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Giving up on Ruhlman

I cured and smoked pork belly and got bacon no better and not much cheaper than the thick-cut bacon I get at my butcher's. I cured and smoked a duck breast and hated it, though I love duck. And now I've spent a great deal of time on a ham that tastes OK but is far from transformational. I will try the Canadian bacon, and if it's not absolutely fantastic, I'm giving the book away. 

Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia


  • TonyATonyA Posts: 582

    Granted some hams are better than others .. but you'll probably be hard pressed to make a better ham than the best ham you've bought.  Same for the bacon.  So, the process can become more effort than it's worth if you aren't enjoying it.

    That all said, that looks mighty fine to me!

  • MikeP624MikeP624 Posts: 292

    My wife has similar thoughts.  She does not get why i want to spend so much time (and money) on the prep work, and then so much time actually cooking the food, when we could go out to a nice restaurant and get the same food for probably about the same cost.  To me its more about enjoying the process of cooking, not trying to do it cheaper, or better.   

  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 982
    I like the process, too, but I expect to come out in the end with something better than I could buy easily. I once spent two days and about $50 to make pho. Was it good? It was. But we have a large Vietnamese population in Philadelphia, and I could get the same amount of broth, and just as good, for about $15 and no work. I'm glad I did it; I learned about the layers of flavor that should be in pho. But I won't do it again. 

    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • Don't give up on the pho. You don't need prime beef for the stock. Get it at the oriental market, buy shin, oxtail and neck. Even if you use rare beef (brisket) you just need to slice it thin and the grading doesn't matter. Make loads of the broth and freeze it. If you can get the vermicelli fresh it's way better.


    Caledon, ON


  • jlsmjlsm Posts: 982
    Drat, Little Steven, now I'm reconsidering my pho ban. It is one of our favorite meals. I did go higher end with the meats, but I do have many Asian markets nearby, so a trip might be in order.
    Owner of a large and a beloved mini in Philadelphia
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 26,712
    We buy pho base from our local asian grocery - it comes both in cans and dehydrated.  It's very acceptable, cheap and easy.  I like to freeze eye of round and cut it thin, then use the soup like a fondue pot to barely cook it.  (we always buy Pho Tai and get the meat raw on the side - not adventurous to get the tendon).  Sometimes I'll get the brisket. 

    The nola area has some of the best Vietnamese restaurants in any US urban area.
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.  Love me or hate me, I am forum Marmite.
    Large and Medium BGE, Kamado Joe Jr, Akorn Jr, smoker with a 5k btu AC, gas grill, fire pit, pack of angry cats, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.  Registered republican.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • Sorry to hear you are having trouble....I love the book, and everything I have made from it has been really good. Going to do the whisky glazed chicken tomorrow.

    I've made the canadian bacon several times now, and it has been great! I do recommend adding all the aromatics in the recipe...they add a very nice flavor to the final product.

    I also recommend cutting a piece of the bacon off and test frying it before you smoke it. You can see how salty it is, and you can soak the loins in cold water for a few hours to draw out some of the salt if necessary.
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