Sunday, January 25, 2015

TGIFI- SV-What? Flat-Iron Steaks

Say this three times fast

What can I say I work for Government and it's all about the acronyms. If you work for the government you know what I am talking about. So with that in mind I decided to use an acronym to describe yet another innovative idea. And of course the title of this post was too big for Google.

I think this is important to point out; when you use Transglutaminase to bind proteins you're only limited to your imagination and I have been told I have a big one. The idea of using TG on Flat-Irons came to me while eating a filet and realizing once again that it's really a tasteless tender piece of meat. I love Flat-Irons so what if ? Hmmmm.... Would'nt it be nice to have the best of both worlds? With Flat-Irons and Sous-Vide you certainly can. 
In the recent past I experimented with TG and Flat-Iron Steaks and it came out very well so I decided to do it bigger and better. Essentially I took one very large Flat-Iron steak, cut it in half, stacked it, trimmed it and shaped it into a cylinder. It came out great and it was worth doing it again but on a much larger scale this time. Bigger is always better in my world. This time I'm gonna take three large FI-Steaks and replicate the technique. 

2055 grams (4.53 lbs) of Beautiful Flat-Iron Steaks.

You first have to figure out the best way to stack the FI. The goal of course is to have the best symmetrical shape. And if they are close to the same weight and size this shouldn't be much of a problem. Sprinkle the TG thoroughly on to the FI getting it into every nook and cranny. Once you're satisfied with the coating stack them on each other and sprinkle the TG on the outside getting it everywhere. Doing this will ensure a cylinder shape that will hold.

Start rolling it up in plastic wrap. Make it sure it's very very tight. Tie off the ends and pop any air-holes that may be present. 

All done. The meat will stand vertically in my refrigerator (to keep its shape) for 24 hours. 24 hours is an optimum time for the TG to bind with the meat. This creates the best bond in my opinion. 

It's been exactly 24 hours and the Flat-Irons have formed one piece of meat. I took off the plastic wrap and salted (Dry-Brine) the Flat-Irons and vacuumed sealed for another 24 hours. After the 24 hours have elapsed I may add some fresh herbs to the bag to enhance and perfume the meat. A great technique I learned from the book Under Pressure by Thomas Keller is if I am going to add herbs to the bag prior to the SV process I want to first put them in plastic wrap and not directly on the food. Putting them directly on the food will over power it. 

After the 24 hour Dry Brine it was time for the SV. The thermal Jacuzzi was set at 133 degrees. I cooked the FI's for 9 hours which also coincided with the pasteurization time. After the cook I shocked the meat in an ice-bath for several hours to rapidly bring down temp. I refrigerated the meat overnight. This was not needed but I work for a living and sometimes our schedules interfere with our hobbies. 

This is a picture of what the meat looks like after I re-Submerged the meat into the SV to bring the temp up. Note: I did not want to serve cold meat so I had to warm it up prior to the next step. What better place then the SV to warm up the meat. 

This is a picture of everything that I was going to serve for dinner. BTW- I learned how to cook these veggies on This is a great site for everyone to learn from. More on this later. 

After the meat rose to an appropriate temp I took it out of the vacuumed sealed bags, dried off the meat thoroughly and coated it with my favorite rub for this application. I like using 1 part Peppercorns, 1 part Grains of Paradise and 1 part coriander. I sprayed the meat down with Canola oil so the rub would adhere. Note: I did not add salt because of the previous dry brine. 

I tossed meat into a 500 degree oven for 9 minutes. That's it!! Nothing more to do.

See Review at the botom. 

My Review

Absolutely amazing I will not change a thing.

The sauce that accompanied the meat was a Bearnaise. Simple to make just Google it.  


I cooked them at 194 degrees. I also added Fat and a little salt to the bag. I added Lemon thyme to the potatoes. 

Carrots 33 minutes (served warm)
Potatoes 45 minutes (sliced in half and browned)
Leeks 8 minutes (browned in butter)

How can I be so precise with my times. I ran an experiment that morning. 


