Sunday, May 7, 2017

Buffalo Tongstrami aka "Pastrami"

Give me some tongue why don't you. Well she did; figuratively speaking of course. When I was a little boy growing up in NYC Beef Tongue was pretty common in the Jewish culinary community. My Bubbe ate Tongue often on rye bread with spicy brown mustard. She was a awful cook so I can only assume she sourced the Tongue at some Jewish Deli. 

At some point when I was a little boy (under the age of 10 I think) she tried to make Tongue for dinner. For the life of me I don't know why she would do such as thing. I use to spend a weekend or two a month with my Bubbe and we always ate at Katz deli which was located across the street from where she lived. My Bubbe cooking tongue is like me trying to ski down hill for the first time.....she didn't know what she was doing which was evident by her cooking technique and how she tried to to serve the Tongue. I'm not kidding either. She literally tossed it in a pot of boiling water and after a few dumped it on a serving platter and said dinner. What? Are you freaking kidding me? I don't recall the exact words but I didn't eat the darn thing and she cried. She made no attempt to to disguise what it was nor did she peel off the taste buds. What the hell was she thinking? It had to be the grossest thing I have ever seen in my life.... at least up to that point anyways. Anyhow that was my introduction to Tongue. I'm sure I ate it before but no one told me was it was and it was disguised as something else....I.E Deli meat. 

I've been wanting to make Pastrami from Tongue for quite some time but never made any attempt to source it until now. A few weeks ago I was down at my buddies house for a food extravaganza (Norm King) and he made Pickled Tongue. It was amazing and I knew then I had to try my hand at making Pastrami from this wonderful piece of meat. Sourcing Tongue is not that easy until I got turned on to Nicky USA by Norm. They source their meat from the NW and sell to high end stores (only in OR) and restaurants in the NW. If your willing to spend $$$ they will ship to their Seattle location and you can pick it up there. A dream come true for me!!! This last weekend I purchased 7 Beef Navels, 2 rack of American Lamb and 1 Buffalo Tongue. Game on!!!! They did not have regular Beef Tongue which is bigger so I got the Buffalo one. 

This recipe will not be much different than my other pastrami recipes. From the cure to the rub much won't change. Here's a Link to the Cure and Rub. Link to dry curing notes here.

Place Tongue in a clean container. This is where you're going to apply cure and spices. 

Get your separate bowls out and start measuring. Put the Salt and cure in their own bowl and mix thoroughly. Take your whole spices and roast them a bit in a dry skillet and grind them up. Combine all the ingredients now except keep Salt and Cure in their separate bowl. 

Using the Salt and Cure thoroughly coat the Tongue getting it into every nook and cranny. Take the other bowl of spices and coat the Tongue too.

Vacuum seal the Tongue and refrigerate for at least 12 days. You can go longer if you want. This is an equilibrium cure so you can't over cure.

The Tongue was cured for 15 days. After I removed the Tongue from it's baggy I gave it a good rinse and got it ready for the next step. Tongue will be cold smoked for 10 hours.

"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."

The Tongue was coated with more Pastrami Rub. Note: the recipe for the rub makes a lot. The Tongue will be covered in the Rub for the cold smoke and the hot smoke. The Tongue will be cold smoked for 10 hrs.

This picture is what a 10 hour cold smoked Tongue looks like.

Vacuumed sealed!!! 
Sous-Vide at 142 f for 48 hours.

After the long Jacuzzi ride the Tongue was cold shocked for about 10 minutes. You can't peel a raw Tongue and you can't handle a hot one either.

Very easy to peel after cooked and cooled slightly. Just make some defined slits trying not to pierce the meat too much and peel away.

Note: I refrigerated the Tongue over night! You need to refrigerate for at least 12 hours before proceeding. Refrigerating mitigates over cooking during the Hot Smoke. Anyhow after the refrigeration Coat with the rub and more black pepper

Check out my kick ass modified Weber Smokey Mountain. Anyhow Hot Smoke at 225 f until an internal temp of 142 f is reached. This is the same temp the Tongue was Sous-Vide.

All done!!! It appears that I hit a homerun. More likely a Grand-Slam. 

 Time to Slice!!!

Review- Oh dear God!!! Just absolutely amazing. From the taste to the texture is flawless. I will not change a thing. The fat content is out of this world. This tastes and feels better in the month than a pastrami made with brisket. No pun intended. More gratuitous pictures below. This is what flavor town is all about.

You notice the little tongue sticking out? This was not on purpose. 

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