The Challenge

The challenge has been thrown down. Rob, the exec chef of the hotel is a well traveled culinarian with places like The French Laundry, El Bulli, and The Ritz Carlton dining room chef for several of their properties on his resume. He is a great cook, no doubt, product knowledge is amazing, but can he smoke? We joke around here a lot when a certain process or classic dish comes into question and there are differences in thought on how they should be executed. The conversation usually ends like this "I forgot more about smoking than you'll ever know, what, you want to take the challenge?" and from that conversation to now, 4:00am, here I am sitting next to my smoker getting it lit for the pork loin challenge.
We got these monster pork loins from Four Story Hills Farm, it wouldn't even fit on a sheet pan. We each had one loin to do with as we see fit, the finally product has to be cooked completely in a smoker, rubs are allowed but no sauce, meat only.

We recieved the loins on Monday, I brined mine on Tuesday morning, removed them from the brine Wednesday night and were allowed to air dry until Thursday afternoon.

Thursday I applied the rub, I have my own spice mix then I toasted out all of it in bacon fat and let the rub cool to a paste. Applied the paste and allowed to air dry for another 8 hours before packing everything up to bring home and smoke.

So now here I am, early as hell, getting the smoker up to temp. I live 45 minutes from work, have to drop my son off at the babysitter on the way to work and have the pork sliced and ready for judging by noon. It will be close. I'm going to have to be on top of my temperature, 180f, and adjusting as needed.
Its good fun, healthy competition, and could earn some bragging rights. The judges range from fellow chefs, FOH managers, catering executive, and hotel GM who was once the corporate F&B director for starwood hotels so he know his stuff. They will be rating from 1-5 in categories like texture, flavor, and originality. I haven't seen the whole scoring card but this is what I have heard. I hope for chef's sake he wins or I will ride him forever on this and I'm sure he will do the same for me. I'll keep you posted on the days proceedings.

No comments:

Post a Comment