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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#1 snowangel

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 08:48 PM

Manager note: this continues the discussion found in Part 2 of this topic.


Oh, Abra. Oh, Abra. Can we call this the Pork Altar? This is so effing unbelievable.

So, who cares if it only took you three monts to get your mise in place.

Which brings me how to construct my curing chamber (Chris, why in the hell did you choose black and not white for your container) and finding just the right place in the hosue. I'm such a lightweight and such a worrywort. It's only meat!
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#2 Chris Amirault

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 08:54 PM

Don't want light in there, Susan!
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#3 snowangel

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Posted 24 May 2006 - 09:30 PM

Don't want light in there, Susan!

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But, black doesn't photograph as well. Time you took one for the gipper!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#4 Abra

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 10:20 AM

Gack! Here I was worrying about cyber-contagion of molds, and what do I have? Ron's Green Goo!

Posted Image
Here's my lardo, after 13 days in the cure, wrapped light-tight, weighted, in the fridge the whole time. Now isn't that gross? It smells just fine, perfectly sweet and neutral, but hey, the little meat strip running through the fat is all green.

Now, this lardo was thoroughly covered in fresh thyme as it cured, but the thyme was all on the top surface, not touching the part that is now Ghastly Green.

You eat the stuff raw. It's green meat. All I can do is toss it, right?

#5 snowangel

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 02:52 PM

Chris, OMG. I need to get through the next week and a half (I'm doing a 50th anniv. party for my folks with what now looks like over 100 people) and then think about this pepperone thing.

Abra, is it green the whole way through? Or, just on the edges?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#6 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 May 2006 - 03:06 PM

Regarding the green stuff I encountered, I was able to contact one of the charcuterie authorities who helped Michael and Brian out with the book. What he told me was this:

I am expecting that your problem might be microbial in nature, as jowls are known to often be rather contaminated with bacteria. The reason is that during the harvesting (i.e., slaughter) process, the pork carcass is suspended with the head facing the floor, and like the old saying "fecal matter" flows down hill, as the carcass is rinsed and showered, there is a tendency for a lot of "stuff" to slide down the carcass and accumulate on the jowls.

and after I sent him the pictures (as seen upthread) . . .

Regarding the microbial contamination, it is likely that the bacteria are spoilage, and not pathogenic.  So if you didn't feel any ill effects [after eating it], feel free to send me a sample of it!

I've invited him to join the discussion here and I hope that he does.

I don't know, Abra, if the above information applies to your current situation, but I felt like it was at least worth passing on. My guess is that if it is indeed bacterial, eating the stuff raw is probably not such a great idea.

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#7 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:12 AM

Gack!  Here I was worrying about cyber-contagion of molds, and what do I have?  Ron's Green Goo!

Posted Image
Here's my lardo, after 13 days in the cure, wrapped light-tight, weighted, in the fridge the whole time.  Now isn't that gross?  It smells just fine, perfectly sweet and neutral, but hey, the little meat strip running through the fat is all green.

Now, this lardo was thoroughly covered in fresh thyme as it cured, but the thyme was all on the top surface, not touching the part that is now Ghastly Green.

You eat the stuff raw.  It's green meat.  All I can do is toss it, right?

View Post


definitely not supposed to be green. is it green all the way through? how does it smell? is this from ron's hog?

#8 jmolinari

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:22 AM

Of all things i cook at home, meat curing is the most "dangerous", and personally i would NOT mess around with GREEN meat or fat to save some money or time.

My $0.02.

#9 Abra

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:24 AM

I cut it open, and alas, it is greenish all the way through. It's from a Niman hog, and was cured, wrapped, weighted, and in the fridge the whole damn time. I'm at a loss to imagine how this happens. It smells sweet and delicious, just as the final insult.

#10 mdbasile

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 08:06 AM

Wow - that sucks!!

#11 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 08:15 AM

I cut it open, and alas, it is greenish all the way through.  It's from a Niman hog, and was cured, wrapped, weighted, and in the fridge the whole damn time.  I'm at a loss to imagine how this happens.  It smells sweet and delicious, just as the final insult.

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Maybe we did have parts from the same hog. Seriously though, is there something about the way processing is done by Niman that makes this outcome more likely? Or is it totally random? I guess all we really have here is anecdotal information but both instances of "green" which have come up on this thread used Niman product. :sad:

=R=
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#12 snowangel

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 02:57 PM

I cut it open, and alas, it is greenish all the way through.  It's from a Niman hog, and was cured, wrapped, weighted, and in the fridge the whole damn time.  I'm at a loss to imagine how this happens.  It smells sweet and delicious, just as the final insult.

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Oh, Abra! I am so sad! And yes, the sweet and delicious smell is just like a _-you. I'm really curious. We need a butcher who also makes sausages to weigh in here.

Ron and Abra, it would be interesting to see what Niman has to say about this. I wonder if we can get someone there to answer an e-mail or weigh in about this green gunk.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#13 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 02:59 PM

I cut it open, and alas, it is greenish all the way through.  It's from a Niman hog, and was cured, wrapped, weighted, and in the fridge the whole damn time.  I'm at a loss to imagine how this happens.  It smells sweet and delicious, just as the final insult.

