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Phaz

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Everything posted by Phaz

  1. Mine is easy: 1/4 cup black pepper (I usually cut this in 1/2) 1/4 cup red pepper 1/4 cup kosher salt 1 tbsp thyme 1 tbsp oregano 1 tsp caynne pepper That's it. I originally made it for pulled pork I did in the oven (pork shoulder + that rub + foil + ~7 hours @ 325). Even done in an oven I've had several people say that's the best pulled pork they've ever had. I also have used it on ribeyes (many friends say I've ruined steak for them with this), pork chops and other things. I always have some of it ready to go in my pantry.
  2. A question for the experienced curers here. Is there a reason the bacon recipe specifies to 'brush' the existing cure off the meat before hanging it for a week vs just rinsing it off? It seems like a small insignificant step but when doing 25 lbs of the stuff brushing it off (with a spoon since that's all I had) took quite a while and made quite a mess.
  3. Has anyone used the tables in the back of book 5 to convert other recipes over to grams? I was doing that for the Ad Hoc at Home chocoalte chip cookies and found a few discrepancies with the data from those charts and others. For AP flour MC says 1 cup = 80 grams. That is vastly different from other sources I've found. Many claim that 125 grams = 1 cup. The official King Arthur numbers are 1 cup of KA AP flour = 120 grams. Same for brown sugar. Most sources I could find say 1 cup = 200g, but MC says 1 cup = 170. I know that this kind of thing can vary a lot based on how you measure things out, but doing my normal '1 cup' of flour I got 140 grams. I know there won't be an agreed upon value but 80g seems really low compared to others unless you are maybe sifting flour into a cup.
  4. How thick was your bacon? I believe MC calls for 1/16th of an inch, which is really thin. The only bacon my local store had that was that thin was the cheapest/crappiest stuff they had.
  5. I got one of these since I saw a few items in MC that use one. Last night I made a basic chocolate mousse and Thomas Keller's Watercress mousseline. For both of them it was incredibly hard to get it to come out properly. Even with the lightest touch on the trigger it came out with a ton of pressure that made it near impossible to shape into anything other than a blob with a whole in the middle where the pressure dug into it. I was holding it upside down, using a light touch and charged with one canister. Does anyone have any ideas what I might be doing wrong? It's almost like it was forcing out as much air as it was foam (even while inverted).
  6. Yeah, that's a little disappointing. Soul Daddy was my favorite ever since the first episode when Curtis tried the waffles & fried chicken and raved about the combination and how great it was. I was really hoping he'd win so I could try that combination. I guess I have to find somewhere else local that does it.
  7. Are people who are doing the bacon using the bone in belly as is requested in the recipe?
  8. Any update on the bacon yet? I was able to find some Fermento and Sodium Erythorbate online for not too expensive. It looks like both play a role in the curing process vs something just added for flavor. The idea of making my own MC bacon and smoking it with some Jim Beam whiskey barrel wood and apple wood sounds too good to pass up.
  9. I did another batch of the mango sorbet and learned a few things. I thought I'd post it here for people to capitalize on. First, my jars just barely fit inside the VP-112. In fact, it was too snug. I could put the lid down and have them in a sweet spot where the lid wouldn't be touching the jar. However, once the vacuum started, the lid of the VP-112 would push down on the lid of the jar, sealing it, and preventing the vacuum from pulling any air out of the jars. This was the result of my jars that didn't 'fluff' up at all. My first work around from this was to put the jars in on their side, with the lid screwed down a bit (so the expanding mango wouldn't leak through the side). The problem with these versions is that they would sometimes collapse before they were done. Basically a few bubbles would get big and pop, which would cause others to pop, which would cause a reaction and soon it was nearly the volume I started with. The fix for that problem was to manually stop the vacuum a bit sooner, or add a little more mango to the jar. You'd see it drop a little in volume a few times and from there had just a few seconds before total collapse (it makes sense when you try it). The other problem here is that when the air was reintroduced to the chamber, the lid would seal on the jar, but not before letting some air in, which would reduce the foam by 50% or so. The next thing I tried was my jar attachment. This had the same problems as above. Sometimes the seal would be pushed down too much and it would vacuum at all, sometimes it would collapse, sometimes it would go through and foam up well but extra air would collapse it some right before sealing. I'm still working on a solution. I'm thinking maybe that universal lid that is used in an above post might work better for the last sealing step and not introduce air because of how it works (maybe) since it seems you leave it on the jar and don't use a standard lid. Maybe I can get a few of them and use them with my big jars (4 pint) to do large batches all at once. My only worry here is that with jars that big the mango won't have enough time to reach all the way up. I was doing it for the full 60 seconds the machine allows in the pint jars and sometimes that would just barely be enough time to get it done all the way to the top. I'm not sure how well this scales. My other idea is to put the jars inside bags, with the lids screwed down (but not fully tight) and then putting them in the VP-112 on their side. Then letting them fully inflate and manually stopping them just before I think they are going to collapse. The hope here is that then when it reaches that point, the bag will then seal before any air is let back in. That will mean that there isn't any extra air inside the jar that can be forced into the jar collapsing things. I'm not sure if cutting the bag open after it's all done will let air in or not (depends on how well the jar seals with only outside air pressure through the bag) but I figure I can just throw the whole thing into the freezer and wait till it freezes and stabilizes before I have to worry about that. The good thing about this recipe is that the base amount in the book gives you a LOT of jars to play with. I certainly needed all those extra attempts. Also, I think for trying other fruits the process won't be that bad. As I found above, most my issues were caused by the sealing of the jars themselves. I think for testing fruits it's easy just to put some of it in an open jar, without a lid, and see if you can get it to foam up. I'm confident that if you can, the process will work if you can get it sealed properly. I think someone (Nathan?) said it was the pectin that makes mangoes a good choice. I also thought I remember someone saying the citric acid helps in reacting with the pectin. I'm wondering if just using strawberries (or whatever) and citric acid and adding some pectin manually will let the same effect work. It should be easy enough to experiment with since you can remove the jar sealing from that step and just add ingredients as necessary to work on ratios.
