Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Smoked Steelhead - Tasting Notes

I totally forgot about this one, but here's a pic of the Steelhead I cured and smoked last week.

It turned out great... cured well, and with a great smoky, not too salty flavor, and a bit spicy.

Half of it's given away or eaten already, but I have a bit left which I'll be enjoying on the deck the next sunny day we get.

Basturma - Out of the cure and into the casing

So I totally forgot about this Basturma that's been sitting in the cure since March 30th... Yikes!!

It was supposed to come out on April 10th, but I finally took it out on April 26th.

I had a brilliant idea to soak it in clean water to try to flush out some of the salt, so I did that.. changing the water ever 4 hours.   I'm hoping that did the trick, although if It's too salty for humans, my good friend Paul H ( also known as Alligator Arms ) will take it.

Since my last Lonzino Da Diavalo lost a lot of the heat when I rinsed after the cure and before stuffing, I decided to try something new.

After the hour long soak, I put them out to dry for a good hour... during which time I created a hot spice mixture of

2-TBSP Cayenne Pepper
2 - TBSP Chile De Arbol
1TBSP Garlic Powder
2TBSP Red Pepper Flakes

I then took both halves of the Basturma and rolled it around in the spice mix, making sure it's coated thoroughly and well rubbed in.

I then squeezed those puppies into a 100mm collagen casing (  I like them.. they seem to work well for me ) and then tied it up as tight as I can.

I left it out in the mancave for a few days for the preliminary drying ( it's about 58Degrees, with about 70-80% humidity, being springtime in Oregon ).

I'll move it to the curing fridge in about 2 or 3 days or when it warms up.   I expect that the basturma will be ready in about 4 weeks, but stay tuned.

Lonzino Da Diavalo- tasting Notes

So my Lonzino Da Diavalo is finally finished!!!

I pulled it out of the curing fridge, after approximately 5 weeks and it looks and smells great.

I cut it very thinly and served it on a charcuterie platter as usual.. and it's pretty darn good.  It's lost about 30% of the weight, judging how loose the twine around it is.. and the casing took on a pretty good amount of powdery white mold, which has imparted a nice "salame" type flavor.

It's not as "Diavalo" as I had hoped... I think that rinsing off the spices cut down on the heat, so next time I'll reapply the hot powder to the lonzino before stuffing into the casing.

This lonzino also tastes more 'salume' ish.. than the last one.. It even looks more like a coppa than a Lonzino... I'm wondering if I'm not  keeping track of them well enough.. I need to buy some hang tags!!

Anyway.. whatever it is, check this baby out... I'll call this one a Win!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Tails and Trotters Coppa- From Cure to the Curing Chamber

Welcome back to our Tails and Trotters Coppa!!

When we last left you .. Our coppa had been rubbed down with the cure and been sitting for 13 days.

I drained the brine ( about 1/2-3/4cup ) and then used the remaining dry rub to coat the coppa once again.

Back into the manfridge for another 10 days and look what we have here, brimming with beautiful red and orange colors!

A good rinse and we're ready to get that bad boy into some casing  

I have a stock of 105mm collagen casing, but when I looked at this monster after rinsing, didn't think there was a chance in hell I'd be able to squeeze it in.  I was thinking of splitting it longways and using 2 smaller ( 60mm ) casings.  This is one big piece of meat ( that's what she said )

Well.. I guess i'm really good at squeezing big pieces of meat into little tubes ( don't touch that one JDub ).. but 20 sweaty slippery minutes later, I had that bad boy stuffed into a casing and trussed up like a bondage queen.

I"m giong to have to work on my knot tying.. but for now, it's doing the job.

Now it's into the curing chamber... approx 56F, with a residual humidity of ~70% for 4-6 weeks until we have a weight loss of about 30-35%.

Stay tuned.. this one should be freaking awesome.   At least, i'm hoping so, or my new pork slinger, Tails and Trotters may drop me as a customer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Steelhead.. from the Columbia River To the smoker

One of my favorite late winter/early spring things to eat is steelhead, fresh and smoked.

Theres's something about them that I just love, being in between trout and salmon.

Anyway, without further ado.. here's the star of our show.

This is about a 4lb steelhead, fresh from the Columbia River, cleaned and ready to go.

