This is a copy from the update on my fb page ……….
It has been sometime since I posted and it has not been for the want of trying but being a one man producing all of these delightful treats takes some doing.
Here is an update of a challenge that I was given by a very good friend who is the Executive Chef at the North Shore Winter Club.
Kevin and I meet up October of last year at a food show that was in town, the challenge for me by going to these functions is to see what is out there and to see if anything will get my senses flowing for something new. Kevin on the other hand was I believe looking for things that he could use as ‘good wholesome food’ rather than the ‘chicken nuggets’ that most places seem to cater to.
On doing the circuit around the show Kevin started to sample some Montreal Style smoked meats as well as some Pastrami. There was banter going on between the two of us on trying to see/find which out of the dozen or so which one was the best …… sadly to say nothing hit the mark or in my case came anywhere close to what I had sampled at my son’s place when we was back in Toronto and even that I felt I could do better.
All the products that Kevin and I sampled where good in there own rights ….. if that’s what people are all about and like the run of the mill things (so to speak).
On returning to the North Shore Winter Club we had a discussion over coffee on the pros and cons on what we had tasted ……. Too dry in most cases and a lot of them was lacking flavor, as there was now ‘wow’ factor involved. It seemed like most (if not all) was like ‘slam, bam, thank you mam lets get it out the door thing.
Nothing to say ‘I want/need more’, no lingering flavor tantalizing the flavor buds in the mouth long after it had been eaten.
At this point I knew that I could do better as I had and did produce a awesome corned beef with a flavor profile when I owned the British Butcher Shoppe (sadly not made there anymore)
My problem was to transpose that flavor into something that was a solid muscle that could be sliced thinly without shredding like mine did.
The challenge came within less than half hour from Kevin; off he goes to the freezer and pulls out what he think’s is a beef brisket and tells me to make something good Pastrami/Montreal smoked meat out of it. It seemed that we was back to the days when he and David Long ran the kitchens at the Terminal City Club and ‘always’ turning out awesome food.
So back to my place with the beef where it sat in my freezer while I did some research on Montreal Smoked beef … problem was after checking I did not have a piece of beef brisket but a piece of beef flat … two totally different animals and from one end of the beef to the other. After much tooing and froing with Kevin I was told politely to work my ‘magic’
After some checking and tracing back in time we find that Pastrami is a North American thing and seems to originate from Romanian and was a way of drying/preserving/curing meat for long keeping.
With this in mind I went ahead and made a cure up that would be rubbed onto the meat after which I would vacuum pack it for at least three weeks. This happened on the 25th February of this year ……
With so much going on at work and trying to fit urgent request in (bacon for a close friend who has passed away but not before receiving the requested bacon) The Pastrama got left behind.
Monday last I paid a visit to my good friend Kevin to see how things are over on the North Shore and during the coarse of our conversation the Pastrama was mentioned, not wanting to look total out in left field I told him it was coming along nicely.
It seems that yesterday (Tuesday) I had a window of time that needed to be filled and what better than getting the Pastrama on its way to be finished. Thinking about the cooking procedure (I had wanted to do a souse vide method but lacked the tools) was an art by itself ended up cooking in the oven for six hours after giving the meat a quick rinse and coating it with a spice rub that I had blended and ground up.
After a long and daunting task of slow cooking the beef was left to cool and rest overnight so that it would retain as much moisture as possible.
Things seemed to have worked out as I had hoped/expected and from the feed back on the samples (12) I gave out, everyone said that I should hand over the meat so that the recipient’s could dispose of it as they saw fit
We have another winner on our hands
And so with the photos;
Beef flat (bottom round) with silver skin removed
Smoked salt and cure #1
Whole pickling spices
Whole pickling spices in the mortar and pestle
Mortar and pestle whole pickling spices ground course
In with the smoked salt and cure #1
All mixed together
Coating the beef flat
Vacuumed packed and dated
After the curing period – rinsed and ready to receive the spice rub for cooking
Spice rub applied
Close up of the spice rub
Due to the fact that I do not as yet have a Sous Vide circulator I used the (gas) oven using the method that was shown to me by Vagreys while doing the pulled pork while up this way. I wrapped the beef in three layers of foil to keep the moisture in.
Temperature probe set for internal temperature as well as finished internal temperature
I left in foil overnight to cool and as well as prevent moisture loss and I was pleased to see/find that this was the case as well as having a great flavor profile the moisture was/is present
A shot showing the crust
Hope that you find the above worth the wait; sorry it has taken so long.
This was a fun project to do with much help on the research by Vagreys of which I am grateful and has been well received by the client.
On a side note; I was going to add some smoked paprika to the final rub but as with Murphy’s Law it did not show up in time. I want to believe that with using the ‘smoked salt’ that there would be enough smoked flavor but to be on the safe side
I added three/four drops of liquid smoke that I have on one side for experiments such as this.