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Brian Polcyn

Mon, 06/23/2008 - 20:48
Submitted by editorial
Five Lakes Grill

Monday, September 15 09:00AM—10:10AM

Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking, and Curing Savory Workshop


Brian Polcyn is the visionary behind some of Michigan’s most acclaimed restaurants. Before opening Five Lakes Grill, Polcyn honed his skills at The Golden Mushroom and The Lark (both in Michigan), and in 1987 opened his first restaurant, Pike Street Restaurant in Pontiac, Michigan. Three years later he opened Chimayo, Michigan’s first authentic Southwestern restaurant, and in 1993 opened Acadia, specializing in food cooked over wood. He opened the local-seasonal-focused Five Lakes Grill, his current project, over a decade ago and has been devoted to the restaurant ever since. His newest restaurant, the bistro-style Forest Grill, will open in late 2008 in Birmingham, Michigan.

Polcyn is a proponent of local ingredients and seasonal cuisine, and is known across the country as a charcuterie expert. His knowledge is documented in the book Charcuterie, co-authored with Michael Ruhlman, which received a James Beard award nomination for the “Single Subject” cookbook category in the year of its release. Polcyn has received three gold medals and a silver medal from The American Culinary Federation, and was first runner-up in the 1990 American Culinary Gold Cup Bocuse d' Or. Polcyn was nominated for “Best Chef in the Midwest” by the James Beard Foundation in 2006. Along with his work at his restaurants, Polcyn teaches charcuterie at Schoolcraft College and is involved with Michigan Chefs Against Hunger and Share Our Strength.


Smoked Salmon
Chef Brian Polcyn of Five Lakes Grill – Milford, MI
Adapted by

Yield: 1 Pound

• ½ cup kosher salt
• ¼ cup dark brown sugar
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 teaspoon pink salt
• 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 teaspoon ground bay leaf
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ½ teaspoon ground mace
• 1½ pounds salmon fillet in one piece, skin on, pin bones removed
• 1½ tablespoons dark rum
• Cherry, apple, pear, or other fruit wood

Mix sugar and spices together. Choose a dish or pan in which the salmon will fit snugly; it will release copious liquid and form a brine that should remain in contact with the fish. Spread half of the dry cure in an even layer the width and length of the salmon in your container, then place salmon skin side-down on the cure. Sprinkle the rum over the fillet, then coat the fish with the rest of the dry cure, coating the thick parts heavily with the mixture and the tapered belly with less. Cover the salmon with plastic wrap, set another pan on top, and place about 8 pounds of weights on it to help extract the moisture (a few cans or bricks will suffice). Refrigerate for 36 hours, or until the thickest part of the salmon feels dense and stiff to the touch. Remove the salmon from the cure and rinse thoroughly under cool water. Pat dry. Place on a rack set over a tray, and refrigerate, uncovered, for 4 to 24 hours. Cold-smoke the salmon at 54°F for about 6 hours, or to taste. Remember that the temperature of the smoker and the salmon should never go above 90°F, or it will begin to cook, rather than simply smoke, the salmon. Store the salmon wrapped in butchers or parchment paper in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 3 weeks – though you may need to change the paper if it becomes too moist.

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