I love food! And I mean all types of food. My absolute favorite style of cuisine is Hispanic – more specifically, Mexican, with its wealth of tradition and depth of flavors. What’s not to like? This year Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby fall back-t0-back on May 5 and 6. Celebrate both with a delicious Mexican recipe.
I have a group of friends I meet every Sunday at our local South of the Border establishment for lunch and a margarita or three (If I’m being honest, the food is decent, but the margaritas are the real draw!). I decided to mix it up and order one of my favorite traditional Mexican dishes: carnitas. They were less than spectacular, and I asked my friend Sergio why he thought they weren’t very good. He replied that too many people really only want fajitas on the hot plate, and this restaurant’s preparation just wasn’t traditional. To be fair, one look around the room proved that he was right. It looked like a sauna with the steam rising from every table. I was a victim of demand.
I wasn’t about to settle for this disappointment, however. Carnitas are a staple of Mexican cuisine and I mean, c’mon, it’s pork! I decided to take matters into my own hands. There are many ways to prepare carnitas, but traditionally it is shoulder meat (or leftover parts of a butchered hog) slow braised for several hours in pork lard confit style. Once the pork has been broken down enough, it is taken out and either pulled apart or cut into cubes. It then goes back into the lard with the heat turned up, and is fried to add texture. There are many twists and variations of this dish, and the part of the country you are in usually defines what ingredients and flavors your carnitas might have. For this recipe, I’m combining the old with the new and adding a splash of CVap®.
- 2 lbs. pork shoulder, cut into 1″ cubes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon oregano
- 2 small bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ½ orange
- ½ lime
- ½ medium onion
- ½ Mexican beer, preferably dark
- Fresh cilantro
- 2 lbs. lard or cooking oil
In a large vacuum or re-sealable bag, combine all ingredients.
Place bag in CVap Cook/Hold oven at the settings below. Drink the other half of your Mexican beer!
CVap Cook/Hold settings
High Yield Mode: OFF
Time: 8 hours
When the timer goes off, pull the bag out of the CVap oven and separate the pork cubes from the other ingredients.
Heat lard or oil in a fryer or large pot on the stove to 350°F (or medium-high heat). Carefully drop the cubes into the oil and let fry until golden brown, about one minute.
Now comes the tricky part: eat the carnitas! I usually enjoy them over a bed of rice and beans, with a little salsa on top. I also like them in a corn tortilla with diced onions, cilantro, and freshly squeezed lime. Then again, sometimes I just eat them right out of the pot because it’s fried pork and I’m impatient. There is no right or wrong here, just enjoy!
About the Author
Corey Ainsworth is Winston Foodservice’s Regional Sales Manager for the Southeastern US.
We examined corned beef brisket with two different settings that yielded two very different results.
Typically, when you order a corned beef sandwich or a grilled Reuben, you’ll find that the beef is either shredded texture or sliced. We tested to determine the ideal settings for both.
The recipe is straightforward. We used pickling spice and water to brine to briskets for several hours; and then cooked them in the brine.
The brisket that was ideal for shredding was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 190 + 4 for 11 hours.
The brisket that sliced beautifully was cooked in a CVap Cook & Hold Oven at 135 + 1 overnight.
Both results had phenomenal flavor and tenderness, so it really came down to personal preference, whether you wanted it shredded or sliced.
Speaking of how to serve it…
Corned beef is a St. Patrick’s Day staple, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it year-round! Take a departure from the traditional Reuben or corned beef sandwich by trying a couple of alternative combinations:
- Corned beef, kimchi, and mayo mixed with Sriracha or your favorite chili paste, served on rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, horseradish slaw with Fuji apples, and smoked Gouda, served with Dijon mustard on marbled rye bread (based on a recipe by Chef Camille Parker, Le Cordon Bleu, CamillesDish.com).
- Corned beef, havarti, Dijon mustard, and sautéed or grilled onions, piled on pumpernickel rye bread and finished on a Panini grill.
Keep in mind there are more ways to serve corned beef than between two slices of bread:
- Corned beef hash with scrambled or poached eggs and toast points.
- Corned beef and mashed potatoes with parsley or dill, and braised cabbage.
- Corned beef (chopped), peas, Alfredo-type pasta sauce on fettuccine.
- Corned beef (chopped), bitter greens, and Fuji apples, served with cider vinegar/grainy mustard dressing.
