Thursday, January 7, 2016

Carne Asada Pastróme

As you well know I have an addiction to Cured meats. Pastrami is one of my favorites of course. The other day I came across Organic-Grass Fed-Short Ribs and temptation got the best of me. So I purchased all 17 lbs worth and have made a couple of dishes with them. I made Flanken BBQ Ribs the other day and they were to die for. I also made Short Rib Beef Bacon too. 

Anyhow on to the Carne Asada (translates literally as Grilled Beef) Pastrami. I was dreaming about food as usual and of course my creative dream state was in full swing when I decided to make a Mexican Pastrami. I never made Carne Asada before so I scoured the net for recipes. I came across a ton of recipes. Everyone's claim to fame was their authentic version of this famous grilled meat. They all had an authentic recipes of course. While researching Carne Asada I quickly realized that is there is no such thing as a Carne Asada Pastrami. Truth be told there are no authentic recipes of Carne Asada. All the recipes I came across had similar ingredients but nothing definitive. Nevertheless I decided to painstakingly make my own. Not an easy thing to do mind you. Basically using herbs and spices that translates to Carne Asada is quite the undertaking. Traditional (if I can say that) Asada uses some type of acid like Orange or Lime, but that does not work for a cure. I decided to use orange peel and lime peel: more on this later.

Chili selection is not all that important, but I have my favorites. I used Ancho, Guajillo and two types of Chipotle (Meca & Morita). Of course you have to heat them in a hot skillet to bring out their full flavors. After thoroughly heated through (the smell permeates the kitchen) remove stem and seeds and grind in a electric spice grinder.


Like I said earlier this was a painstaking creation. Initially I combine what I thought would taste good and sampled. As I was combining ingredients and drinking tons of water to cleanse my palate it became clear that I needed a break. Yes, after a while your tongue becomes numb and fails to distinguish taste subtleties. It wasn't until the following day that I able to finish the rub. I had to make several adjustments {over hours} but it's unclear if it will taste any good. Like everything else I make patience and time is needed. I should discuss some of the ingredients a bit before I move. Obviously the Orange Peel and Lime peel is to replicate the citrus profile that is present in Carne Asada. Oh, if you buy orange peel make sure you buy it from Penzey's. I have experimented with a couple of other manufacturers and Penzey's hits it out of the park. Soy brings out beef flavor and I found a dehydrated version. Cilantro is necessary to and fortunately I found a dried version like parsley. The other ingredients are pretty normal. I love Demerara sugar but is not necessary so light brown sugar will work too.  Combine everything in the list with the exception of Salt & Cure # 1. If you decide to use whole spices make sure to grind them using a spice mill. I love whole spices!! 

NOTE: And this is an afterthought- in retrospect I should have used Fresh Orange and Lime ZEST and coated the entire Short-Rib prior to putting on the salt. Next time I will not make this mistake. 

Meat unsheathed from its plastic home.

Note: This is where I should have added the ZEST.

Salt & Cure # 1 combined and rubbed into every nook and cranny. 

Cover the Short Ribs with approximately 2/3 of the rubb and reserved the rest for later use. Make sure to vacuum seal the remaining rub so it stays fresh. 

Vacuum seal and refrigerate. Flip everyday for 18 days. 

Ok... it's been 18 days and this is what it looks like un-rinsed.

Rinsed and ready for next step.

The original rub without the salt and #1 cure. Just give it a light coating.

Into the smoker. I cold smoked using the A-Maze-N-Smoker. I got lucky when I smoked the Short-Rib that morning. I arrived home (from work) at 6 am and it was 25˚ƒ outside. During the 9 hour smoke that chamber temperature never got over 50˚ƒ.

This is a picture of the ribs after 9 hours of cold smoke.

The ribs will Sous-Vide at 144˚ƒ for 48 hours. 

All Sous-Vide and ready for the next step. After the Sous-Vide process the meat was Cold Shocked and refrigerated.

The Short-Ribs were removed from the refrigerator and Sous-vide again at 125 degrees for several hours to bring up the temp.

The short ribs were lacquered with Carne Asada Sauce then coated with more rub minus the salt and Cure #1.

My untested Carne Sauce is as follows. It came out pretty good but needs to be refined. 

Combine in a blender 
  • 1 small can of Chipotles peppers
  • 1/8 cup of each- Ancho Powder,Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Cumin
  • 1 tbsp of Coriander 
  • 2 tsp of Salt
  • 1 cup of fresh OJ juice
  • 1/4 cup of fresh Lime Juice
  • 1/2 cup of Brown Sugar
  • 1 green onion 
  • 1 large handful of Cilantro

Apply the Carne Asada Sauce (paint on) and sprinkle on more rub.

I finished on my Weber BBQ grill at 725˚ƒ.

Review- Amazingly good!!! I ran out of the Penzeys Orange peel and had to use a different product. Penzeys is the best and I could tell the difference. A complete afterthought that would have  added to the flavor profile which would have been the addition of fresh Orange and Lime ZEST. The ZEST would have been applied directly to the surface of protein prior to applying salt. This would have rocked this piece of meat. Don't get me wrong I am very happy with the results but  there is always room for improvement. 

More below.....