When I published Ruhlman’s Twenty last year, Rob Levitt, proprietor of an old-school butcher shop in the great meat city of Chicago called The Butcher & Larder, invited me to talk about technique while we made sausage and soup. It was so much fun and Rob, who happened also to be a graduate of the Chef Pardus school of kick-your-ass, was such a delight, I’m doing another Chicago event with him on Friday, October 19, at Floriole Cafe and Bakery, with my partner in Salumi, Brian Polcyn. (Details here on Rob’s site.) It’s a great pleasure to see people such as Rob and his wife, Allie, doing things the right and the good way. Making use of the whole animal, for instance (Rob, what the hell is a “chuck flap”? a “Paleron steak”? Want!). Read On »

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To celebrate this week’s publication of Salumi, my and Brian Polycn’s deeper quest into the craft of dry-curing meat, I’m giving away three copies signed by both me and Brian to three commenters on this post. For those who aren’t clear on the definition (and Italians don’t make things easy), salumi refers to Italian cured or preserved meats—mostly dry-cured, and mostly made from pig parts—everything from guanciale to mortadella to prosciutto. Salami, with an A rather than a U, are dry-cured sausages and are one of the many preparations that salumi comprises. My aim, as in much of my cookbook work, is to simplify what seems to be complicated. When I walked into my first salumeria, I was astonished by the variety available. Case upon case of salumi, whole sections devoted to different kinds of Read On »

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In the same way you would never think to buy grocery store ground pork to make salami, why should you settle for grocery store ground beef—at least at times when you want to have a really great burger? I understand convenience, but I want to encourage people to grind their own meat. Read more below, in what is becoming an annual post Donna and I are on assignment in Italy and France. In the meantime, don’t forget that Salumi is coming out next month! —M.R. Originally posted on June 24, 2009 Hamburger Technique I published this post almost two years ago, at the end of summer—but a chance email thanking me for the technique dropped into my in-box today and I decided to put it up again at the start of grilling season. I’m not always real quick Read On »

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Michael is taking a break from the blog for 10 days. He remains, he says, “very grateful to the readers and especially to the commenters who have offered so much great thought, information, skepticism, and humor.” He hopes to be back a week from Wednesday, provided he does not lose his way, and until then is reposting some of the posts other readers have found useful. — Emilia  Charcuterie at Home: Beef Jerky Originally posted March 2, 2009 Among the most easy and satisfying preservation techniques is beef jerky: cut strips of lean beef (the less expensive the cut, the better), salt and season them, let them cure for a day in the fridge, then spread them out on a rack to dry. When my daughter asked me to buy some at the store, I Read On »

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So, out of nowhere, Donna says, “Hey.” She was just heading down to the basement for something. She stopped. She said, “What if you took the skin off those thighs, boned them out, chopped up the meat, and added aromats and stuff and rewrapped them in the skin and roasted it all till the skin was really crispy? Wouldn’t that be good?” Then she left. Just. Left. Left me there with this idea hanging like a slow curve over home plate that is sweet to knock out of the park. Damn her! When I buy chicken parts (no, can’t always buy the best pasture-raised birds, alas), I buy thighs, because they’re the tastiest part of the chicken and have a good meat to fat ratio, perfection for what Donna just described. Using the skin as Read On »

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