- Of course, for us, a classic sandwich of tender CVap corned beef, Swiss cheese, cabbage or coleslaw, and spicy mustard on rye bread equals happy campers!
What’s your favorite way to enjoy corned beef? Please share with us on Facebook or Twitter, or leave your comments below!
How do you like your ribs? Fall off the bone? Texture with a bite? Smoke or no smoke? Baby back or St. Louis Style? Dry rub? Saucey? Grilled, baked, boiled – don’t even go there! Oh My! Between the questions and the debate almost everyone has an opinion on how they like their ribs. Here is my new favorite recipe that includes smoking and CVap cooking, blending a combination of techniques to get ribs that I am proud to share.
I have made numerous different dry rub recipes, tried store bought and then found a recipe that has become my go to! It is Meathead Memphis Rub and it will make your ribs OUT OF THIS WORLD! I Started using this dry rub a few years back and haven’t changed since.
Next, go with your favorite rib, I’m using St. Louis style. Trim excess fat and shiny membrane from the back of the rib. Using a paper towel to pull off the silver skin makes the job easier.
Generously cover ribs with Meathead Memphis Rub.
Time to start your smoker! I’m using a Green Egg. Light high quality lump charcoal and bring the smoker to 225-250 degrees. For this recipe, I like a mix of Hickory and Apple wood. Add whichever wood chunks you prefer and let’s get smokin! Once smoke is billowing out, add the ribs. Cook for 2 1/5 hours on the smoker. Add wood chunks as necessary.
I have found that smoking ribs for 4 hours can end up with a dry rib. After the smoke, I move the ribs to CVap for the perfect balance of smoke, bite and tenderness. Cook in CVap for 1.5 – 2 hours at 180 degrees Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).
CVap has the ability to precisely finish cooking. Winston CVap Cook and Hold for 1½ to 2 hours at 180d Food Temperature and +40 Food Texture (Browning).
Oh, look at the bark! Tender moist ribs, still with a little bite. YUM!
After CVap cooking, place the ribs on foil,
top with drizzle of local honey and a few tablespoons of butter. Put back on 350 degree grill to heat through and to melt the butter and honey. Serve now. If you like sauced, sauce on grill, flip and sauce other side.
If you want to serve the next day, after CVap chill and reheat the next day following the above grill instructions.
One sauced, one not. We are here to please all rib lovers!
Focaccia bread (Italian pronunciation: [foˈkattʃa]) is one of the most versatile breads baked today. Not only can the bread be baked either thick or thin, the endless array of toppings to choose from compounds flavors in a complex yet delightful way. Most people think of Focaccia as the free basket of bread provided before the meal at your local Italian eatery, but the bread can be used many different ways including as a pizza base, sandwich bread or even as a cake.
One of the more surprising things I encounter as I visit regions all over the world is how few people realize the CVap Cook & Hold and CVap Thermalizer ovens can be used to bake breads. CVap ovens are perfect for baking applications since users can customize the environment inside the oven to create the ideal conditions for proofing.
I had a great time with this project. It is getting the wheels turning for what other bread items we can cook in the CVap Cook & Hold or Thermalizer ovens.
Bread Flour – 1.82 Kilograms
Water – 845 Grams
Fresh Yeast – 60 Grams
Olive Oil – 140 Grams
Salt – 60 Grams
Sugar – 58 Grams
Method of Prep:
Preheat Cook & Hold to 90 Food Temperature + 1 Food Texture, Time 1:15.
Mix the water and flour. Autolyse for 20 minutes.
Add sugar, olive oil, and yeast. Mix for five minutes.
Add salt and mix for two minutes.
Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan greased with olive oil.
Place dough in center of pan and stretch the dough into a flat, oval. Make sure both sides are greased with Olive Oil
Place dough in Cook & Hold to proof.
When the timer goes off, pull dough out of Cook & Hold.
Place the dough back in the Cook & Hold and set timer for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the Cook & Hold and heat to 200 Food Temperature + 10 Food Texture, time :45 minutes.
Top the dough with desired toppings and place back into the Cook & Hold.
Consistent and efficient proofing is crucial when preparing leavened breads. The CVap promotes a consistent and great environment to proof! This is what generates the fermented smell and flavors of great breads. With CVap we can adjust the environment of the cabinet to tailor the proof. By doing so we can create compounding flavors while the bread is fermenting (or proofing).
