraints or limits." 

"You can call me the majestic meshuggeneh of fleischige."

From these pics you can see there's lots of hard fat. 

I removed about 2 lbs worth of hard fat from the Ribeye and all in all it wasn't that bad. I expected a lot more fat. 
As always I took the whole spices and 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 essential oils. I then grounded them up in a spice grinder. 

Click here for recipe and Click here for Dry-Cure-Notes.

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. If the standard bag is too small you can get larger ones like the FoodSaver GameSaver bags 15" X 20'. The 15 inch bag will not fit in a normal machine so you will have to vacuum seal at an angle or buy a bigger machine like the FoodSaver GameSaver Titanium Vacuum Sealer

Picture 1- Ribeye cured and rinsed.

Picture 2- Ribeye coated with rub. Rub can be found HERE.

Picture 3- Ribeye being cold smoked for 8 hours using A-Maze-N-Pellet-Smoker. Nifty little device that's worth looking into. I decided to cold smoke at night because temps were so much cooler than the day. The ambient temp that night was about 53 degrees and I added Ice to the smoker to ensure temp was low. 

Picture 4- Fully cold smoked for 8 hours. 

After the meat was cold I decided to foil it up and refrigerate for a day. Meat now double vacuumed sealed using my Gamesaver. I always double vacuum seal my long Sous-Vide cooks. I am always worried about bag breakage. Anyhow I Sous-Vide the meat at 135˚ƒ for 30 hours. 

After the long thermal bath I shocked the Ribeye and brought the temp below 40˚ƒ. The Ribeye was refrigerated for two days. I only needed one but I work and sometimes our schedule gets in the way of our creativity. Anyhow I unsheathed the Ribeye and now it's ready for the next step. By the way there was very little moisture loss during the cook.

This step has to be the simplest of all of them. 

Coat the entire Ribeye with coarse black pepper. 

This Majestic Ribeye will be hot smoked using apple wood. I am using my WSM. The Ribeye will smoke between 180-205 degrees until an internal temp of 140 degrees is reached. 

All DONE~~~ what a beauty. I will let it rest about 15 minutes before cutting into the majestic beauty.

Gratuitous Picture Below Including Review.

Review- One word amazing. I will do this again. I have eaten and have made more pastramis than the average person so I am more than qualified to critique my own pastrami. 

I have eaten and created Brisket Pastrami both point and flat, Tri-tip pastrami, Turkey Pastrami and several variations of Lamb Pastrami many times and this is by far the best. Textually flawless, fat content could not be better, tasted perfect and cooked to perfection. This in my opinion makes the best pastrami. 

I learned a lot from this Ribeye. If you look at the picture that shows a side profile of the cut you can see a slight difference in the color of the meat. I cured the Ribeye for 21 days which has always been adequate for all my cures but came up a little short on this one. The girth of this and its mere size required more time to cure. I should have either injected the cure into the center or gave it another 7-10 days to cure. The cure missed the last inch in the center of the ribeye. So other than color it was still pretty much perfect. 

Dang I will do this again. If I owned a deli I would have this on my menu and be happy with just breaking even. This is not about making a profit but sharing something extraordinarily amazing.