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Porkstrami ~ Using A Jazzed-Up Version Of Pop's Brine On Boneless Pork Butt

thirdeye

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In a conversation a couple of months ago about porkstrami I tossed out the idea of using an injectable cure similar to the daveomak daveomak technique of making ham. Dave brought up the idea of using beer in the brine :emoji_thumbsup:. For this test run I combined Dave's ham injection technique with a cover brine to corn the pork. I started with a variation of Pop's Brine, then added 16 ounces of beer and really bumped up the aromatics and simmered for an hour or so. The brine was chilled overnight and then I added the Cure #1. Next, I calculated for an amount of brine equal to 10% of the weight of the meat, measured it into a shaker, and mixed in AmesPhos at the rate of 1.8 g/lb of meat. I used this liquid as my injection. The meat was bagged for 3 or 4 hours before adding it back to the brine. Curing time was 13 days. I rinsed, short soaked, dried and seasoned.... then let the roasts rest in the fridge for 15 hours or so.

I made 3 cross section roasts to increase the bark, and tied them for shape. Here they are after 13 days of corning, and after seasoning.

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Ready for the BDS... low-n-slo for 3 or 4 hours with pecan and cherry, then my usual pressure finish like I use on pastrami.

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I was going for a sliceable porkstrami, just like I do pastrami.... but I think pullable might have a place. Regardless, the bark really makes it.

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Here is what the porkstrami looks like chilled and sliced for a sandwich on sourdough.

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Hamdrew

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Big ole like; my default "ham" (buckboard bacon) has been gravitating more and more towards typical pastrami rubs.. Had a sandwich of one on an everything bagel just a couple hours ago, lol.

Pullable or even the "chopped"/crumbly in-between does have its place, but a fully rendered sliceable end-result is a little more difficult IMO. That said I 100% do prefer it pulled on a grilled cheese or for cubanos (and cubano pizzas).
 

kilo charlie

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I'm a little confused... you mentioned Pops Brine but then did a bunch of weighing etc.. ?

It looks fantastic and I bet it was delicious !
 

thirdeye

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I'm a little confused... you mentioned Pops Brine but then did a bunch of weighing etc.. ?

It looks fantastic and I bet it was delicious !
Knowing that I was going to make a very flavorful corning brine I wanted to use the "universal" nature of Pop's Brine with respect to the basics. In other words.... the variables in salt and sugar amounts, and 1 heaping tablespoon of Cure #1 for 1 gallon of brine. Most all commercially produced corned beef is done with a combination cure, immersion and injection. Pop's instructions also call for this when curing thick meats. So at this point I could have been good to go and I'm sure the results would have been very good.

However.... many commercially corned beef products have phosphates for added moistness, so I wanted to duplicate that as well. I've had such good luck with a 10% pump (containing phosphates) on all of the daveomak daveomak hams I've made that I decided to incorporate that technique as well. The measuring I did was 1) enough brine to equal 10% of the meat weight, and 2) the amount of AmesPhos to add to that small amount of brine based on the weight of the meat.

And yes, it was delicious. The brine had the "corned beef" odor, and the meat had the corned flavor (pickling spices, coriander, bay leaves, garlic, Old Bay, ginger, black pepper, cloves and beer). So instead of curing the pork, then seasoning with pastrami spices, I "corned" it, then used pastrami spices before smoking. Next up will be using the brine on some beef.
 

kilo charlie

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Knowing that I was going to make a very flavorful corning brine I wanted to use the "universal" nature of Pop's Brine with respect to the basics. In other words.... the variables in salt and sugar amounts, and 1 heaping tablespoon of Cure #1 for 1 gallon of brine. Most all commercially produced corned beef is done with a combination cure, immersion and injection. Pop's instructions also call for this when curing thick meats. So at this point I could have been good to go and I'm sure the results would have been very good.

However.... many commercially corned beef products have phosphates for added moistness, so I wanted to duplicate that as well. I've had such good luck with a 10% pump (containing phosphates) on all of the daveomak daveomak hams I've made that I decided to incorporate that technique as well. The measuring I did was 1) enough brine to equal 10% of the meat weight, and 2) the amount of AmesPhos to add to that small amount of brine based on the weight of the meat.

