Porkstrami! June 14, 2013Posted by Peeps in Cooking, Home, random stuff.
My wife and I were looking through the latest issue of Bon Appetit magazine a week or so ago. It’s not our favorite food magazine, but it’s usually interesting.
There was a one page article on food halls being the new food trucks. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever. But it mentioned a place in D.C. called the Red Apron Butchery that does something they call “porkstrami”. This got our attention.
We did a little looking online and found a few mentions of the stuff, but no references as to how it’s made.
But the more we thought about it, the more we were liking the idea. Pastrami made from pork. How could this be a bad thing? So, we figured that since I already make my own pastrami, why couldn’t I make this? So, not knowing how, and since I have the free time, it was time to try.
I picked up a pork shoulder at the store and had them bone and butterfly it, so that it was a relatively uniformly sized piece of meat.
It went into the same curing brine that I use for making pastrami. Kosher salt, sugar, curing salt, pickling spice, brown sugar, honey and garlic in about a gallon of water. In the fridge for five days. No problem.
Sunday was the big day. I ground equal parts of black peppercorns and whole coriander for the outside and was ready to start.
Now, the one thing my wife and I couldn’t agree on was how to put it in the smoker. She thought that rolling and tying it up before the spice rub would be the way to go. Me, I was thinking that leaving it flat would be just the ticket. Unable to decide, I did both.
I started with about a seven pound pork shoulder. I cut it in half and rolled and tied one half as tight as I could manage. The other half I left alone.
Both halves get covered in the spice rub and we’re ready to go.
It was a perfect day for smoking. I had already had some pork belly curing, and we had also bought a pork loin so that we could put some of that on the smoker, too. I mean, you might as well fill the thing if you’re going to use it at all. My wife was a little concerned that the bacon was going to drip onto the porkstrami. But what is not improved by a little bacon fat?
After about two hours, most everything was ready to come out. The flat version of the porkstrami was just perfect.
The pork loin and the bacon turned out just right. The rolled and tied porkstrami needed more cooking time. But we’d already expected that.
Another hour and a half or so, and it’s time to take the last of the porkstrami off the smoker. We spent the rest of the afternoon nibbling on both versions as well as the bacon and pork loin. Go figure.
The verdict? Porkstrami is definitely a thing. It’s pretty good. The coriander and black pepper on the outside adds a great flavor to the cured pork. And since pork and smoke are such great friends, the whole thing works very well. The rolled and tied version takes longer in the smoker. The flat version has a better meat to rub ratio, I think. And is a little less fussy to get ready. Either way, it didn’t suck.
The next day I got the meat slicer out and sliced it all as thin as I could manage. Most of it went into the freezer for another day, but I left a little in the fridge for lunches and/or snacks for this week. We have not given it the ultimate test of heating it like pastrami. Maybe in the next week or so. In the meanwhile, we’ve tried it and liked it a lot. And pork shoulder is much cheaper than beef brisket. Although, I wouldn’t mind trying it again with a hunk of pork loin. Just as an experiment.
And who knows? Maybe this will catch on. And we can say that we did it ages ago. Heh.