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KennethT

Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 3)

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[Moderator note: The original Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Cooking with "Modernist Cuisine" (Part 2)]

I'm actually making the mustard again, and draining the vinegar left it a bit thick in my opinion (it was like thick cement), so I wound up thinning it with a bit of champagne vinegar. I also felt that it needed more salt. Like Larry, I"ll know more by the weekend, after it's had a chance to age more.


Edited by Mjx Moderator note added. (log)

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I've been busy, but am trying to work from the book when possible. I made the duck leg confit with pommes sarladaises (3-178; 6-105), my most recent blog post. I also made the gummies (4-147; 6-267) although I didn't have worm molds, so I made owls.

The confit was great. I followed the directions pretty much exactly, but like Chris Hennes, I didn't add any extra fat to the bags.

06022011%252520duck%252520confit%252520011%252520edit.jpg

The gummies had a really nice light flavor, but I don't think they turned out just right. My gummies were slightly tacky and didn't become clear like the pictures I've seen of the MC team's worms. Does anyone know what could have caused this?

06042011%252520duck%252520wine%252520gummies%252520%252528black%252520garlic%252529%252520047%252520edit.jpg

In the mean time I have the pastrami (short ribs) brining and a 4lb piece of Gloucestershire Old Spot belly in the fridge waiting for the pastrami to finish brining so I can smoke them both. Sadly, I didn't get bone in belly (they just finished pulling the bones when I got to the market), but the belly does still have the short rib meat attached so it is a much more meaty piece than most belly. The belly runs in at 4-6" thick :shock: so I gave them a few extra days to cure.


Edited by avaserfi (log)

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I had donated a pizza party (I have a wood burning pizza oven in my yard) for 8 at my house (cooked by me) to the local school system fundraiser. We had it two weekends ago and I decided to turn a couple of courses into MC inspired pizza courses.

Amuse - One Bite salad - Endive, Balsamic Chip, Olive Oil powder

MC Pizza One - Grapefruit Cured Salmon, Greens, Horseradish Cream, Everything Spiced Crust

MC Pizza Two - Roasted Cippolini Onions, Broccoli, Aged Cheddar, Aerated Scrambled Eggs (Done Tableside)

MC Pizza Three - Herbed Ricotta, Fresh Heirloon Cherry Tomatoes, MC Chili Oil

The biggest hit was definetly the Egg one. Watching the emotional rollercoaster of the guests was awesome. First they saw they beautiful colorful pizza, then I covered it in white foam with something they thought would be heavy and gross, then they tasted it and got an airly light version of a cheddar broccoli omelette.

I also served the aerated mango sorbet with homemade Limoncello at the end.

People were genuinely wowed, and we had a great time.

Mike

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I forgot to report back on the bacon, but I really do not have much to add to others' comments. It is definitly the best bacon I've made so far. Since my wife is not crazy about star anise, I might change it up and use other flavorings next time (which will be very soon and with more meat). It was my first time monitoring the wet-bulb temeprature via a thermometer with a wet paper towel wrapped aroung it's probe. That was pretty damn cool and I will be using the same process for brisket and other slow cooked meats. To maintain some form of humidity I just used a large aluminum tray and filled it with ice water every hour or so. The belly I used had no boned in it and I did not use the fermento or Sodium Erythrobate.

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I could use some quick advice about the pastrami! I don't have any way to smoke it, so my plan was to skip that step. I failed to notice the fact that you're supposed to vacuum seal it with 1kg of the reserved brine. Since I'm not letting the meat smoke/cook with the spice rub on it, I'm afraid if I bag it with the brine it'll just fall off into the liquid. Right now, I'm leaning toward cooking it for a day without brine, then opening it up, adding some brine and letting it go for 2 more.

Thoughts?

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Even if you smoke it the rub pretty much falls off in the brine as you cook it.

You could sub some liquid smoke in the cooking phase for real smoke...not sure how much though for 1 liter of brine.

