Category Archives: Savories

happy st. patrick’s day!

At about 7:00 this morning, I pulled the briskets out of the brine and rinsed them per Ruhlman's instructions. I sprinkled each of them with another tablespoon of The Spice House's corned beef spice mix (mustard seeds, Moroccan coriander, Jamaican allspice, Zanzibar cloves, Turkish bay leaves, Indian dill seed, China #1 ginger, star anise, black pepper, juniper berries, mace and cayenne red pepper) and vacuum-sealed them.  They then spent about 9 hours in a 180F water bath (I used the Sous Vide Read more [...]

curing corned beef

With assists from Michael Ruhlman and The Spice House, I began curing a brisket this past Saturday for St. Patrick's Day on Thursday.  I used Ruhlman's recipe, which calls for corning spices and curing salt (a.k.a. InstaCure #1, Prague Powder #1, pink salt, or by its chemical name: sodium nitrite), both of which I got via mail order from The Spice House in Chicago.  It's essentially a long, slow brine, so you have to know ahead of time that you want to do this.  I almost didn't have enough time Read more [...]

[recipe review] dry-brined turkey

Just to recap, I followed the advice of Russ Parsons (Food Editor of the LA Times) and dry-brined the turkey.  The process began on Monday afternoon with the application of 3 TB kosher salt (Morton's) to a 16 lb. fresh, free-range turkey.  Double-wrapped in plastic bags (no leaky turkeys here), it was flipped and turned around and around for a couple of days until I pulled it out on Thanksgiving morning. I made an herb butter with fresh sage, thyme, and unsalted butter and smeared it underneath Read more [...]

turkey time twenty-ten

Last year it was brined and high-temp-roasted.  The year before it was brined, air-dried, and spun around and around on the rotisserie.  The year before was my first year on the rotisserie; I burned the turkey because I hadn't figured out how to configure the burners on my gas grill.  (Turns out when you have a front-to-back three-zone grill you leave the middle one off.) This all goes to support the fact that, for a fairly traditional family, I'm given a lot of leeway with turkey techniques. Read more [...]

sous vide chicken

There's really no meat that is better served by being cooked sous vide than chicken.  That's bold, considering how well pork does in the low-n-slow cooking environment, but it's true.  Maybe it's because chicken is so often mangled by being dry and overcooked or, worse yet, bloody, gelatinous, and undercooked.  The truth is that chicken (white meat in particular) has such a small window of perfection that if you miss it at all you wish you had ordered a pizza instead. The issue is mainly that Read more [...]