Saturday, June 14, 2014

Veal Navel Pastrami

Veal Navel Pastrami
Before writing this blog on yet another Pastrami I tried to answer a predictable yet old question about the Ethical Objections to Veal? If you're curious click the link. 

Belly, Navel or Plate it's all the same to me meaning it's all good.  So what is Pastrami? Pastrami is just cured meat

It's my goal to make as many pork charcuterie replicas as possible and the caveat of course is to use Biblical Kosher animals only. What makes this one so different?'s the meat I am using. I am using the delectable Veal Navel or belly (plate) as some call it. 

I was able to special order this Veal Belly at Stewart's Meats in Yelm WA. It cost $140.00 bucks for this delectable piece of heaven. If you add in the Gas and toll I am sure it's closer to $160.00 bucks for this hunk of meat but it's all worth it. I will be able to make a Veal-Cetta, Veal Pastrami and a Veal Stock from this belly. 

First time working with Veal plate. Very easy and pliable to work with.

Here is a picture of both sides of the Veal. It still has to be broken down. 

Some great pics of meat being broken down. 

Section of bones. 

Bones, bones and bones!!! Breaking everything down for a Veal Stock. 

Lots of scraps for my stock.

My scraps all sealed up for future use. 

This section will be used for my Veal Navel Pastrami.

This section will be used for the Veal-Cetta. 
 instructions and notes
This is an interesting recipe and one I have been working on for some time. In this version I decreased the salt from 3.56% to 2.7% and increased the cloves from .20% to .25%. I am hoping these adjustments will be a grand slam. I combined the salt and Cure#1 and rubbed it into the meat thoroughly getting into every nook and cranny. 

I took the whole spices and herbs, (Bay leaf, Grains of Paradise, Coriander, Juniper berries, Whole cloves and mustard seeds) and placed them in a dry pan and applied a little heat to them to bring out their essential oil. I then grounded them up in a spice grinder. 

I combined the the ground up spices with the remaining ingredients and applied them to both sides of the meat thoroughly. 

All Vacuumed Sealed up and will be flipped every day for 14 days. After curing I will rinse the pastrami and apply rub. The Pastrami will be cold smoked for several hours, than SEMI-Hot smoked at 150 degrees. I will than Sous-Vide the Pastrami for 24 hours at a 149 degree water temp. Note: with the brisket I Sous-vide it for 48 hours. This is veal and is more tender. After the Sous-Vide I will refrigerate over night (optional) and apply a light rub and Hot smoke again to form a better bark. When I say hot smoke I am talking about 180 degrees or below. 

The Temp out side was about 65 degrees. I used Apple pellets and the A-MAXE-N-PELLET-SMOKER.   I filled the water reservoir up with a bucket of ice and water. I used old fashion charcoal and apple wood to smoke the meat and of course using my Smokey Mountain Cooker makes it easy. The temp fluctuated between 175-200 degrees. I cold smoked for 2 1/2 hours and hot smoked for 3 hours.

All cooked and ready for a 24 hour Sous-vide.

Sitting in the water bath. After the 24 hour water bath I will chill it down in a ice water immersion. It will sit in the refrigerator over night. I will than give it a light coating of Rub and hot smoke at a very temp to create a great bark. 

Ok, all done smoking. Ready for the steam bath.

Of course I am using a commercial steamer. It will be done when a knife can pierce through the meat easily. 

All done. A thing of beauty.
Final thoughts are on bottom of page. Perfection all the way!!

This is the fattier section of the plate Pastrami. Amazing!!!!

Final thoughts: One word AMAZING!! One of the most tasty pastrami's I have ever made. I will not change a thing. Every step was perfect!!! The texture, the taste was to die for. Flavors not too pronounced or muted by the long Sous-vide process. The salt content this time was perfect. As you recall I reduced it a bit.

To recap all the steps to pull this off:

  • Buy Veal Plate
  • Prepare Belly and get spices and herbs in order.
  • Vacuum Seal and cure
  • Rinse
  • Fold and shape into desired shape
  • 36 hour rest in cooler
  • Apply Spices and sugar and Cold Smoke for 2-3 hours
  • Semi-Hot-Smoke at about 150-170 degrees for a couple of hours
  • Sous-Vide at 149 degrees for 24 hours. 
  • Ice bath for 3 hours
  • Refrigerate at least 24 hours
  • Apply another thin
    layer of spices
  • Semi-Hot-Smoke to create a better bark. 
  • Steam until tender
  • Slice thin
  • Eat until content

Opinions- Now having made Pastrami over a dozen times using plate, duck, and brisket I have become somewhat of an aficionado on the subject. Having brined and dry cured many pastrami's I would have to say my preference is dry curing. It produces a better flavor transfer and you have better control over salt percentages. 

Ethical Objections to Veal

Veal Belly What?

Before I blog about my Veal recipes Vealcetta and Veal Pastrami I am going to be presumptuous and address the $64,000 dollar question. Do I know where Veal comes from? Yes, Veal comes from young cattle that are typically slaughtered between 1-12 months. 

