Monday, December 26, 2011

How-to: Beef Prime Rib.

First off, you'll need a Prime Rib. This is a Boneless Dry Aged (57 days) Rib Roast. Total weight was ~9.5#. 

To season the roast, I mixed Plenty of Kosher salt with some dried thyme, white pepper, toasted black peppercorns and a small amount of dried sage. I combined these ingredients in my coffee grinder and ground them for a few seconds to blend all the flavors together. I let the roast sit out on my cutting board for the better part of an hour so that'd it'd come to room temperature and develop a pellicle for the seasoning to stick to. 

Due to lack of available supplies, I had to improvise with the 'Oven-Searing Stage'. I didn't have a spare rack to rest the roast on and I didn't want to bother with flipping that large of a roast next to a 500F oven. I suspended the roast over the pan using twine. I put the roast in the oven and let it sear for ~20 minutes at 500F. 

Once it reach a really nice golden color, I snipped the twine and backed the oven down to 325. 

The roast took around 3 hours pot-searing. We let it rest while loosely covered with foil for ~20 minutes while we prepared the Yorkshire Puddings. 

This roast yielded 12 thick steaks that were easily the best I had ever had. If you've never tried to cook Prime Rib before, do yourself a favor and give it a shot - it's surprisingly easy and the end result is truly delicious. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How-to: Home Made Boudin.

Alright, Guys... Here we go! Boudin is absolutely one of my favorite sausages, so in order to make a batch, I've been researching tons of recipes to get an idea of what makes the Boudin true. I didn't want to throw together some rice and pork and make it spicy.. I wanted to make a delicious, authentic batch that will blow my Cajun buddies away - We'll soon find out what they think!

Before I go any further, here's the recipe I decided on:
3# Pork Shoulder - my favorite section can be referred to as the Collar, and is the same cut used in the production of Coppa.
~2# Pork liver - I bought a little over 2# but after cleaning it, was more like 1.8#
3 stalks Celery, roughly chopped
1 small onion, roughly chopped
2 Tbls black peppercorns, toasted
2 ounces Kosher salt
3 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp cayenne
3 green onions, diced
2 cups rice.

Pork collar and Pork liver. Best friends. 

Add the Collar, Liver, onions, celery and peppercorns into 2 quarts water. I sneaked some of my chicken stock in there, too... Bring water to a soft boil and let the pot braise. 

After the meats braised for a few hours, pull them out. Discard the celery, onions and peppercorns but save the stock - Use the stock to cook the rice and also to add to the mixture to assist in forming the primary bind.. 

Before you use the stock, make sure to strain it first. 

Most of the recipes I looked through called for the meat to be ground.. I don't have a grinder at home (yet) but I figured if the meat was cooked properly, I could chop it by hand. I will say the the liver turned out fairly tough, so I made sure to pulverize it very well before adding it to the meat. 

I nearly dropped the rice on account of being so excited about this step... 

Mix together the dry seasonings as well as the green onions, pour into the meat. 

I decided I wanted to cold-smoke the Boudin, I thought it wise to add some Cure #1 at the rate of 1/2 tsp per 2.5#, Since the mixture of meat weighed ~5#, I used a full tsp. 

Time to mix! This is one of the most important steps in sausage making. If a sausage is not mixed well, it will not be as good as it could have been. Take the time needed to reach the primary bind!
Also, take this opportunity to try the mixture.. this is the last chance you have to tinker with your recipe. If it needs salt, now's the time. 

Poppa bear, Momma bear, Baby bear. 

Link the sausages, making sure they are as uniform and as taught as the casing allows. 

Hang to dry as you prepare the smoker. this step allows the seasonings to continue to dissolve and the Sodium Nitrite will start doing it's thing. 

Once dried, (2 hours for these), take them out to the smoker... By now you'll be so hungry you can hardly stand it. 
And there we have it, friends - Home made Pork Boudin. I hope you've enjoyed this as much as I have.. It's been swell and all but it's time for me to EAT! As always, thank you.  -Reece

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Whole Chicken. The Breakdown.

Alright.. I feel like it's been a long time coming for a how-to on whole chickens, so here we go! 

The first step is cutting off the wings. This hen is currently 'under arrest' so release the wings and begin by moving the joint around to get an idea of where the wing is attached to the rest of the bird. 

Once you found the joint, cut down into it to expose the connection. 

Using the tip of your knife, work your way around the drum of the wing while pulling the wing away from the bird. 

Hanging on by a thread. 

Repeat this process for the second wing. 

After the wings are taken care of, direct your attention to the legs. The first step in removing legs is simple. Make an incision into the loose skin between the leg and breast. 

Tear the skin to free the Leg from the rest of the bird. 

Grab the leg by the thigh and force the thigh-bone out of the joint. You'll hear a 'pop'. 

Pressing your knife against the carcass, work your way through the meat - obviously leaving as little as possible on the back - until you reach, and break, the cartilage that connects the thigh to the back. 

Once that cartilage is broken, you can pull the rest of the leg off.. If you do this correctly, the oyster from the thigh that rests on the back will remain on the thigh. 

Cut the skin to finish out this step. 

Repeat this process for the other leg. 

A perspective of the back, legs and wings removed. 

A perspective of the breast, wings and legs removed. 

To separate the thigh and drumstick, manipulate them until you have a bearing on where the joint is and cut through. Your knife should glide through this meat effortlessly. Ideally you will be cutting through meat and cartilage, if you run into bone, just force your knife and repair it later. 

Take your knife and cut the flaps of tissue that connect the breasts from the bottom of the back. 

Place the chicken neck-side-down. This step is unbelievably simple once you've figured it out however, until you do you will make it harder than hell. Place your knife on the outer side of where the oysters were, dig in a little bit until you get to the ribs and force your knife down through them until you reach your block. 

Repeat this process on the other side of the back. This is what your two primals should look like. 

To remove the keel bone, make a shallow incision through the cartilage at the top (neck/head-side) and continuing  down the length of bone. This is the first step of separating the two breasts. 

I use my thumb to split the keel bone from either side of the breasts. 

A bare keel bone. 

Once the keel bone is removed, cut through the wishbone and separate the two breasts. 

That small red dot in the middle of the meat is part of the wishbone. 

slide your knife under the wishbone to clear it out of the way. 

Using the tip of your knife, cut the ribs away from the breast. 

Now we're going to make some boneless skinless thighs. 

Cut the meat away from both side of the thigh bone, once you can get your knife around the drums...

... bend the meat backwards to force the bone outwards. Slide your knife down the length of the bone until you reach the block. Remove the skin and you're done!

As an added bonus, I'm going to quickly show you how to make Airline Chicken Breasts. 

Halve the chicken, separating the white meat from the dark meat. 

You'll cut away the skin and tissue connecting the two halves and break the back at the beginning of the ribs. 

Starting at the upper back, near the wings, start scraping away the scapula until the 'shoulder blades' and wing joints are exposed. 

Once the wings are removed from the carcass, start pulling away the carcass while knifing any tissue that connects the meat to the bone. Working your way around the wishbone is probably the hardest aspect of doing this. 

Once the ribs are cut away and all that's left connecting the carcass and the meat is the keel bone, peel the carcass back to expose the boneless breast. 

And there you have it, a forgotten cut from a time when airlines still served proper food. Airline Chicken Breasts.