Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bavagool aka Gabagool aka Capocollo

How did I get here? Well that's a long story but in short I love cured meats and love making them. That being said I don't eat Pork. So what's up with the cartoon. Well I couldn't find a bovine version. Pig or Bull this cartoon is funny. Don't forget G-d gave us food restrictions but said nothing about using unclean food for satire.

Funny Names Go Wild

What's central to these posts is the fun I have writing them and of course creating new recipes. There's a lot of joy to be had in this whole thing if you approach it from my perspective. Coming up with funky funny names for new posts is quite satisfying. So with that I want to discuss the elocution of words I use (pronounce) and write about. 

Why would I want to discuss such a thing on my blog? Well for one thing it's my blog. Over the years I have come across a lot of online chatter about the correct pronouncement of certain words. Some of the chatter ruffled my feathers and at other times pissed me off. There seemed to be a great deal of discussion on the right and wrong way to say/pronounce certain words. Most pertained to Italian words for foods. The chatter mostly focused on the New Jersey/New York way of talking. 

The blogs and articles I read were occasionally positive, funny and at other times extremely judgey. Some approached this subject linguistically and felt the East Coast way of talking was improper and showed a lack of education and understanding. Some articles were very interesting and approached the subject from an academic linguistic perspective. 

Suffice it to say that kind of talk really irritated me. Ok, ok it really pissed me off. The only reason it pissed me off was the attitudes they took. Their superiority and snobbery was so freaking evident. So, I say Tomato you say To-may-to so in other words who cares. I grew up in Brooklyn and we say things a little different liken to the rest of the world. If you ever feel the need to correct someone's phonetics you need to stop right now because you are acting like an ASS!! 

Yea, yea I am venting a bit. Just one of my pet peeves. When I moved out to the Northwest I quickly learned that my pronunciation of certain words was different than the average Washingtonian. According to Websters Dictionary Ricotta is pronounced Ri-cot-ta (Re-caught-uh). The way I say Ricotta is; with a rolling "Rrrrrr" I say "Ree-gawt" or "Ree-gawta".  And if you ask me my what I think about my pronunciation of sounds damn cool. When I first arrived in WA and not knowing any different I would use my unique Brooklynese way of talking and undoubtedly, and without any clue what was happening I would get this questionable long stare. They would would break the long silence and stare with "What did you just say?" As if I was speaking a different a language. To my knowledge they were not being rude but sincerely didn't  know what I was saying. I was unaware that there were other ways to say the same word. Here are some common words I used as a kid... ..Mozzarella = Moot-za-dell,  Prosciutto = Pro-shoot, Capicola = Gabagol or Gabagool, Cannoli = Ga-nol-lee, Mortadella= Mort-ah-dell and finally Macaroni = Mac-cher-roni.  At the end of the day it really does not matter. How did I come up with Bavagool? Since I am using Beef (Bovine) I had to come up with my own word. There you go. 

check out this Parady- The office Gabagool

First things first. Assemble all your ingredients and place in separate bowls. Combine the salt and cure #2 in a separate bowl. 
Curing Notes and Math Link

Using a spice mill or grinder grind the whole spices and chilies and place in a bowl and mix thoroughly to combine. 

Just a pic to show you that this baby does way in excess of 20 lbs. Such a pretty sight.

At first glance I thought it would be nice to somehow separate the muscles like they traditionally do with Suinae aka Swine but it couldn't be done. I settled on just cutting the muscle in half. Place hunk of meats in very large container and get ready to coat with the salt and cure mixture.

Coat the muscles with the salt cure mixture rubbing it into every nook and cranny. Than add the rub mixture and do the same thing.

If you can, vacuum seal the whole thing in a single vac bag. I have the Food-Saver Titanium Game-Saver that takes 16 inch bags so this made it easy to seal in one bag. Normally I would only cure this for about 21 days but since this thing is huge I will likely cure it for about 30. I want to make sure the cure and salt make it's way down into the center of the muscle. This might seem like a long time but this baby weighs 20 plus pounds.

Just a picture of my setup. I have a commercial refrigerator which makes storing food and meats convenient. Top shelf is a Pastrami Salumi drying in a UMAI bag, middle shelf is the Bavagool in a vac bag curing and the finally the bottom shelf is a jalapeno coffee Beef Navel Bacon curing. This refrigerator has three more shelves with food on them. That bowl you see on the first shelf is baking soda which helps absorb odors. The Pastrami Salumi was cold smoked for about 20 hours and the smoke was over taking the refrigerator. 
Not sure you can tell from this picture but this hunk of meat has been curing for 31 days. The time has come for the next step. The meat was removed from the plastic vac bag and rinsed under cold water removing as much of the surface cure and spices as possible

To maintain the shape during the drying phase I used a butchers knot to secure meat. 
As a kid growing in Brooklyn my grandfather and Dad always ate the hot version of Gabagool so I used these hot peppers. A very suiting choice if you ask me. They came whole and I ground them up using my electric spice mill.

I coated every nook and cranny with the Calabrian peppers.

Meat place in UMAI bag for the dry-curing-phase.

Meat Bags were labeled A and B. The Bovagool needs to lose 30% of its weight before they're safe to eat.

April 1, 2017

A- 4845g minus 30% = 3392g 
B- 4360g minus 30% = 3052g

Sitting on wired trivets for air circulation. Moisture level in refrigerator hovering around 65% at the moment. I also have a little fan in the refrigerator helping with the air movement. 

On June 15, 2017 "B" hit its target weight. Actually lost about 30.5% weight. Not too bad. "A" will take another week or so. 

Unleashed from its UMAI home. 

All string removed.

Placed in a standard Vacuum bag to equalize. Ok what's this equalize thing? Equalizing just means that the moisture levels will have a chance to distribute evenly through the meat.  
As the meat dries we know that the outer layers are drier than the inner layers. Sitting in a vac bag for a few weeks will equalize the moisture. How long? I haven't experimented a whole with this technique but results have been good at about 3 weeks. I'm going for 6 weeks to see if it made a difference.

Here's the second one. It took another week to achieve the 30% weight loss. 

The equalization is complete. It's been roughly 6-7 weeks since I vacuumed sealed these babies up and I think the time has come to slice them up. 

All done!!! If you look closely there's some moisture on the outside. That's a good indication that some of the moisture from the inside has reached the surface.

Cut in half!!! A good sign. To the touch they appear to have equalized.

Review- It was simply divine. I only wish it was hotter. Maybe next time I will tweak the formula to make it more so. I used 6 weeks as the time I thought was needed for the meat to equalize. So glad I did. 6 weeks was way better than 3 weeks. I might use 8 weeks next time. Making and coming up with unique recipes take time. Patience is key.
Note: must be sliced very thin!!!! 
The whole process from start to finish took 5 months. Slicing all the meat and packaging them up took 4 hours. Lot of work but all done out of love for my hobby.

More gratuitous pictures below.