December Cooking Challenge 2019 -- Cured Meats

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Nice, Butzy. I've used that szechuan bacon recipe a couple of times. When you fry it up, it smells like breakfast in a Chinese restaurant.

I've got two entries in the works, one should be done soon, the other still over a week away.

mjb
 
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Oh it's firing mine, but time and fridge space is putting damper on the process. Still got a week to go so now that Christmas is behind me it's time to get crackin'.
 
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I didn't get the one project posted before Christmas, later today or tomorrow. The second project is almost done in the curing brine, hopefully will get a nice day to throw it in the smoker soon.

mjb.

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Getting down to the wire here. Apparently cured meat isn't firing people's imaginations!
My gravadlax photos are in post-production here and I'll post them up soon!

Its the holiday season and entries often drop off as folk are busy with family, travelling etc. I don't think there is an issue with your choice of theme.
 
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I did a riff on "Bigos" - Polish Hunter's Stew. Instead of pork stew meat I used ham, and the traditional smoked kielbasa. The rest was close to recipe with the exception of the ham and ham stock in place of beef stock and dry vermouth in place of red wine. The rest of the line up are: onion, carrot, garlic, cabbage, sauerkraut, mushrooms, tomato paste, diced tomatoes and seasoning. It's a rich and hardy dish that needs a hot, crusty bread for sopping up the goodness that is Bigos. In this case roasted garlic ciabatta with compound butter. So for the "cured" part we have Ham, Kielbasa and a garlic/dill Sauerkraut.


 
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Ham here as well...
Prepared in a, for me, totally new way

Here's the star:
02 gammon.jpg

Lined an oven tray with onions
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Put the gammon on top and added the other ingredients: red wine, paprika, smoked paprika, garlic, chili-vodka
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Placed covered in a hot oven and reduced the temperature after about 20 minutes or so.
The result:
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Then took of the net and rind and browned the top
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Sliced:
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I had boiled some rice and had the ham with the onion-red wine concoction.
It turned our incredibly tasty and I am definitely going to prepare my ham more often this way
 

phatch

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I just brought bacon in off the smoker. IMG_20191230_185933.jpg

Those are the fatty sides up in about 1.3 pound slabs

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And some smoked cheese finishing its rest. There a lot more cheese than just that. These will be some belated gifts and some left for us too.
 
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Alrighty then we've come down to it. Last week I thawed a large bag of goose breasts and a front haunch of venison. After trimming away fat, shot damage and silver skin I ended up with 3 pounds of goose and 3 pounds of venison. I bought an 8 pound pork shoulder (trimmed out 3 lbs.) and 1.8 lbs. of smoked bacon ends (used 1 lb.). I had the luxury of help from my 10 yr. old granddaughter both yesterday and today. So a total of 10 pounds of mixed meats, 3/4 pound of Panko bread crumbs, one pound of local stout + 1/2 pound of cold water.


We ran the meat thought the grinder one time - this girl is game on I tell ya.



Next we mixed seasoning - salt, pepper, sugar, marjoram, smoked paprika, sage, pink cure #1 and 7 cloves of crushed garlic then seasoned the meat and back into the freezer. When it came out I mixed in my panko/stout mix and ran it through the grinder again. then put it in the ice box overnight. Oh and I made test patties for dinner - delicious! Before turning in I soaked my casings in two changes of cold water overnight.

This morning I assembled my stuffer and chilled all the contact parts. I added apple juice to one bowl of grind as it had tightened up overnight and to the other I added local rye IPA and some of my buddy's hot "pixie dust". I also put my casings in warm water to relax and before stuffing ran water through them to rinse and get the kinks out. All went fairly well with only one break which we dealt with. The result is what you see + 3 lbs. of bulk for patties, burgers, etc.


I assembled a new smoker this afternoon and will smoke these tomorrow to maybe 150 F IT, then into a hot water bath to finish at 165 F then into a cold water bath to set them and let bloom. I'll get a pic of the finished product if all goes well and the creek don't rise. Otherwise these are ready to cook and eat, or freeze for future use. Being cured they will keep for up to a week in their fresh state.

I didn't want to start a new post so . . . I smoked my sausage today with pecan, cherry and some hickory. It went to 180 F IT then I quenched it in several changes of cold water then hung it for 3 hrs. to "bloom". It's in the icebox now and I'll wrap it up maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday - who knows. Tasted really good today and I know it will taste better after the bloom and overnight rest.


Blooming after coming out of the smoker and a cold water quench.

 
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Finally getting one entry posted. And I plan for the pastrami before the deadline I hope. But here is some cured tuna, in a surf and turf tataki style. I didn't get that many pictures, will forego my usual players/process/product format.

First, some sushi grade tuna was rubbed with lemon, lightly salted and sprinkled with sake. It was then wrapped in some softed kombu.

