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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 2

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#511 mdbasile

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 09:11 AM

This is a truly amazingly wonderful thread. I admire all your delicious work.

I have one question (well, actually I could have dozens, but...), for those of you who are using the meat grinder attachment for your KA, does that work reasonably well? I really want to avoid spending $300 or more for  a serious dedicated grinder, since I will be doing small quantities -- mostly fresh sausage, max 5 pounds at a time, at least for the time being.

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Made the 20lbs - 80 links with my KA... worked fine... however.... I too am considering buying a stuffer...

... again COLD product helps for stuffing too!!

Edited by mdbasile, 19 May 2006 - 09:18 AM.


#512 mdbasile

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 09:13 AM

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That Lamb is incredible --- think I'll be starting one of those this weekend

#513 mdbasile

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 09:26 AM

We have a 6 qt KA and the same issues apply here. I actually use a large spatula to hold down the mixture when beating for the bind with a 5# batch.

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Same for me -- usually a bit of a battle.

FWIW - the stuffer was ok with 2 people

#514 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 19 May 2006 - 12:43 PM

I pulled the smaller of the jowl pieces too, to see how the guanciale is doing.  It's been hanging over 5 weeks, and still feels somewhat tender to the touch.  I know guanciale isn't meant to be eaten without cooking, but holy porker, that stuff is delicious just as it is!  Sweet, mild, and almost all fat.  It really makes me look forward to my lardo.

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Abra, when will your lardo be ready? I have a nice chunk of fatback from a local farmer, and am considering the lardo cure. It will be my second attempt at anything out of the book, after today's Pate Grandmere is all done.

I don't have any pink salt, nor have I got a good hanging set-up. But I figured I could just leave the fat to dry in the fridge instead of hanging it, and that way I wouldn't need the preservative/ antibacterial properties of the nitrite.

I talked to a guy at the farmer's market yesterday, and he said all he does for his salt-cured fatback is rub it with salt, wrap it in plastic and leave it in the fridge for three weeks or so, until it feels right. Talk about easy! So I figure I can modify the lardo cure in a similar way. Maybe it will take longer to dry in the fridge.

Any thoughts?

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scottie,

you don't need sodium nitrite for lardo; unless you smoke it there's no botulism concern. salt and herbs are all you need. my only concern with drying in fridge is that it's too dry in there, though i know chefs who only cure in the walkin. but youre not going to hurt any body no matter how you do it. i think the most important factor with lardo is light, it needs to be kept out of the light, which actually disintegrates the fat, if i understand the venerable harold mcgee correctly.

my only problem with dry-cured lardo is that it still retains a slight crunchiness--this is the case with the ones i've cured, with brian's, and was the case with the lardo pizza at mario and co.'s otto (excellent btw, and also saw an unusal drycured sausage there with a bullseye of fat in the middle the size of a quarter; the superlative bartender that day refused to reveal how they got that fat in there--if anyone knows, would love to find out!). the first lardo i had was in the mountains above carrara near the marble quarries. a scary man, long and lanky with long uncombed black hair and a black beard, named fausto, served it to me and then showed me the marble casks in a lightless dirt cellar where they cured--salt and herbs and oil for many many months. that lardo was smooth as butter. that was the lardo cherry-breaking for me and i've never found it again since.

i think a long slow cure in absolute blackness is the key...

#515 Abra

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:45 AM

I have to report a little guanciale thrill I had yesterday.

We met a friend for appetizers and drinks at a nice Italian place in Seattle, and we ordered the cured meat platter. I had brought a chunk of my guanciale for our friend, and thought to open the package and give him a slice to try with the restaurant's house-cured meat. Just then the server happened along. Busted! Would there be a corkage fee for guanciale?

I quickly sliced a piece for her and one to send to the chef. Later she reported to me that the chef had given his slice a quick sear, eaten it, and said "I'd be happy to sell this here." Woohoo. I actually thought it was brave of him to eat meat cured by some anonymous customer, but that raised my esteem for him several notches.

Edited by Abra, 20 May 2006 - 11:26 AM.


#516 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:49 AM

Very cool, Abra! That must have made you feel great. And yeah, that chef was a chef's chef. Congrats on earning that affirming stamp of approval. :smile:

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#517 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 11:11 AM

That is very cool, Abra! I've had the exact same fantasy. However, I'm not sure it's gonna happen with this peperone....

I've detailed the travail above. I can now add that our coonhound, seemingly aware of the meaty science project in the basement, has decided that he needs to piss all over the place. I am skeptical that this is adding "good bacteria" into the environment.

Sure enough, for whatever reason, urinary or otherwise, today I found these:

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Those fuzzy green pockmarks are on six of my 17 sticks, so they're in the garbage, while the other 11 are still curing. Or acquiescing to inevitability.

