Schwarzwälder Schinken

Also known as Black Forest Ham… but this is NOT the stuff at the deli.  This is the cured, brined, smoked and dried version made in the Black Forest area of Germany.  I dried one in the open air and dried one in an UMAi dry bag for comparison’s sake.

IMG_3401The dry bags worked very well with the salami and rib roast as both were raw.  I don’t think they are really necessary for the ham due to the heavy smoking.

IMG_3405About the only difference is the fact that the open air piece is still smooth where the dry bag piece has a wrinkled appearance from the bag bonding to the meat before drying and shrinking.

IMG_3409The first of four sections sliced – beautiful color

IMG_3410The taste test slice

I forgot how much I love the smokiness of this cured meat.  Reminds me of islay scotch… it’s the smokiest scotch I’ve had, and, although many don’t like it, I seem to have a fondness for the smoky aroma and flavor.  I need to get another bottle and see how the scotch and ham pair together.

IMG_34144 end pieces and 4 center pieces

Anyone for a charcuterie board? Come on over!


Dry Aged Prime Rib – Part II

Well the Superbowl didn’t quite turn out how I expected, but dinner was an unqualified success!  I pulled the roast out of the refrigerator at 2pm to rest at room temperature for an hour and preheated the oven to 450° F.  The roast went in at that temp at 3:00 PM for 15 minutes to get things going.

IMG_3359Starting to brown after 15 minutes at 450° F

I turned the oven down to 250° F and let it roast until 4:45 PM.  With the roast in the oven, I selected my wine.  I decided on a bottle of Australian shiraz that had aged a bit and would hopefully be nice & smooth.

IMG_3363 I decanted the wine at 3:30 PM to let it open up for a good 2 hours.  I was pleasantly surprised with a great match for the roast and an incredibly smooth wine for a $20 bottle that I’d tucked away about 8 years ago.

Guests arrived and the big reveal was upon us.  I pulled the roast out of the oven to rest to lots of oohs and aahs.

IMG_3364Resting before carving

I let it rest for 20 minutes while the potatoes, peas and salad were finished.  After resting, I cut the roast off the rack whole and then separated the ribs for extra treats for men at the table.  The center was a nice medium rare with the end slices at medium for those a little less excited about their food mooing at them.



The first slice with separated ribs

I carved and plated with sautéed mushrooms, horseradish, au jus and a choice of truffle butter or porcini butter.  Table service isn’t quite up to white tablecloth fancy restaurant status with all the separate dishes – we piled everything but the salad on our dinner plates and feasted!

IMG_3369Dinner is served!

I should’ve taken a picture before the mushrooms, truffle butter and bonus rib treat, but alas I forgot.  At that point, I wasn’t thinking clearly… I had that little cartoon bubble above my head with the cartoon picture of a slab of meat.

So… was it all worth it? ABSOLUTELY!!!  The meaty flavor was so concentrated and intense that the rib roast i fixed for Christmas tasted bland by comparison.  I don’t think I will fix anything but a dry aged prime rib again.  I will most certainly pre-plan for a few for dinner events each year.  The 10lb roast is perfect for 6-8 people… who’s up for the next feast?




Dry Aged Prime Rib – Part I

I fixed a 10lb bone-in prime rib for Christmas dinner and bought another one at the same time for my first dry aged beef adventure.  I used an UMAi Dry bag to package and dry age the rib roast (the same stuff I talked about in my salami post).  From what I’ve read, you don’t really see a flavor improvement until 30 days while 45-day aging usually wins the taste tests and 60-day aging tends to be for those especially fond of the particular flavors dry aging imparts.  My pre-Christmas purchase and Superbowl weekend made for a perfect 45-day project.

1ribroast10lb bone-in rib roast from Jamison Meats (19-Dec-2013)

The bones are covered with wet paper towel to keep the edges from cutting through the bag.  The bag is vac sealed and the material bonds to the surface of the meat, both protecting and allowing moisture to escape.2baggedBagged roast ready to dry age (19-Dec-2013)

Superbowl weekend is here.  The Colts gave it a go but didn’t quite make it.  Good triumphed over evil when Peyton and the Broncos sent Brady and the Patriots to Omaha for the off season.  With all being right in the football world, I went downstairs and got my aged prime rib out for prep day.

IMG_332445-day aged rib roast – noticeably darker – ready for the reveal

I weighed the roast out of curiosity.  The 10lb roast had turned into an 8.25lb dry-aged roast.  All the flavor but less water hopefully translates into really intense flavor!  I’m excited already!

IMG_3325Out of the bag

IMG_3327Paper towels removed from the bone edges

IMG_3329Close up of the dry surface of the meat

To get this ready to eat, I trimmed the hard, dry surface off to reveal the aged meat beneath.

IMG_3332Deep, dark red meat beneath the hard, dry brown exterior

IMG_3340Beautiful!!! All trimmed and ready to season

I measured the trim, too.  Almost exactly 1lb of trim – jerky treats for Jack and Razz – left me with a 7.25lb roast.

IMG_3345Ready to season

I bought a Groupon not too long ago for Spice Merchants in the Village at Winona Lake.  Among other things, I bought a bag of butcher’s blend seasoning and a bag of Montreal steak seasoning.  Without those, I probably would have used McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning. I mixed 2 tablespoons of butcher’s blend and 1 tablespoon of Montreal steak seasoning together with 1/2 tablespoon of extra salt.  I rubbed the whole roast with that blend and put it in the refrigerator for a day of rest and reflection (ok… maybe the roast won’t reflect on much but it sounded profound).

IMG_3352Rubbed with the salt and spice blend

IMG_3354Rib rack side down ready to rest and roast!

Next up… Rest at room temperature for an hour while the oven pre-heats to 450° F.  Roast for 15 minutes at 450° F and the lower the temperature to 250° F for about 2 hours.  Let it rest for about 15-20 minutes while the au jus, sautéed mushrooms, mashed potatoes and peas are finished.  Carve table side (ok… so that’s not so much a big deal when the kitchen and dining room are right next to each other, but it sounds fancy and this is my story) right off the rack of ribs and serve with horseradish and wee bit o’ truffle butter to melt into the meat.  Hmmm… I better go have a look in the wine cabinet and pick out a bottle…

Part II will be the roasting, carving and plating pictures to complete the adventure.  Stay tuned!