Thursday, January 12, 2012

Accidental Ham

I was cutting away at a picnic shoulder to make cubes for pork stew leaving behind a healthy amount of meat on the bone, almost purposely. I say almost, because I knew I wanted to do something with the bone meat, but was unsure though I wanted it to be in the realm of bo ssam or pulled pork. I coated the rest of the meat in salt and brown sugar (didn't even weigh it out) and set it aside hoping to just roast it or something the next day. The next day turned out to be the next 2.5 days and after I brushed and drained off the excess salt/sugar cure I popped it in the oven first thing in the morning at 225ºF. Almost a couple hours later, when I remembered the hunk of pig flesh roasting away, I raised the temp to 300ºF and then finished it to broil at 450ºF. Let it cool a lil', then knifed a sliver to make sure it was decent enough to add to something. After the first bite, I thought to myself "This is fucking ham!". After the feeling of foolishness settled in I said to myself "Of course this is fucking ham..." and my usual process of conception worked its way backwards.

Though chefs are often meticulous and methodical, they are just the same spontaneous and advocates of the willy-nilly. The latter is one way that chefs themselves continue to be excited by food, even if it's an obvious moment or a moment of unexpected discovery. Many a happy accident has gone on to be essential and often iconic in the world of food and the way we perceive it.

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