The crumb on the finished product was excellent. It created a very light and soft finished product without making the exterior of the product too hard.
If you notice in the pictures, one of the pans of focaccia was too close to the elements (right). This is due to my portioning of the dough between the two pans. User error!
This project was a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Please let me know what you think of the product once you have tried it. I look forward to hearing from you.
For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com
The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC522 cooks precisely, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Our only full-size cook and hold cabinet, it is the perfect solution for operations that need to prepare large amounts of food ahead of their busy periods and then hold those foods to perfection. This Silver edition model has a two channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six channel Gold edition control – see Options). The 14 adjustable universal rack supports hold 14 sheet pans or 28 steam table pans, plus a set of four chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built in fan provides for even distribution of vapor temperature. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen.
The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC509 cooks precisely, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Ideal for QSRs, full-service restaurants, B&I facilities, or any operation that prepares ahead for busy periods. This Silver edition model has a two channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold five sheet pans or ten steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard thus eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in a stacked unit: CAC507 / CAC509.
The CVap Cook/ Hold Oven CAC507 cooks to precise doneness, then switches automatically to hold mode until you’re ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. Since it fits beneath standard counters, it is ideal for operations that need a full-service oven but are limited in space. This Silver edition model has a two channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six channel Gold edition control – see Options). The four adjustable universal rack supports hold four sheet pans or eight steam table pans, plus a set of two chrome wire oven racks provide maximum flexibility to hold a variety of cooking pan types. Built in fan provides for even distribution of vapor temperature. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen. Also available in stacked units: CAC507/CAC507, CAC507/CAC509, or CAC507/HA4507.
The CVap Cook/Hold Oven CAC503 puts a lot of cooking power in a small package. Cooks to perfection, then switches automatically to hold mode until you are ready to serve. Delivers uniform doneness and higher yields. This model fits under the counter, ideal for operations with space limitations. This Silver edition model has a two channel programmable control, one channel for cooking and holding, and one channel for constant cook (also available with a six channel Gold edition control – see Options). The five adjustable universal rack supports hold four half sheet pans or four steam table pans. Built in fan provides even distribution of vapor heat. Auto water fill comes standard, eliminating the need for frequent water refills and keeping up with the demands of your high volume kitchen.
On a recent business trip to Ukraine, we were able to see some beautiful architecture, absorb some of the amazing history, and experience the humbling real-life revolution that is currently in full swing in the middle of Kiev (and the rest of the country).
Spencer Cole, a Winston Global Accounts Manager, had the opportunity to not only train several local chains and chefs on CVap theory, he also provided live cooking demonstrations and had the chance to catch up with our loyal customer, StarBurger. StarBurger is currently CVap Staging their burgers with great success and according to YELP! and TripAdvisor, their customers are agreeing so much they now have two locations and are planning a few more in Kiev alone!
“The most delicious burgers in Kiev”
Jan 15, 2015, A TripAdvisor Member
I have been here often and always happy. The burgers really are delicious. In Kiev, it is better not met. Staff no complaints. Prices for this segment quite adequate.
All shoddy language translations aside, there two things that make this post and StarBurger different. First, StarBurger was introduced to the concept of CVap burgers from the Winston YouTube Channel, specifically the video of John T. at The Commissary:
Second, StarBurger uses real charcoal grills to finish their burgers so they can really capture that “fresh off the grill” backyard taste. Lastly, StarBurger uses a Holding Cabinet (HA4507) stacked with a Cook & Hold (CAC507) so that they can adjust with to the flow of business. They cook all the burgers in the CAC and then move them to the Holding Cabinet until they are ordered. This configuration allows them to start “CVap Staging” new burgers when the business flows dictates which allows the maximum flexibility.
StarBurger has loved the CVap Staging platform so much, there is even talk of CVap Staging other menu items such as chicken and Salmon!
For more information about the complete line of CVap products, please visit our website at http://www.winstonindustries.com
Growing up, we always had a Christmas Eve tradition with seafood being the highlight of it. As a child, I lived in South Florida near the water with easy access to fresh seafood. It didn’t matter if we caught or trapped it ourselves, or if we had to buy it at a seafood market, it was readily at our fingertips. Each year would be different, as we might have a traditional clam bake one year and fresh-caught yellowtails the next. I remember all of it like it was yesterday.
