Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Top Sirloin (Prime)

Just another Sous-Vide project. After making this a few times I finally dialed in the temp time for this hunk of meat. Can't resist prime meat especially when it's priced so reasonably. 

So easy to do and if you don't do this you will kick yourself. First let me point out that I have cooked this big hunk of joy several times all while experimenting with temps and times. I have settled in on 131 F degrees at 9 hours. I have tried 6, 9, 12, and 16 hours. First thing I did was to apply a dry-brine which I did for 2 1/2 days. I won't go into all the benefits of dry-brining here but just google and you will find tons of info on the subject. I have covered this step in past posts. 

Modus Operandi 

  • Dry-Brine for at least 2 days (I used Montreal Steak seasoning)
  • Sous-Vide at 131 degrees for 9 hours
  • Ice-Shock
  • Refrigerate until ready to proceed to the next step
  • Sous-Vide again at 120 F for 70-90 minutes to bring up the temp
  • Remove hunk from bag and reserve purge
  • Dry Surface very well and spray with oil (I used Canola)
  • Apply more seasoning if you want. I also used about 1/2 tsp of sugar on each side to help with caramelization.
  • Brown the outside using what you want. I used my Weber Grill set at 750 F degrees
  • Careful how you slice. Cut across the grain and serve. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Flanken BBQ Ribs

Sous-Vide meets Flanken Short-ribs. Sounds like a spooky made for T.V. movie. Of course this one has a happy ending. How many of you have heard of Flanken Short-Ribs? I can only presume not many. Short-Ribs comes in different sizes and different names. Some examples are Boneless Short-Ribs (obviously boneless), English cut (cut parallel to the bone and the meat sits on top of the bone {some are cut in 2 inch sections too), Flanken style (cut across the bone). Flanken Short-Ribs have their roots planted in Eastern Europe and are associated with Jewish Cuisine. Kalbi Short-Ribs are Flanken Ribs but are cut very thin (associated with Korean BBQ). BTW- these babies are 2 1/2 inches thick...they are huge. Each one weighs over a pound. 

I kept this recipe very simple. Combine your favorite rub with brown sugar and tossed on ribs. I like to dry-brine all my proteins. Dry-brining keeps proteins moist during the cook. These ribs are big so I decided to dry-brine for 48 hours. Because of my schedule it will be closer to 55 hours. 

If you want succulent mind blowing ribs then Sous-Vide is the only way to cook these ribs. I have made ribs before (English cut style) and they came out pretty dang good. See the link for more details...HERE. 

What time and temp is always the question. Chefsteps prepared short ribs 8 different ways with times and temps so you can compare. In the past I've used 131 for 48 hours and 149 for 48 hours. Choosing what temperature and how long to cook the Short-Ribs will correspond to how you want to finish them. Well if you know anything about Sous-vide cooking you know it's necessary to brown them after the cook. There's no maillard reaction with SV cooking. So depending on how you will finish the ribs (finish = maillard reaction) the Temp and time will be important. What exactly do I mean? Well, if you plan on finishing the ribs on your BBQ and want to impart a lot of smoke and monster bark you would want to cook the ribs differently than; let's say you planned on finishing them in frying pan, oven or salamander. 

Note: some people toss in Sodium Nitrite; Cure # 1 for both taste and to create a smoke ring. If you plan on finishing these ribs on a BBQ with charcoal don't worry about the Cure # 1 unless you want that particular flavor. The Charcoal will give you the smoke ring too. If you plan on finishing them in your oven or on a propane smoker and you want the smoke ring a little cure will help in that department too. A smoke ring does nothing for flavor. Cure # 1 will change the flavor profile of course. If I was to add Cure # 1 I would use .25% at a percentage of the weight meat. 

What did I do? I knew because of the Rain/Wind storm here in Seattle I would need to use my propane smoker. I always prefer charcoal though. The smoke ring is not important to me but I kinda of like the texture and flavor profile of a little cure. The Ribs weighed in at 3630 grams * .25% = 9 grams. I used 9 grams of Cure # 1. How to apply? I combined without measuring my Rub and Brown sugar and removed a cup. To the cup I added the 9 grams of cure and mixed thoroughly. I then sprinkled this on the ribs making sure to coat the entire rib. After the initial coating I sprinkled on more Rub/Brown sugar mixture. Don't forget I Dry-Brined these for about 55 hours. 
Vacuumed sealed for the dry-brine and water bath. I have chosen 144 degrees for 48 hours. This temp should be perfect for the following reasons. As I recall 149 degrees was fall off the bone great but I don't want fall off the bone. I want a little bite and chew for these ribs. Besides I plan on smoking them until an internal temp of 160˚ƒ. If you look at some of the Chef Steps Videos you will see why I chose 144 at 48. 

These ribs were SV @ 144˚ƒ for 48 hours. Ice-Shocked and refrigerated. 

Ribs unsheathed from their plastic heaven. 

More Rub applied.
Smoked in a propane smoker during a rains/windstorm. Ok here are some details you might be interested in. Ribs entered smoker at an internal temp of 39˚ƒ. Smoked with Apple & Cherry wood at 200˚ƒ. Once the smoke dissipated I increased the temp to 225˚ƒ. The ribs were pulled from the smoker when the internal temp hit 158˚ƒ. Why did I put the ribs in the smoker so cold? Because I knew in advance I was going to cook them until an internal of 160˚ƒ was reached. I wanted a long cook with smoke. Had I put them in the smoker directly from the SV 144˚ƒ they would have reached 160˚ƒ in about 20 minutes but would have failed to reach the smokiness and color I desired. They would have come out Blah...Blah. My technique allowed them to cook for 3 plus hours.