Are there genuine ethical objections to eating Veal? Yes, I believe there are ethical issues that are _____ fill in the blank. Everyone has their own lines and objections as to what is acceptable and what is not. 

Do I know how they're raised? Yes, and I probably know more than the average person. Are some young cattle raised in horrific conditions, yes. Am I consuming these young animals? No, I don't believe so. I purchase my meat from Local butchers who uses local farms that raise Veal naturally that are USDA inspected and hormone and Antibiotic free. 

Here is a great example of properly raised Calves at Provitello Farms.

Hopefully this has provoked you a little to keep reading. Who knows you might become a Vegan after reading this blog or eat Meat and Dairy with a clear conscience. Keep reading if you dare. 

What do you know about milk production? Do you consume dairy? Did you know that in order to maintain a constant supply of milk cows are forced to go through an endless cycle of pregnancy and birth. I won't go into all the gory details but believe me when I say they are bad. 

All forms of dairy farming involve forcibly impregnating cows. Even the free range organic hormone free Cows are forcibly impregnated if mother nature does not act.  

Stay with me for a moment and see if you can follow this logic. This logic applies only to Omnivores and dairy consumers of course. And if you choose not to eat Veal that is a personal choice and I respect that. 

Before you rush to judgment ponder the following. What happens to male offspring of Dairy Cows? Hmmmm....they're either killed at birth or raised for the meat aka Veal. Veal is a byproduct of dairy so if you consume dairy eat Veal. You could be saving a little guys life although it's a short one.

The humane thing to do is to eat veal, if we don't a lot of bull calves will be shot at birth and sent off to make pet food. If you consume dairy and I assume you are an ethical rational person who wants to be consistent then you should eat Veal. Do have a pet? What are you feeding your pet?

Do you eat cheese? Do you know how to make cheese? Rennet is used in cheese making and it comes from the fourth stomach of baby calves. There are non-animal sources available so if you have issues with Veal you should logically avoid cheese made with Rennet.   

Just Google Dairy Cows and you will get a slew of information on differing opinions. 

The Dairy Industry according to P.E.T.A  has thoughts on the subject too and they're not all wrong. Farms like the ones they describe do exist. But then again they would prefer you to be Vegans so their description of the farms might be skewed a bit. Anyhow they might be a little biased on how they present their information but it's not all wrong.

Would you eat Veal if they were raised organically, and raised in a natural way? Do you eat Beef, Lamb, chicken that are raised organically and raised naturally? Do you consume dairy? Do you only consume organically and naturally raised dairy? Do you know how dairy farmers get their milk? Dairy cows that are not raised organically and naturally live a lifestyle similar to young calves and probably much worse in most cases. Just read my previous paragraph about maintaining a constant supply of milk. 

How about eggs? Do you eat eggs? Are you comfortable eating eggs from hens that have had their life span reduced 10 fold so they can produce more eggs. Oh, so you will eat free range eggs that live outside of cages. Did you know that free range chicken eggs were probably fertilized and you are eating a embryo? 

"If you are a conscientious objector, a vegetarian/vegan and you consume dairy I have to spell it out for you.... I hope you get my point!!" 

"So in other words if you do not eat organic, free range Beef, chicken, eggs, Dairy etc you should have no problem eating Veal". 

"If you have ethical objections to Veal than you need to stop eating Bacon, Lamb, chicken and of course all forms of dairy." 

If you have Ethical objections to eating young animals consider the following. If you compare the total life expectancy of the animal to the estimate at which time they're slaughtered and calculate a percentage of total life based on total life expectancy you will notice that most animals are slaughtered very young. If you object to Veal because they are slaughtered young then you most consider other animals you eat. If you notice in the chart I included Red Veal but it is unlikely you will find any. Most Veal today is Rose veal and that's because it taste better. That being said the above chart is not perfect. I am sure you can find other numbers and % but to my knowledge it is quite accurate. 

Additionally, I guess you would have to define young to me because veal is one of the oldest food animals when it goes to market. Boom!!!

If you have ethical objections about how animals are treated you won't get any argument from me. From what I can see there is always room for improvement. Improvement yes, but with balance. Trying to do both is subjective and you are walking an ethical tightrope. "Ethical" is in the eye of the beholder. I.E do you, would you pay $ 20.00 a pound for a whole chicken to stand buy your ethics. Or do you want reasonable balance.  

"That's if you want to be logical" 

What are you choices than if you want to live a harmonious life?
  • Eat whatever you want and feel no guilt.  
  • Only eat naturally raised, Organic Veal, beef, dairy, Lamb and chicken.
  • Don't eat naturally raised, Organic beef, dairy, Lamb and chicken but don't judge others for eating VEAL. 
  • Be a hypocrite and judge others 
  • Become a Vegan and join P.E.T.A
  • Be a silent conscientious objector.
  • Don't be silent but don't be a hypocrite.
  • Be consistent.