  10. I tried the mango sorbet and it was only a partial success. It was really hard to get the jars to 'fluff' when I pulled the vacuum. I tried putting them in the chamber with the lids and outside the chamber with a jar attachment. Out of about 10 jars I only got one to fully raise to the top well, with 2 others that did it about part way. The others I just couldn't get at all. I'm not sure if it's a temperature thing or what. It's very strange. When the jars come out the lids are definitely stuck on, and opening them I can hear the rush of air, showing that it is pulling a vacuum. It's just not fluffing up like it should. On the bright side the one that did work properly was quite delicious. I just have to figure out why that one worked and do the same thing with the rest of 'em. Maybe it's just more difficult because of my altitude here? (Colorado).
  11. There is a list of errors in the books up here. Quite a few recipe changes. I think I'm going to take a few hours some weekend and mark the changes with a pen in my copy.
  12. Willpowdersells smaller quantities of that stuff.
  13. All the recipes seem to use some kind of alcohol. Does anyone know definitively if that's just for taste or some other important part to the process?
  14. Phaz

    Best Ways to Cook Bacon

    MC actually has a 'Braised bacon' that is cooked SV. I want to say 140 degrees for 10-12 hours but could be wrong. I think they put some water in the bag as well. The best bacon I've had lately was also from MC. For the bacon with caramel & apple leather they say to dehydrate the bacon for 4 hours at a temp of 175 I believe. Mine doesn't go that high so I did it about 160. It was amazing. The bacon was fully cooked but all the fat that normally renders out... didn't. The dehydrator was perfectly clean. All that fat (and thus flavor) actually stayed in the bacon. You could taste the difference. The 'meaty' parts had a little bit of chew to them, but the fat was almost juicy. It was really really good. I preferred it with thick cut bacon to the really thin stuff the book recommends. There is also a recipe in MC for bacon with a sweet syrup that is dehydrated at 140 for 12 hours. That stuff comes out more like jerky and is quite chewy, but it still has so much flavor while you are chewing it the bacon flavor and sweet flavors mix together and just keep coming. It's interesting. I'm not a fan of sweet stuff so it wasn't my cup of tea, but several people who I had try it fell in love. I need to work on how to do it with thick cut bacon without getting it too chewy (or find some better quality thin bacon). Yes, the first thing I did with MC was find all the bacon recipes.. I also made the Bacon Jam which was good...
  15. I'm really interested in this topic as well. I'm cooking for a friend's bachelor party who happens to be a mac 'n cheese nut. I thought I'd do a lot of different varieties. So far I have a list of some of the classics (lobster mac 'n cheese) and some non-traditional ones, like bleu cheese & bacon, cream cheese & lox, a mexican version with a mexican cheese blend topped with guac, sour cream and salsa, and a mediterranean version with shrimp, olives, feta, etc. Too pull this off I"m going to need to use lots of different cheeses and I would assume some different techniques, such as for the bleu cheese & cream cheese. I'm curious how I can keep the bleu cheese flavor and make it creamy without making it over powering (maybe mixing it with another cheese).
  16. Thanks for the tips! I wonder if this kind of thing would work for this (and the VP112).
  17. I'm really interested in this. Does the stuff need to be frozen right away or can you wait a bit? I want to do some of this for Easter and am wondering what the best way to go about it is. Would I have to do it all there? Could I make it and jar it here then just freeze it there? Could I freeze it here and transport it (20 min drive) and throw it back in the freezer? Basically how does the 'shape' of it hold up over time?
