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Elk Brési w/ Wild Mushrooms & Labrador Tea

03.27.11

When butchering this cow elk in late November, I noticed how particularly perfect the shape and size of the eye of round would be for dry curing. No wonder it’s been done for eons. As usual, here I am, not innovating.

As I had run out of my first ‘test batch’, it was time for a more confident crack at it. Larger piece, thicker piece this time. I used Ruhlman’s  [poor Polcyn, always excluded] ratios of salt, sugar, pepper, and instacure #2, but for aromatics, looked to what I had as wild pantry items. Morel powder, shaggy parasol powder, wild thyme, and labrador tea. Sounded good in theory, but I suspected the labrador tea wouldn’t bring much to the party – that was until I crushed it with a mortar and pestle. Holy evergreen. Lovely evergreen. I hope that shows up in the final product. If so, it may become a standard terroir-driven pairing for me for this item.

So it’ll go into the fridge for a week, maybe two if I’m being forgetful(?) to cure, and then hung in the cellar for a long, long time. I’m going to guess two months minimum, with it being in a good zone for a few months past that. So I should be enjoying this through the summer with zippy salads, cheeses, and cold apple wine.

[update: this piece was scraped of aromatics and cellared March 27th. Told you I'd forget.]

7 Responses

  1. Now I have to google Labrador tea. What you don’t teach me! Sounds like you are in for another treat very soon!
    :)
    Valerie

  2. Judy Z. says:

    Whatever this tastes like your photos are truly art. I could easily see them framed and hanging in my kitchen or in a gallery for that matter.

  3. Deb Krause says:

    any updates on your dry curing?
    i’m just starting to get all my ducks in a row to start some myself…
    i love following your adventures! gives me confidence that i can do it myself too :)

  4. Kevin says:

    Deb – update = neglect. I let this particular product dry too long, and it was dry and hard as a piece of wood. The biggest lesson I’ve learned this past year is to keep on top of the items down in the cellar and when they hit an optimum, eat them, or get them wrapped in the fridge. Perhaps it’s my environment…

  5. Deb Krause says:

    oh, sadness :(

  6. Deb Krause says:

    when you wrap it for the fridge, do you prefer plastic wrap/bags or butcher’s paper?

  7. Kevin says:

    Deb – plastic wrap, generally. I’d think butcher paper wouldn’t be readily open/closable without significant holes to allow humidity to escape, and it to dry it out quickly. Plastic allows it to last a long, long, long time in the fridge.

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