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  • Peach-Coffee Glaze - So fucking delicious. For once, I kept great notes.

    150g Smith's Super Store Carolina Peach Syrup (pictures below)
    130g strongly brewed black coffee
    100g bottled peach juice
    20g Uncle Steve's Ribbon Cane Blend Syrup
    10g sherry vinegar
    5g soy sauce
    1g Worcestershire sauce
    .5g Tabasco

    Combine all ingredients and reduce slowly over medium heat until it thickens to a glaze. Reserve.

  • Fresh peach - I lucked out with some delicious peaches from the little organic produce market by my house. Fantastic flavor and the perfect texture; I don't like runny, squishy stone fruit! So many people are enamored of stonefruit when it gets to the point it's so juicy you can barely pick it up without your fingers digging deep ruts into its flesh. Not me. I like my stonefruit firm but still juicy. Those qualities can co-exist, they just only do so for a very short window in the season. I managed to hit it. I just peeled the peach with a paring knife (didn't want to bother blanching and shocking for a single peach), then sliced it.

  • Cylindrical Hushpuppy - This component was tasty, but not perfect, for one or more of the following reasons: 1) The hush puppy recipe I based mine on was not perfect; 2) by combining the ingredients and then setting the batter into cylinders, I wasted the initial lightening action of the "double-acting" baking powder (which, according to McGee, likely had at least four different "actions" of leavening, which activate at different temperatures; 3) the overnight period of chilling and resting mine went through made the gluten develop in the flour, making the hushpuppies a bit tough. Still, they were pretty tasty despite them not being as light as I'd hoped. Everyone finished theirs. Here's how I did it:

    150g cornmeal (1 cup)
    80g AP flour (1/2 cup)
    10g scallion
    25g crispy, rendered, finely chopped bacon
    5g kosher salt
    1g ground black pepper
    .4g cayenne pepper
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/3 tsp baking soda
    47g whole egg (i.e., one large egg)
    1/2 cup buttermilk
    1/16 cup bacon grease, heated just enough to liquefy

    Combine the dry ingredients and whisk to disperse. Add the wet ingredients and stir briefly to mostly combine. Transfer to a piping bag and pipe into prepared cylinder molds (I use cannoli molds with a sheet of oil-wiped acetate rolled up inside). Chill until ready to use. When ready, remove acetate and unroll gently. With a palette knife or spatula, divide each cylinder in half, and drop each half into frying oil at 350F (177C). The hushpuppy is done very quickly, around a minute. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Salt while it is still warm. Trim off ends before serving to expose the innards of the hushpuppy.

  • Hushpuppy crumbs - Leftover hushpuppy batter as described above, piped onto baking sheet in little mounds like gougeres. Baked at 400F (204C) until crust formed on the outside, then broked apart and dehydrated at 170F for around 2 hours. Then pulsed to grind up in a food processor.

  • Collard greens - I didn't want to include these, because it was just too obvious a reference, but in the end, it just went well. Collard greens, chiffonade, pan-fried in a very hot pan with a bit of bacon grease.

  • Pork Belly - Brined and then cooked sous vide for 24 hours @ 160F (71.1C), as described below. After cooking sous vide, while it's cooling in the fridge, weight it down with something heavy and flat, such as a sheet pan with heavy stuff on it. This compresses and flattens the belly, and makes it looker better and crisp up evenly. At service, score the fat side and crisp it up in a saute pan while weighted down, again, with something flat and heavy (I put a cast iron pan directly on top of the crisping pork belly, and then sometimes put something heavy in the cast iron pan). This weighting also keeps the belly from curling up and helps the fat to render. Once the belly was crisp, I poured the fat out of the pan and added the glaze. Just roll the belly around in the glaze to coat (or if the glaze is too watery to coat, let it cook down for a while in the pan with the pork belly--it won't hurt the pork belly). Transfer the belly to a cutting board and trim it on at least one side to expose the nice pink meat for presentation. That way, you also get to eat the scraps.

    In my attempts to find the best combination of temperature and time for sous vide pork belly, I have tried all the way from 36 hours @ 142F (61.1C) to 12 hours @ 182F (83.3C). I've settled for now on 24 hours @ 160F (71.1C) because I think it provides the right combination of tender moistness but still holds together like a single piece of meat. Pork belly, cooked at higher temperatures, tends to fall apart along the fat seams. On the other hand, at lower temperatures, the fat seems to stay more firm and doesn't render as much while cooking sous vide. This can lead to the finished product seeming very, well, fatty, because the fat seems to contain more of the liquid fat until you bite into it. At this middle temperature, the pork belly is perfectly tender, but can still be sliced, and the fat does not feel so fatty in the mouth. My pork belly brine recipe is as follows:

    Pork Belly Brine
    950g water
    50g kosher salt
    4g pink curing salt
    50g dark brown sugar
    1g bird's eye chilis (about 10 of the little guys)
    1g bay leaves (about 4 whole)
    .5g dried thyme leaves

    Heat all ingredients together until salt and sugar have dissolved completely, then let cool to refrigerator temperature. Submerse pork belly in brine (this amount of brine is appropriate for about a 6"x6" piece of belly) for at least 24 hours (the brine doesn't take quite this long to do its work, but the nitrates in the sel rose take time to do their work, giving the finished product a nice, pink color, instead of the grayish brown it would otherwise turn.

Posted by Barzelay on 2009/06/10 @ 2:01 | Comments (8) | Baking, Meat, Sauces, Condiments, Veggies, Fruit, Grain, Cheese


Can we please make this when I'm in town? Looks phenomenal.

Posted by: Marc at June 11, 2009 10:00 AM

Of course. How much of it do you want me to do before you get here?

Posted by: Barzelay at June 12, 2009 12:20 AM

That looks incredible!! Nice use of the cylinder molding technique. I wish I could eat that dish right now! Awesome!

Posted by: mrjeffmccarthy at June 12, 2009 9:16 AM

How can I purchase some Uncle Steve's syrup?

Posted by: Kay at October 8, 2009 2:37 PM

Where can I purchase the Uncle Steve's Syrup?

Posted by: Kay at October 8, 2009 2:59 PM

Kay, I can't remember where I got the Uncle Steve's, but I'm pretty sure it was just a normal store somewhere. It might have been a place like Dean & DeLuca, but I thought it was just a regular grocery store somewhere. The Smith's Super Store Carolina Blend Peach Syrup, on the other hand, is only available from Smith's Super Store, on I-95 in Santee, South Carolina.

Posted by: Barzelay at October 8, 2009 3:37 PM

i was checking out your post and wanted to know how thick the pork belly you used. i have a thin one 1 inch to 1 3/4 inch thick and after 15 hours i pressed on it and my thumb went into the meat. it seemed very tender with a little resistance.

Posted by: bo at April 11, 2011 7:17 AM

Bo, that's around the thickness that I typically use. Every belly is a bit different, and different parts of the belly can vary in their cooking times depending on how meaty or fatty that particular section is, the age of the hog, etc. You always have to check the pieces and cook them until they are tender. That said, 15 hours definitely shouldn't have been TOO tender. It SHOULD be VERY tender before you stop the cooking process and chill it down. I just did some bellies for a dinner two weeks ago and they took 28 hours at 70C.

Posted by: Barzelay at April 12, 2011 8:53 PM