Ham. The very word brings to mind the many variations of the savory pork product. In the vast majority of cases, when folks say “ham,” they mean pork. Recently however I was talking with my friend Valerie Samutin about her lambs on Freedom Run Farm and she told me about the history of lamb ham in Kentucky. Apparently in colonial times, lamb was the protein of choice for the settlers in Kentucky. In order to preserve their lamb for winter consumption, they would cure hind quarters just like we do with pork.
I love to fuse historical traditions with new technologies. Our commonwealth was well-known as a core market for sheep and lamb production. Remnants of that heritage can still be found in central Kentucky, where dishes such as the mutton-based Burgoo remain very popular. I decided to use Freedom Run Farm’s wonderful lamb to test the hot smoking abilities of our new smoker box in a CVap holding cabinet. CVap Hot Smoked Lamb Ham!
- 50g Prague powder (cure) No. 2
- 80g KY Spice Berries (substitute fresh ground peppercorns if spice berries aren’t available)
- 500g light brown sugar or turbinado sugar
- 700g pure sea salt (iodine free)
- 4-6kg fresh lamb leg, bone in and hoof on
- Sugna:1kg olive oil mixed with flour to make a thick paste ***optional
- (You need 80g cure for each 1kg of lamb leg) Approximately 300- 500 grams of cure per leg
- Very Important! Weigh lamb leg and record weight! Record day and time of curing start as well and keep for your records!
- Make curing mixture with the first four ingredients above. Mix thoroughly.
- Rinse lamb leg thoroughly and pat dry with a paper towel. Then rub the lamb with the cure. Don’t worry about using too much. Rub firmly, pushing the leg bone with your thumbs. There is a main artery there that may not have been thoroughly bled. This process will help work out any remain blood. Once this is complete make sure you rub more cure around the aitch (hip) bone. This is the exposed bone/joint where the leg was severed from the lamb’s torso (VERY important step.)
- Place leg of lamb on a bed of salt in a nonreactive container, preferably plastic, or old school on a wooden rack. In this case I used nonreactive plastic seeding trays. Place lamb in a refrigerated environment for a minimum of ten days. Turn daily and make sure that cure is redistributed daily. If necessary add more cure. General rule of thumb for curing is one day per kilogram, but no less than ten days.
- After the curing period is complete, rinse lamb and place in refrigerator for 24 hours. This allows for good pellicle formation. Pellicle is a skin or coating of proteins on the surface of meats that allows for smoke to adhere during the smoking process.
- After the 24 hour refrigeration, place lamb hams in a CVap holding cabinet at 165°F food temp and +5 on food texture. Place hickory chunks in Winston smoker box and set timer for three hours. Once cabinet is preheated, place lamb into CVap and hot smoke until internal temperature reaches 155°F. This takes approximately three hours. [Note: Although CVap equipment doesn’t usually require vent hoods, the addition of a smoker box will usually require utilization of a vent hood. Always check local codes.)
- After lamb reaches 155°F, remove from CVap cabinet, weigh, and record weight. At this time, some folks like to add a Sugna (a mixture of fat and flour) on the cut surface of the ham. This is classically done with prosciutto, iberico, or Appalachian mountain hams to keep the cut surface from excessively drying. In this case, I don’t believe that it is necessary, as lamb takes less time to cure and reach maturity than a traditional leg of pork. Keep in a refrigerated environment until the lamb leg has lost 25-30 % of its original weight. Once this weight loss has been achieved, your lamb ham should be ready.
- Lamb preserved this way should be shelf stable for up to six months. There is no need to age longer, because hot smoking kills the enzymes that would generate any further flavor complexities. Once the ham has been cut, wrap cut surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Another option is to bone the ham and vacuum seal individual piece that can be cut later.
In this case we sampled to a lot of chef friends, and also shared with Bob Perry at his 3rd annual Kentucky Neurogastronomy Symposium held at the University of Kentucky.
