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Everything posted by Chad

  1. Chad

    Re-Smoking Bacon

    My hypothesis throughout this endeavor was: a cold-smoked yet boring bacon could be rescued by a second -- hot -- smoking sliced bacon would require a significantly shorter smoking time than a whole belly even if I screwed up completely, I'd still have a rack of grilled bacon, which would be pretty damn tasty no matter what Each facet of my hypothesis proved out. The bacon took to the second smoking quite nicely. After the first hour I could easily have refrozen the bacon to be used later. I crisped a bit of bacon over the fire with my tongs as a quick test and it was significantly better/more smokey than it had been prior to going on the smoker/grill. I ended up finishing the bacon on the grill only because the oven was already in use. I kept the smoker temperature about what I would for a pork shoulder -- 200f ambient temp above the meat -- for about an hour, which seemed to work nicely. At that point the bacon itself was in the 130-140f range, so I opened the vents to cook the bacon rather than smoke it. At the end, I removed the heat brake and place the smoking rack right on the grill grate for about 10 minutes (5 per side) to finish the bacon. It ended up a little darker and crisper than I intended, but damn tasty nonetheless. The next part of the experiment will be to see if I can re-cure the bacon. This is a bit more iffy as the bacon has ostensibly already been cold smoked. But I think if I pack it in salt & curing spices for a week or so, it will be a tremendous improvement over what I have now. Chad edit: spellig
  2. Chad

    Re-Smoking Bacon

    No photos yet. The family was getting out the rope and torches, so I decided that plating was the better part of valor. In short, it worked. Damn well, too. The undersmoked bacon took to the second, hot, smoking extremely well. The jowls in particular were smokey, smokey, smokey. I think starting the bacon cold in cool smoke -- 200f air temp above the surface -- and having a big heat brake helped a lot. I don't recall where, but I do remember reading that meat only takes smoke up to the 140 degree (surface temp) point, so keeping the smoke cool for the first hour worked nicely. When we got closer to dinner, I took out the roasting pan of water (the heat brake) and placed the rack directly over the coals to finish the bacon. It crisped up nicely, though the dripping fat did cause some minor flareups. The sandwiches were pretty amazing, though I don't think I'd bake fresh buns for them again. I used Peter Reinhart's pain anciene recipe, more or less, but the spicy jerk chicken, the smoked bacon and the homemade aioli overpowered the flavors of the bread to the point that a painstaking lean-dough bread was really a waste of time. A fun waste of time, yes, but kind of pointless nonetheless. Perhaps a tangy sourdough or asiago bread would have stood up a little better. Next step: seeing if I can re-cure and re-smoke the several pounds of bacon and jowls I have left. That should be interesting. Chad edit: jowls NOT jowels. Argh.
  3. Chad

