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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 2

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#271 snowangel

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 04:51 PM

My "recipe" for the vension sausages:

3.5 lb. venison
1.5 lb. back fat
1/4 cup minced fresh sage (packed)
2 generous T of fennel seeds (toasted)
1 cup dried cherries (these had sugar in them) soaked for a while in 1/2 cup of wine. (Drained the wine and reserved when I did the mix with the diced stuff and spices in a bowl)
2 generous teaspoons of cracked black pepper. Ground reasonably fine
2 (or was it 3) T of kosher salt
4 minced cloves of garlic

I probably could have gone with a higher percentabe of back fat, and I could have paddled it longer, or paddled it when it wasn't so cold. It was really, really cold.

When I paddled it, I ended up adding another 3/4 c or so of water.
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#272 Mallet

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 05:02 PM

How do you all think a beer fridge would work as a curing chamber?
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#273 snowangel

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 05:33 PM

How do you all think a beer fridge would work as a curing chamber?

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I don't know, but I'd sure like to have a better idea about a curing chamber. We have one room in the house which is always cold, but it's not dark (and I think that's essential, but I'm not sure). I'm actually loathe to finish this room -- not that I mind drywalling and wiring the room -- but because I'm thinking Curing Chamber somewhere in this room.

This topic is getting so long that we just might need a separate "curing chamber" topic.
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#274 snowangel

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Posted 29 April 2006 - 09:02 PM

My in-laws were over this afternoon, and we gave them a small package of the venison sausages. THey had many questions about my sausage making, and the one thing Diana and I have agreed upon is that we will definitely be looking into a different stuffer. The KA is a pain in the blanking butt for stuffing.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#275 Bombdog

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:33 AM

How do you all think a beer fridge would work as a curing chamber?

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I have an older refrigerator in my garage that I use as a curing chamber. I cleaned it out, removed all but the topmost shelf supports and it works fine. I keep a thermometer and hygrometer on a door shelf and a pan of salted water on the floor.

Susan, if your room is cold enough, why don't you get a large box and rig up a method to hang things. That would take care of the light issue. Is your humidity in that room high enough?

And THANKS for posting the venison sausage recipe.
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#276 snowangel

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:35 AM

Another stupid question. With the old fridge curing chamber, do you keep the door closed while you are curing?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#277 Bombdog

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:36 AM

Jason

I checked on my lamb proscuitto yesterday. So far I've only lost 3 oz since I hung it. I lost 16 oz during the cure, but not much since hanging. Do you weigh yours before and after, or just go by texture. It's feeling pretty firm right now.
Dave Valentin
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#278 Bombdog

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Posted 30 April 2006 - 06:38 AM

Another stupid question.  With the old fridge curing chamber, do you keep the door closed while you are curing?

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Yes. I have it plugged in and set to the warmest setting. I'm actually using the freezer for other things. I figured that this way I was getting air circulation with it coming on and off occasionally. It keeps it a bit cooler than the idea temps, (48-52F) but so far that doesn't seem to be giving me any problems.
Dave Valentin
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#279 Mallet

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 05:56 AM

I'm going to try the pork confit this week, minus the pink salt (don't yet have any). I was thinking of confiting (?) rib chops, then grilling them.
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#280 Bombdog

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:22 AM

I'm going to try the pork confit this week, minus the pink salt (don't yet have any). I was thinking of confiting (?) rib chops, then grilling them.

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I'm thinking that sound pretty interesting...let us know how it works
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#281 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 07:39 AM

I'm going to try the pork confit this week, minus the pink salt (don't yet have any). I was thinking of confiting (?) rib chops, then grilling them.

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i would only confit pork that was very fatty, shoulder of or belly, or something cheap and flavorless, commercial loin. i wouldn't confit good chops. i imagine they'll be very dry, especially if you grill them after.

#282 jmolinari

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 08:24 AM

Dave, i measured my lamb before and after, i have the data at home. I'll try to remember to post it tonight, but this week is crazy busy, so if i forget don't kill me:)
It definitely lost a good 30% if i remember correctly. how long as it been in the chamber, and what humidity are you holding?

jason

#283 Bombdog

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 08:40 AM

Dave, i measured my lamb before and after, i have the data at home. I'll try to remember to post it tonight, but this week is crazy busy, so if i forget don't kill me:)
It definitely lost a good 30% if i remember correctly. how long as it been in the chamber, and what humidity are you holding?

jason

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It's been in there for 32 days right now. the humidity holds about 60 percent, ( sometimes as low as 55 and as hi as 70).

Do you mean 30 percent from raw to finish, or from the time you put it in the curing chamber?
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#284 jmolinari

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 01:27 PM

Dave, i measured my lamb before and after, i have the data at home. I'll try to remember to post it tonight, but this week is crazy busy, so if i forget don't kill me:)
It definitely lost a good 30% if i remember correctly. how long as it been in the chamber, and what humidity are you holding?

jason

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It's been in there for 32 days right now. the humidity holds about 60 percent, ( sometimes as low as 55 and as hi as 70).