Uncle Jack Fried Chicken is a Malaysian restaurant chain that uses our Collectramatic pressure fryers to cook fried chicken. Ordinarily they placed the finished chicken in a display warmer for serving. To maximize holding time, they limited the warmer to 35°C (95°F), putting a limit on the amount of time they could hold cooked chicken before it was no longer fit to sell. We suggested they test our CVap holding cabinet, in the hopes of extending their holding time and improving food quality. The test results were exciting!
Holding Cabinet Preparation: The CVap Holding Cabinet was set at food temperature 54°C (129°F) and food texture at + 28°C (82°F). The evaporator was filled with hot water, and the cabinet was allowed to preheat for 45 minutes, to reach full temperature.
12:05pm: Chicken was cooked and removed from the fryer, and put into holding cabinet (15 pieces). Initial taste of chicken: crispy outside, moist inside and meat is very hot to touch and taste.
12:10pm: Cooked rice (wrapped in oil paper) is put into the same holding cabinets with fried chicken. Initial taste of rice: moist, sticky, and fragrant.
13:05pm: (holding 60 minutes)
Chicken was still crispy outside (though very slightly less crisp than when first removed from fryer), moist inside, still hot, and color had not changed. The chicken breading remained crisp.
13:35pm (holding for 90 minutes）
Chicken was still crispy and moist. Color was good. Food retained flavor, with minimal loss of freshness.
13:55pm (holding for 2 hours)
The skin remained crispy, though not as crisp as when it was initially fried. Flavor and moisture were still good. Color had not darkened.
14:00pm (rice held for 2 hours)
Rice was hot and tasted fresh; not dried out at all.
15:35pm (3.5 hour holding time)
Chicken tasted good, skin remained crispy, meat was moist. Although the chicken was not “just cooked” fresh after 3.5 hours, it was still at safe temperature, and appetizing enough to serve.
15:40pm (after holding for 3.5 hours)
Rice was hot, and texture was good.
These photos, taken at different times over the course of testing, give you an idea of the appearance of the food.
Electricity Consumption: 800 watts
Holding Capacity per Cabinet: 13 full size sheet pans, each rack equals one basket (4 heads) chicken, or 338 pieces
CVap Holding Cabinet Test Conclusions
Goals for Future Testing
- Extending the holding time for the chicken without compromising the texture, taste, and food safety.
- Testing other products, (wrapped rice was incorporated).
- Improving staff work flow.
- Staff can pre-prepare chicken during lean hours in preparation for peak hours, thus shortening the waiting time while producing the best tasting fried chicken.
- During lean hours, customers can still savor the taste of freshly fried chicken from the holding cabinet.
- Minimize food shrinkage.
- Minimlize food waste.
- Extension of holding times for other foods is possible, since CVap cabinets are versatile enough to hold both crispy and moist foods.
One Final Note – CVap Technology is great, but it’s not magic.
The very nature of fried foods (crisp outside with moist interior) promotes evaporation. CVap technology is the best available to maximize holding time, but even CVap, using the necessary high differential setting (the difference of food texture setting over the food temperature setting) will eventually lose the battle to maintain food temp and freshness. It’ll hold fresh longer than the competitors, but if the food is crunchy (fried chicken, French fries, etc), it can only be held for so long.
On the other hand, moist foods, such as rice or noodles, are perfect for CVap, and can be held for many hours with no loss of temperature or quality.
The consensus of the Uncle Jack test was that it was possible to lengthen the holding time for chicken. More testing would be needed to perfect the texture, taste and crispiness, to come up with the Uncle Jack Standard Operating Procedure.
Mark your calendar! Your opportunity to apply for the 2018 Winston Equipment Award is December 1, 2017!
The award provides ten pieces of Winston Foodservice equipment to a school district in need of improving its school meal kitchen facilities through a competitive grant process.
The winning school district can choose any ten pieces from Winston’s product line of CVap Holding Cabinets, CVap Hold & Serve Drawers, and CVap Retherm Ovens.
