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Chris Amirault

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 1)

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Has anyone tried the "Beer Can Chicken"?

I don't have the book, but this recipe was mentioned in Michael Ruhlman's NYT review. What caught my eye was the temperature. Said "175". I asked some other member about this, and indeed, it's 175 F. Very interesting. Essentially, 175 for a couple of hours, then up really high to brown the skin.

I don't have all the exact details, but it would be interesting to see what experiences other may have. I'm sure I could get enough details here to try it myself without having an actual copy of the book set.

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I'm afraid to try the beer can chicken - at least with my oven. I assume the temperature fluctuations in my conventional natural gas oven are pretty big as a proportion of 175F - if it's swinging +-25 (or more) degrees, that's pretty bad. Looks like an interesting recipe, though. I always thought of beer can chicken as a technique that was designed to provide moisture to the bird in a relatively hot oven (like a grill or 450 degree oven), not in a low oven. Go figure...

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Well, this is definitely a different sort of "beer can chicken"---step four is "Empty the beer can." They leave it up to you how precisely to accomplish this process, fortunately. In this version of BCC, the can is there to prop open the cavity, and hold the chicken upright (which prevents soggy skin by allowing the juices to escape at the bottom of the bird, I gather). I don't think it has any liquid in it at all.

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Well, this is definitely a different sort of "beer can chicken"---step four is "Empty the beer can." They leave it up to you how precisely to accomplish this process, fortunately.

See? And people say this book is prescriptive to the point of soullessness!

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Nope. Bubbles are too fine: moving on to plan C... The recipe actually makes a bit more liquid than you need, so I have 170 extra grams, I'm going to try again with that.

I'm a bit late to the conversation :) But another possibility you could have tried is vibration - never tried it for removing air bubbles from food - but it definitely works for concrete, composites, oil industry applications - not sure how small of bubbles and what viscosity of fluid it would work in though, nor the intensity of vibration you would need - a quick google search suggests vibration for removing air bubbles from chocolate

Tom M.

LetterRip

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I'm afraid to try the beer can chicken - at least with my oven. I assume the temperature fluctuations in my conventional natural gas oven are pretty big as a proportion of 175F - if it's swinging +-25 (or more) degrees, that's pretty bad. Looks like an interesting recipe, though. I always thought of beer can chicken as a technique that was designed to provide moisture to the bird in a relatively hot oven (like a grill or 450 degree oven), not in a low oven. Go figure...

Our preferred approach to chicken is to cook it even lower, in a 145F oven (ideally a combi oven, but it really does not depend on being a combi).

You are right to worry about whether your oven will be accurate. Many ovens (home and commercial) are not terribly accurate at any setting, but are particularly bad below 300F. However, a bit of variation is OK as long as it fluctuates around the correct value. If you check the tempertaure over time you can tell, but it is a bit laborious.

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The problem with making something that requires brining for a long period is that you announce that you're making it and nothing happens...

As announced well over a week ago, I've been making the pastrami recipe from Modernist Cuisine.

Well it's been brined (I left it for 9 days in total) and has today been smoked in my Weber barbeque kettle (at or around the dictated temperature, always above 60C so it has never been in the danger zone for growing beasties).

Later tonight, I'm going to put it back into the boiled and strained brine and finish it off sous vide. As I've used a different cut from that recommended, it will not need three days of cooking so I'll report back in the next few days as to how it turned out.

Here is the picture of the newly smoked piece of meat with its pastrami spice rub in place.

pastrami smoked.jpg


Edited by nickrey (log)

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I thought that cooking the meat in liquid would remove the outer surface. This didn't happen at all. This is a picture of the meat after 12 hours of sous vide cooking:

cooked pastrami.jpg

And cut:

pastrami cut.jpg

The cut that I used was a topside, which was not as heavily marbled as the cheeks that the Modernist Cuisine authors used. The meat appears a bit dry in the photo but it is not in real life. It is also absolutely delicious.

Next time I'll try the cheeks or another cut with more marbling.

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Nick, that's the "topside," or the back part of round? And the lack of marbling didn't affect the outcome? That's just awesome if so.

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Chris beat me to the awesomeness part. But rather than what we'd call top round, I think that's a rump roast. Either way, a great use of a cheap(ish) cut.

ETA: there's another great use of a "lesser" cut by FoodMan over here.


Edited by Dave the Cook (log)

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In US cuts it would approximate the piece of the round near the tail.

Had it in a Reuben for lunch. Out of this world.

Chris, I adjusted the cooking time to 12 hours at 55c to account for the composition of the meat.


Edited by nickrey (log)

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We make the pastrami out of many different cuts. Short ribs is probably our favorite.

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I have a couple of questions about the Beet Juice-Fed Oysters (3·206). The juice is passed through a 500-micron sieve. The Cooking Issues guys say to keep the particals smaller than 10 microns. I have a 100-micron Superbag and a Vita-Mix. I'm hoping to avoid choking the oysters. :rolleyes: Is my Vita-Mix + 100-micron bag going to work for this? I don't have a homogenizer.