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I actually added about a tsp of it to the brine already, so it's been sitting in it for a week.

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Hello again. Below you will find more answers. We hope that this helps and that you are enjoying barbecue season in the northern hemisphere!

1. jzemlin hand some curing concerns:

Work got busy and I just realized I have had my short ribs curing in the MC pastrami brine for over 5 days. Is there any issues with over curing your meat?

As [member KennethT] noted, your meat won’t become too salty if you are using the equilibrium method of brining and cure longer than the suggested time. Although there is no detriment, there is no benefit from “over-curing” your meat either.

If you were to leave your meat for too long in a brine that has a high salt concentration, it would, of course, become much too salty. Fixing that would be more complicated than it is worth.

2. While KennethT may have been able to help out jzemlin, he had a question of his own, which created quite a stir, in his own home as well as in the thread:

Whenever I cook something for a long time, it is common to get the smell of the aromatics (not just smoke) into the bath water. My bath is covered, so it doesn't get into the kitchen too much, but if I open the cover, you get a large waft of aroma. The aroma is definitely going through the bag - I've seen this happen on sealed bags, as well as ziplocks - but the bag keeps its vacuum, so the seals are fine. Unless you get special bags, most plastic bags are semi-permeable to gases... I know that many vacuum bags will actually allow oxygen to move through it (albeit slowly), and the better bags (and more expensive) have several layers, one of which being either a metal foil, or mylar, which is much less permeable. This is the same as the sample bags of Activa shipped from Ajinomoto - the bags are layers of plastic and metal foil - so you can heat seal it, but the metal foil does an excellent job of keeping out oxygen, which would degrade the enzyme during storage.

This is a common experience, one that we have faced ourselves (of course, we work in a lab, where various smells have become normal; it’s different at home). We do change out the water in our bath. Some volatile gasses are able to permeate sous vide bags. Whether this issue as a mountain or a molehill, as jmolinari put it, is a matter of personal opinion. If the odors are too bothersome, you can buy reinforced bags that are less permeable to volatile aromas, which should help. The bottom line is that the leakage is small enough that it won’t affect your product, just the smell of your house.

3. Chris Hennes noticed a difference between the picture and the end result of the hamburger glaze:

OK, I just finished making the glaze for the burger: it's beef stock, tomato confit, rendered suet (I used rendered chuck fat) and salt...

One thing I notice here is that it looks nothing at all like the glaze in the photo of the burger. The one in the photo is white: Nathan, did you guys go at it with the homogenizer, or what?

Well, Chris, you caught us. This picture was difficult for Ryan (the lead photographer) to create. So, when we changed the glaze recipe at nearly the last minute from a more mayonnais–esque recipe to the stock-tomato-suet recipe, we decided not to reshoot the photo. We may not have had such an iconic shot if we had changed it. That is our dirty little secret—or was, until now.

4. With so many of you trying out the Mac and Cheese recipe, more and more questions about it have been coming up. ermintrude asked:

If doing mac and cheese for now, why the iota carrageenan ?

The set and grate seems an extra step that while useful in a restaurant etc could be skipped at home. Could be wrong as it may change mouth feel, but when I made it with kappa carrageenan it worked fine, if doing it for immediate use can the carrageenan followed by set and grate step be skipped?

Frankly, there is no need for mac and cheese to include iota carrageenan if you are going to serve the dish right away. What the iota carrageenan adds is versatility. You can make big batches of the emulsified cheese in advance. It freezes well and will keep in the freezer for about a month, as we discussed upthread. You can thaw the emulsified cheese mixture and use it for just about anything you would use regular cheese for, such as grating over a salad, slicing onto a sandwich, or grilled cheese.

Made MC Mac-n-cheese with some 3-year gouda and sharp cheddar. Outstanding.

Any suggestions on improvising this recipe for fondue? Ski season is over but I am thinking about next year's apre ski.