Winston works closely with the grant winner to determine needs and assist in the final selection of equipment. Winston also arranges delivery of the equipment to the district. Depending on which models are ordered, it could mean over $50,000 in new equipment for your district!
To apply, you must:
- Be an active SNA director-level member, who has been a member of SNA for at least one year.
- Be the person responsible for directing the school nutrition program for the school district.
How can I apply?
The School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) will open the 2018 Winston Equipment Award application process on December 1st, 2017. The deadline for the application is January 15th, or once the first 75 applications have been received (whichever comes first). The application spots usually fill up quickly, so don’t delay in applying!
Want to hit the ground running? Prepare your application ahead of time by downloading the Application Preparation Worksheet. Responses may be copied and pasted from the worksheet into the online application. Visit https://www.schoolnutrition.org/equipmentgrants to learn more.
Best of luck to all of you!
At some of our trade shows, we have showcased delicious, juicy burgers that have been CVap® Staged in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven. Quick speed of service and maintaining product consistency are just two advantages of using this method!
To prepare the burgers, we set the CVap to 135 (food temp) + 0 (texture) and preheated for 30 minutes. After placing the burger patties on parchment-lined sheet pans, we put them in the cabinet and set the timer for one hour.
After an hour, the burgers had reached our desired minimum endpoint temperature.
Once we got them to temperature, we held the burgers at that temp until we were ready for our lunch service. We pan seared to finish them, but they can be finished however you prefer (marked on a grill, pan seared, etc.). The point is, using this method you can produce a perfectly cooked, juicy, delicious burger two minutes after it is ordered, and it’ll have that mouthwatering, fresh-off-the-grill taste that patrons love. Plus you are serving a safe product that hasn’t been overcooked.
To finish our CVap presentation, we split hamburger buns, placed a slice of American cheese on one half, and held them in a CVap Holding Cabinet for about an hour to gently melt the cheese and soften the buns before service. We also prepared crispy bacon using a CVap Thermalizer set on channel 7 for 20 minutes. Lettuce, onions, pickles, and a variety of condiments were made available and attendees were not disappointed!
To give you another perspective, watch this short video You’ll see that in the time it takes to cook one frozen burger patty on a grill, you can finish three burgers that have been Advance Staged – and we would argue they are a little juicier than the traditional from-frozen product. Watch to the end and see for yourself!
Winston Foodservice has awarded its annual Winston Equipment Grant Award to the White Bear Lake Area Schools in Minnesota. This annual grant program was established in partnership with the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF) to help deserving schools serve hot, nutritious meals to their students.
Grant winners may choose any ten pieces of Winston’s CVap® equipment, WBL Area Schools selected ten CVap holding cabinets (models HMA018 and HA4522).
The schools’ Student Nutrition Services Director, Bridget Lehn, is frank about the challenges her district faces, and making do with aging equipment, but optimistic about the effect new cabinets will have. “New equipment will increase meal participation due to the improved quality of food. Our current warmers are either scorching food or not keeping it warm enough. Some of the warmers are adding excess moisture or drying out product, all due to inconsistent heating or lack of insulation. Word of mouth moves quickly; the kids are very intuitive and will notice the improved food. When they tell their friends, participation goes up.”
About White Bear Lake Area Schools
The White Bear Lake Area School District serves all or parts of Birchwood, Gem Lake, Hugo, Lino Lakes, Little Canada, Maplewood, North Oaks, Vadnais Heights, White Bear Lake and White Bear Township, with four Early Childhood program locations (birth-K), nine elementary schools (K-5), two middle schools (6-8), a two-campus high school (9-12), an Area Learning Center and a Transition Education Center. The school district, with a total population of approximately 63,000 residents, serves nearly 9,000 students PreK-12.
During the AKFCF Annual Convention (USA) show in Austin, Texas, Winston Foodservice received two amazing awards. The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association and the Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association both awarded Vendor of the Year to Winston. Wow, what a treat! Two Vendor of the Year awards in a single year. I’m tooting our own company’s horn, that is pretty AWESOME! Thank you Great Lakes and Upper Midwest KFC for the partnership! The Winston team is thankful for the partnership and commitment to your business.
