Thursday, February 25, 2010

Up Next: Pastrami

With the curing box is temporarily shut down I needed a new project. As my grandfather always used to say, "When all else fails, consult the manual". Dry curing is out, but what about brining or smoking? Pastrami it is!

I have been reading The River Cottage Meat Book. Initially, I was a little put off by the long section exploring the morality of eating meat and the social contract between man and animals. I never have had any angst over meat before. My hunting experience is limited, but I learned to hunt believing that you never shoot anything you aren't planning to eat. Also, I spent some time with my college roommate at his uncle's farm when it was time to slaughter the family pig. They thought I'd be squeamish (His uncle's nickname for me was "City"), and were genuinely surprised when I jumped right in with the meat saw. When I finally trudged through the morality play in River Cottage, I came away more concerned about the quality of meat I am buying than about whether it was OK to eat meat. Maybe that was the point all along. After some introspection, I decided that cheap grocery store meat might be to blame for the failure of my Saucisson Sec.

I live near the Uptown Whole Foods in New Orleans. The patron's are very much the eco-conscious crowd. The store even offered a Vegan King Cake during Mardi Gras if that tells you anything. I am not so eco-conscious. However, I do like good food. I maybe the only customer in that store that goes there specifically to buy AA Grade eggs and Black Forest Bacon. (They also have one of the better cheese counters in town, but not as good as Dorignac's.) So I decided that if I was going to make pastrami, I was going to do it right. I had the butcher at WF trim out a grass-fed brisket for me. I prepared the brine according to Mr. Ruhlman's instructions and am waiting to crust and smoke this weekend. Pictures and a taste test to follow as soon as I find a decent Rye or Pumpernickel.

Now back to reading River Cottage.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Detour in the Curing Road

We are in the process of trying to sell our house and find a new one with a yard big enough for a walk-in brick smokehouse (shhhh - don't tell the missus about that last part). Shockingly, the Real Estate Agent's vision for showing our home does not include my glass-door wine fridge full of beautiful moldy meats in the office. Begrudgingly, I have agreed to store the wine fridge until we can sell and move into a new house, so dry curing is off of the table for now. I guess most buyers wouldn't appreciate the value of having a house inoculated with MEK-4. Oh well, I still have my grinder, mixer, and stuffer handy, so standby for postings on fresh sausages.


Pork, the Other Viagra?

So I found this in the news:

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's president recommended pork as an alternative to Viagra Wednesday, saying she spent a satisfying weekend with her husband after eating barbecued pork.

"I've just been told something I didn't know; that eating pork improves your sex life ... I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," President Cristina Fernandez said to leaders of the pig farming industry.

She said she recently ate pork and "things went very well that weekend, so it could well be true."

Argentines are the world's biggest per capita consumers of beef, but the government has sought to promote pork as an alternative in recent years due to rising steak prices and as a way to diversify the meat industry.

"Trying it doesn't cost anything, so let's give it a go," Fernandez said in the televised speech.

Like any of us need another excuse to eat pork...