This recipe produces a very delicious, easily meltable cheese. We love it for the Mac and Cheese, but that is only one way to use it. (And, jzemlin, our advice is simply to use it as you would any cheese for fondue. You will need to add more liquid and change out the beer for wine and kirsch if you want a traditional flavor profile. We have a whole section in Modernist Cuisine on the different cheese textures you can create with emulsifying salts and phosphates. See the Constructed Cheese topic on page 4•223 in the Emulsions chapter.)

5. Here’s another question from Chris Hennes:

I've made a couple dozen batches of bacon in my life, using a number of different recipes: so far, this is the best I've ever made, by a healthy margin. I followed the recipe to the letter, except that I had to have the belly cut into smaller chunks so they would fit in the Foodsaver bags. I did include both the Fermento and the Sodium Erythorbate.

The salt level and flavor balance is superb: here is a bacon that actually still tastes like pork, with the other seasonings there to complement that flavor, not cover it up. It has a nice long, tangy finish that I'm guessing is due to the Fermento (though I can't swear to it: someone who has made some without should try with and see if they can make out the difference).

My one complaint is with regard to using bone-in belly: when using a Foodsaver,that's quite the headache. MC team, what's the reason for leaving the bones in?

Cutting the meat into smaller pieces to fit in Foodsaver bags is a great solution. As for why we recommend bone-in belly, it mostly comes down to our personal preference. Boneless pork belly should work fine as well. We enjoy preparing meat on the bone because we believe it better preserves the integrity of the meat and provides a superior flavor. As we sometimes do, we also consider the aesthetic quality for presentation, and like the bone-in variety more for that aspect.

6. Borgstrom had several concerns about the Paella recipe:

I'm thinking of making the PaellaValenciana (5-239) and have been studying the recipe quite closely. I've made many Paellas Mixtas over the past 10-15 years, and have a large paellera and a 2-ring propane burner. In the warm summer months, it's not uncommon for us to keep the barbecue covered and make a big paella on a Sunday afternoon. However, after looking at the MC recipe, it's clear I'll have to learn a few more techniques and take a few weeks to source all the ingredient, plan the logistics and do the prep. But I am up for the challenge!

A few things didn't quite make sense to me in the MC recipe. Has anyone here tried it yet? If not, perhaps one of the authors could comment.

1) The pictures on 5-241 show the rice being cooked in a paellera, however the instructions say to par cook the rice in a pressure cooker. Any comments on which approach gives better results? I imagine par-cooking lets you prepare things ahead of time and have a less hectic finish, while just cooking straight through in a pallera will give you a better soccarat (though this would just be a bonus, given the tuile in the recipe).

2) The assembly on 5-240 says to reheat the sofrito, but then it doesn't seem to get used anywhere. Should this be mixed with the rice? Used as a garnish? What about the reserved sherry vinegar and cilantro stems?

3) The photos on 5-238 and 5-242 have what looks like a frenched rack of rabbit, although this isn't mentioned in the recipe. Should these be cooked the same as the loin (57C/25min)?

4) I'm surprised about the instructions to add the saffron off heat, after the rice is finished. To get good color, I usually add saffron as the rice begins cooking & there is liquid in the pan. Perhaps the saffron is more fragrant when it isn't heated or diluted?

1) You are correct on both parts. One added bonus of using the pressure cooker comes from the mouthfeel you get. In a paella or risotto dish, the desired consistency of the rice is a soft exterior and an al dente texture in the middle. When cooked in a pressure cooker, the rice has toothsome feel throughout, which while not al dente, has more of a bite to it. Try it in the pressure cooker and see whether you like the difference.

2) Thank you for pointing this out. The direction in the assembly, “Spoon rice into each bowl” should also direct the cook to season the sofrito with salt and sherry vinegar and fold in the cilantro stems, then garnish each bowl with sofrito.” We will add this to the errata page.

3) Yes, the rack of rabbit is purely aesthetic. You need not go through the trouble for this dish.