Just for fun, I thought I'd take a look at the cross-sections to see what the bind and definition looked like. I have to say I'm pretty happy:

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It's hard to tell from the photos, but the consistency seems pretty good throughout each sausage; the edges are a bit drier than the center but not by much.

So I'm going to let the other 11 meet their fate. If anyone has any ideas save knocking on wood and lighting votive candles, please let me know.

In the meanwhile, I look forward to round two, when I plan to look this moldy bastid right back in the eye:

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That's right, motherfucker. Scream.
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#518 Bombdog

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 11:13 AM

Very cool, Abra!  That must have made you feel great.  And yeah, that chef was a chef's chef.  Congrats on earning that affirming stamp of approval. :smile:

=R=

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indeed Abra, congratulations! What a thrill!
!
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#519 Abra

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 11:29 AM

No, Chris, don't throw it out! I read that you should wipe the outsides of the sausage with vinegar, or a vinegar solution, to see if you can get rid of the mold. Hurry, wipe down the remaining ones! You've got nothing to lose by trying.

#520 Bombdog

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 11:43 AM

Actually, I went back and read that part of the book as soon as I read that post. For fuzzy green mold Michael says take no chance and throw it out.

I would rub down the remainder though.

That's tough luck Chris....but you were half way expecting problems anyway, so don't get too down on yourself. The one you cut open really looks good...definition is great.

Hmmm, I wonder what dry cured Coonhound will taste like if this happens again?
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"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#521 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 01:34 PM

Thanks for the triage advice; I just wiped the remainder down with a 1:1 vinegar:water solution. I also wiped down the sides.

Meanwhile, I'm about to pull two thick slabs of bacon out of the Bradley, in which they're dancing with applewood smoke as they creep toward 150F. I also put in a bowl with 1/4 c of sea salt, lubed up with a little (1t) peanut oil. As i suspected, the oil created a fine "pellicle" of sorts, and I now have some lightly smoked salt.
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#522 Bombdog

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 01:45 PM

Meanwhile, I'm about to pull two thick slabs of bacon out of the Bradley, in which they're dancing with applewood smoke as they creep toward 150F. I also put in a bowl with 1/4 c of sea salt, lubed up with a little (1t) peanut oil. As i suspected, the oil created a fine "pellicle" of sorts, and I now have some lightly smoked salt.

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Oh, nice. I'm getting ready to smoke on Monday or Tuesday. I've got a turkey breast, 2 HUGE bone in rib pork chops and 12 chicken breasts in brine as we speak. I'll see if I can squeeze in some salt for that smoking session.

What did you put the salt in during the smoking?
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#523 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 03:53 PM

Some days it makes perfect sense to me that pork and work are only letter apart from each other :biggrin:

That said, it's been a good day. I've finally launched my first batch of peperone (using pork) and the links are now incubating in my oven. I also dredge-cured a large belly in 2 sections -- some with basic cure and some with a maple sugar-assisted variation. Those will get their smoke a week from tomorrow. I kind of promised myself I'd wait a bit longer until I made more bacon but the inventory dwindled to the point where I could no longer wait.

Also, the greenish jowl bacon has been smoked to near perfection. Other than than that bizarre color, it turned out wonderfully. Of course, being the 'gonzo' guy that I am, I cooked up a few pieces from the greenest section of the greenest jowl and wolfed them down . . . absolutely delicious!! I now understand, at least in part, the origin of Green Eggs and Ham. :wink:

I hope to post a few pics tomorrow.

And Chris, at the very least I see that you managed to extract a nice, new avatar out of your peperone foray. :smile:

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#524 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 07:31 PM

What did you put the salt in during the smoking?

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Just a shallow stainless bowl. Couldn't have been easier.

Just made bacon and eggs for dinner -- an excellent way to get over the mold problem. Well, that and a Corpse Reviver #2.
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#525 Abra

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Posted 20 May 2006 - 10:51 PM

Corpse Reviver - great drink! What's the #2 part mean?

It looks like we were all productive today. I got a small batch of saucisson sec started, and now it's hanging for 3 weeks or so. I had everything so cold, probably too cold. It still showed below freezing after the grind and paddle. I don't see how that could hurt, but then, sausage is not my strong suit so far. I made skinny links, so they'd dry faster, although the slices won't be as impressive.

And I have the pork resting in its seasoning for the fresh pork and garlic sausage. I've got to master the texture thing soon, it's driving me crazy.

Tonight I started thinking about how much pastrami and ham my husband eats, and wondering why we buy them instead of making it at home. Space to hang, that's a ham problem. But pastrami, no reason to hold back, right? Has anybody tried it yet?

Chris, I'm not understanding the oil part of the smoked salt. You made a slurry with oil? Or did you mean you just oiled the bowl?

