29 May, 2007

The Sunday Bratwurst

Bratwurst with Marjoram and Caraway.

This week we take the show on the road to Des Moines IA, for a visit with the Grandparents. When travelling in foreign lands, it's always a good idea to bring some sausage. Since we were traveling to the Western reaches of the Midwest, I felt that bratwurst would make a fine goodwill ambassador. In the previous post, Bratwurst, I tried to create a foundation, by presenting research and identifying the essential ingredients of the American Bratwurst. Today I will build on the basic recipe by adding two traditional ingredients, marjoram and caraway. Will it still taste like brats? Will Grandpa G accept the new recipe ("I hope they are as good as the last ones.") or will he send MAC packing for trying foist a fancy pants sausage on him? Let's find out.

Rostbratwurst with marjoram and caraway.

5 lb pork shoulder cubed

40 g salt

6 g white pepper

3 g ground mace

2 g caraway seed, whole

1 g fresh marjoram chopped

250 ml cold milk

Toast the caraway seeds over low heat in a small dry skillet, until fragrant, a few minutes. Put the caraway and the pepper into a spice mill and grind fine. Combine all ingredients (except the milk) and run it through a meat grinder using the small plate. Using the paddle attachment (or a really big spoon) stir the mixture adding the milk and continue stirring until it starts to come together, about one minute. Stuff into casings, then let them rest in the fridge, unwrapped, overnight.

Five pounds of sausage made sixteen five inch links. And man were they good. Grandpa G was very excited. I liked using the mace place of the nutmeg, because it doesn't pack as much of a punch, and I have been getting complaints (Bonne Femme?) about over nutmegin things. The marjoram( a cousin to oregano) added a nice peppy freshness, and I might increase the quantity a little next time. The caraway brought it all together taking the brat from the backyard grill to de bierstube with a sophisticated flavor. Definitely the Sunday best.


23 May, 2007

Ham for Graham

John and Laura across the street had their baby last week. His name is Graham. To welcome the new kid on the block, I made a ham.
Here's the ham after a week in the brine and ready for the smoker.

Here's the smoker hard at work. The ham cooked for about six hours to an internal temp of 155F.

Here's the ham. ready for eatin.

Here's Graham, fit for sleepin.

In other recent baby news, my man in Hollywood, Jorge and his wife Carla brought home their bundle of joy, Diego Primeras Tomas.

Jorge, I'll send you something just as soon as I figure out what rhymes with Diego.



21 May, 2007

Pig Pick

(Genuine Authentic) Smoked Pulled Pork Barbecue.

Oh don't even...Here in a country I like to call the land of the free and home of the brave (and I don't mean Scotland), the beginning of summer queues the national obsession for smoky meats slathered in sugary sauces. Everyone has a story as to where to get the best barbecue, how it is made, what makes it authentic, and you can find millions of pages arguing each particular point ad nauseum. While I would like to stay above the fray, I will endeavor to share with you what I think are some of the important points of "genuine authentic" BBQ and why I think everyone could and should be making their own at home.

1) Meat. For "genuine, authentic" barbecue, you can't go to Whole Foods. Cheap cuts are what you need and you need to get them where they are cheap. Go visit the local butcher, or try to find a nearby packing house. When I lived in Chicago, I used to go to Bari Foods, now in the Southland, I have a meat packing place about three miles away. For pulled pork, you need to look for pork shoulder, or a Boston butt roast, bone in bone out doesn't matter, just try to find it fresh.

3) Prep. "Genuine, authentic" barbecue does not require a lot of effort but it does take some forethought. A dry rub should be applied to the meat the day before cooking. If the cut is amorphous, then it should be tied into a nice roast.

4) Cooking. "genuine, authentic" barbecue is cooked over (or near) an open fire. As for containing the fire, use whatever you have on hand, a hole in the ground, a kettle grill, or a Kalamazoo Dual-Fuel Gourmet Hybrid Grilling Drawer System. While those fancy pants smoker grills are fun to gawk at( And I certainly wouldn't turn down an opportunity to fire one up), Why spend the money on a shiny hood when you all need vessel in which you can heat your meat low and slow for a long period of time. The only equipment I suggest you buy is a thermometer: A Weber grill thermometer will do the trick and it should be about 10 bucks. Measuring the temperature of your fire and keeping it constant is important; as for what the temperature should be let the grill decide. My smoker likes to run about 250 F. I find it easy to keep a kettle grill at about 300F. "Genuine, authentic" barbecue is happy cooking anywhere between 225F and 350F. If you can, throw some wood (Chunks/ chips whatever, I like hickory) on the fire for the smoky love. However you do it, make sure you are set up for the long haul, your fire has to last between six and ten hours.

Is it time to eat yet?

In previous BBQ posts I mentioned that I read somewhere that chewy meats don't start to break down until the internal temperature is above 160F. Pulled pork wont start to shred (or pull apart) until it has reached an internal temp of 190F. When I smoked this roast last weekend my target temp was 200F. However I never made it. After seven and a half hours of smoking at 225F the meat had only made it to 168F. I don't know why some roasts take longer than others. Instead of pulling I got sliced.
At this point I could have taken a cleaver to it and mince it, but much to my surprise, sliced was fine. not chewy at all. So I have a new proclamation: As long as it is fully cooked, "genuine, authentic" barbecue is ready when it is time to eat. Serve it with some slaw on a bun with a side of greens.

Here's the quantities I used:

6lb bone in pork shoulder roast

40 g (1/4 cup) black peppercorns

35g (1/4 cup) paprika

55 g (1/4 cup) sugar

45g (2+T) salt

8 g mustard seed OR 2 tsp ground dry mustard

1 g garlic powder

2 g ground ginger

1 g (1 tsp) cayenne

Starting the day before, grind the peppercorns and mustard seeds in a spice grinder, and combine with other ingredients to create spice rub. Using HALF of the mixture rub the roast all over. If the roast look floppy, tie it into a nice shape. Wrap it and put it into the fridge overnight.

