Sunday, February 22, 2009

Butter Poached Prime Rib

LALLApalooza and The LALLAgrill in Monterey will be cooking off their new butter poached prime rib menu in the near future.

Today's Kitchen May Contain A Shelf Full Of Thermal Immersion Circulators As Well As A Drawer Full Of Knives

The butter poached trend was an offshoot of the Sous-Vide cooking menthod. Sous-Vide, French for "under vacuum," is done by vacuum packing portions in a plastic sealable bag and then slow cooked at precise temperatures which are much lower than typical cooking methods. The vacuum pack removes most oxygen from the food which can then can be immediately cooked or stored for later use. This has the effect of keeping harmful pathogens out reducing the risk of any food borne illness. The final product when using Sous-Vide has better flavor, color, texture and aroma with minimal loss of juices while at the same time greatly improving food safety.

Immersion Circulators precisely control the temperature of the water and circulate it around the vacuum pack bags for even cooking. Immersion circulators can be clamped to an open pot, container or stainless steel tanks. Because the immersion circulators maintain an exact temperature, food is cooked precisely when using the Sous Vide method.

Where Chef Thomas Keller has revitalized the Sous-Vide method recently with the release of his book "Under Pressure", Chef Michael Mina has received much attention with his verson of Sous-Vide using butter as the medium to seal the juices into the meat without requiring the use of sealed vaccuum bags.

The Polyscience 7306c Is The New Cross Trainer, From Laboratories To Kitchens. Available Now At US Foodservice

Michael Mina's Bourbon Steak re-adapted this method to accommodate its large-scale operations, which typically seat between 150 and 200 patrons at one time. Staff first poach steaks in clarified butter and herbs at 120°F. until rare. The poaching chambers resemble steam tables, but regulate temperatures by a tenth of a degree using individual immersion circulators. Though steaks are poached for 30 to 45 minutes before being served the fat holds in the meat's moisture, regardless of the poaching time.

When the order is up, the staff finishs the meat on wood-burning grills fueled with real wood and charcoal. This not only caramelizes the steaks, but also brings them up to the desired temperature.

I began hunting down equipment with calls to Techne USA and the Polyscience Culinary Websites. Both companies used to be strictly medical supply companies but with the revival of Sous-Vide they are adding culinary specialists to answer questions from confused distributor sales reps like me. Both companies were extremely helpful.

Mikki at Techne was fun to talk to and she had to keep correcting herself when she would refer to tongs as forceps. Techne offered Chef Shae Gallante' of Cru' Restaurant in New York as a reference for their equipment, but I was unable to reach Chef Gallante today.

The TU20D by Techne® has a temperature range capability of -40°C to +200°C and incorporates the additional feature of an RS232 port.

Inventors of the "Clip On" thermoregulator in 1948, Techne® now offers five "Clip On" units. These Thermoregulators will convert your existing liquid bath or container into a precision temperature controlled bath with exceptional thermal performance. They offer a full range of options such as analog or digital set/readout, high pump output and RS232 interface.

Jason at the Polyscience Corporation was much more in tune with the culinary world, and in fact was planning to attend the upcoming Pebble Beach Food and Wine with their equipment.

He explained that the 7306c is the right product for butter poaching but warned that since the intake valve circulates the butter past the heater it is essential that you fully melt the butter prior to inserting the unit into the pan. Once the butter has been liquified the precision temperature controls will hold the temp to within 0.09F.

Model 7306C Thermal Circulator
*Exceptional control of liquid heating to within 0.09°F (0.05°C)
*Three preset buttons make the selection of frequently used cooking temperatures fast and fool-proof
*One-touch control enables you to quickly set or adjust cooking temperature
*Controls liquid heating up to 300°F (150°C)
*Easily selectable high and low pump speeds provides precise control over cooking liquid circulation
*High-grade stainless steel heating coil and pump ensure lasting, trouble-free performance

Immersion Circulator are not just for Prime Rib anymore. Chef's are poaching lobster, fish, and more. In fact, Jason said, he has one Chef doing a maple poached whole duckling right now.

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