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Monday, March 14, 2011

Corned Yak!

For the charcuterie challenge this month I made a corned Yak!

Yes, like corned beef only instead of beef I used Yak meat. I'm all about using what I have you know and yes.. I have Yak meat, so Yak it was.

The basic brining challenge for charcutepalooza this month was a chicken or pork, with the advanced challenge being a corned beef. In traditional form I broke rank and made mine Yak meat. As of writing this I have no idea how it was -- but it did smell good when I took it out of the brine and put it into a freezer bag.
:( sad face , sigh..
Yes freezer bag.

I know it's only three short days till the quintessential holiday intimately associated with corned critters of the beef kind. And in my delirium I mistakenly believed my adventurous family would be all about corned yak this year instead of corned beef. Alas.... I was mistaken.
Imagine my dismay as my family responded with sad sighs to my delightful cries that the Yak would be finished brining just in time for St. Patty's sad.
So tomorrow it's off to the grocery store I go to (gasp) purchase a commercially made "traditional" corned beef to serve for our St. Patty's Day.

Yes -- I have had my balloon deflated. My bubble has burst. I have no desire to photograph my beautiful piece of meat this month. I rinsed it, stuck it in the freezer bag and plunked it in the freezer. At a later date -- not perfectly suited for corned critters I will bring it out and wow them with it. They didn't reject it completely -- just insisted on eating boring old beef for St. Patty's Day. Horrified at the almost sacrilege of not serving beef, they insisted and I didn't want to not "ruin" the holiday meal, so I caved. If only I had known, I might have purchased a brisket a week and a half ago.

Here is how I did it in case you were wondering..

I dissolved 1 cup of kosher salt in 4 quarts of boiling water in a pan on the stove.

I stirred and waited for the salt to completely dissolve and then added all the spices.
I used my regular, usual homemade secret mix of pickling spices (3T.),

12 cloves of garlic, crushed,
and 8 bay leaves.
I also threw in a good sized sprig of fresh rosemary I had knocking around in my fridge and of course a lovely piece of about 3 pounds of Yak meat, all marbled and tasty looking.
Once the brine was cooled, I put everything in a 2 gallon Ziploc style bag inside my Kitchen Aid mixer bowl. (no problem that it won't be able to be used for about 2 weeks since the kitchen aid mixer is now a $300+ paperweight arranged decoratively on my counter top at the moment, we aren't talking about that.. ) and the bowl, bag and meat found a nice cool home in the extra garage fridge for about a week and a half.

Hmmm.. sounds easy doesn't it? -- yep it was!
No nitrates, No MSG, no mystery spices.. just my style!

Honestly, I was extremely happy when I found out the challenge was brining because it's something I've never tried. Despite hearing often about other's wonderful brined turkey, and the virtues of brining lovely little chickens and such. I had hoped to be truly ambitious and brine a chicken and a pork product of my choosing, but I simply didn't get around to it. So hopefully after reading all the other posts and getting back my steam I will finally try my hand at brining a bird-like critter too! Oh how I love the change of pace and all the new things I"m learning to do on my own.

***Oh, and a special thanks to my good buddy Laura who on her bi-annual trek to my house the other day gifted me with her presence and the beautiful Charcuterie book that started this whole business of Charcutepalooza! Ah.. such good friends should be treasured .. So now I can charcutepalooza the right way!

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