The next day fire up the grill and get out the meat. Set aside 2 tablespoons of the spice mix, then use the rest to rub the roast again. Take the left over spice mix and simmer it in a pan along with:

2 cups of (Real) cider vinegar

1 cup water

1 T Worcestershire sauce

This is going to be you sop that you mop (basting sauce). Baste the meat with the warm sop every couple of hours. Cook to an internal temp of 200F or till when you are hungry and it is over 160F.

For "genuine, authentic" barbecue sauce, I cooked down the leftover sop with some added brown sugar, strained it, then mixed it with ketchup.

This recipe was adapted from the Virtual Bullet website, which I believe adapted it from the book, Smoke and Spice.

I believe barbecue was invented when someone had a cheap cut of meat, a fire pit and a lot of people to feed. It's simple flavorings of sweet and tangy, maybe a little heat, appeal to a broad audience. There's no recipe for "genuine, authentic" barbecue, it is a method to create something out of whatever you have, and share it with people on a nice summer's day.


16 May, 2007

For the Love of Liver

Liver Sausage, Beta. Columbus in May Part II.

I love paté. Even more I love a paté that comes in a tube ready for picnicking and is easy to make. I don't want to fuss with aspic and floaty bits and lined loaf pans, I just want a little spreadable love from my cracker.
I got the ingredients from Carfagna's, still my hands down choice for procuring meat in Columbus(Weiland's is a very close and suitable second), they quickly and gladly filled my order and everything looked great.

Here's the ingredient list:

1 lb chicken livers
1 lb pork shoulder
1/2 lb pork fat
30 g shallot minced
21 g salt
6g pepper
no more than one gram of:
ground clove
ground ginger
grated nutmeg
pinch of fresh thyme minced
50 ml white wine chilled

I called this a beta, because I couldn't find a receipe to use, so I made it up. This preparation is very much like an emulsified sausage, it is important to keep the ingredients and equipment very cold.
First I sautéed the shallots just until they softened then chilled them in the fridge. Next I cubed the shoulder and the fat, then mixed them in a bowl with the spices. I rinsed the livers in cold water, then I ground the meat mixture and the livers together through a small plate on the meat grinder. Liver through a grinder is going to look runny, don't worry about it. Using the paddle attachment I stirred in the wine slowly then shifted it into medium for 2-3 minutes.

Now the mixture is holding together. Time to stuff.

The sausage poached in a simmering bath to an internal temperature of 160F. Then into the ice bath. I let the wurst rest on a rack unwrapped in the fridge overnight. And the next morning:

One is really all I need, but since you already made two...

Ma loves her liver sausage. After breakfast we went for a hike in the Hocking hills.

What about a picnic lunch?

This recipe makes 2lbs of sausage which, in terms of paté, is a lot. It probably freezes well, I didn't have any left to test, but I will be making it again soon.

Simple, spreadable, and you can make it yourself.


14 May, 2007

Monday in May

Fruilian Sausage with Asparagus Risotto.

Sorry I missed you last week, me and the boys went to Columbus while the Bonne Femme was in the UK conducting some business (she brought me some snappy kitchen linens from Fortnum & Mason, every boy's dream huh?).

The first week of May is a good time to get away from Chicago, Spring in the Windy had sputtered and the breeze turned off Lake drawing a cold wind over sleepy buds causing them to hit the snooze button. Meanwhile in Columbus, a Provence to Chicago's Paris on the Prairie, The sorrel is already going to seed and the poppies are about to pop. With the good weather and the bug less evenings, It's time to have our first outdoor dinner party. Hey, how about some sausage?

I decided I to make Fruilian Sausage again. I first wrote about it in New Stuffer New Sausage Recipe. I like this sausage a lot because it combines ingredients of the pan-Italian fresh sausage with ingredients that would be associated with a German link. We also had a lot of fun making it.

photo credit harryspiderman

I started with the recipe by Brian (My Man in the Oranges) and added some quatre épices. Here's the ingredient list:

5 lb Pork shoulder, cubed

40g Salt

9 g black peppercorns

8 g whole coriander

8 g whole mustard seeds

20 juniper berries

1 g ground clove

1 g ground ginger

less than a gram of grated nutmeg

235 ml chilled white wine.

I toasted the coriander and the mustard in a dry skillet, then combined them with the peppercorns, juniper berries and ran them though the spice mill. Mix the spices plus the salt and ground spices with the pork, let the mixture chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Grind through the small plate then using the paddle attachment or a really big spoon, stir in the chilled wine and continue to mix until it starts to come together, about one minute. Stuff into casings.

OK, once the sausage is set for the grill, we work on the asparagus risotto. I got the recpice from the May 2nd New York Times.

Mom made a strawberry-rhubarb pie. Let's get this party started.

Have you ever used a knife to pop open a bottle of prosecco? Yeah, me neither. After several timid tries and some coaching from Grandma, we got to drinkin.

Good eatin on a Monday night in May. Stay tuned the week just got started. We've got more sausage from Columbus coming up.


02 May, 2007

Dear contest winner: I got your prize

Last month I held my first ever blog contest, and Matt from New York was the winner. Matt, I finally finished your prize, It will be hand delivered to you soon by a personal representative of Saucisson MAC. Mind you this is a one of a kind prototype, so be careful washing it. As a matter of fact, if you want to go for that fermented style, don't wash it at all. Congratulations Matt, and everyone else stay tuned we will have another contest soon.