The Great Lakes KFC Franchisee Association consists of KFC franchise owners in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, portions of Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
The Upper Midwest KFC Franchisee Association was formed in 1974 and is comprised of owners in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, and portions of Illinois.
Winter may be waning, but the popularity of Nashville Hot Chicken sure isn’t. We decided to try our hand at preparing a big batch. It was as good (and hot!) as promised.
Nashville Hot Chicken’s powerful poultry story originated nearly seven decades ago, at Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack. Apparently Thorton Prince was quite the lady’s man. Tiring of his late night escapades, his gal served him up a Sunday breakfast of fried chicken, generously doused in cayenne pepper and other fiery spices. Her revenge backfired – rather than crying out in pain, he loved it, and the inspiration for Nashville Hot Chicken was born. If you’re interested, read the whole story on Prince’s website. Numerous other restaurants and chains, inspired by Prince’s, have put their own twist on this Nashville classic.
We brined in the fridge overnight using a simple 6 % brine. If you want to learn everything you need to know about brining go to our friend’s site Genuine Ideas (browse under their food header). We lightly dusted the chicken with our seasoned flour, and then dipped it in a simple blend of eggs, buttermilk and hot sauce.
Then we tossed lightly again in our breading mix, giving us a light double breaded chicken. Double breading creates a nice robust crunch once the chicken is fried. Properly prepped, it was ready for the Collectramatic fryer.
The chicken was open-fried for 15 minutes at 325°F. It emerged from the fryer a mouth-watering golden brown. After draining excess oil, we painted with the spicy special sauce using a pastry brush. It was as good as we had hoped, delivering a delicious heat that delighted our taste buds while making our faces flush and our brows sweat.
This chicken can be held for two hours in a CVap holding cabinet. After frying, place it directly in a CVap set to 135 +50. Apply the sauce just before serving.
Here’s a pared-down version of the recipe (in case you’re not feeding an army).
Nashville Hot Chicken
- 2 – 3 1/2-4-pound chickens, each cut into ten pieces (breasts halved)
- 1 gallon of 6% brine
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons vinegar-based hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Texas Pete)
- 4 cups all-purpose flour seasoned with salt, pepper and paprika. (You may use your own special flour mix if you’d like).
- Vegetable oil (for frying; about 10 cups) (unless, of course, you have a Collectramatic fryer handy).
- 6 tablespoons cayenne pepper
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- Whisk eggs, buttermilk, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Whisk flour and remaining 4 teaspoons salt in another large bowl.
- If you’re not using a Collectramatic fryer, fit a Dutch oven with frying thermometer; pour in oil to about two inches depth. Heat over medium-high heat until thermometer registers 325°F. Pat chicken dry. Working with one piece at a time, dredge in flour mixture, shaking off excess, and then dip in buttermilk mixture, letting excess drip back into bowl. Dredge again in flour mixture and place on a baking sheet.
- Working in four batches and returning oil to 325°F between batches, fry chicken, turning once after 15 minutes, until skin is deep golden brown and crisp and an instant-read thermometer inserted into thigh pieces registers 185°F and 165F white meat. This usually takes ten more minutes after the turn for a total cook time of 25 minutes. Transfer to a clean wire rack set inside a baking sheet. Let oil cool slightly.
- Whisk cayenne, brown sugar, chili powder, garlic powder, and paprika in a medium bowl; carefully whisk in 1 cup hot frying oil or melted lard. Brush fried chicken with spicy oil. Serve with bread and pickles.
Thanksgiving may be the time for tradition, but for us we decided it was time to shake things up! This year, we not only roasted and fried turkeys, but we also cooked the infamous turducken. In case you aren’t familiar, that is a turkey, duck, and chicken all rolled into one. Sound too good to be true? Honestly, we thought so too!
Let us warn you, this isn’t a task you take on unless you are fully committed. Time and patience are your friends during the time you are preparing the most delicious turducken.