Neither the MC book nor the Cooking Issues blog specify what type of aquarium salt to use. I found a shop that stocks supplies for salt-water aquariums. I picked up some of the Tropic Marin brand salt. It's supposedly "pharmaceutical grade" and contains a lot of the trace elements found in seawater. Some of the ingredients are a bit scary, but if they're in natural seawater I guess they're in the seafood as well...

I believe that this is the first time I've shopped for a recipe ingredient in a pet store.

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We make the pastrami out of many different cuts. Short ribs is probably our favorite.

Nathan,

How are the short ribs butchered for pastrami?

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We usually leave the short ribs on the bone, but you can also do if you remove the bone.

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Let's talk corned beef sous vide for a bit. Not the preparation from original brisket, but using a store pruchase one. I would like to use a pre-done Chicago classic corned beef packaged by Vienna. Their traditional instructions are:

"Remove from bag. Place corned beef and spices in a large pot. Add water to cover. Cover pot and

place on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, skim foam off top,

reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until desired tenderness.

Corned beef is tender when easily pierced with a fork. Slice against the grain and serve with boiled

potatoes and cabbage, if desired."

Ny riff might be 24 hours at 140F. What time and temp might everyone else consider? What are your cabbage thoughts as well?

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Let's talk corned beef sous vide for a bit. Not the preparation from original brisket, but using a store pruchase one. I would like to use a pre-done Chicago classic corned beef packaged by Vienna. Their traditional instructions are:

"Remove from bag. Place corned beef and spices in a large pot. Add water to cover. Cover pot and

place on medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, skim foam off top,

reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 - 3 hours or until desired tenderness.

Corned beef is tender when easily pierced with a fork. Slice against the grain and serve with boiled

potatoes and cabbage, if desired."

Ny riff might be 24 hours at 140F. What time and temp might everyone else consider? What are your cabbage thoughts as well?

I picked up a nice one from Wegmans - split it in half and Anna and I each sous vide'd half. Following Patris's instructions Anna cooked her half for 16 hours at 175F. I was having trouble remembering how to set my SVM so I cooked my half for about 12 hours at 158 then once I figured out how to adjust the setting let it go at 175F for about another 6 hours.

Mine was just perfect! Perfectly moist and tender.

Didn't have any cabbage thoughts myself - picked up a nice fresh loaf of light rye.

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Does MC include an enhanced method to make glace, demi and reduced stocks? I mean, usually these preparations include browning a bunch of bones and vegetables in the broiling. Does MC provide an alternative to this? I was thinking that perhaps they've tried blowtorching like they did with the sv + blowtorch as an alternative for grilling steaks.

On a more broad note, it would be interesenting to renew the Guide Culinaire or Mastering the Art of French Cooking applying MC's approaches to their recipes.

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Another first for Modernist C has occurred to me. At this price it could be the first book to show up in a pawn shop. Perhaps a Vegas chef, down on his luck...

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So tonight I made the cheese, and it appears to have turned out just fine.

And last night I made the modernist mac & cheese as a side for a Sunday comfort-food dinner: southwest meatloaf, mac & cheese, and sous-vide carrots (with my new SVP kitchen-toy).

The mac & cheese was great. Wife's first comment was "you can really taste real cheese". My 7YO daughter, who is going through a contrarian phase, said "maybe too cheesy!" although she was scraping her plate to get the rest of the cheese sauce.

I think this went over well, and the kids are deciding on the next project.

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Has anyone else tried the bacon and eggs in a combi oven technique? The bacon is perfect. The eggs taste great, but I had a problem with some of the yolks getting blown off the center of the whites. I'm using a Rational oven, with their multi baker pan. Any guesses if you'd get a better result if you removed a little white at the center, to give the yolk something to hang on to?

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Has anyone else tried the bacon and eggs in a combi oven technique? The bacon is perfect. The eggs taste great, but I had a problem with some of the yolks getting blown off the center of the whites. I'm using a Rational oven, with their multi baker pan. Any guesses if you'd get a better result if you removed a little white at the center, to give the yolk something to hang on to?

Put the fan on half speed and your yolks won't get blown away...

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I just made a batch of the South Carolina-style BBQ sauce: it's excellent. Of course, I've never met a mustard-based BBQ sauce I didn't like. This one comes out less vinegary than my mainstay recipe, though obviously the recipe suggests using vinegar to season to taste, so that's easy to change if desired. I recommend giving this a try if you are a BBQ fan, it's very good on pulled pork.

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Nathan -

I am puzzled by one of the brine recipes on p. 3.168. Generally, the salt content is 1% of the brine (for scaling 1), but the basic pink brine has a salt content of 10%. Why is that brine so much higher?

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