And yes, it was delicious. The brine had the "corned beef" odor, and the meat had the corned flavor (pickling spices, coriander, bay leaves, garlic, Old Bay, ginger, black pepper, cloves and beer). So instead of curing the pork, then seasoning with pastrami spices, I "corned" it, then used pastrami spices before smoking. Next up will be using the brine on some beef.

One of the last real time conversations I had with Pops about this very thing and "our" plan was to just use Pops Brine and the pickling spice in it to give the pork the earthy flavors and then of course the black pepper and coriander rub that pastrami is known for when it's smoked.. I'm glad you had success with your methods and it does renew my interest in my ideas.
 

thirdeye

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One of the last real time conversations I had with Pops about this very thing and "our" plan was to just use Pops Brine and the pickling spice in it to give the pork the earthy flavors and then of course the black pepper and coriander rub that pastrami is known for when it's smoked.. I'm glad you had success with your methods and it does renew my interest in my ideas.
Here is the brine recipe I came up with. I'm going to do at least two more to figure out if any changes are needed. One note was on the saltiness.... there is salt in my pastrami rub, so if there is too much salt in the brine the overall flavor could be too salty. Also, a whole roast would have less pastrami rub. I did like the amount of bark with the three pieces, but I want to try this on a 5# or 6# boneless butt. An alternate plan would be to mix my pastrami rub 50:50 with my garlic pepper seasoning. So, this really is a work in progress.

Porkstrami ~ A work in progress
  • Boneless pork butt, cut in half or thirds.
  • 112 ounces of water
  • 16 ounces of beer
  • 125g canning salt (reduce this?)
  • 30g white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons pickling spice (maybe reduce to 3T)
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds
  • 6 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Old Bay
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 tablespoon crushed ginger
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 22g Cure #1 (note: this is added after the brine has cooled back down)
  • AmesPhos – this is calculated at 1.8 g/lb of meat weight and mixed into an amount of brine that equals 10% of the meat weight.
  • Pastrami seasoning - thirdeye recipe (or a 50:50 mixture of pastrami seasoning and thirdeye's Garlic Pepper blend)


Day 1 - Combine all ingredients EXCEPT Cure #1 and AmesPhos, into a stock pot. Slowly bring up to a simmer and cook for 1 hour. Do not let this mixture come to a boil. Allow to cool on the stovetop, then refrigerate overnight. De-bone pork butt and slice into thick roast(s), tie with string so it holds it’s shape.

Day 2 – Strain the brine. Add the Cure #1 to the chilled brine and mix very well. Measure an amount of brine equal to 10% of the meat weight (for example: 2000g of meat needs 200g of brine for injecting). Calculate the amount of AmesPhos (1.8 g/lb of meat) and mix it into the 200g of brine. Inject the brine into the meat. Hold meat in a plastic bag for about 4 hours so the phosphate can start to work. Then add the meat into the covering brine, and cure for 13 days, agitating the liquid daily. Remove meat from brine rinse and soak about an hour. Pat the meat dry, add pastrami seasoning. Rest in the refrigerator 12 to 18 hours.

Day 3 – Smoke the meat for 3 or 4 hours or until it gets a nice color and the internal is ~160°. Move to pressure cooker with some pork broth. Process for 35 minutes, then use natural release. Check tenderness and if needed…. Process again for 5 or 6 minutes.

Notes: The “corned” flavor is kind of strong right out of the pressure cooker. It needs to rest for the flavors to mellow.
 

jcam222

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Cool stuff. May give it a go at some point.
 

kilo charlie

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One thing I noticed is that you're also using Old Bay Seasoning which has salt/celery salt in it... could be a slight factor in your saltiness.

Also I'm not familiar with the weight of the canning salt compared to Kosher Salt?
 

