Sunday, April 30, 2017

VAM aka Ham-tasting-Veal

I just love cured meats and I'm always trying to come up with different formulas to meet a certain need or want. Most cured meats are made from Pork and since I don't eat treif (UN-Kosher meat) I was forced to be creative. I came across this big hunk of Veal Breast and thought I could convert this into something cured that tasted like Ham. This cut has all the bones too which will be great for stock. I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess you have never heard of lamb breast let alone came across it at a local supermarket. From time to time I have seen recipes online using Veal Breast but nothing close to what I am about to do. I think I have seen it on a menu at a fancy restaurant once or twice. 

If you're creative you can turn any protein into something cured and make it taste amazing!!! I've only made one other cured meat from Veal which turned out amazing. I was trying to come up with an alternative to Pancetta so I came up with my own version called Vealcetta. This is an original recipe and if I do say so myself I hit it out of the ballpark. If you Google Vealcetta all my pics come up and my recipes. To my knowledge no other has ever cured veal using this technique. 



With all that said I had to come up with a name too. All my recipes are crazy and out of the box manifestations so my names have to match my insane thoughts. With that, I named the recipe VAM (wife actually came up with the name....gotta give credit where credit is due). It tastes like Ham so what the heck. 


Before we get started let me address the haters or antagonists in the room. I'll keep this short but if you're interested I wrote a short paper on the Ethical Objections to Veal. Veal is the meat of calves and beef comes from older cattle. Duh.....Veal can be produced from calves of either sex and any breed. Most veal comes form younger males of dairy breeds that are not used for breeding. If there were no veal farms these male calves would be put to death. In a nut shell it's a myth to believe that veal comes from a very young calf. I guess you would have to define young to me because veal is one of the oldest food animals when it goes to market. Boom!!!


Here we go!!! Out of the plastic wrap and onto the next step. Notice how white and rosy pink the veal seems? I won't give you a tutorial on Myoglobin but suffice it to say because the calf was young (no opportunity to exercise its muscles) and the diet was low in iron this contributed to a rosy pink meat. All of this affects the production of hemoglobin and myoglobin. 

 It all starts with a very sharp boning knife. You have to guide your knife along the bones staying very close all the while separating the meat from the bones. Easier said than done. Be very careful not to tear the meat!!



 I would have preferred to videotape this whole process but seeing how I only have two hands and no equipment the pictures will have to suffice. 😤

All done!!! I did an amazing job. That chunk of meat in the upper left corner came off the top side. I think that's the brisket. The other portion is the belly.....maybe. The grain runs in several directions so who knows. Saving the bones for stock.
Some close up shots!!😏




Let's talk a moment about the recipe. I concocted this thing out of thin air. I am very familiar with these ingredients so putting it together was very easy. I did a lot of tasting along the way too. I used three different sugars because each one has attributes I enjoy. For my Dry Cure Notes Click HERE. 




First of all you want a very good scale that can measure minute weight. Measuring out the right amount of Cure is important. That number you're looking at is 9.5 grams. To give you an idea how precise this is the equivalent in ounces is 0.335103. 


Measure out all the ingredients. Separate the Salt and cure in one bowl, whole spices in an other, the remaining ones in their own bowl. Heat whole spices in a dry skillet and grind up using a spice grinder. Combine the ground up spices with the other ones keeping salt and cure in their own bowl. Make sure to thoroughly mix up the salt and cure in the bowl. Apply mixture to meat getting it into every nook and cranny. Apply the rest of ingredients to veal again rubbing them into every nook and cranny. Make sure you check the bottom of container too. It's very important that all the salt and cure make it onto the meat. 

After you're all done rubbing down the veal toss in vac bag and refrigerate for 10-15 days rotating it every day. Give it a whack two during the rotation.  




After 10 days I decided that the veal had sufficiently cured. This veal belly is very thin so using the simple curing rule of thumb.... 1/4 inch a day this baby is cured. I rinsed off the veal and gave it a quick dry with paper towel. Take a look at the bottom of the picture.... that extra meat will be glued on using Transglutaminase. 




Just some pictures of both sides of the belly.






Taking a look at it rolled up to see what it looked like. I am going to have to trim this baby up.

Ends cut off and will be glue back in....



↞↞↞End pieces.......


Look at that fat!!!↠↠↠









Now I need to figure out how to piece this thing together....it's a meat puzzle. I took the extra end pieces and the other section of meat and placed them strategically in the belly. The goal is to roll this baby up into a perfect cylinder. 


After several meat stacks and configurations I got the puzzle pieces to fit together.  Here's the preliminary cylinder picture. 





Unrolled and placed on 24 inch plastic wrap. I'm gonna use the plastic wrap to secure the cylinder. The veal will be rolled up extremely tight. 





Every nook and cranny covered in Transglutaminase aka Meat Glue. After the veal is rolled up it will need to sit for about 24 hours for the proteins to meld together 



Wrapped in plastic wrap. I am guessing it was rolled 40 X to create an extremely tight cylinder. Ends tied off with twine.


Double vacuumed sealed.!!! The Veal will be Sous-Vide at 142 ℱ degrees for 10 hours.



After the 10 hour long bath I submerged the Veal into an ice bath and refrigerated overnight. It needed to be cold before proceeding to the next step. It's easier to work with cold meat than warm and also mitigates over cooking while smoking. 

Using butcher's twine and a butcher's knot secure Veal. You're going to be hanging this baby vertically so make sure it's very secure.





Brush on the Bourbon!!!! Yea it's going to be great. The Bourbon will moisten the Veal and make it easier for the spices to adhere. 







I coated the Veal with a combo of white pepper, coriander, Allspice and Demerara Sugar. I didn't measure. It was an afterthought. Almost equal parts of the first two ingredients and about 5% percent worth of Allspice and sugar to taste. keep tasting and adjust from there.



Smoked with Apple at 225 until internal temp of 142 f was reached. Before and after pictures.









All DONE!!!
I placed Veal in parchment paper and surrounded it with Blue Ice to cool rapidly. The Veal was refrigerated overnight before slicing. 





REVIEW- It was a grand slam. Everything about it was perfect. It tasted like Ham. Last time I ate Treif was over 17 years ago and this was certainly reminiscent of that time in my life. I won't change a thing except maybe to measure and define how much rub to use. 

GRATUITOUS PICTURES BELOW





I sliced these extra thin...........amazing!!!!!