4) We have found that the best results from saffron are to treat it as delicately as possible. The color might not be as vibrant, but boiling saffron often eliminates its best qualities and can create a slightly bitter flavor. Extracting it this way will result in a more perfumed, sweeter result.

7. sigma has an issue with low-acyl gellan:

I'm finding that in using the low acyl gellan in various recipes I have had a lot of trouble with the gel clumping right after it comes to a boil. There is no doubt that the powder was dispersed well, so that isn't it. Does anybody have experience with this or other suggestions as to why it is happening?

This might depend on which recipes you have used low-acyl gellan in. If, for example, you are hydrating large quantities of gellanto put in a large amount of liquid, clumping might happen. A temperature change can also cause it to start to set. Low-acyl gellan is very sensitive to temperature; when it has just boiled, even contact with a room-temperature spoon can cause it to begin gelling. You can slow the gelling process by adding 0.05% to 0.1% calcium lactate or chloride, but you must be careful not to add so much as to inhibit gelling.

So, sigma, let us know which particular recipes have given you this problem, and we will do our best to troubleshoot your difficulties better.

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Way back up the thread, Chris Hennes asked:

So, I'm making (or should I say, "attempting to make") the "Aromatic Alsatian Mustard". Nothing Modernist-y here, it's just mustard. But I realized after blending it that I may have misunderstood the intent of the instructions, so if I could get your take on this:

1) Blanch mustard seeds

2) Combine seeds with vinegar

3) Soak for 12h

4) Combine soaked mustard seeds with other ingredients and process

In step four, do you interpret that to mean "drain mustard seeds and combine seeds only"? Or "combine seeds/vinegar mix"? I simply assumed that, given the very precise quantity of vinegar called for (none of the "to cover" stuff), and given that there is a step for combining the vinegar and mustard seed, that if they had wanted them drained they would have said so. But I'm having second thoughts: the mustard came out of the food processor pretty thin. Any advice?

We the mustard seeds should be added alone (without the soaking vinegar), which is why Chris’s finished product came out thin. Will also add this to our list of errata.

I made the mustard last night. I drained the soaking vinegar and put everything into a blendtec blender but it just pushed all the seeds to the sides and was too dry to blend anything. I had to add all the soaking vinegar back in plus a little bit of water to get it to mix properly and it's still pretty thick. After reading the quote above I just realized I forgot to blanch the mustard seeds so maybe that is part of it. Oh well, I'll see how it tastes next week.

Also checked the errata last night and didn't see anything about the mustard.

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I asked a question in a new thread about brining turkey as a result of having experiencing an off smell when I opened the container with the turkey wings and brine. I've subsequently chucked the wings just in case. I used the MC brine high-concentration method.

ChrisZ, suggested that I may have used the wrong concentration of salt/sugar for the weight of the wings. Here what he said:

"The brining ratios you mention are actually those suggested when you use water (only) as 100%. This is not equilibrium brining, so although the setup and calculations are easier doing it this way you need to include an additional rest period after brining and before cooking, for the salt to distribute evenly in the meat. I assume you're using the brining tables in volume 3, pg 168? The suggested ratios when you have meat+water as 100% are 1% salt and .4% sugar. In your example, where meat+water = 3.5kg you would need 35g salt and 14g sugar. This method is equilibrium brining- the advantage is that you can't 'over salt' the meat.

To which I responded: Hmmm - not so sure!

On Page 3:168 it says "...scaling in column 1 are relative to the combined weight of the meat and water..." ... "Quantities in the scaling 2 column are for use with the more traditional high-concentration approach...."

But on page 3:171 when describing the High-Concenration Method it says:

"1. .....Use the "scaling 2" column for quantities..."

"2. Follow steps 2 - 5 above"

Step 2 from "above" says:

"Weigh the total amount of meat plus water and use the resulting weight as the 100% for scaling....."

Is Chris' suggestion correct or is my reading of the brining instructions correct?

Cheers,

Peter.

