Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Laudable Turkey Pastrami

There lived a King, a King with an insatiable Pastrami craving. His subjects called him The Mad Mad Pastrami King. This King had grown tired of the traditional Pastrami and yearned for the unique and unusual. It was his goal while King to create as many atypical Pastramis before his reign was over. One day while ascending the tower he stopped motionless midway and cloaked himself in silence while he pondered what might be a new Pastrami. He said to himself...Hmm What if? In solitude he stared at the wall while his mind raced, and finally like a bolt of lightning, and a flash, a new Pastrami was born. I present you with The Laudable Turkey Pastrami. What makes this Turkey Pastrami so worthy of praise you ask? It's not made with Turkey breast. This delectable Pastrami is made with the Leg and Thigh. As you well know the Leg and Thigh meat are surrounded by bones, cartilage and tendons and they must be removed. It was a daunting task that would have stopped all but the most skilled, but the Mad King was by no means average. No task was to big for the King when it involved Pastrami. In a flash the Mad King deboned and removed all the tendons from the Thigh and Leg. All that witnessed this feat were overwhelmed with astonishment, and utterly unable to comprehend "The Mad King's" knife skills. The Mad King's knife skills became legendary, and for some mind boggling. To quote Tite Kubo- "We stand in awe before that which cannot be seen. We respect with every fiber our being that which cannot be explained". 

Ok enough with the fairy tale. I had a frozen Turkey that just needed to get used but instead of making the normal stuff I wanted something else. Hence The Laudable Pastrami was born. This is not just any pastrami mind you or that boring Breast Pastrami. I am almost sure you have never eaten or made anything resembling this pastrami either.  

Break down the bird with a very sharp knife. You want to separate the Breast crown from the back and set aside. Do the same with the Turkey legs but make sure you get as much meat off the bone. 

This will include a little back meat too. I used the wings for stock but you can use them for something else. Smoked wings are great too. You could also make a baby roulade here too. It's only limited to your imagination.

After you break down the Turkey set aside the Leg and Thigh (must be intact). Make sure the oyster is intact and still attached. If you are unsure how to break down a Turkey you can watch a great Tutorial on Chefsteps. 

So what to do!!! Carefully debone the legs. For a lot of detail click on the link. I made my Turkey Roulade back in 2014. 

Just some additional pics of what I did.

 Lots of Tendons. 

Two pictures below reflect the on going effort to remove tendons and cartilage.

All Done.

Salt and Cure applied first then all the other Pastrami ingredients. The Ingredients can be found HERE. 

Both halves vacuumed sealed. I will flip everyday for about 7-9 days.

It's been about 7 days and they're cured. Picture to the right shows them all rinsed off.

The Turkey is all rinsed off and ready for the next step. Meat will be inverted on top of each other. I.E big side side sitting on top of the little side. Doing this will create symmetrical cylinder. Both sections of the Turkey Thigh/Leg are covered in Transglutaminase...aka TG or Meat Glue. Note: I made sure that the TG made it's way into every nook and cranny. I am pretty fanatical about this too. I want the bond to be very strong. 

I have the Turkey inverted on top each other sitting on a 24 inch commercial plastic wrap. This is where the shaping of the roulade takes place. Starting out with a very large and long piece of food grade plastic wrap (again I used a 24 inch wide version) I start rolling the roulade very tight using a lot of pressure. I wanted to form a perfect cylinder. As I am rolling the roulade up I am piercing the plastic wrap with a toothpick (or sausage pricker) to allow air to escape which will allow for a tighter roll. After the roll is shaped into a perfect cylinder and is nice and tight I tied off the ends with a string. Again pierce the plastic wrap with a toothpick or whatever you have. Look at the picture sitting on the bottom. I have already started bunching the meat together. 

Just a larger picture of the Cylinder. This baby has probably 15-24 layers of plastic wrap. The ends were twisted in the opposite direction to create the tightest bond. While twisting I was creating tension on both ends to get a smooth and tight bond. After twisting it off I secured it with butcher's twine. In order to create the tightest bond it will need to sit in the refrigerator for 24 hours before proceeding to the next step. 

24 hours have elapsed and it's time for the next step. Proteins have bonded nicely to each other.

"Before cured foods are smoked, they should be allowed to air-dry long enough to form a tacky skin, known as a pellicle. The pellicle plays a key role in producing excellent smoked items. It acts as a kind of protective barrier for the food, and also plays an important role in capturing the smoke’s flavor and color."

Get your rub together using my Rub Recipe found HERE. A couple of things to consider. Personally I like to Cold-Smoke first, than I Sous-Vide and finally after a Ice-Cold-Shock and a refrigerate for a day or two. It's all about my schedule. Man's gotta work and work my hobby around my job. Anyhow after the above I like to hot smoke to create a bark. This is just a personal preference that I have found that works great. 

I like to spray a little canola oil on the protein before applying the rub. The oil helps the rub adhere. 

You may or may not have extra rub left over depending on how liberally you covered the Pastrami. Anyhow set some aside for the Hot-Smoke and if you don't have any you can either use coarse black pepper or measure out just little more rub for the Hot-Smoke. I love adding more black pepper to the rub left over. I love the Pastrami peppery. 

I cold smoked the Pastrami for about 6 hours using the A-MAZE-N Smoker.

After the Cold-Smoking process I re-wrap the meat in plastic wrap using the same procedure as before. 
After you get done wrapping the Pastrami in plastic go ahead and Vacuum Seal. 

I Sous-Vide the Pastrami at 151 F degrees for about 3:30 minutes. I used this cool App called the Polyscience Sous-Vide Toolbox. It helps you calculate times and temps based on the meat and size (thickness, circumference or diameter). You can play around with the numbers to achieve desired results. I SV until it was pasteurized. If you look at the numbers in the App (picture provided) I wanted the core to be at 149 f degrees and water temp at 151 f degrees. Buy increasing the temp 2 degrees I was able to cut back the time. A great APP. Note: most of the time when you cook SV the water temperature is set at the internal temperature you want to serve the food. I could have done this too of course but I would have had to increase the cooking time by several hours.

Note: After the Thermal bath I cold-shocked and refrigerated the Pastrami overnight. This is what it looked like after a night in the refrigerator. As you can see it is very wet and there is no bark. I really hate this look. Ahh... there is a fix.

To get the bark I want I applied a small percentage of the rub with some more black pepper and Hot-Smoked until the bark is achieved. it normally takes about an hour at 200-225 degrees. 

All Hot-smoke and it's looking delectable. 

Review- How do I count the ways? My new version of Pastrami has been accurately named. Absolutely amazing. Extremely tasty and succulent. The texture and moisture content was spot on and remarkable. I could not stop eating this thing. It needed no bread or mustard. Using the Turkey Leg and Thigh for the Pastrami was just genius (yea I am bragging). The fat content was perfect. If I had to criticize just one thing it would be the inability to slice flawless thin medallions. The Pastrami was succulent and moist it but did not hold it's shape very well. However the taste made up for that. The extra succulent fat loosened the protein bonds that were created but the payoff was astounding.

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