A cure for what ails ya

May 20, 2012

Prep for smoked salmon, corned buffalo brisket. Yum!

I’m curing.

Not, mind you, in the lame/halt/sick sense of the word. No, I’m using salt and sugar and spices and stuff.

Specifically, I’m double-stacking the curing process in the fridge, with a Pyrex dish of salmon fillets weighted down by a buffalo brisket in another Pyrex dish, weighted down with two bags of dry beans. All sitting on a glass plate, so it’ll catch the drips. We’ll have smoked salmon sometime tomorrow evening, and corned buffalo sometime over the holiday weekend.

Salmon fillets, covered in dry cure.

I just had an urge, though I’d been thinking about corned buffalo for a while. I have two buffalo briskets in the freezer, albeit I can’t find but one of them (they’re small things, only about a pound and a half). So I figured, OK, I’ll corn one of them, because I’m thinking about some smoked salmon, anyway, and if I’m going to get in the notion, I might as well get in the notion.

So first there was the salmon. I had a pound and a quarter package of wild-caught Alaskan salmon I’d picked up a while back at Kroger, with the notion of sous-viding it. I fished about on the web for a bit, and found a recipe on chow.com that looked doable. I altered it a bit, of course.

I took equal parts sugar and salt, and mixed in some dried dill and some chopped fennel fronds. Put some in the bottom of the baking dish, put the salmon on top, covered it with the rest of it. Put a sheet of plastic wrap over that, sat the next baking dish on top. The brisket went into that, and the Alton Brown brine made up of Morton Tender Quick, sugar, a cinnamon stick, allspice berries,bay leaves, cloves, juniper berries and peppercorns and water got poured over that. More plastic wrap. Dry beans atop that, as the brisket seemed to wish to float, and oh, hell, that squishes things down enough there’s brine leaking out. Fortunately, it did NOT make it through the other plastic wrap to the salmon; not sure what Tender Quick might’ve done to salmon.

Ready for the fridge.

The salmon comes out of its cure tomorrow evening and will go on the smoker. I discovered today, through the scientific process of smoking a pork butt on the gas grill, that I can keep the temp down to around 170 with two burners on; with one burner, I should be able to get lower than that.  The corned buffalo will stay in the brine until next weekend and come out, and then it’ll go in the sous vide for 24 hours. And then, just for the hell of it, it may get put on the grill as well to give it a nice crust. But be assured some of it will make hash to go with duck eggs for breakfast about Memorial Day morning.

Meanwhile, I am candying fennel and tending to the aforementioned pork butt. Going to roast some root veggies and grill some squash later to complete dinner. And in between, try to catch up on a little work and a little cooking and cleaning and do a bajillion loads of laundry. You and y’mama ‘n ’em have a wonderful Sunday afternoon, and I’ll get back to you on the salmon.

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