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After about 30 hours in the fridge, it looked slightly different.

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Though no real change in appearance it definitely had a noticeable seaweed, ocean breeze flavor to it. I got a New York strip steak, and cut a stick of tuna and a matching stick of the beef.

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Tuna was rubbed with a mix of plain and chili infused sesame oil, then rolled in chopped fresh cilantro. The steak got plain sesame oil, salt and pepper. Tuna seared in a HOT cast iron skillet about 15 seconds a side, beef about 20 seconds.

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Once the meat rested a bit, it was sliced and plated atop some thinly sliced red onion. Garnishes are some radish slices pickled in a rice wine, sake and salt mix, store bought seaweed salad, flying fish roe, all drizzled with a few dashed of chili sesame oil and ponzu.

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I actually got out some pickled mustard seeds and made some scallion curls, but they didn't hit the plate before I took the picture. But not a problem, because just as you see it here it was a VERY tasty plate. Some of the best bites I've had in a while.

Now on to getting that pastrami done before the deadline....

mjb.
 
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Finally - my entry. Liquorice & Beetroot Gravadlax.

I used a standard curing mix of 50% sugar/salt and added raw grated beetroot. The liquorice paste which was spread on the flesh sides of the salmon fillet pieces before adding a generous layer of salt/sugar/beetroot mix. Then the salmon pieces were tightly wrapped, placed in a dish with weights on top and left for 3 days.

The liquorice paste:

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Salmon fillets after curing:

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I served it for several starters - here with potato salad, dill sauce and finger lime caviar:

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Here with potato salad, balsamic reduction, pickled radishes, finger lime caviar and parsley oil:

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Finally got around to doing something I've been meaning to try. Pastrami from scratch.

The Players

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A 4 pound slab of beef brisket, from the flat.

The Process

I made a brine with kosher salt, raw sugar, pickling spices ( canned mix ) and cure #1.

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The beef sat in the brine in the back of the fridge for 11 days. It had definitely firmed up when I took it out. I rinsed it off, let it sit in fresh water for a few hours to get rid of excess salt. Rinsed again, and set out on a rack to dry.

Meanwhile I toasted some black peppercorns and coriander seeds. A favorite way to make the kitchen smell so heavenly.

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The toasted spices went into the grinder, the were mixed with some smoked paprika. I gave the brisket a light rub of mustard, then applied a heavy coat of the pepper mix. I took the quickest route in order to get this done today, and cooked it in the oven. I put some small bowls in a roasting pan, put the brisket on a plate and set it atop the bowls. Added a quart or two of water, sealed the top with foil. It went into a 300F oven for 4 hours.

The Product

I've mentioned before that there is a artisanal butcher shop a block to the south of me. They produce some of the best pastrami I've ever tasted. With this batch I made, I can safely say they don't need to worry about me stealing their business.

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My oven roasted pastrami turned out very nice, quite tasty. Not as good as Beltex, but with a bit of practice and done in the smoker, I'm guessing I could get pretty close. Maybe soon I'll tackle this again, using a full 10 - 14 pound packer cut. But for now, I think I'll have another slice of this one, with a bit of horseradish on the side.

mjb.
 
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Indeed. Having hosted a few of these challenges I know how difficult it can be picking the best one based on just words and pictures. If only the various submissions could be tasted, but that might make it even more difficult.

Not a massive amount of entries, but certainly some good ones, could be hard to choose.

mjb.
 
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Some very nice last minute entries :)
Good luck Chris!

I should have made biltong.....
 
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Just finished a very, very long drive home: 5 hours that should have been 3. Ugh.

I'll post a winner ASAP. Lovely stuff!!
 
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After what seemed like a slow start, this competition really heated up. The last four entries in particular were amazing, and for me defined the field:

mike9 mike9 ’s goose-venison sausages

teamfat teamfat ’s cured tuna tataki

morning glory morning glory ’s liquorice and beetroot gravadlax

teamfat teamfat ’s pastrami

In addition, I wanted to call attention to butzy butzy ’s Sichuan bacon and @ChefBryan ’s fascinating and beautiful “squashbrown” egg dish. Some remarkable stuff!

As always, it’s very difficult to pick.

mike9 mike9 had the best “process” demonstration (and the best-looking sous chef).
morning glory morning glory presented that gravadlax amazingly: those plates were simply gorgeous.

But the plate of tuna tataki was stunning, and pastrami from scratch (with excellent step-by-step photos) on top of that!—it’s just very, very impressive.

So, after much agonizing, I’m handing the winner of December 2019’s cooking challenge to teamfat teamfat
 
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Congrats to teamfat teamfat !!!!!

Yeah this past week was a blizzard of entries and nothing shabby - the most impressive in a while IMO. Sadly is seems the old "Challenge" ain't what it used to be.
 

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