Now that I have a family of my own, I have carried on the tradition. Every year, I prepare a large amount of seafood to be happily consumed by our guests. I currently live in Michigan and fresh seafood is not so readily available. However, my friends at the Erie Fish Market (www.eriefishmarket.com) outside of Toledo, Ohio have made the process of finding and getting this seafood much easier. Thanks to the guys at Erie!
One of the perks of my job is having a CVap CAC503 Cook and Hold Oven in my kitchen. Over the years, I’ve cooked different seafood items in CVap but never the whole shooting match. For this blog post, I decided I was going to give it a try and see just how much food I could cram into my little CAC503. My menu consisted of butter poached warm water lobster tail, jumbo snow crab legs, jumbo sea scallops, little neck clams, bacon wrapped stuffed shrimp, steamed oysters, corn on the cob, red skinned potatoes and a couple of strip steaks (for my weird wife who doesn’t like seafood).
I set my CAC503 to a low temp steam cycle with 100% humidity (doneness at 145 & browning at 0). I prepped and loaded ALL the seafood in while my guests were arriving. Our party was going great and the eggnog was flowing which caused the seafood to be in my CVap for longer than I originally planned by 2 hours. However, when I removed the food, it was perfect!
I asked some of my guests to sear the scallops, bacon wrapped shrimp, and steaks to finish them off. This was a fun way to get my foodie guests involved with the meal preparation. As they were searing these items, I placed some unsalted butter into the CVap to melt. I also cut and seasoned the potatoes and put them back in to stay hot with the crab legs, lobster tails, clams and oysters.
Once everything was on the table the only sounds were crab legs cracking and forks scraping the plates. The food was perfectly cooked. Lobster was a perfect texture, crab legs were easy to crack and melted in your mouth. The steamed clams and oysters were very plump and juicy. The texture of the scallops blew everyone away. The potatoes and corn even got high marks (I didn’t even try them as there was seafood to eat). My experiment was a complete success! I will be doing this again next year but of course with a different menu. Any suggestions?
On a side note, I went overboard preparing for this dinner and we had a lot of leftovers. I decided to make a mixture of lobster, crab, clams, scallops, shrimp, a couple dashes of lemon juice, fresh dill and parsley. I picked up some flounder at Erie Fish Market and I prepped the fish and topped with the seafood mixture. I then topped it with Panko bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. I broiled my seafood stuffed flounder until the top was brown and crispy. This was absolutely amazing!! It was great to eat two amazing seafood dinners back to back. Try it, I bet you’ll like it.
Have you ever had one of those experiences where your chance encounter far exceeded your expectation?
Recently I was asked by the Corporate Chef of a chain restaurant for a CVap solution to increase their yield on Prime Rib. Their current yield ranged from 75% to 82% and the recent increase in beef prices had them pretty concerned about profit loss. Not to mention the impact on their customers if they had to raise prices.
The Chef wanted to cook and hold the Prime Rib overnight because that created their lowest yield. While the chef seasoned the Prime Rib I set our CVap CAC507 Cook & Hold Oven to 135 F Doneness, 7 on the Browning, High Yield ON and set the cook time to 5 ½ hours. Once the oven preheated we place the Prime Rib in, hit start and left for the evening. The next morning we pulled the Prime Rib and did the weigh in. After a 5 ½ hour cook and 11 hours of hold the pre-purged yield was 93.32%!
He invited The Boss to the cutting and after some delicate inspection it was time to give it a try. The first comment: “Wow, it’s almost too tender…wait I don’t think I meant to say that”. Needless to say we had a good laugh.
During our rather long meat eating season they began talking about how they needed to find a way around water bathing, doming and rotating their cheesecake half way through the cook cycle in their convection oven. It was really an operational headache. Having had my fill of tender beef I was ready for dessert so I said, “Let’s make some cheesecake”.
We spent a little time making two of their cheesecakes. One, as usual, was placed in their convection oven (water bathed, domed and rotated) and the other was placed in the CVap CAC507 Cook & Hold Oven at a setting of 200 F Doneness, 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON and set the cook time for 3 hours.
The CVap cheesecake used no water bath, no doming and did not need to be rotated half way through the cook cycle like the convection oven cheesecake. By their words, the CVap cheesecake was: “Very Creamy”, “Silky”, “1/4”Taller”, “Crust is Better”, “Cuts Cleaner.”
