Blue Heron in flight

Monday, September 18, 2023

Kung Food Chuck

I cooked dinner last night and had a semi fail that ended up being really delicious. I watch quite a few chefs on YouTube and have learned a lot from them. People like J. Kenji López-Alt, smart hipster chefs and authors.

One of the new chefs I have been following is Jon Kung, a chef from Detroit who wrote the book Kung Food. He is funny and irreverent and a hoot to watch work. Wears a string of pearls. Uses a lot more onion and scallion than we like but oh well...

I was watching Jon reverse sear a chuck steak and decided to try it myself with his very unorthodox method. 

You see, he cooks his chuck at extremely low temperatures and then does the reverse sear that seemingly everybody is now doing. Try 185°. It's like sticking it on a sunny window sill.

I went up to Organic Roots the other day looking for short ribs. They were out but I got a grass fed, well marbled, beautifully dressed chuck roast instead. 

Note that I said roast. Kung was cooking a chuck steak. It turns out there is a big difference but I ultimately did not let it become a fatal flaw.

Yesterday I pulled the roast out of the fridge and coated it with olive oil. With my hands I rubbed in a blend of kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, onion and garlic powder with just a hint of paprika and cayenne. Really coated everything.

I stuck it into the lukewarm oven and waited. And waited. And waited. Kung pulls his out at 115°. It seemed like it took an eternity to get there but I finally did. He also does it sous vide.

Anyway I took it out of the oven, each side of the roast had a different temperature. I checked it with three thermometers just to make sure.

I then tried the reverse sear in the Le Creuset skillet on the stovetop, generously basting it with butter. 

I took it up to 125° as directed.

When I cut into it, it was pretty raw and the tendons were even beyond my ability to eat. 

Then I realized that he was doing a steak, I was doing a 2.7 lb. roast and I had possibly made a very bad assumption that they could be handled in a similar fashion.

What to do?

I fired the oven back up to 400° and let it rip. I was not going to let this beautiful roast go to hell.

After about fifteen minutes I pulled it out, pretty damn perfect.

Slow cook to reverse sear to full on blast.

Earlier in the afternoon I had made a chimichurri sauce with olive oil, red wine vinegar. oregano and fresh organic parsley. I bought Italian, Leslie told me that she prefers curly.

I added two teaspoons of red chili flakes, salt and pepper. The recipe called for two to four cloves of garlic, I added ten, our standard. We love the Uruguayan sauce, this was my first try. A little salty, I added more oil and parsley and it came around nicely. The recipes say not to process, I cheated. Stuck it in a large pyrex measuring cup and waited on the beef.

Leslie made a gnocchi and an arugula parmesan salad. We were in business.

Life is a learning curve, I am glad I pulled this one out.

Dead solid perfect.

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