    Re-Smoking Bacon

    Here's an interesting little science experiment. I have a freezer full of pig. Really. At one of my son's baseball games this summer one of the moms leaned over and said, "Hey, Chad, you wanna buy a pig?" I said "Sure!" After all, how often do you get asked that question? As it turns out, her boys raise pigs for the 4H competition at the state fair every year. They sell the pigs and have them processed. So I bought a pig. Actually half a pig -- but it did take a blue ribbon. Anyway, I got a great pork shoulder, some gigantic, Flintstone sized pork chops, lots o' ribs, about 20 pounds of various sausages and lots and lots of bacon. Yay! Everything else has been chock full of porcine goodness, but the bacon is just plain boring. I don't think they cured it long enough or smoked it long enough. It tastes like pork, but not like bacon. Major bummer. However, on the Cooking from Charcuterie thread someone mentioned that Ruhlman & Polcyn recommend hot smoking bacon and that you can hot smoke it after it has been cold smoked. Ding! The little light goes on. Maybe I could resmoke my bacon. Worth a try, anyway. So I had a free afternoon, some applewood chips and a willingness to experiment. I figure that even if everything goes wrong, I have a rack of grilled bacon and that can't be bad. At the moment I have a pound of bacon and about half a pound of cured jowl on a roasting rack in my Weber. There's a big roasting pan of water underneath to act as a heat brake and a handful of hot coals and soaked applewood chips smoking away. I think I'm going to let it go until the bacon is actually cooked. I kept the temperature about 200 degrees for the first hour, now I've opened the vents and plan on letting it go for another 45 minutes to an hour. Anyone ever tried this? Oh, the bacon is going on what I hope to be my finest sandwich creation -- grilled pseudo-jerk chicken, applewood smoked bacon, homemade aioli, arugula and cherry tomatoes on freshly baked french rolls. Should be interesting. I'll keep you posted. Chad
  4. Interesting quotes from Bob Tuschman, Food Network's senior vice president for daytime shows in an article for the LA Times by Corie Brown: Food Network is about food as entertainment, not food as education, culture or passion. Quoted in the same article, Brooke Bailey Johnson, Food Network's president says, "Food is pleasant, and it's made by pleasant people." It is not lowest common denominator programming, it is least objectionable programming. The original article is much longer and compares/contrasts PBS food programming with Food Network. The LA Times has it archived, but you can read the wire service version HERE. Chad
  5. Yup, I had exactly the same problem. I tossed it and went back to the paring knife I've thinned to a razor's edge. It works much better. Chad
  6. Doh. Answered my own question. Longbranch Thread. Looks like a hell of a place and is getting the recognition it deserves. Chad
  7. Brooks, there's a nice writeup of the Allison Vines-Rushing and Slade Rushing at the Longbranch in Abita Springs in this month's Bon Appetit. Have you stopped in lately? Chad
  8. If you don't mind mail order, the Drizzlers from Chef Revival are pretty cool. The 4-pack has 2 2oz and 2 4oz fine tip squeeze bottles. Chad
  9. Yup, definitely take some non-fiction and journalism classes. A good writer is a good writer, no matter what the subject. Knowing narrative arc, building tension and the gentle tug and release of good fiction applies to non-fiction as well. BUT, you also need to be a good reporter, researcher, analyst and synthesizer of knowledge. A lot of that comes from journalism classwork and fieldwork. By the way, eGullet has its own class on How to Be A Better Food Writer with David Leite. Definitely worth a thorough read. Chad
  10. Dinner tonight was beef tenderloin marinated in olive oil, espelette pepper (hot Spanish pimenton would have been better), cumin and minced garlic and then grilled to medium rare. This was sliced thin and served over mixed baby greens and romaine hearts with goat cheese, rehydrated sun dried tomatoes and basil/garlic vinaigrette. Served with asiago rolls. Near the end of the meal I loaded the remains of my plate onto the last asiago roll and made a small sandwich. Holy mother of god it was good. Possibly the best sandwich I've ever made. Everything can be prepped ahead, so I can see this being a truly wonderful picnic or takeaway sandwich. In fact, the very similar grilled chicken paninis I make with the same basil/garlic vinaigrette are even better the second day as the vinaigrette permeates the bread. Take care, Chad
  11. And one of the coolest Sara Moulton threads ever: Sara Moulton - Super Fly: Beastie Boys Big Fans of Sara Moulton. Chad
  12. Here's a link to the item on accessatlanta.com (free registration required). Discuss. Can PBS actually "draw more people"? Or does she mean it's accessible to more people? How does this bode for Sara - well or ill? ← As surprising as it sounds, PBS has a significantly larger audience than Food Network. “Food Shows are Making Chefs into Stars” Corie Brown, Los Angeles Times, July 28, 2004And better news for Sara, from what I found during some research recently, PBS celebrity chefs outdo Food Network chefs in cookbook sales. PBS barbecue guru Steve Raichlin, for example, has sold 2.5 million books to date, easily whipping Bobby Flay's similar offerings. I guess PBS folks read more. Chad edited to change Sarah to Sara -- sorry 'bout that. My daughter's name is Sarah, so I automatically add the "h" on the end.
  13. Dunno about any service in Charlotte, but if you don't mind sending your knives out just a little farther, I can wholeheartely recommend D&R Sharpening Services in Pennsylvania or Bob Kramer in Washington state. Both are excellent. Dave Martell and his wife Robin are D&R Sharpening. They have a mobile service that handles a good portion of Philadelphia's restaurant and hair salon trade. They do excellent work at reasonable prices. They have only recently added Internet ordering/service, but the quality of their work is truly exemplary. You should see the reports from some seriously picky knife nuts/collectors. I have a custom Usuba that is just being a pain in the ass that I plan on sending him for a cleanup. Bob Kramer is another source for pro level sharpening. His knives set the standard for every other custom kitchen knife on the market today. And, you know what? He's a nice guy. Take a look at his site. He has no reason to keep sharpening other people's knives, but he still does -- and to a level that will terrify the average user. Before you send those knives off, though, take a look at the eGullet Knife Sharpening & Maintenance tutorial. You should be able to sharpen your knives yourself, but if you don't feel comfortable, this will at least give you a bettter idea what to ask for. Take care, Chad edit: spellig