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I asked a question in a new thread about brining turkey as a result of having experiencing an off smell when I opened the container with the turkey wings and brine. I've subsequently chucked the wings just in case. I used the MC brine high-concentration method.

ChrisZ, suggested that I may have used the wrong concentration of salt/sugar for the weight of the wings. Here what he said:

"The brining ratios you mention are actually those suggested when you use water (only) as 100%. This is not equilibrium brining, so although the setup and calculations are easier doing it this way you need to include an additional rest period after brining and before cooking, for the salt to distribute evenly in the meat. I assume you're using the brining tables in volume 3, pg 168? The suggested ratios when you have meat+water as 100% are 1% salt and .4% sugar. In your example, where meat+water = 3.5kg you would need 35g salt and 14g sugar. This method is equilibrium brining- the advantage is that you can't 'over salt' the meat.


To which I responded: Hmmm - not so sure!

On Page 3:168 it says "...scaling in column 1 are relative to the combined weight of the meat and water..." ... "Quantities in the scaling 2 column are for use with the more traditional high-concentration approach...."
But on page 3:171 when describing the High-Concenration Method it says:
"1. .....Use the "scaling 2" column for quantities..."
"2. Follow steps 2 - 5 above"
Step 2 from "above" says:
"Weigh the total amount of meat plus water and use the resulting weight as the 100% for scaling....."

Is Chris' suggestion correct or is my reading of the brining instructions correct?

Cheers,

Peter.


Hi Peter,

I think you have found another error in the book. As ChrisZ mentions in your other topic, it should probably read follow steps 3-5 above. So, the direct answer is that you followed the directions.

That being said, since you were using the high concentration method, step 6 directs you to the next page which gives you soak, rinse and rest times for various types of meat. Since turkey wings aren't listed, probably the most similar cut to get guidance from would be chicken legs, skin on, bone in. The soak time for that cut is only 7 hours, with no rinse and a 3 hour rest.

With your wings having soaked for 2 days, they would have been extremely salty without hours of rinsing. A 2 or more day brine would have been more appropriate using scaling 1. Using high concentration, timing always enters into the picture.

A rule of thumb I follow is that for equalibrium brining, I typically stay around 1 to 2 percent salt if the meat will subsequently cooked, and if it will be an aged, uncooked product salt runs more in the range of 2.75 to 3 percent with an addition of 0.25 percent cure. If dry rubbed, it's just the percentage of the meat. If brining, it's the percentage of meat plus liquid.

HTH,

Larry

ETA: I have to say it. .. I can't resist... Did they smell fowl? laugh.gif

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I made some pulled pork following the MC guidelines.

First, this was something I was looking forward to, but a little reserved about. I have a very simple pulled pork recipe that I've been doing for a while that is universally loved. I've had tons of people say it was the best pulled pork they've ever had in their life (I agree with them). I even had one person come up to me a year after a big BBQ and recognize me saying how much they remember that pork. The thing about it, is it's simple. So simple that most BBQ purists wouldn't even consider it anywhere near the realm of BBQ. A simple rub made with salt, chili powder, black pepper, oregano, thyme and cayenne. You then wrap the whole thing in foil and cook it in the oven at 350 for 6-7 hours then open it up and finish it at 425 for 20 mins or so to form a crust.

That's it. No charcoal, no smoking, no cooking outside at all. All in the oven wrapped in foil. About as anti-bbq as you can get, yet as I stated, loved by everyone.

I was curious if the MC techniques would allow me to surpass that. Most the MC BBQ techniques seem the same. Smoke for 7 hours, SV for 72. That's what I did. I used the same rub recipe, but put some yellow mustard on the shoulders to get the rub to stick (normally the foil does that job). I then smoked it with a mix of woods (mostly Bradley special blend). It looked great at that point. After that it was in to the bags to SV.

Once I pulled it out I drained/reserved the juice/grease from the bag, which I was glad I did. I then threw them in the oven to get that hard crust. I only did about 15 minutes and didn't quite get the crust I wanted (the bit of liquid that made it into the pans started smoking) but still it had some. After that I pulled it.