Here is the cure.. Salt boxing it again, with rough measurements

1 cup Kosher Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1TBSP black pepper
1TBSP Garlilc
1TBSP Red Pepper Flakes
1TSP Cayenne
1/2 tsp pink salt.

Coat the fish completely and cover with plastic wrap, placing in the fridge for 3-5 days.  Go shorter with this rather than longer in the cure to avoid over saltiness and drying out when you smoke .

This is what things should look like after coating ( more or less )

This next pic is showing the filets after 2 days in the cure.   Look at that beautiful color.

I'll most likely pull them out at the end of day three and then place in the fridge for a full day to develop a pellicle, then smoke for 4-6 hours.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tails and Trotters Jowl Bacon - Finished!

One week later, and Kapow!!! Beautiful Jowl Bacon.

I'm sure in the future, I'll make Guanciale, but for now, I'm super happy with the outcome ( as is JDub who stopped by to drop off a tent I'll need for a ski mountaineering trip this weekend ... I gave him a nice chunk just cause I'm a nice guy.. good timing JDub)

So here it is... nice and smoky, well cured.. hopefully not too salty.

I totally forgot to finish it in the oven for 1 hour at 150degrees, but I think it will still be fine. 

It's all shrink wrapped and in the freezer... except for one piece in the fridge for some schweet pasta carbonara next week.

So give this one a try... any butcher at your local store can get you jowls.. or if you want a real treat, stop by tails and trotters at the PSU farmers market and tell Morgan you'd like to get a set of his hazlenut finished jowls.. or just go to the T&T Website


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jowls- Into the Smoker

I was looking at my jowls last night and then decided that since I use bacon a heck of a lot more than I use Guanciale, and that I would end up putting the Guanciale in pasta carbonara or something similiar anyway.. why extend the wait by hanging the jowls for a month, when I can smoke them for 4-6 hours and enjoy them sooner? 

Here they are after I pulled them out of the cure and gave them a good rinse and soak ( about a 5 minute soak ).   Don't wipe off the spices.. it adds a bit more flavor and character.  ( next experiment I may put more spices on after the rinse, and before the smoking )

Then it was into the manfridge for 24 hours to allow them to develop a pellicle ( you may not remember, so a pellicle is some kind of protein "skin" buildup on the meat that allows the smoke to "stick" to the meat.)

I ran over to Pences to "borrow" JDubs Little Chief smoker... this thing is on it's last legs and since he got a traeger doesn't want it anymore.  I think I'm going to have to go out in a few weeks and get one myself, so Pence and his old little chief can be alone together .

Into the smoker they go.. apple wood bits and chips for 4-6 hours.. adding more chips every 2-3 hours for super smoke flavor.

Stay tuned for tasting.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Basturma - Into the Cure

I've done Basturma twice before... First one turned out a bit salty, but tasted great.. second one wasn't cured all the way through and smelled like rotten meat. ( imagine that ).

Here's my next attempt at this low fat, easy to make treat.

2-2lb Eye of Round Beef Roasts.

Pretty nice looking meat, eh? Fubonn quality.

2/3 cup kosher salt
2-TBSP sugar
1/2tsp cure #2
4TBSP Cayenne
4TBSP chili de arbol
2TBSP red pepper flakes
1TBSP Garlic
2TBSP black pepper
4 TBSP -mix of wild fennel seed, cumin, coriander, Anise, Grains of Paradise, Cardamom.

Rubbed it down very good and put it in a plastic bag.. I'll come back and check on them every 2 or 3 days to roll them over and make sure the liquid is contacting all sides of the meat..

I'll pull them out in about 7-10 days, or whenever they "feel cured"... after that, they'll go into 105MM casings, tied up, and hung to dry for 2-4 weeks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tshirt Test

I just got a shipment in over the weekend of 5 shirts..

One for me ( natch ), one for the wife, one for the nugget, and 2 for my first 2 followers, and suppliers of inspiration, booze, and smokers. (thx pence and JDub), although I wasn't sure if Pence was going to get one, since his first comment was "Todd.. WHY are you making tshirts? WHAT are you selling? WHAT is wrong with you? "  I don't think he understands that the PCP brand is what I'm selling.. and based on the $6.57 in ad revenue I made so far... that I'm laughing all the way to the bank....

Out of all those ungrateful bastards, the only one I could get to stand still and take a picture was my little nugget.. daddy's girl comes through when everyone else failed me.

So here they are...

