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Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 3)


snowangel
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Cool, Dave! Just be sure you talk to him about a place to prepare and cure your meats. Unless you live in someplace really lax, you won't be allowed to prepare food at home for service in a restaurant.

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Cool, Dave!  Just be sure you talk to him about a place to prepare and cure your meats.  Unless you live in someplace really lax, you won't be allowed to prepare food at home for service in a restaurant.

Point noted. But, I'm in South Carolina...people run entire eating establishments out of their house in these parts. I'll explore that point with the chef though. Thanks for the heads up.

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I've thought of doing this for shops and restaurants. The requirements are insane. Basically everything the meat touches has to be stainless steel, and properly inspected. Basically you need a commericial kitchen.

Good luck Dave. I've had a few people sample my stuff, and all have been interested. I'm sure your friend will be too!

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I'm working on a couple of projects which I'm planning to serve this weekend. The first is a Duck and Cured Ham Pate from Tapas by Penelope Casas, which I've made a few times in the past. However, this time I decided to apply the method conveyed in Charcuterie to it and I'm thrilled with the results. The assembly and cooking are described in much greater detail in Charcuterie and because of that, I was able to take a lot of guesswork out of the process and, I think, improve the final product (keeping in mind that what is shown below is actually the 'little buddy' terrine I made with the extra pate filling I had and some bacon I'd made a few weeks ago, which I had sliced pretty thick). . .

gallery_3085_3359_147895.jpg

Casas' Duck and Cured Ham Pate a la Ruhlman and Polcyn. Instead of cooking at 350 F for 2 hours, I cooked it for 90 minutes at 300 F. The results are noticeably superior.

gallery_3085_3359_79288.jpg

You can see the chunks of prosciutto in the pate and some pistachios which I added because, well, I had them on hand. The bacon here is a little thick but again, I was using a vacuum-sealed package I already had on-hand. I think the proportions on the actual terrine will be just about perfect. Since it is deeper, the prosciutto chunk-size will make more sense and I sliced the bacon for its exterior 'to order' on my slicer, so it'll be a bit thinner.

I'm also in the final stages of making my first Pastrami. For this I used an 11-pound Wagyu brisket, which my butcher ordered for me . . .

gallery_3085_3358_284885.jpg

Cured whole Wagyu brisket which was smoked to an internal temp of 150 F over hickory wood (took about 6 hours at 215 F).

A few pieces 'fell off' during the smoking and they tasted fantastic. The brisket is now steaming/braising gently in the oven. I hope to post some internal pics by later tonight or tomorrow at the latest.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Holy jumping catfish, ronnie, that brisket is supurb. I won't trade away my firstborn but anything else is negotiable.

You can have my firstborn! Just gimmie some of that brisket, ronnie! He was a good kid, but he's no brisket.

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I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal. I cannot believe I made this from scratch. It's just sensational. Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.

Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

gallery_3085_3358_42297.jpg

After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.

gallery_3085_3358_166390.jpg

You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat. I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that. It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out. And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking. As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book. Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away. And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ron, your pastrami makes me weak at the knees. Positively wobbly. Over here you talk about your corned beef and pastrami sandwich at Shapiro's in Indiana. Yours looks better. Comments?

BTW, tomorrow's my birthday, and you could get a belated dry-ice packed Fed Ex package out tomorrow...PM me for my address.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal.  I cannot believe I made this from scratch.  It's just sensational.  Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.

Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

gallery_3085_3358_42297.jpg

After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.

gallery_3085_3358_166390.jpg

You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat.  I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that.  It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out.  And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking.  As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book.  Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away.  And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

Looks real good Ron, why don't we have a drooling smiley! :rolleyes:

"Don't be shy, just give it a try!"

Nungkysman: Food for the Body and the Soul.

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Ron, your pastrami makes me weak at the knees.  Positively wobbly.  Over here you talk about your corned beef and pastrami sandwich at Shapiro's in Indiana.  Yours looks better.  Comments?

BTW, tomorrow's my birthday, and you could get a belated dry-ice packed Fed Ex package out tomorrow...PM me for my address.

I think "mine" (I hesitate to call it "mine" because all I did was follow Michael and Brian's recipe) was better. Of course, it had just come out of the oven, had perfumed my entire house with pastrami essence and had my mouth watering for hours before I finally got to sample it. And, I was much more familiar with the crabby person who served me (that being me), than I was with the crabby person who served me at Shapiro's! :biggrin:

BTW, happy birthday, Susan! I'm sorry I can't overnight you any pastrami (this time around) but I am planning on bringing a good portion of it here, so at least a few other eGS members will get to sample it.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Ronniw, great looking food. Absolutly stunning pate as well. IT is amazing what one can do when he or she knows the basics. In this case making an ok pate much much better. I mean it looks perfect, French-bistro-in-Paris-picture-perfect. I have to admit, I've had this Tapas book for almost two years and never cooked anything from it. This might nudge me to give something a try.

I really have to make some pastrami after seeing those pictures. Again, just perfect. I'll make some onion rye and serve it as is....(Homer Simpson: drooooolllll)

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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So,

I've really enjoyed reading parts of this thread, and there are a lot of great tips in here....but man, 57 pages and counting? It's getting a bit hard to suss out the knowledge, especially for the beginner stuff (i.e. the trials an tribulations of Pancetta).

