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Baron d'Apcher

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  1. Gastronomy is something like the distilled delineation of all elements that provide the highest standard of nourishment. I'd propose "satisfaction" as it pertains to the ritual of eating. 19th Century gastronome Grimod de la Reynière documents the choicest ingredients by season and location in his expansive and infinitely charming "Almanach des Gourmands", followed by Brillat-Savarin's epicurean treatise on gustatory aphorisms. Both are founding experts in the matter.
  2. Poach the foie gras ahead of time and chill. American foie gras is much fattier than the French counterparts and are prone to releasing far too much fat. Buy "B" lobes as they are smaller, and slightly cheaper, than the "A" lobes which are absurdly massive and look like what I imagine David Crosby's liver to be.
  3. Natural casings might help firm up the product as it will shrink. Craft Butcher's Pantry is a reliable source for natural casings of all sorts, shapes and sizes.
  4. Consider cutting the shank and simmering with beans until both are tender, like cassoulet. For Swedish Christmas I deboned 2 shoulders, wrapped them in caul fat* nice & snug with herbs and braised until tender with root veg and chicken (or lamb) stock fortified with roasted bones. *Wrap the shoulder tightly in heavy-duty tin foil like a Tootsie pop and chill in the freezer until firm, easier to wrap. Pic is everything raw. The shoulders and veg were browned in bacon fat and braised uncovered @250F, flipped every 1/2 hour until tender and the strained sauce was
  5. That is curious. A proper braise is a mixture of wet and dry heat: an item in an uncovered pot in an oven that is half-way covered with liquid. The dry heat allows for caramelization and evaporation and rotating the item adds caramelization to the liquid (deglazing it) and repeats anew. The continued caramelization and reduction is what enriches/concentrates the liquid (eventually the sauce). An hermetically sealed pot steams with no reduction and the temperature continues to increase, like impromptu pressure cooker without the release. Adding less liquid will invariable keep the meat
  6. Use plainly ground pork and season according to your tastes.
  7. Not really. If feedlot steers (we rarely eat cows) don't move, it is because they don't have enough room to do so and they are young: generally Angus breed around 24 months or younger. Feedlot beef represents about 97% of US beef production and while most of it will qualify as "tender" it is more a result of young animals whose musculature is not fully developed, having been quickly and somewhat artificially brought to market weight (1200lbs or so) by finishing them with corn, which they enjoy but don't know that they are not designed to properly digest it (it makes them sick). The corn
  8. Agreed. I work and live on a 28 acre family owned farm that pasture-raises pigs, chickens (both fed certified organic feed) and lamb (grass-fed) but invariably any pork/beef/lamb has to be slaughtered in a USDA facility for retail sale (chicken can be exempt with the certain requirements). Slaughter is a considerable determinant in the final product. An animal can live a cherished life but be clumsily killed resulting in a mediocre product. Finding careful staff to work in a slaughterhouse is a challenge and it is not a job many aspire to have. As result, animals are often dispatched in
  9. Dark cutters are generally bovine (beef) and occasionally other ruminants like sheep and goats. The color is indeed burgundy/purple and is an indication of stress or too high of a temperature prior to the slaughtering. Pigs with PSS (porcine stress syndrome) under similar pre-slaughter conditions present PSE (pale, soft extrudative) meat and often darker firmer red meat. Chickens however are not red meat like bovines and any surface bruising/bleeding was likely during the slaughtering process prior to it being bled. Purdue (and other large producers) suffocates the birds with carbon dioxid
  10. There isn't much juice worth the squeeze once the jowls and cheeks are removed, certainly not worth making pâté or anything that would resemble it since you are left with mostly skin (collagen) and a minuscule amount of meat in the snout or behind the skull. Consider removing whatever skin is left, blanch it to get whatever impurities out, scrape the excess fat off and cook beans or hominy with the skin. The skin will thicken the bean/hominy cooking liquid and you will be on your way to cassoulet or posole. Do you still have the tongue?
  11. Baron d'Apcher

    Making Bacon

    Food safety authorities err to the side of caution and can not presume how much water activity is in the crispy bacon (level of doneness), or the conditions in which is was cooled or left out on the counter or whatnot. To protect themselves from lawsuits and such, regulators limit the shelf life of products that spend time unrefrigerated and below 141F where spoilage can occur. The regulations are often excessive: chicken doesn't really need to be cooked to 165F. Pancetta lasts a very long time, but the USDA gives it a mere 7 day refrigerated shelf life, which is absurd. Beef je
  12. Baron d'Apcher

    Making Bacon

    I am not sure what the experiment is, but hard fat (back fat) will not render at 140F. Soft fat (leaf lard) will. And a thin slice of bacon acts much differently than a full slab of whole belly. When shoulders are smoked for a very long time on the cusp of 180F, much of the hard fat is still there, albeit it very tender. Thinly sliced hard fat will render at higher temp, like in a 350F over or hot frying pan. Crisped bacon (because slab bacon is, for the most part, already cooked) has much less water than the un-crisped/un-rendered slice and consequently will last a ver
  13. Baron d'Apcher

    Making Bacon

    Most of the stuff you buy in the supermarket is smoked and cooked to an internal temp of about 140F or somewhere close in massive ovens.
  14. Baron d'Apcher

    Making Bacon

    Who or what says so? Invariably, bacon is fully cooked during the smoking process, or else it isn't bacon. Cooked bacon will last a very long time in the fridge.
  15. Sous-vide (reduced oxygen) cooking can be dangerous if the product inside is not cooked for sufficient time/temp to pasteurize/kill most pathogens and/or if chilled improperly pathogens can multiply and they are not good to have in your body. SV safety is severely overlooked and underrated. Douglas Baldwin explains the safety issues and consequences of improper cooling very well.
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