1. Debone all meat – turkey, chicken, and duck. We did this the day before to save some time on the day of. Depending on your expertise, this should take about 45 minutes to an hour and a half.
2. Make stuffing to place in-between each layer of meat. This is the list of ingredients we used, but feel free to put your own spin on this favorite. We also made a double batch for each turkey to ensure we had enough for each layer.
- Stuffing mix of your choice, we used corn bread
- Chicken Broth (or Vegetable broth)
- Fresh Parsley
- Fresh Sage
- Minced Garlic
Now for the turducken!
- Season each piece of meat with salt and pepper
- Lay turkey out ready for the stuffing
- First layer of stuffing on turkey
- Chicken thighs placed on top of turkey, and chicken breast on lower half of turkey
- Second layer of stuffing
- Duck placed in middle of stuffing layer
- Last layer of stuffing
- Begin to pull up sides of turkey to secure everything inside with twine or skewers
- Season outside of turkey – we used paprika, salt, and pepper
The other turkey was cooked on high yield at 170 doneness and 4 level browning for 6 hours then held overnight for 8 hours at 150 doneness and 1 level browning.
One turkey was staged at 165 and 0 browning over night for 14 hours and then finished in the Collectramatic fryer for 3 minutes.
Roasted turkey – 82% yield
Staged & fried turkey – 84% yield
A brief history of a continuing school tradition in America
In 1909 in Ventura, Calif., teacher Zilda M. Rogers wrote to the Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of California, Berkeley, then, a primary proponent and provider of garden education resources for schoolteachers. “With the love of the school garden has grown the desire for a home garden and some of their plots at home are very good…Since commencing the garden work the children have become better companions and friends…and to feel that there is a right way of doing everything…it is our garden…We try to carry that spirit into our schoolroom.”
School gardens have been around in Europe with the earliest records dated to 1811. It wasn’t until recently that their nationwide resurgence in the U.S. has become much more prevalent. My good friend and kitchen manager of Baker Place Elementary in Columbia County Georgia took it upon herself to get her students involved. She is loved by everyone at that school. I stopped by to see her shortly after she started this colorful start to her garden.
There is so much kids can learn from school gardens. From proper clothing to harvesting and finally being able to taste what they grew on their own school lunch lines!
One of my favorite blogs, “Ideas in Food,” created by Alex Talbot and Aki Kamozowa is about allowing your imagination to look at new and creative ways of using food. But they never fail to look at what is obvious. Their daughter Amaya has been growing food with her friends at school.
Look at these lovely lettuces she was able to bring home and show to Mom and Dad.
I’ve noticed the CVap blog is pretty bereft of vegetable preparation and is almost exclusively about the CVap Cook/Hold oven. I decided that my next blog post would feature the CAT Thermalizer Oven instead! I also wanted to see how some of my favorite vegetable dishes would work using CVap.
I decided to test three vegetable dishes: Roasted Broccoli Florets, Roasted Cauliflower and Roasted Baby Carrots. All of these veggies I have prepared in a convection oven at 425°F. Since the CVap oven only goes to 350°F I had a couple of things to consider when converting these items to CVap preparation.
I am amazed at the difference that roasting vegetables makes to kids. My daughter has always turned her nose up to broccoli no matter how many ways I have prepared it. Roasting it made all the difference.
I did three different preparations, all of them very simple and all done on Channel 5 on the CAT Thermalizer oven. This setting has a 130°F water temperature and a 350°F air temperature. This high differential allows for the greatest browning potential. I did the following items:
Baby carrots with honey and cajun spice. First, toss the carrots in a bowl with honey and Cajun spice to taste. These take 20 minutes total cook time.
Broccoli tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper. After 18 minutes in the oven I pulled the trays out and sprinkled them with grated parmesan cheese. I placed them back in the oven for 2 minutes, and then drizzled lemon juice over the top after they came out.
Cauliflower with plain yogurt and red curry paste.Toss the cauliflower florets in the yogurt with the red curry paste then add salt and pepper. This takes about 25 minutes total cook time.
