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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Prime Rib

Yes, another prime rib post, yes, I went to Portland for a week and took zero photos, yes, I am a bad foodie. But, here is some information on a standing rib roast I cooked for Christmas. It started off as your standard Humbold Grass-fed rib roast, large end, untrimmed, or as untrimmed as I can get. I really hate when they overtrim, or relief cut the bone off of the roast and then tie it back on. No matter what else I am told, nor by whom, if you cut the bone from the roast, cut the deckle from the roast, tying it back on does not make it the same. How hard really, is it to cut slices from one of these roasts. Anyway, the star, unadorned...

The standing rib roast

A few supporting elements, a basic spice rub, kosher salt, medium grind multi-pepper blend, some dry mustard, paprika, ground clove and fresh ground nutmeg and a solid whack of garlic, actually only half of that went into the paste. Here are the spices...

Fresh garlic and some spices

And then  some herbs, in this case, fresh parsley, oregano and sage, were finely chopped, added to the garlic, which was grated, and all was muddled with some olive oil to create a slurry.

Fresh parsley, sage and oregano

Slurry, a beautiful culinary word, no?

 I will apply the dry rub, allow the roast to sit for 30 minutes, then apply the slurry. The idea, I hope is to get the rub to form into a pellicle of sorts, then apply the slurry over it. I often wonder if this matters as it all seems to blend together in the end. I could be making things more complex for no reason at all.

Rubbed and slurried (Sp?)

This whole mess was shoved into a kettle, with wildly fluctuating temperatures, in the rain, it ran somewhere between 400F and 200F for 5 hours. I also did not have a Maverick, which, due the the wildly flcutuations temperatures, meant I had to go out into the rain often to manually check the temperature. A note about grass fed and finished beef, it is quite lean, and does not take to overcooking at all well. My target temperature was 130F and I really felt anything over 135F to pull was going to be bad. Oddly, I hit 134F at 5 hours and pulled it. What a bothe, still, the steer died, all I did was get wet. Here it is, done and on the board after a 20 minute rest.

Rested and Ready

Next, there was slicing, always the moment of trurth, to see if the color looks right. If you will notice, there is a small yellow nub of what look like fat near the top of the roast, that is actually a tendon and needs to be removed. I like to take a thin bladed knife, run it along the top of the rib bone, then cut slices. The bones form a nice stable base for cutting.

Nice color

You will notice, this is lean meat, and we like the flavor, which is a little stronger than most beef you buy. It is largely unaged, maybe a few days in cryovac is all. This lean quality means you must not cook it past medium rare or it gets a little tougher. I think this shot really shows it taken right to where it wants to be.

Nice shot

I really like the color of these slices. The following shot was a mistake, for some reason, the red tablecloth made the color in this image horrible. Still, some nice slices on the table.

Horrible shot

Yum, purple meat! Geez, you just never know.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

brisket chili-sort of

Well, what to do with the less perfect parts of a less perfect cook of brisket and pork butt. Well, the traditional fallback for me is chili. Or, in this case, since I added some remnants of pulled pork, a chili-like substance suitable for use like chili. I have to say, there must be something other than cooking on my mind, I sort of blew this cook as well, as I ended up with a super smoking hot bowl of red, I ended up abandoning Texas Red to moderate the heat.

I started by preparing some aromatics, in this case, 2 yellow onions, 5 cloves of garlic, 1 Poblano chile and 2 red bells. I added the Poblano after fire roasting the skin off, which should give the chili a nice subtle fresh roasted chile background, the red bells recieved similar treatment, but, were added for sweetness. I used a neat trick to peel the garlic, which entails putting the unpeeled cloves into a metal container with a lid and shanking iy vigorously for a few minutes, peeled garlic is easy.


I also prepared some chile powder using fresh ground chile, I can easily access this since I live in a city with several nice Mexican groceries. I use Cayenne, California, de Arbol, Pasilla and sweet Paprika powders to make a blend, then use this along with my usual Phu Quoc black pepper and sea salt to season.

Home made Chile powder

I added the aromatics and 1 tablespoon of the chile powder to get the ball rolling, a little salt to help with wilting. Then into the pot went the brisket, some more chile powder and more heat. Finally, the pulled pork, which there was a lot of fat, I was not happy with the amount of fat in these butts. Then another tablespoon or so of chile powder and still more sauteeing. Once a fond formed, I added enough water to cover the mess, along with another tablespoon or so of chile powder and a healthy whack of salt.

Brisket added

Pulled Pork added

Cover on and cook for an hour at low heat simmer. Further testing indicated a little more flavor would be nice, so in went 1/2 cup of Red Boat Fish sauce. I will let this rest over night, and then continue to cook tomorrow. I like to let it rest partway through, since the meat is cooked and tender, it does not need hours to simmer and render. The rest allows for the flavors to combine and mellow.

Finished bowl of red chile...Spicy!

So, initial testing indicated that I was a little heavy handed with the home made untested chile powder and that some moderation was in order. I opted for the horrific idea of adding some tomato sauce and beans, along with more Red Boat and some palm syrup. This smooted things out, but, is not really my idea of what chili really is. Still, something had to be done.

Chili-like substance

Since I am a huge fan of rice, I think it has something to do with my Japanese heritage, at least in my case, I went with some leftover rice, with the chili-like substance spooned over. I had bought some other things, like cheese and onions to serve on top, but, the aroma and me recent workout argued for eating right away.

Bowl of chile-like stuff over rice, Tasty!

Oh, that brown stuff in the plastic bag? Mesquite flour, I am not sure what is going to happen to it, but, there it was.