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Leg of Lamb Reconstructed

So I had an impromptu thought as I passed the lonesome Leg of Lamb sitting in the QFC meat section. The rumination that endued was gut wrenching. You see, I just finished creating a Reconstructed Rib Roast and it turned out very well. I wondered to myself if I could do the same thing with the Lamb. I must have circled that Lamb in the case several times. i was like a vulture. I walked over to produce section and pondered.....What if? Then I walked over to the deli case.....Maybe? So I deliberated just a little while longer and took the plunge and swaddled that Lamb into my my arms and place carefully in my cart like a proud pappa....I did it. I will say right off that I knew going into this it would be challenging. Lets face it a Leg of Lamb is very different than a Rib Roast. With a Rib-Roast you only have to deal with the Backbone and one or two interwoven muscles. The Leg of Lamb is a dang leg and reconstructing it will be difficult.......Why? because it's a dang leg. Yea I said it again. I did something similar last year and it turned out very well. I called it Lamstrami!!!!! With the Lamstrami there were many different steps and I bought it boneless. I have made Boneless Leg of Lamb before but leg in will be a first for me.  

This was not easy to break down. I removed the bones and thick gamy hard fat and silver-skin. 

All broken down and bones removed. I roasted the bone and gave it to the dog.

Initially I thought after tasting the rub it was overpowering. But after I cooked everything all the flavors married and it turned out pretty darn good. Just needs a few tweaks. Anyhow I combined everything together in a bowl and applied it to the reconstructed Lamb. 

Transglutaminase was sprinkled on the lamb then I sprinkled on the spice mixture. Trying to figure out how to reassemble this now boneless Leg of Lamb was not easy. 

Rolled up and Vacuumed sealed. 

I Sous-Vide the Lamb at 131 degrees for 24 hours. After the 24 hour water bath I submerge the vacuumed sealed lamb into ice bath to cool off then I refrigerated overnight

Apple Smoked for 90 minutes at 200 degrees. I didn't want the meats internal temp to go beyond 131-degrees so refrigerating the meat overnight mitigated this concern.

Using the Searzall to brown the outside a bit. I am not sure this was really necessary and probably will not do this in the future. 

Here are my thoughts on this little project. Overall somewhat satisfied with the way it turned out. The spice rub could be tweaked little but but not bad at all. The searzall was not necessary. The smoke at the end was all that was really needed. Will I do it again.....yes. Oh and by the way 24 hrs in the SV was not necessary either. I think 18-20 hrs would have sufficed. 


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Prime Rib Reconstructed 2

The genesis of this is project started here.....Prime Genesis. Striving to do better this my second attempt at the "Prime-Rib Reconstructed". I knew I had it in me to do a better job. You can describe me as somewhat of a perfectionist. All awhile in the midst of making this fanciful foodie master piece I will still making improvements. These after thoughts can be found at the end of the post titled final thoughts. 

What can I say I am always on the quest for bigger and better. 

Now don't get me wrong my first attempt came out pretty darn good but there is always room for improvement. With this post I will not go into all the nitty-gritty but will give you a little insight with pretty pictures to what has changed. Whats up with the picture of the steer? That's full on powerful Black Angus Beef!!! Yea, it makes my mouth water too. Yup that's where our food comes from and I am proud to say I eat beef.
Started out with another Rib-Roast only slightly smaller. There were bigger ones but they did not meet my criteria. 
Just breaking it down separating the muscles and removing the undesirables. Thick fat and silver skin. I will reserve the thick fat and residual meat for salamis and sausages.
Muscles separated. Now on to the trimming.
Mostly trimmed. I need to work on removing the silver-skin a bit more.
Prepping Herbs. Parsley, Rosemary and Thyme.
Sprinkling on the Transglutaminase.
Salted (Dry-Brine) and ready to be rolled.
Rolling up herbs inside the plastic wrap.
Piercing to remove air-bubbles.
Tied up and ready for Vacuumed seal.
Vacuumed Sealed and Sous-Vide for 16 hours at 128 degrees.
All cooked and ready for the smoke.
 While the meat enjoyed at 90 minute smoke at 200 degrees I got the charcoal ready for the Blazing.

Using a charcoal chimney starter I blasted the roast to create that much loved browned aka Maillard reaction surface. 

Final Thoughts

It came out great!!! What would I change? If I was to do this again I would SV at 125 knowing that I was going to apply smoke. 60 minutes of smoking would have sufficed. I should have used Crushed pepper corns in the plastic wrap. 

Lets not forget the bones...