I expected them to be happy with the labor/operational savings but I was not looking to create a better cheesecake for them. The convection oven cheesecake was great but was “Drier on the tongue” and “a pain to make”.
Next thing I knew over the next few days we just got lost in the CAC507 Cook and Hold Oven. The Chef prepared the items and I got the CVap ready. The days just seemed to fly by while we were comparing CVap to their current items and Eating and Eating and Eating.
(Setting: 135 F Doneness, 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)
Time of their charbroiler: 2 minutes 45 seconds
(39 F from refrigerator)
Time on their charbroiler: 8 minutes (5 minutes and 15 seconds longer)
(Setting: 170 F Doneness and 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)
“you can taste the individual ingredients”
(Setting: 170 F Doneness and 0 Browning, Constant Cook ON for 1 hour)
“It’s just more like cake”
(Setting: 135 F Doneness and 5 Browning, High Yield ON for 5 ½ hours)
“…Can cut it with a fork”
How many shades of uses can you create with one oven – CVap?
Each component of this sandwich is perfectly delicious on its own, but the sum of all parts is downright scrumptious. Let’s start with the pretzel bun which provides the perfect framework for the other flavors.
Mini CVap Pretzel Buns
What is it about pretzel dough that adds something special to a sandwich, elevating our enjoyment of it? Is it the distinctive chew unique to a pretzel dough? Is it the slightly crunchy exterior of the roll? Whatever the attraction is, you can’t deny that pretzel rolls add something very different to any sandwich they become part of. So much so that they are appearing on menus everywhere, from QSRs to the most eclectic gastro pubs.
We’ve been experimenting with sandwiches of all sorts, and in this case, we experimented with creating a slider-sized version of a pretzel roll using CVap!
1 Cup Milk
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
1 Envelope Rapid Rise Yeast
2 Tsp Salt
3 Cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Quarts Water
3/4 Cup Baking Soda
1 Tsp Water
Heat milk and butter until 105°F. The butter will not completely melt. Combine with yeast and brown sugar in a mixer bowl. Stir in salt and 2 cups flour and beat for 3 minutes. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Mix on low for approximately 5-8 minutes to develop elasticity. Place in oiled bowl and cover. Allow to rise for approximately one hour or until doubled in size.
1. If using a CVap Cook and Hold Oven, program it to a Food Temperature setting of 130°F (Doneness) and a Food Texture setting of 10 (Browning), with Constant Cook ON, and set the timer for 20 minutes. If using a CVap Thermalizer Oven, set it to Channel 7 and set the timer to 14 minutes.
2. Combine boiling solution and bring to a boil. Punch dough down, divide into two equal portions, and roll into a log approximately 2″ in diameter. Cut each dough log into approximately 6-12 individual balls, dependent upon the size buns you desire, and form into tight rolls. Boil all rolls for approximately 2 minutes, then remove rolls from boiling water with slotted spoon.
3. Place rolls on parchment-lined baking sheets and brush with egg wash. Cut a cross each roll with very sharp knife. Place in oven and bake for recommended time based upon oven selected. Remove from oven and place on wire racks to cool.
Following this procedure, the exterior color and texture were exactly what we were seeking, and the interior had just the right chew without being too “doughy.”
Oh What a Filling!
So how do we make a perfectly delicious pretzel roll even better? By turning it into a scrumptious sandwich!
Ingredients (per Slider)
2 oz. of CVap Staged Pork Loin
Coarse Dijon Mustard
CVap Staged Pork Loin Preparation
Program a CVap Cook and hold Oven to a Food Temperature setting of 135°F (Doneness) and a Food Texture setting of 0 (Browning). Allow about 30 minutes for pre-heating.
Arrange pork loin on a parchment-lined sheet tray and place into the preheated oven. The pork should reach a minimum endpoint of 135°F in about 1 hour, and can be held at exactly that temperature until you are ready to mark it on the grill before service. Preparing the pork in this manner (CVap Staging) will save a great deal of time during the finishing process!
Apple-Cabbage Slaw Preparation
Combine sliced Granny Smith Apples, 1/2 head green cabbage (sliced), 1/3 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cider vinegar. If you want a creamier slaw, mix in 1 or 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. Adjust seasoning to taste and add salt and pepper if desired. For more acidity, add a squirt of fresh lemon juice.