Ron, I know what you mean about eating the green jowl. I always eat some of whatever the newest cured meat is first. If I don't die, I give some to other people. Green scares me, though. I wonder what that was all about?

Does anyone know about how safe it is to taste a mix with DC #2 in it? I cooked up a bit of the saucisson sec mix, just to test the seasoning, but I thought I could taste the nitrate, so I spit after getting the flavor. Now, should I make a joke about spitting instead of swallowing, or a joke about needing corpse reviver #2 after tasting DC #2? I was worried, though, so any science on the subject would be appreciated.

#526 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 06:55 AM

Ok kiddies -- need some advice here...

Below is an 8 lb boned out leg of lamb that I have in the fridge using Jason's method..

How long should I fridge such a large piece - Jason has 14 + 7...

Also how long do you think this thing will need to hang for?

Thanks.

Mark

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#527 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 06:58 AM

Got my Chirizo done yesterday too... here are the photos...

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I am hoping -- please no mold... had success with my tuscan - no mold... so hopefully....

#528 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 07:14 AM

I can't help with the science, I'm afraid, Abra, but I do know the alchemy: here's the cocktaildb.com link for the CR #2.

Chris, I'm not understanding the oil part of the smoked salt.  You made a slurry with oil?  Or did you mean you just oiled the bowl?

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Having read that earlier attempts to smoke salt didn't work, I thought I needed to create some sort of pellicle and just tossed the salt with 1 t of peanut oil, so that it wasn't greasy but had a little tack.

Looking good, mdbasile! No thoughts about the lamb, but I'm watching with great interest.
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#529 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 07:23 AM

Actually, I went back and read that part of the book as soon as I read that post.  For fuzzy green mold Michael says take no chance and throw it out.

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I don't recall that i was so absolute. maybe just very cautionary. you can wipe down a moldy sausage with vinegar or brine. the danger is that some of those evil molds can penetrate the skin and get into the sausage, in which case throwing it out is prudent. but after washing them down, examine the casing to ensure it's intact and you've got all the mold. but once the mold has started, it's tough battle.

#530 Bombdog

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 08:41 AM

Ok kiddies -- need some advice here...

Below is an 8 lb boned out leg of lamb that I have in the fridge using Jason's method..

How long should I fridge such a large piece - Jason has 14 + 7...

Also how long do you think this thing will need to hang for?

Thanks.

Mark

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Mark, I just checked my notes. I had a 5.5 lb bone in leg and cured it in the refrigerator for 14 days. Not sure about hang time for a boneless. Maybe Abra can give you her time. Mine was in for about 60 days.
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#531 Bombdog

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 08:42 AM

Actually, I went back and read that part of the book as soon as I read that post.  For fuzzy green mold Michael says take no chance and throw it out.

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I don't recall that i was so absolute. maybe just very cautionary. you can wipe down a moldy sausage with vinegar or brine. the danger is that some of those evil molds can penetrate the skin and get into the sausage, in which case throwing it out is prudent. but after washing them down, examine the casing to ensure it's intact and you've got all the mold. but once the mold has started, it's tough battle.

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Sorry about that. It does say "to be cautious" not take no chance.
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.


#532 pounce

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:00 AM

Also, the greenish jowl bacon has been smoked to near perfection.  Other than than that bizarre color, it turned out wonderfully.

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Is the green due to nitrite burn (oxymyoglobin) or from hydrogen peroxide accumulation? Lactic acid in the meat reacting with excessive nitrites can cause oxymyoglobin or lactics reacting with oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide turning the meat green. So, maybe the cure or cleanliness and temperature issues?

I'm no expert though. Maybe someone can make a more educated guess :cool:

Edited by pounce, 21 May 2006 - 09:01 AM.

My soup looked like an above ground pool in a bad neighborhood.

#533 Abra

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 09:39 AM

Mark - I started with only a 3.5 lb boneless leg of lamb piece. I did the 14+7 cure in the fridge, then after just a little over 2 weeks hanging it had already lost 50% of its weight coming out of the cure. Your bigger piece will take longer, I'm guessing. You might consider cutting it in half. The piece I have makes slices that are just the right size for serving, and I'm thinking that a shorter hang time lessens the likelihood of Evil Molds.

#534 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:06 AM

Also, the greenish jowl bacon has been smoked to near perfection.  Other than than that bizarre color, it turned out wonderfully.

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Is the green due to nitrite burn (oxymyoglobin) or from hydrogen peroxide accumulation? Lactic acid in the meat reacting with excessive nitrites can cause oxymyoglobin or lactics reacting with oxygen to produce hydrogen peroxide turning the meat green. So, maybe the cure or cleanliness and temperature issues?