Now, the good news. That stuff pulled so easily. I didn't even need 2 forks. I just used a single pair of tongs and one hand to squeeze and turn it. It came apart well. At that point I tried it. Good smoke flavor, good pork flavor, but dry. That was the most disappointing part. I then added the grease from the bags back and mixed it all together and that made the whole thing a little more moist (as well as more flavor from the rub/smoke) but the meat itself was still noticeably dry.

I served it to people (without telling them all the steps involved) yesterday, most of which who have had my oven cooked pork. Most of them thought the flavor in the oven version was a little stronger (and better) but they liked how this had less salt. That's most likely something that can be fixed with me changing my rub. The one from the oven was still juicy and easy to pull but didn't have the dryness that this one did.

Don't get me wrong, it was still great pork and all 18 pounds disappeared (some as left overs that were in high demand) but overall for the amount of extra effort and such I'm not sure this was worth it. I liked the smoke flavor (though no one I asked actually noticed it enough to mention it without me telling them it was smoked) so I might smoke them next time and then put them in the oven, or maybe try for just 48 hours instead of 72.

I also made it with the Lexington style sauce which I thought people would find too spicy, but many really enjoyed it. It added some (needed) moisture to the dish and made it good, but in a different way than my traditional pork.

Right now this is in the same group for me as ribeyes, where modernist techniques/process should be able to produce better results in theory, but overall the methods I used previous to that make a much better end product. I just haven't been able to top a ribeye on the grill and a pork shoulder in the oven with any kind of modernist techniques.

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Phaz, I don't have the book in front of me, but if memory serves correctly, most pork products are cooked between 40 and 48 hours, not 72.... it's the beef products (brisket, beef cheek, short rib) that are cooked for 72 hours. Maybe that caused the dryness?

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Phaz, I don't have the book in front of me, but if memory serves correctly, most pork products are cooked between 40 and 48 hours, not 72.... it's the beef products (brisket, beef cheek, short rib) that are cooked for 72 hours. Maybe that caused the dryness?

The recipe in Vol. 5 does say 65c for 72 hours. Though, I do remember reading a post by Nathan (I think in the SV thread) saying that there are other temp/time combinations they enjoy.

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OK... finally got to the book... according to the chart on 3.109, they like pork shoulder at 149F (65C) for 36 hours (their preference) but also recommend 140F (60C) for 72 hours. But you're right, the recipe on 5.78 uses 150F (65C) for 72 hours, but it's then mixed with BBQ sauce - maybe that's the cause for the difference?

Hopefully Maxime will be able to weigh in on the disparity at some point...

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So I noticed in the offal section they left out one (or two) of the more divisive bits of offal. Here's my question, MC team: Where are the testicles? No rocky mountain oysters in your celebration of the off cuts?

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OK... finally got to the book... according to the chart on 3.109, they like pork shoulder at 149F (65C) for 36 hours (their preference) but also recommend 140F (60C) for 72 hours. But you're right, the recipe on 5.78 uses 150F (65C) for 72 hours, but it's then mixed with BBQ sauce - maybe that's the cause for the difference?

Hopefully Maxime will be able to weigh in on the disparity at some point...

I've recently been reading through the archives for advice on cooking pork belly sous vide. You can look at the sous vide index here to follow previous discussions - scroll down to the pork section, I'm not sure how to link directly to it. You will see that there's a range of different time/temperature combinations suggested.

As a newby I defer to those with more experience, but my understanding of cooking meat sous vide is that cooking too long leads to mushy meat, not dry meat. I thought that dryness is associated with temperature, not time?

I had never thought about it before but Modernist Cuisine clarifies the difference between terms like 'juicy' and 'succulent', as well as clarifying that if meat is dry from overcooking then smothering it with a liquid will not make the meat any less dry, or any more tender.