Hamdrew

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One note was on the saltiness.... there is salt in my pastrami rub, so if there is too much salt in the brine the overall flavor could be too salty.
  • 125g canning salt (reduce this?)
  • 30g white sugar
I would assume you might want reduce it? I do roughly Pop's ratios, that being 2:1 sugar to salt. Whether I go "regular" or "low salt/sugar" depends on how long the cure is gonna be- longer gets the reduced version (usually somewhere in the middle of low & regular). 1qt water gets 1/4c salt and 1/2c raw sugar. It is not overly salty (or sweet), so I can still use some MSG in the rub. In any case, you'll have a fun time eating your experiments, LOL. I'd butcher a couple butts into similarly marbled muscles/chunks.

[Went to the fancy local chain that for more jalapeno powder today, and couldn't resist picking up a new proprietary blend of their's "Nashville Hot Dill".. Excited for both chicken-fried steaks and using it in a cure]
 

thirdeye

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One thing I noticed is that you're also using Old Bay Seasoning which has salt/celery salt in it... could be a slight factor in your saltiness.

Also I'm not familiar with the weight of the canning salt compared to Kosher Salt?
Oh, no problem.... a gram of canning salt weighs the same as a gram of Kosher salt. :emoji_laughing:
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Sorry, couldn't resist. Yes, I overlooked the salt in Old Bay. Thanks for pointing that out.
 
Last edited:

thirdeye

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I would assume you might want reduce it? I do roughly Pop's ratios, that being 2:1 sugar to salt. Whether I go "regular" or "low salt/sugar" depends on how long the cure is gonna be- longer gets the reduced version (usually somewhere in the middle of low & regular). 1qt water gets 1/4c salt and 1/2c raw sugar. It is not overly salty (or sweet), so I can still use some MSG in the rub. In any case, you'll have a fun time eating your experiments, LOL. I'd butcher a couple butts into similarly marbled muscles/chunks.

[Went to the fancy local chain that for more jalapeno powder today, and couldn't resist picking up a new proprietary blend of their's "Nashville Hot Dill".. Excited for both chicken-fried steaks and using it in a cure]
We have been migrating toward lower salt formulations for a few years. My current sweet spot for Pop's Brine (on poultry) is:

1 gallon of water
125 grams canning salt
25 grams white sugar
25 grams brown sugar
20 grams Cure #1 (heaping tablespoon)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper


That said.... (and speaking of hot salt), I'm currently testing a 'hot salt' from Naturiffic. My theory is that you can replace salt with flavor, and maybe use less salt. Or, I could be all wet. This Hot Salt is spicy, but it's a balanced flavor.

 

kilo charlie

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Oh, no problem.... a gram of canning salt weighs the same as a gram of Kosher salt. :emoji_laughing:
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Sorry, couldn't resist. Yes, I overlooked the salt in Old Bay. Thanks for pointing that out.

Haha good one! A Kilo is a Kilo right?

But a cup of table salt is WAY more than a cup of Kosher salt in flavor for reals....

Celery has naturally occurring nitrites right? Do that small amount of celery salt in Old Bay affect the overall nitrite level? Honestly asking as I have no idea.
 

Hamdrew

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We have been migrating toward lower salt formulations for a few years. My current sweet spot for Pop's Brine (on poultry) is:

1 gallon of water
125 grams canning salt
25 grams white sugar
25 grams brown sugar
20 grams Cure #1 (heaping tablespoon)
3/4 teaspoon black pepper


That said.... (and speaking of hot salt), I'm currently testing a 'hot salt' from Naturiffic. My theory is that you can replace salt with flavor, and maybe use less salt. Or, I could be all wet. This Hot Salt is spicy, but it's a balanced flavor.

I read something a while back that capsaicin satiates the craving/need for saltiness; I know umami does to an extent too.

I'm gonna have to try a cure like yours sometime, I thought much more salt and sugar was necessary! Time to go pick up some more pork steaks (sliced butt)..
 

disco

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Great project and thread. Big like.
 

DRKsmoking

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Looks great and thanks for the instructions, also bookmarked

David
 

SmokinEdge

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All looks great to me. Nicely done, Sir.
 

checkdude

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Awesome write up.. reading all your experiments I feel like a little kid in front of a professor. Lol. Thanks for the lesson.
 

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