Has anybody thought of putting together a Carcuterie FAQ? Is there a way to print out the entire thread, or get it into a format to be, er, sliced and diced into categories?

sander

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. . . I have to admit, I've had this Tapas book for almost two years and never cooked anything from it. This might nudge me to give something a try.

Elie, without taking this thread too far OT, I cannot recommend the Tapas book highly enough. It's a great cookbook and Casas definitely knows her stuff. The recipes -- I've made about a dozen of them -- are fantastic. There are times when I wish for a bit more detail about the methodology but that's the book's only shortcoming, if any. And even then, for a semi-experienced hack cook like myself, there has always been enough info to get the recipes completed successfully. It's just that I tend to benefit from the additional hand-holding that single-subject cookbooks like Charcuterie provide.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Oh my goddess, Ron, those take the cake. That pate is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Is that bacon actually cooked?

I'm guessing that you're right about the Wagyu-ness. I've had the pastrami from the book done with regular beef (by a guest, so I don't know exactly what meat was used) and although the flavor was excellent, it was chewier than I'd like to see it. Your's looks meltingly tender. COme to think of it, I don't think she did the braiseing part, in my recollection we ate it almost straight off the smoker. That too might account for the texture.

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Oh my goddess, Ron, those take the cake.  That pate is jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Is that bacon actually cooked?

Yes, because of the water bath cooking method, it doesn't brown at all but it is cooked (plus I'd smoked it to 150 F before I sliced it up). The little buddy is a bit salty because of the thick-sliced bacon and the smaller amout of filling. My hope is that the full-sized terrine, which I lined with very thinly-sliced bacon, should mitigate that.

I have been receiving great feedback on the pastrami from the folks with whom I have shared it. Again, I can't believe how well it turned out and frankly, I still do not understand how this book did not win the James Beard Award for single-subject cookbook. When you can turn out food like this on first attempts, it says more about the cookbook than anything else. They was robbed! :shock:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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When i made pastrami (not from the book), we ate it right from the smoker. Flavor was outstanding, but not too tender....will try steaming next time.

Ron's fantastic pastrami made me pull out the last small bit I had saved to have for lunch.

Yes, you definitely want to steam it after smoking. I tried a small piece right out of the smoker and it was, well....chewy. After slowly steaming for quite some time it was incredibly tender.

Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

Bones by Jennifer McLagan won the category. I read it from cover to cover, then left it in the bookstore. Not only was it not in the same league as Charcuterie, it was barely useful. I'm astounded that such a faux cookbook could win any award.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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When i made pastrami (not from the book), we ate it right from the smoker. Flavor was outstanding, but not too tender....will try steaming next time.

Ron's fantastic pastrami made me pull out the last small bit I had saved to have for lunch.

Yes, you definitely want to steam it after smoking. I tried a small piece right out of the smoker and it was, well....chewy. After slowly steaming for quite some time it was incredibly tender.

I also felt that a slight hint of initial over-saltiness was also remedied via the braise. I wanted to brine the brisket long enough so that it would be cured through in the thickest section. This resulted in the thinner sections being a wee bit salty after the smoking step. So, the braising step actually contributed positively to the quality of the final product in more than one way.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

Bones by Jennifer McLagan won the category. I read it from cover to cover, then left it in the bookstore. Not only was it not in the same league as Charcuterie, it was barely useful. I'm astounded that such a faux cookbook could win any award.

=R=

Is that what the TV show BONES based on?....just kidding, now back to Charcuterie.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Ronnie, after how many god damned years, haven't you read the Member Agreement? What the hell does it say about posting pornographic material on eG Forums? Shame on you!

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I followed Brian Polcyn's recipe from his Charcuterie book. A supplier of mine butchered a Wentworth pig back in the winter. The leg weighed in at 20 ish pounds but that included the femur. We salted the thing down and pressed it by filling a hotel pan with 30 pounds of (cleaned & wrapped) bricks and using that as weight. Every 4 or 5 days we rubbed it down with fresh salt as well as a little cayenne and sugar. It dropped plenty of water. After 35 days we removed the old salt, applied fresh salt (always kosher) and black pepper, rubbed it down with lard then covered in cheese cloth and hung it. The leg was hung on March 1 and yesterday (August 1) we cut into it. It probably has not dropped any water for 2 months so I thought it was good to go. The flavor is great but it is not as dry as I had hoped and the inside, especially around the hip joint was too pink and had the look of raw meat. Of course we won't be eating that part uncooked.....

Any comments as to what I may have done wrong. I think I could have pressed it longer but how do I tell when it's ready to hang?

Next time I will definitely remove the femur bone as well.

It is pretty damn good though. Anyone gonna get over here?

John Malik

Chef/Owner

33 Liberty Restaurant

Greenville, SC

www.33liberty.com

Customer at the carving station: "Pardon me but is that roast beef rare?"

Apprentice Cook Malik: "No sir! There's plenty more in the kitchen!"

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