  18. The bags from amazon I posted above will work if you use a sealing time of 7 seconds on the VP112. I'd still rather have some 'normal' bags like those that come with the machine however.
  19. The higher end gas webers all come with a stainless steel grate now. It seems like that might be easier to clean but cast iron might actually hold in more heat and sear better.
  20. Did you just follow the normal mac & cheese recipe and sub in the gryuere?
  21. Two questions... Does that garlic taste like fresh garlic, or do they pack it in something that affects the taste, like vinegar? And, if it's true that you have to smash the garlic to release the oils, how do you do that by grating it with a microplane? The garlic is just in a container with usually nothing else (sometimes a few sprigs of herbs accompany it). There isn't a liquid or anything. I'm not sure how long it stays 'fresh' but I keep it in the fridge, sealed, and it typically doesn't last to long. It's probably not 100% as good as real fresh garlic, but I can't taste the difference and the convenience is worth it. The microplane does a really good job turning the garlic into a mush. You can see plenty of liquid/oil escaping and are left with a mushy sticky substance just like when you press it. Again, it might not be exactly the same as fresh, pressed garlic, but I can't tell the difference.
  22. I used to hate prepping garlic. Peeling, crushing, washing the crusher (Oxo, which was hard to get fully clean). Now I buy a container of pre-peeled garlic from whole foods or sunflower market and use a microplane grater. Garlic is now the easiest part of prpeping a meal. It takes no time at all, clean up is a snap. I hope I never have to go back to my old method.
  23. I just made the mac 'n cheese and have to say it's as good as everyone else said. I also had the problem of it not being able to shred well after a sit in the fridge (even over night) but that wasn't really a problem, I just put it in there as a lump and it still broke down just fine. Has anyone tried with different kinds of cheeses? I'd assume it would work using those same ratios regardless of what cheese was used, allowing for some further customization. Also, does anyone know the purpose of the wheat beer? Is it something to assist in the process? I want to try and make a gluten free version.
  24. I did some fun stuff this weekend. The group I work out with has drink club every other week where after our workout we sit in the sun and enjoy a cold beverage and some snacks. I thought that would be a good opportunity to try some fruit experiments. The most successful, by far, was pineapple. The MC book suggests using it with coconut water or rum. I decided to try it with coconut rum (90 proof). The first batch I did just rum and the coconut flavor was so strong you almost couldn't taste the pineapple. The next batch I did with a 50/50 mixture of the coconut rum and pineapple vodka. That was perfect. These were so good. I did another 3 pineapples that night for a friends birthday party. The flavor of these is really well balanced and you don't really taste the alcohol. I put them in a single layer after cutting it into fairly large chunks, poured in the liquids then sealed. It took about 25 seconds on the VP112 until the liquid started boiling. At that point the pressure wouldn't drop any more. I figure that a lot of the alcohol is boiling out, and since I wanted these to be as strong as possible my goal was to get it to seal as soon as that started happening. After that I set them in the fridge over night. I also did some baby watermelon with watermelon vodka, which was good, but the alcohol flavor was a little strong for my taste (vs in the pineapple you almost couldn't taste it). These were pretty strong and you'd certainly feel them if you ate enough. Here's a shot of that, the compressed is on the top (obviously). You can see how the watermelon didn't really have much red color before it was compressed (it also wasn't that flavorful at that point) Finally I did some watermelon with green tea as specified in the MC book. These were also very very good. I brewed some tea using a bag then went through the standard process. The tea seems to add just a slight sweetness and bitterness to the fruit, which really enhances it. I want to get the green tea flavor just slightly more prominent, so might look into maybe getting some powder and sprinkling the watermelon with that as well. It was just a tad too subtle. It's weird how some flavors came through really strong (i.e. coconut and also tequila which I tried with a few pieces) and others didn't (green tea). I can't wait till these fruits come into the peak of their season. Even with very mediocre watermelon it was very tasty. It's a perfect option for a summer bbq. I also want to try a few more things. I think kiwi's would work well but can't decide what to pair with them. I think making a margarita flavor (tequila & cointreau) and infusing them into lime slices could be fun.
  25. I got these VacMaster bags from Amazon and haven't gotten them to work at all with the VP112. They seem to seal but there is always a good amount of air that makes it back into the bag when it does. The bags that came with the machine work fine, so I know it's not the machine. The bags have a little added piece on the inside that is used to filter air out (i'm assuming for the clamp style options) and I think what is going on is that part isn't fully sealing, so it's letting air back in after the seal is set. So the seal seems to be complete but isn't actually. I used a 5 second seal time. Has anyone used these bags or does anyone know where I can get a good set of bags like the variety pack that came with the machine (which IMO is perfect)?
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