Since schools are looking to increase the amount of fresh vegetables that are included in their lunches this is a perfect way to make use of equipment that is normally used to cook pizzas and breaded chicken products to make something from scratch that is very easy and healthy!
The CVap HA8503-08 is an 8-bin universal holding bin that allows operators to serve directly from one bin without disturbing holding conditions in the other bins. Holds industry-standard 2.5” (64 mm) deep shotgun or hotel pans.
The CVap HA8503-04 is a 4-bin universal holding bin that allows operators to serve directly from one bin without disturbing holding conditions in the other bins. Holds industry-standard 2.5” (64 mm) deep shotgun or hotel pans.
The CVap Holding Cabinet HA4522 combines large capacity with superior food temperature and texture control. Our most popular model, the 22 cu. ft (.66 cu. M) holding capacity is well suited for schools, hospitals, and any other high volume operation. Fourteen adjustable universal wire rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans. The A-Series electronic differential control precisely controls both food temperature and food texture. A built in fan provides precise and consistent temperature management. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility. A vital tool in any high-volume kitchen.
The CVap Hold & Serve Drawer HBK5D1 features superior food temperature and food texture control, as well as an 8-channel timer to facilitate tracking of multiple menu items. This one drawer, wide model is 1/2″ (13mm) feet in size and can accommodate pans up to 6″ deep. Built in fan ensures an even temperature throughout the drawer.
The CVap HA4022 Holding Cabinet gives you substantial capacity at a lower price than our flagship cabinets. Like other CVap holding cabinets, the HA4022 offers superior food temperature and texture control. At 22 cu. ft (.66 cu. M) holding capacity, it is well suited for schools, hospitals, and any other high volume operation. Fourteen adjustable universal wire rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans. The A-Series electronic differential control precisely controls both food temperature and food texture. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility.
The CVap Holding Cabinet HA4519 gives you 19 cu. ft (.57 cu. M) of holding space and superior food temperature and texture control. The HA4519 is ideal for schools, hospitals, and any other high volume operation. Fourteen adjustable universal wire rack supports hold 14 sheet pans. The A-Series electronic differential control precisely controls both food temperature and food texture. A built in fan provides precise and consistent temperature management. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility.
The HMA018 is designed to easily transport food while keeping it hot and ready to serve. It features rugged 5″ casters, recessed handles, and an extended handle on the back to facilitate push-pull mobility. The A-Series electronic differential control precisely controls both food temperature and food texture. Ten adjustable universal rack supports hold a capacity of ten sheet pans or 20 steam table pans for maximum serving capability.
The CVap Holding Cabinet HA4511 is our largest half-size cabinet. The A-Series electronic differential control offers premium Controlled Vapor Technology with dual control over food temperature and food texture. Ideal for schools, QSRs, and any other high volume operation. Seven adjustable universal rack supports hold a capacity of seven sheet pans or 14 steam table pans. Built in fan provides for even distribution of vapor heat. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility.
The CVap Holding Cabinet HA4509 delivers superior food temperature and texture control. A half-size holding cabinet, it is ideal for schools, QSRs, and any other high volume operation with kitchen space constraints. This model has an A-Series electronic differential control, offering premium Controlled Vapor Technology with dual control over food temperature and food texture. Built-in fan provides for even distribution of heat. Five adjustable rack supports hold a capacity of five sheet pans or ten steam table pans. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility.
The CVap HA4507 Holding Cabinet HA4507 gives you 7 cu. ft. of holding space, while still fitting beneath a standard counter. The HA4507 is ideal for schools, QSRs, and any other high volume operation. This model has an A-Series electronic differential control offers superior food temperature and texture control. The four adjustable rack supports hold a capacity of four sheet pans or eight steam table pans. Sits on 3″ (76mm) casters for ease of mobility. Also available in stacked pair combinations: CAT509/HA4507, CA8509/HA4507 or CAT507/HA4507.