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OK... finally got to the book... according to the chart on 3.109, they like pork shoulder at 149F (65C) for 36 hours (their preference) but also recommend 140F (60C) for 72 hours. But you're right, the recipe on 5.78 uses 150F (65C) for 72 hours, but it's then mixed with BBQ sauce - maybe that's the cause for the difference?

Hopefully Maxime will be able to weigh in on the disparity at some point...

Thanks for reminding me of those other charts. That's more in line with the post I remember from Nathan in the sous vide thread.

I'll give it another shot.

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Hello, i have some organic marrow bones, tendons and beef in my freezer.

I need to do a new batch of beef stock.

Can anyone share some details how to do a modernist beef stock?

I rather not do it the traditional way anymore, due to

ecological reasons etc. Pressure cooker makes more sense!

I am sorry i am beeing rude for asking this if its agaisnt the rules.

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Hello, i have some organic marrow bones, tendons and beef in my freezer.

I need to do a new batch of beef stock.

Can anyone share some details how to do a modernist beef stock?

I rather not do it the traditional way anymore, due to

ecological reasons etc. Pressure cooker makes more sense!

I am sorry i am beeing rude for asking this if its agaisnt the rules.

Hi Jan,

You may be able to get what you want from this thread on stock in a pressure cooker.

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Jan, I've done a couple of batches of pressure-cooked stock using MC principles, and the results have been great. There's been some discussion of pressure cooked stocks in general over in the general Pressure Cookers topic, starting here.

At the risk of oversimplification, the key is to begin with very small pieces of vegetables and meat, grinding the meat preferably. It not only helps extract flavor but also speeds up cooking time. You'd also roast the meat and bones before pressure cooking. Cooking time for beef stock says 2-1/2 hrs.

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OK... finally got to the book... according to the chart on 3.109, they like pork shoulder at 149F (65C) for 36 hours (their preference) but also recommend 140F (60C) for 72 hours. But you're right, the recipe on 5.78 uses 150F (65C) for 72 hours, but it's then mixed with BBQ sauce - maybe that's the cause for the difference?

Hopefully Maxime will be able to weigh in on the disparity at some point...

<snip> ...but my understanding of cooking meat sous vide is that cooking too long leads to mushy meat, not dry meat. I thought that dryness is associated with temperature, not time?

<snip>

I can claim the distinction of making both dry and mushy sous vide rabbit. I had planned to serve the rabbit saddles for lunch, but was drawn away unexpectedly, and the meat went for another 4 hours. What moisture there was in the very lean meat had escaped into the bag, and the remaining flesh was a rather paste-like dry mush. I would usually have spread some oil on it, and given it a quick sear, but opted instead to make a thick mustard sauce. Edible, but not delightful.

The difficulty with rabbit is that there is so little fat and connective tissue that the succulence provided by rendered fat and gelatinized collagen is almost non-existent. So after an unusually long time in the bath, the protein was so deteriorated that most the water in it was lost.

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Does it matter what kind of bones to use? Legbones or rib bones? I used to do beef stock with pressure cooker using

ox tail, but i think this is waste of this precious great meat. I ordered some beef tendon (for gelatin) and

will be using some lean ground beef. Does MC use alchohol in stock?

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I just pulled out a pork shoulder from the SV rig and shredded it (no forks required here). This was done with 7 hours in the Bradley with Applewood, then 72 hours at 150°F, and this is the second time I've done it. I guess without a side-by-side comparison to an alternate technique it's tough to address Phaz's experience: I would definitely not describe the result as "dry", in any way shape or form, though. I also get plenty of smoke flavor, but that's before any saucing, so that of course makes a difference. I wonder what explains this difference in experience?

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Chris, I'm planning on doing the pulled pork in a couple days. I know the recipe doesn't call for any kind of rub prior to smoking but do you think it would benefit from it? Also I know when doing pork butt/shoulder strictly on a smoker you're supposed to spray it routinely to keep it moist. I was thinking about doing that to mine to help prevent any sort of dryness.

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