Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

Posts Tagged ‘curing’

A Guide: Curing Salts in Home-Smoked Meats

A Guide: Curing Salts in Home-Smoked Meats

Photo by Rob Baas. In a few weeks’ time, a big rosy pork shoulder ham will have pride of place on millions of American tables. Its very color is a harbinger of spring, the result of a preservation process using curing salt. (Without this special salt, the meat would not be pink; it would be the same shade of tan as a cooked pork chop.) The details have been lost to history. But thousands of years ago—as early as 3000 B.C.—mankind discovered salt not only delayed the spoilage of precious proteins like meat and fish, but when laced with small amounts of sodium nitrate, sodium nitrite, or potassium nitrate (saltpeter) there were even more benefits: an appealing color,...

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For Your Easter Table: Ham in a Hurry

For Your Easter Table: Ham in a Hurry

Ham is hog’s leap to immortality. But that leap takes time. From a few weeks for your basic cooked ham to up to a year or more for a truly great dry-cured, cold-smoked ham like Italian speck or German schwartzwelder schinken (Black Forest ham). Even the “fast” version of the Smokehouse Shoulder Ham I demonstrated on Project Smoke last season requires a week of curing and 24 hours of smoking. But what if there was a ham you could cure in...

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Pastrami Reuben

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Pastrami Reuben

Photo by Rob Baas. Call me an iconoclast, but I believe there are better ways to celebrate the Feast of St. Patrick (March 17) than by emptying a vacuum-sealed pouch of corned beef brisket into a pot of boiling water with cabbage wedges. Even if you’re a homesick Irishman, it doesn’t sound like anything to, well, write home about. What is worth writing home about is a Reuben sandwich made with home-cured, home-smoked pastrami. But don’t take my word for it. Our grill wrangler/recipe tester,...

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Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 2

Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 2

Photo by jeffreyw via Creative Commons. Recently we told you about the fascinating history of pastrami. (Hint—it involves camels, geese, and beef navels.) This time I’m going to reveal the 8 steps to pastrami nirvana, complete with my fail-proof recipe for pastrami you cook like barbecued brisket. The only other thing you need is mustard. The meat: The traditional cut for pastrami is beef navel—a rectangular muscle richly striated with fat from the underbelly of the steer and typically...

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Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 1

Home-Smoked Pastrami, Part 1

Photo by Richard Dallett. If you think to eat killer pastrami you need to visit a landmark deli in Manhattan, you haven’t been to Fette Sau BBQ in Brooklyn. Or The Granary in San Antonio. Or The Local Pig in Kansas City. America is experiencing a pastrami renaissance with soulfully cured, assertively spiced smoked meat turning up at top barbecue joints across the country. Darkly crusted with crushed coriander seed and fiery with black pepper. Meat so moist it squirts when you cut into it and so flavorful, you...

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Taking the Cure: Of Nitrites, Prague Powder, and Other Curing Salts

Taking the Cure: Of Nitrites, Prague Powder, and Other Curing Salts

Picture the incarnadine color of corned beef and pastrami. The shimmering translucence and satin texture of Spanish lomo (cured pork loin) and bresaola and bündnerfleisch (respectively, Italian and Swiss air-dried beef). The rich hammy flavor of bacon, prosciutto, and jamon serrano. The complex umami flavors, not to mention the remarkable shelf life of dry-cured sausage and salami. All owe these hunger-inducing attributes to substances steeped in ancient tradition and modern controversy—sodium nitrate (NaNO3) and sodium nitrite (NaNO2)—the active ingredients in curing...

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How to Make Bacon from Scratch

How to Make Bacon from Scratch

If you live in Miami’s Little Havana, you may remember a day last summer when you awoke to an aroma decidedly different than the cumin, garlic, and sour orange scents that normally emanate from the lechón asado (roast pork) parlors in this Cuban neighborhood. It was a pork smell, alright, but mingled with the smoke of slow smoldering hickory and apple wood. It was a smell you’d associate with a smokehouse in backwoods Tennessee. Which was no accident, because when James...

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