Bath Chaps, Revisited

A while back I wrote a post on cold-cut Bath chaps: a boned-out pig’s head, cured, rolled around the tongue, tied, poached, and sliced.   While I was extremely happy with the look of those Bath chaps, they were pretty bland.  I figure that the cure leached into the poaching liquid.

I had another go at the chaps with this fall’s pig.  This time, instead of using a whole head, I used only one jowl, cured, and wrapped around the tongue.

After rolling and tying, I seared the meat over high heat.  Once chilled, I vacuum-packed the chaps and simmered them for two or three hours.  This was not proper sous-vide: though the meat was vacuum-packed, it wasn’t cooked in a low-heat, temperature-controlled bath.  A good hunk of fat rendered from the chaps, and some insanely flavourful jus leached out.  The plastic seal definitely helped the meat retain its cure.  The final plate was very flavourful, strong of garlic and herbs and brown sugar and salt.

I think that the vacuum-packing also helped bind the tongue and jowl together.

Obviously the presentation of these chaps isn’t as striking as that of the whole-head chaps.  If I try tongue-and-cheek chaps again I’ll trim the jowl to a uniform thickness.  You can see that the left side of the chaps, below, is thicker.  Trimming that down would give a more balanced presentation, and maybe even let the jowl wrap all the way around the tongue.