Do you mean 30 percent from raw to finish, or from the time you put it in the curing chamber?

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Hrmm..i'm pretty sure it was 30% from when i put it in the chamber! Yuors is boneless right? Maybe you miswrote the numbers/weights. If it has been 30 days, and it is about 3-4" in diameter, you should be getting close. It should feel similar to a coppa or a bresaola.

i'll check for details tonight.
jason

#285 Bombdog

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Posted 01 May 2006 - 02:01 PM

Hrmm..i'm pretty sure it was 30% from when i put it in the chamber! Yuors is boneless right? Maybe you miswrote the numbers/weights. If it has been 30 days, and it is about 3-4" in diameter, you should be getting close. It should feel similar to a coppa or a bresaola.

i'll check for details tonight.
jason

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No, this is a bone in, just like a pork proscuito. I'm pretty close to 30 percent loss from the VERY beginning, but only 3 oz lost since I hung it in the curing chamber. I mean, it's only hung for 32 days, so I suppose that's not too bad. It is getting pretty firm and was a fairly small leg to begin with.

In comparison, the pork proscuito I hung started at 9 lbs. It went in about a month earlier (still has at least 5 months to go) but it's not near as firm.
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#286 jmolinari

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 06:12 AM

i didn't get home lat night until 11, and didn't check my notes. The bone in one i made, if i remember did not seem to lose much weight in the curing chamer....i left mine in there for 45-60 days i think

What method/recipe did you use for the pork prosciutto, and did you use a whole pig leg?

jason

#287 Bombdog

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 07:41 AM

i didn't get home lat night until 11, and didn't check my notes. The bone in one i made, if i remember did not seem to lose much weight in the curing chamer....i left mine in there for 45-60 days i think

What method/recipe did you use for the pork prosciutto, and did you use a whole pig leg?

jason

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I think it was labeled "whole picnic". Not sure if that meant the entire leg. It started at 9 lbs, so it's pretty large.

I'll check the lamb in another couple of weeks, actually unwrap it. I just took it out and weighed it this time.

I just placed another order at butcher-packer.com. This one has some beef middles. My next project is going to be sopressata.
Dave Valentin
Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler
"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#288 FoodMan

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 08:52 AM

This past weekend I made two projects,

The Smoked Andouille, it came out very good and flavorful. However, the recipe does not ask for fatback and I think the butt I bought is leaner than it should. So, the sausage is a tad dried than it has to be. It is still delicious and will make a great addition to cajun specialties.

Posted Image
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I also made the "veal terrine gratin" with the seared pork and Madeira. This one came out perfect, smooth, rich and after cooking I saw minimal loss of fat. So, my emulsification techique is working fine just like the Mortadella. I also flded in a good doze of shopped chive. The amount of meat was not enough to fill the terrine mold though (the standard Le Creuset one). It only filled about 3/4 of the mold, so the terrine was a little shorter than I would've liked. I'm guessing a recipe+1/2 should fill the mold.

Here is our portion that we had for dinner last night, with cornichons, homemade onion jam, Dijon mustard and homemade baguettes.

Posted Image

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#289 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 10:11 AM

Wow! That looks delicious, Elie. As for the fat content, I've had similar issues. What I did was order 5 pounds of fat back from Niman Ranch. When it arrived, I cut it into approximately 1/2 pound portions, vacuum-sealed them and put them in the freezer. Now, when I make sausage and feel that the meat I have is too lean, I just take one of those packs of fat back out of the freezer and work it into the mixture. So far, it's been incredibly useful.

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#290 FoodMan

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 12:37 PM

Wow!  That looks delicious, Elie.  As for the fat content, I've had similar issues.  What I did was order 5 pounds of fat back from Niman Ranch.  When it arrived, I cut it into approximately 1/2 pound portions, vacuum-sealed them and put them in the freezer.  Now, when I make sausage and feel that the meat I have is too lean, I just take one of those packs of fat back out of the freezer and work it into the mixture.  So far, it's been incredibly useful.

=R=

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I did similar thing with 1/2 lb portions of fat back. I just did not go with my gut feeling and use it in this instance. I should've.

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#291 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 07:53 PM

Same problem with fat content here, especially with the Niman Ranch butts, which seems trimmed a bit too much.

Elie, that terrine looks fantastic. Can you tell me what size your terrine mold is? Cups, s'il vous plait!
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#292 aarontighe

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Posted 02 May 2006 - 09:03 PM

Newbie Post

Have been reading this forum for the last couple of weeks and it has been an inspiration. Since reading Paul Bertolli's 'Cooking by Hand' late last year and Michael and Brian's 'Charcuterie' this, I have been itching to venture down the prosciutto trail.