I'm no expert though. Maybe someone can make a more educated guess :cool:

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I wish I knew. :sad:

I've used the same method and equipment set-up many times and only produced this result this one time. The only variable here (that I can think of) was that I was using jowls instead of belly. All my equipment was fresh out of the dishwasher, my hands were washed and I actually used cure from a larger batch which I've been working through. I never recycle cure, either. What remains in the vessel after dredging gets tossed, not returned to the bag. I never let anything sit out of refrigeration for more than a few moments at time.

In my mind, I'm going back to that information from UVA's web site, seeing it now with the added perspective of the information you've provided here and wondering if maybe this was an instance of over-curing caused, at least in part, by excessively soft jowl tissue. But, considering that I only dredged the jowls, I'm not sure that over-curing was really a possibility. Perhaps I let the jowls cure too long. I hope to post some pictures later today.

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#535 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:09 AM

Tuscan Salami..

Why I need a sausage stuffer....

See the photo below and you can see how the KA tends to mash and grind the fat - loosing the definition. This has happened before and my Tuscan was good, but the definition of the fat is not what I like!!!


Posted Image

#536 hwilson41

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:16 AM

Seems like we're all cranking out the good stuff today. I currently have 13 lbs or so of pork belly, spiced with the pancetta recipe, smoking away over apple. If past experiences hold, it should be out in another two hours or so. I can hardly wait, 'cause this is my first shot at savory bacon :raz: :biggrin:.

This coming week I'm going to make a new batch of andouille to smoke next weekend. I will get this right, dammit!! New recipe is almost identical to Ron's posted up thread, both based on variations of Folse's. Then we'll try another batch of jambalaya, hopefully with dramatically improved results :wacko:.
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#537 hwilson41

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 10:23 AM

See the photo below and you can see how the KA tends to mash and grind the fat - loosing the definition. This has happened before and my Tuscan was good, but the definition of the fat is not what I like!!!

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Mark, not sure whether this is your problem or not, but I had very uneven results trying to use the fat that comes on the meat. Unless you get rid of virtually all of the soft, elastic connective tissue, it will clog up your grinder and begin to smear. My solution was to trim the butts free of almost all fat and go to 100% fatback for the fat. I also have the fatback almost frozen when I grind it. Works like a charm, and I'm also using the KA to grind (but not to stuff). FWIW.
"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#538 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 11:53 AM

I have to report a little guanciale thrill I had yesterday.

We met a friend for appetizers and drinks at a nice Italian place in Seattle, and we ordered the cured meat platter.  I had brought a chunk of my guanciale for our friend, and thought to open the package and give him a slice to try with the restaurant's house-cured meat.  Just then the server happened along.  Busted!  Would there be a corkage fee for guanciale?

I quickly sliced a piece for her and one to send to the chef.  Later she reported to me that the chef had given his slice a quick sear, eaten it, and said "I'd be happy to sell this here."  Woohoo.  I actually thought it was brave of him to eat meat cured by some anonymous customer, but that raised my esteem for him several notches.

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Very cool!! You should be very proud!

Is this a very nice Italian place on a corner..downtown?

#539 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 11:58 AM

See the photo below and you can see how the KA tends to mash and grind the fat - loosing the definition. This has happened before and my Tuscan was good, but the definition of the fat is not what I like!!!

View Post

Mark, not sure whether this is your problem or not, but I had very uneven results trying to use the fat that comes on the meat. Unless you get rid of virtually all of the soft, elastic connective tissue, it will clog up your grinder and begin to smear. My solution was to trim the butts free of almost all fat and go to 100% fatback for the fat. I also have the fatback almost frozen when I grind it. Works like a charm, and I'm also using the KA to grind (but not to stuff). FWIW.

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Thanks. I will try using only the backfat.

I have had absolutely no problem grinding and my meat/fat is almost frozen when I grind. This only seems to happen when I us the KA for stuffing. I think it is the way it works that helps create the smear.

Actually I have really only had the smear problem with the Brats(I think because of all that protein) and the Tuscan. I do, however keep and use as much fat as possible -- maybe even more than called for.

#540 mdbasile

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Posted 21 May 2006 - 12:03 PM

Does anyone know about how safe it is to taste a mix with DC #2 in it?  I cooked up a bit of the saucisson sec mix, just to test the seasoning, but I thought I could taste the nitrate, so I spit after getting the flavor.  Now, should I make a joke about spitting instead of swallowing, or a joke about needing corpse reviver #2 after tasting DC #2?  I was worried, though, so any science on the subject would be appreciated.

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I have eaten mine everytime.. and I am still alive ... well... never thought about it - I hope it is ok.... as for spitting vs swallonwing... I gave a piece of my Tuscan salami for my wife to try... and no she didn't spit it out either... ohhh this could get funny...





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