My buddy got a new digitally-controlled electric smoker, and we christened it by using it to finish my most recent batch of bacon last week. From the top, clockwise: Black pepper and bay leaf; @tonx coffee; fresh garlic and tarragon.
I think we overdid the smoke a little, and the bacon got just a smidge overwhelmed with hickory, but it's still pretty damned tasty, and it certainly looked nice when it came out.
Did a Korean-style marinade for some boneless beef shortribs which then went on the grill. Served on bibb lettuce with locally-made kimchee, some delicious seaweed salad, and a little smoked Pacific salmon. Not shown: Chili garlic sauce.
Chinese-style braised beef short ribs with hot garlic ginger mushroom sauce
I started with four meaty beef short ribs. First I dusted them with a mixture of flour, corn starch, salt, and pepper, then browned thoroughly on all sides in a cast iron dutch oven with a little vegetable oil. Once they were well-browned, I set aside the ribs, removed most of the drippings, and sauteed a medium onion. When the onion was just at the verge of caramelizing, I threw in a couple of smashed garlic cloves and a finger's worth of very coarsely chopped ginger. After another 30 seconds to really get the aroma going in the garlic and ginger, I added the braising liquid: water, OJ, rice vinegar, soy sauce, chili garlic paste, brown sugar, black pepper, and a dash each of sesame oil and fish sauce. The ribs got tucked into the liquid and the whole dutch oven was covered and thrown into a 325F oven for two and a half hours.
When the ribs came out, they were falling off the bones. I set them aside again to rest a little while I worked on the sauce. I first strained all the liquid out of the pan into a fat separator to sit, then returned to the pan and made a quick roux. Once the flour and butter had gotten a nice toasty brown, I added the liquid back in (sans fat) along with a pound or so of chopped oyster mushrooms and a big spoonful of chili garlic paste. After simmering ten minutes or so, it was ready to plate.
I just can't stop making stuff with pork belly. This time, I started with ten pounds of fresh belly. In the upper right, you see the belly sliced into pieces for bacon, salt pork, a few pieces to braise/grill, and some fat to render without curing. Across the bottom you see three kinds of bacon: garlic tarragon, Tonx coffee, and finally black pepper bay leaf. I also did a chunk with a maple syrup cure.
Adventures in Charcuterie - Garlic Rosemary Tarragon Sausage
My big project this weekend was making my first batch of homemade sausage with my new meat grinder Kitchen Aid attachment. I decided to do a loose sausage (no casings this time). I started with some very fatty pork shoulder and added garlic, rosemary, tarragon, salt, and pepper. The diced meat and spices got a good mix then went into the freezer for an hour. As it turned out, I should have left half in the freezer because by the time I was about 3/4 of the way through grinding the batch, the auger bound up (a common problem when you make the mistake of letting the meat warm up). It managed to dislodge the entire mechanism from the mixer, spinning like a propeller a couple of times and launching pork around the kitchen before flying off entirely.
Thankfully, nothing was broken and no eyes were put out. Unfortunately, I was so busy cleaning up and inspecting that I neglected to take any pictures of the ground product before it went into the freezer. The little patty you see is a sample to test the flavor. Again, I screwed up, this time by having added too much salt, but again thankfully, this is easily fixed by parboiling before frying.
Last night I prepared a 2 pound, single-rib ribeye in the style of prime rib. I rubbed the steak with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, then rested it in a cast iron pan on the bone (so the meat was standing straight up) and put it into a 500F oven for 15 minutes. At that point I dropped the oven to 300F and let it slowly cook for an hour, bringing the internal temp to a little under 130F. After a 15 minute rest, the meat was ready to slice. It was tender, nicely medium rare all the way through, and tasted awesome.