I've found a new tshirt maker, and will be sending a few more freebies out to some very key people who have inspired me to waste my money and time on this blog and hobby.

If any of you know a place where I can get some tshirts, hats, thongs, codpieces ( for One-Eyed Bobby ), at a fair price.. please let me know.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Bacon - From Fubonn to cure.

Faithful readers ( and those of you I beg to read me ).  I've been saying I'm going to show you how to make bacon.. well, here it is.

Bacon's probably the simplest of all cured/smoked treats to make, and once you make it, you'll never go back to store bought/mass produced, water injected crap.

I know I'm on a Tails and Trotters Hazlenut finished pork kick lately, but for bacon I'm going to stick with my old favorite.. Fubonn Pork.  what is Fubonn you ask?  click here and find out about the coolest Asian shopping mall/supermarket/restaurant in SE Portland. ---Fubonn

The selection is awesome..If you need something Asian.. they got it. 

Top that off with what is arguably the freshest produce, seafood, and meat in Puddletown and you can see why it's a foodie's dream.   Now I know that this is most likely feedlot beef and pork.. but it's good.. I've been using it for over a year and people love it as much as the pig I ordered from a local farm.  There's nothing pickier or fussier than an Asian Granny ( right Paul? ).. so I know this is good stuff.

Besides good shopping, there is good (not great ) dim sum  offered at Malay Satay Hut.. My little nugget LOVES eating there.. and since I'm a sucker for dim sum.. it's a regular part of the experience for us.

After a great meal, it's off to ride the rides... she saves quarters that she earns by sleeping in her own bed and not waking us up until it's light out to ride them... she loves them .

What can I say? It's good clean fun.

Now.. on to the bacon.

I purchased a 6 lb belly... nice belly

Next to it is about 3/4 cup of "basic cure" ( see previous posts ).
I modified it with about double the brown sugar, because I'm looking for more of a "sweeter" flavor this time.

1/3 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2tsp pink salt
1tsp black pepper

Check out a side profile of this pork.  Not too bad looking.

Rubbed all the cure into the belly as well as I could.. put it back in the bag it came from and put it in the fridge for 4-6 days.
Stay tuned.. I'll pull this puppy out of the cure next weekend, rinse well, and let it sit uncovered in the man fridge for a full day to develop a nice pellicle ( this is a stickyish "coating" that allows smoke to 'stick' to the meat ), then I'll put it in JDub's little chief smoker for about 8 hours.. then finally, finish it in the oven for about 1 hour at 150degrees, just to make sure it's finished.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Guanciale -From package to Cure

When I stopped by the PFM to meet up with Morgan Brownlow, proprieter of Tails and Trotters, to pick up a special ordered Coppa, he surprised me with what can only be called "Vacuum Sealed Love".

So here you go... 5 pounds of Hazlenut finished Pork Jowls.   Looking at the size of these things, that Pig had to have had a big head ( but I'm sure he was still a nice guy ).

I opened the package, and put these bad boys skin side down so I could look for ( and remove ) and of the salivary glands that may still be in there.  ( I love me some pork.. but I can do without eating their spitmakers)

As you can see, these jowls were pretty clean and I only had to cut out  a few of them ( they're small little discs that don't quite look like meat, and don't quite look like fat ).

So there they  are.. ready for "the cure". 

I'm again using a modified recipe and Salt Box method ( see Spicy Coppa Entry for more details ).
Basically, make sure it's covered well in cure, and add spices you like.

5lbs of Hazlenut finished Pork Jowl ( berkshire pig )
~3/4 cup of kosher salt
~2tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp cure #2 ( as an amateur that doesn't want to make anyone sick.. this is a must )
~4tbsp diced, chopped fresh rosemary
~2tbsp diced, chopped fresh thyme
1tbsp black pepper
1tbsp red pepper flakes

And there you are.   I put these bad boys in a shallow baking pan, covered with plastic wrap then foil to protect from light ( not sure why, since the fridge light goes out when I close it ), but that's what Ruhlman said to do.
These beautys will sit in the cure for about 12-14 days, then I'll give them a light rinse and at that point can either smoke them and eat them as Jowl bacon, or hang them for 18-24 days and eat them as Guanciale - sliced thin and eaten raw, or added to cooked dishes.   I think I'll probably do one of each.

Stay tuned.. I think this is going to turn out great.