Pastrami Style Sweetbreads

Sweetbreads are one of my favorite things to cook as of late.  This delicacy is very easy to execute, they do not over cook easily and they will melt in your mouth every time.  Of the odd-ball things to eat from animals (foie gras, bone marrow, etc)  Sweetbreads are the least intrusive in terms of flavor, getting past the fact that they are glands is another story.  Sweetbreads usually come from calves/veal but often come from lamb and pork.  The glands that are most commonly used are the thymus, which come from the neck, gullet, or throat and the pancreas, which come from the heart, stomach, or belly.  To some it is very hard to eat sweetbreads because of what it is, I always tell people “If you like foie gras, then sweetbreads are no problem”, not always true but I have found it to be a good way to get more people to try them.

The dish below is one that took a few days to get together , as the sweetbreads needed to sit in a brine.  Once brined they needed to develop a pellicle so they would hold the smoke.  After sitting in the cooler for 12 hours they had a nice pellicle, a dry rub was added that had paprika, black pepper, and brown sugar as its main ingredients, then we put them in a vacuum bag and cooked them in a water bath.  Once removed from the water bath we pressed them with a weight so we could get a nice uniform piece, which was then cut into the desired sized pieces.  The accompaniments were a caraway shortbread, sautéed chard, candied pine nuts, and a huckleberry confiture.

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