Discovered a local supplier of organic Berskhire (Kurobata) pork and began making sausages last year. Was definitely a mistake to combine my first KA stuffing attempt with a home-made sausage party for 30 people. Allowed myself two hours to stuff hog cases with fresh lamb loukanika, two kinds of pork sausage and chicken, chesnut and apple. Of course it took over four hours and I was ready for bed before anybody had arrived :wacko:

I have shared all of your woes with the KA sausage stuffing process. I made some 240 on that first attempt and will invest in better equipment before I do that again. I have stuck to more modest quantities since.

For my first charcuterie attempt I tried the Duck Prosciutto recipe.

When I took the breast, I used one, out of the salt after 24 hours, I was certain that it hadn't had enough time, but this was a learning process. I followed the instructions, hung it and checked it once a day for 7 days.

On day 8 I took it out and unwrapped it. It had a trace of mold, but I determined that this was due to the 'parsley bag' wrapper, so duly rinsed the breast thoroughly and dried it.

I had given up hope of eating it at this stage, but at $12 a breast it wasn't going into the trash that quickly. I cut in half to better examine it. Wasn't happy with the texture, so decided that it was time to experiment.

So, I packed it back in 'fresh' salt for another day, then hung it for four more. This time it smelt like prosciutto and there was no trace of mold, so I risked a taste. Wonderful.

Have been eating it now for a couple of days. Here are a couple of photos.

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Served it with wafer thin slices of raw baby turnip, a fig and orange relish, salt and cracked pepper.

This is a first attempt at food photography. Rather 80s in composition :cool:

Posted Image

As of tonight I have two slabs of Pancetta, was too thick to roll, and Guanciale - a combination of recipes, but used Sodium Nitrate - hanging in the cold room, an old upright freezer.

Will post some more info on those later.

#293 Anna N

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:28 AM

Newbie Post

Have been reading this forum for the last couple of weeks and it has been an inspiration. Since reading Paul Bertolli's 'Cooking by Hand' late last year and Michael and Brian's 'Charcuterie' this, I have been itching to venture down the prosciutto trail.

....

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Welcome to the eGullet Society and to this topic.
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#294 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 05:13 AM

what i love best about aarons post, besides seeing the perfect looking duck breast, is that this cook is evaluating and thinking and fixing. everyone on this thread does that, but it's nice to see the thoughts and actions described because really that's the essence of cooking.

#295 jmolinari

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 06:41 AM

Dave, what do yo umean "unwrap" the leg? What did you wrap it with? I left mine unwrapped at all times in the cure and drying..

A pork picnic is a front leg. What recipe/method did you use for it?

I keep forgetting to check my notebook when i get home! dangit!

jason

#296 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:33 AM

Welcome, Aaron! Thanks for the notes and the images. Please keep us updated on the pancettas and guanciale too.

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#297 Bombdog

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 07:55 AM

Dave, what do yo umean "unwrap" the leg? What did you wrap it with? I left mine unwrapped  at all times in the cure and drying..

A pork picnic is a front leg. What recipe/method did you use for it?

I keep forgetting to check my notebook when i get home! dangit!

jason

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It's wrapped in cheese cloth, partially to help with the hanging and to keep the pepper I rubbed it with in place. There is plenty of circulation.

The picnic I did from the book for "Salted air dried ham" Page 197

Aaron,

What Michael said is exactly what I was thinking when I read your post about the duck proscuitto; that you did a great job of improvising and getting the duck out in good shape.
Dave Valentin
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#298 FoodMan

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 08:26 AM

Same problem with fat content here, especially with the Niman Ranch butts, which seems trimmed a bit too much.

Elie, that terrine looks fantastic. Can you tell me what size your terrine mold is? Cups, s'il vous plait!

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I believe it is 1.5 quarts (6 Cups, right?). It should be this exact one, in red.

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#299 Bombdog

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 11:55 AM

I picked up 3lb 6oz of jowl today (99 cents a lb)...now, who ha suggestions for the cure? Am I right in that it is cured just like bacon? I don't want to smoke this (smoked jowl bacon is readily available around here), so do I hang it after the cure?
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#300 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 03 May 2006 - 12:24 PM

I picked up 3lb 6oz of jowl today (99 cents a lb)...now, who ha suggestions for the cure?  Am I right in that it is cured just like bacon?  I don't want to smoke this (smoked jowl bacon is readily available around here), so do I hang it after the cure?

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I've put off curing the jowls I mentioned upthread, so I'll be interested to hear responses as well. My initial thought was to use the pancetta cure from the book, but I'd love to hear some other suggestions too. FWIW, I do plan on smoking them after they cure because while I can get jowl bacon around here, it isn't exactly easy to do so.

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