  14. Apparently, the Beastie Boys reference to Sara is a shout out to her Baked Alaska. Chad
  15. Yeah, who knew Sara was so Fly? (dear God, I feel so white, old and self-conscious even typing that ) Chad
  16. This could be a lot of fun. I envision a series of challenges like this. Remember the scene from "Apollo 13" where the engineers were given a fixed number of items that could be found aboard the disabled spacecraft and ordered to figure out how to fix the module with only those items? Like that, only with food. Kind of like the "market basket" challenges in cooking schools. A poster lists a set of ingredients/items they have on hand and we have to figure out what to make from them. Basics like salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil assumed. Allez cuisine. Chad
  17. A little digging reveals that Sara's husband is Bill Adler, a record company exec, gallery owner and hip-hop pioneer. He's also the author of Tougher Than Leather: The Rise of Run DMC. Weird, no? But it certainly makes the Beastie Boys/Sara Moulton connection a little clearer. For a very cool shot of Sara Moulton and rap legend Fab 5 Freddy, click here and scroll down. Chad
  18. Here are a couple of suggestiosn for SC dining, from Charleston on up the coast. Charleston Restaurant Suggestions Low Country Oyster Festival Those are but warmup to this pretty comprehensive view of Charleston dining. Best Restaurants in Charleston If you are driving, about an hour north of Charleston you'll hit Pawley's/Litchfield and one of the best restaurants on the coast. Louis's at Pawleys' That should get you started. Chad
  19. Dang, this is getting confusing. There are two threads running concurrently that discuss the same thing. While we try to sort out which posts (if any) need to be moved into the Bruni, Babbo & NYT Reviewing System thread, I'm going to lock this one to further comment. That way we only have one thread to keep up with. Thanks for understanding. Chad
  20. Ahem. Kids, play nice. Just a gentle reminder that we really need to keep this food and restaurant related. Socio-economic factors and statistical data -- hell, even completely unfounded opinions -- are all welcome as long as we stick to the topic at hand, Grimes' article. We're drifting pretty far afield at the moment. Chad
  21. How have you managed to not beat him to death with a champagne bottle? I think there are laws against it. In New Orleans? I suspect you'd have gotten a crowd of people happy to help! Kind of goes with the "He needed killin'" rule. Chad
  22. Meal Report on Louis's now online! Chad
  23. Yep, you can get a good meal in Charleston. You can even get a damn good meal in Charleston. There are some restaurants serving truly fine food. What I object to is the general attitute (not yours, it's a SC self-esteem problem that has spread) that there is no worthwhile food in South Carolina unless you're dining in Charleston. That's like telling a first-time visitor to the United States that there's nothing worth seeing on their visit unless they go to Disney World. I've eaten at the Charleston Grill. It was damn good. As was my meal at 82 Queen and a couple of other places. The experience and atmosphere are a big part of the package, no doubt. But the meals were no better than I've had at plenty of other restaurants. Ah, heck. I'm probably being too hard on the place. Chalk it up to a distinct aversion to being packed elbow to elbow with pasty people in plaid Bermuda shorts. Holy Crap, what a horror story. I'd be pissed, too. I can tell you, however, that the meal I had last week at Louis's ranks among the best I've ever eaten. And the service was exemplary. Attentive without hovering, extremely knowledgeable and gracious in the extreme -- even when accommodating some pretty weird questions and requests. Full meal report in a new post sometime today. Take care, Chad
  24. I tread cautiously when I say anything even tentatively critical of Soby's, because it does typically serve an excellent meal, has become a deserved Greenville icon, and the Sobocinskis are such gracious contributors to the community. The issue is consistency. I have eaten there enough to know that sometimes the food is outrageously good and other times just mediocre. Likewise, sometimes the portions are magnanimously generous, while other times they have left us with, "Now, where do you want to go for dinner?" Fortunately, the flubs are relatively few and will not stand in the way of return visits. Hasn't changed much since I left, then. I enjoyed Soby's food. Not world class by any stretch of the imagination, but pretty dang good. And it was a thrill to see someone trying to stretch out a little in Greenville. But they had consistency problems from the beginning. I haven't eaten there in about six years, so it's a disappointment to hear that it's still happening. Wow, as I've mentioned, it's been a while since I've been back, but Bergamo was spectacular the couple of times I ate there. Of course I wasn't as experienced with high-end dining as I am now. Not that I'm any grand sophisticate, but I've at least had more opportunity to sample great food over the last several years and have a better baseline for comparison. Either they've gone downhill or I'm a rube. Probably both! My parents still live in Greenville. I'll have to see if they've eaten there. Sounds great. Take care, Chad
  25. You might want to check out this thread on homemade mayo. Oh, and Jack Lang's Non Stock Based Sauces in the eGCI. Jack (Jackal10) is pretty amazing. If this doesn't answer your questions, well, it's beyond the ken of modern science. I'd suspect that if properly stored, your mayonaise will last considerably longer than a week. Alton's lawyers probably made him say that. Chad
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