Review- Probably the best rib I have ever made. The texture was perfect. All the connective tissue melted and no visible fat pockets which I hate. It had a velvety texture on my palate too which blew my mind. I won't change a thing. This was a grand slam. 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

What makes Thanksgiving 2015 so special that I need to write another post? I refined some of my Sous-Vide techniques and wanted to share. Here are some LINKS to past techniques and Turkeys I have done. 

Let's begin....Like everyone else I start with a completely thawed and cleaned Turkey. The next step is crucial so pay close attention. If you want a well seasoned moist bird dry brining is essential. I Dry-Brine all my proteins. Here's what you do. Liberally sprinkle kosher salt all over the Turkey. That means the inside too. You need about 24-36 hours for the salt to be absorbed. This is similar to an equilibrium cure so if you went as long as 48 hours it's not a big deal; just don't go less than 24 hours. Read all about Dry-Brining HERE and HEREAfter the Dry-Brining I always rinse the Turkey under cold water. Not a crucial step but rinsing removes the impurities that might have leached to the surface after salting. 

If you don't already know how to break down a Turkey look no further than here for your Tutorial. Chefsteps shows you how to break down a Turkey in this VIDEO.

Melt lots of unsalted butter. Yes we are going to inject our bird with butter. Everything tastes better with butter. 

My favorite injector!!

I posted this picture to give perspective. This is a big injector. Start injecting. 

The Turkey was injected multiple of times. I hit every joint too. This baby is full of butter. If you wanted you could add other things to your injector but I prefer just butter. 
Let's talk seasoning techniques. I learned this one from Thomas keller in his book Under Pressure.  I made sure the herbs did not make any contact with the Turkey by making a plastic bouquet garnet that was pierced all over. This technique will perfume the Turkey with aromas that will surround and enhance the taste of the meat. Take my word on this because I have ran some experiments. What I have concluded is this, herbs put in direct contact with the food will overpower the meat and will not flavor the whole thing. All the flavors of the herbs will be concentrated where they lie. By placing them in the plastic wrap the aromas will seep into the Turkey slowly. I used Sage, Thyme and Parsley. For the breast I placed two packets on either side of the breast.

All vacuumed sealed and ready for the bath. 

Turkey Breast Sous-Vide at 140˚ƒ for 4 hours.

Dark meat Sous-Vide at 150˚ƒ for 6 hours. 

All these temps and times are designed around how I want to finish the Turkey. In this case, I plan on smoking the Turkey for about 90-120 minutes at 180-190˚ƒ. When the smoke dissipates, I will cranked the heat up to about 225-250˚ƒ to give that mahogany glaze we all love so much. 

What preceded the smoke is important too. After the Sous-Vide process I Cold- Shocked the Turkey in an Ice-Bath and refrigerated overnight. If I had taken the turkey out of the SV and proceeded directly to the Smoker, the Turkey would have overcooked. Starting out with temps much lower helps mitigate the possibility of overcooking the Turkey. I also know if I placed a Turkey in my smoker with an internal temp of 34˚ƒ, it would have taken forever for the meat to come up to temp too. So what did I do?  I cranked up the Sous-Vide to about 125˚ƒ and set the Turkey in the bath for about 45 minutes. The Turkey hit the smoker registering 100˚ƒ internally. The Turkey was removed from the smoker when an internal temp of the white meat was at 140˚ƒ and the Dark meat hit 150˚ƒ

So to recap....if you processed your protein at "X" temp and proceeded to finish using "Y" method the temperature of protein would be elevated beyond the processing temperature. Cold-Shocking will prevent the protein from becoming overcooked during the process of searing using "Y" method. 

These are all techniques. If you miss one of these steps the outcome will be different. Let's say I wanted to finish the Turkey in a frying pan instead of an oven or smoker. I would have made sure that the meat was at least at 120˚ƒ before the meat would have hit the pan. Again these are my techniques. This works in the oven too. Just plan ahead.

These are two different Turkeys just out he of second Sous-Vide bath. Dried very well and seasoned.  I seasoned one with additional spices and herbs and one without. Just personal preference. Now on to the smoker.

I used my propane smoker instead of my charcoal smoker. The weather was horrible and propane is so much easier than charcoal in poor weather. I like using Apple and Cherry when I smoke poultry but you can use whatever you want. I also like to add Sage to the smoke box for extra flavor. 
Cherry Smoked
Apple Smoked


Monday, November 16, 2015

Lamb Ribs w/ Asian Rubb

First time eating Lamb Ribs. I decided to Sous-Vide them at 131˚ƒ for 12 hours.

Unsheathed and ready for dry rub. I always apply a rub or salt 24 plus hours in advance. 


  • 1 tbsp Cardamom
  • 1 tbsp Coriander  
  • 1 tbsp Grains of Paradise
  • 1 tbsp Ceylon Cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried Lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala 
  • 1/4 cup Demerara Sugar

First lightly salt the ribs then apply rub. 

Just a pretty picture....

Vacuumed sealed and refrigerated for 24 hours. 
After the 24 hour rest in the refrigerator I Sous-Vide the ribs at 131˚ƒ for 12 hours. Cold-Shocked and another stint in the refrigerator for 24 hours. 

Ribs smoked with Apple & Cherry for about 2.5 hours at 200˚ƒ. The Ribs were coated with a homemade Apricot BBQ sauce that put these ribs over the top. 


 Review- The only thing I would change is maybe Sous-Vide them at 133˚ƒ for about 18 hours. They were delicious. I would like to have had more of the fat rendered though. Other than that they were perfect. Absolutely delicious. These were truly inspiring ribs.