View Post


I'd bring this up with niman customer service. they've been very attentive when i've had issues, though no green pig. very strange. if you just used salt and herbs, should not happen.

#14 jmolinari

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 04:16 PM

After 3 months in a brine with spices and herbs, i finally tried my lardo tonight. Sliced super thin on my slicer and cracked some black pepper on it. It is fantastical. The fat is super soft, herby, and a bit salty (i'm attempting to soak it for an hour or 2 in water to remove some salt).

The fatback was purchased from a farmer who raises his pigs on acorns.

For a first try it is amazing.

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by jmolinari, 26 May 2006 - 05:08 PM.


#15 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:02 PM

Jason, that is gorgeous! It looks so delectable, so tantalizing, so other-worldy. I'm nearly speechless. Congrats!

=R=
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#16 jmolinari

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:09 PM

Thanks ronnie...it is really very good.

Edited by jmolinari, 26 May 2006 - 05:09 PM.


#17 Abra

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 05:41 PM

Wow, Jason, the contrast between your lardo and mine just makes me cry! Please tell us more about how you achieved lardo perfection.

Hey, are you related to those big charcuterie Molinari guys, or do you just naturally have the touch?

Ron, should we go in together on a note to Niman customer service?

#18 Bombdog

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 06:24 PM

After 3 months in a brine with spices and herbs, i finally tried my lardo tonight. Sliced super thin on my slicer and cracked some black pepper on it. It is fantastical. The fat is super soft, herby, and a bit salty (i'm attempting to soak it for an hour or 2 in water to remove some salt).

The fatback was purchased from a farmer who raises his pigs on acorns.

For a first try it is amazing.


Jason that's amazing stuff...congrats!
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#19 tamiam

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 06:37 PM

I'm here to vouch for Abra's green lardo. It smells sweet and porky good. No off notes at all. But it looks scary. I am so sad, and so curious how this could happen or what it might be.

It was salted, wrapped, weighted, and inside of a baggie, in a refrigerator. That sure sounds safe.
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#20 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:08 PM

again, abra, talk to niman about this.

jason, the thickness of that fatback is fantastic. glad it worked out. a drop of really good olive oil, some fleur de sel, some good bread...looks beautiful.

#21 snowangel

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Posted 26 May 2006 - 07:56 PM

So, since Abra, since your lardo smells so terrific (and outside of the green looks so terrific), is there any place you can take this (thinking University) to have them look at it or test it or something to see if it is good? You know, the science geeks, as opposed to us Charcuterie geeks. So is there anyone who can tell you if it is off or if you should enjoy with relish?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#22 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 12:16 AM

I made a second batch of the Orange Bacon and I'm very pleased with the results.

The trickiest ingredient in it is probably the expressed orange oil, but the Boyajian Orange Oil that I use is readily available either by mail order or in specialty groceries.

Assuming I can in fact pick up the back fat at the farmer's market tomorrow, this will be the weekend that I go from bacon to making sausages...

--Dave

#23 jmolinari

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 07:22 AM

Thanks everyone for the compliments. To clarify, i am NOT one of the Molinari who currently sell salame and other stuff in the US...not even remotely related. I wouldn't say i have a knack for this stuff, i can just follow direction, take good notes, and i'm sure my engineering background made making the curing chamber easier to make.

The lardo is actually very easy. In Colonnata (where they use marble vats to cure the lardo in, taken from their quarrys), lardo is never dried like pancetta. It is covered in salt and spices for a short while, then water is added to that to basically make a very concentrated brine, and left like that for months and months...then sliced thin and eaten.

This is the recipe i used for mine:

1 liter water
300g salt
9g rosmary needles
2 cloves garlic
3 small bay leaves (i used fresh)
7 juniper berries
7 leaves of sage
1000g hunk of fatback that is as thick as you can find

Make a brine and bring to a boil, add the herbs and let it sit as if you were making a tea (i let it sit covered until it was cool)

Put lard in a tightfitting tupperware or non reactive vessle that you don't need for 3 months :)

pour brine with all the herbs over the lard. The lard is going to want to float, so you need to so something to keep it down. I used a clean meatl chain to weigh it down, and then put a weight on top of the tupperware lid.

Put in the the fridge

Flip ever 30 days

Leave minimum 3 months. Take it out, rinse and dry very well.

NOW, the one i made is a touch salty. IT would be GREAT on unsalted crackers like Carr's or an unsalted Tuscan bread (hmm surprise, given that one of its birthplaces is Tuscany!). Yesterday i soaked it in a bath of water for 30 mins, to see if i can desalt it a little bit. I'll try it today to see how it is.

jason

Edited by jmolinari, 27 May 2006 - 09:18 PM.


#24 Della

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 10:39 AM

The book calls for 5 days for corned beef and 3 for pastrami, it also uses 1/2 cup of white sugar in the corned beef compared to a cup of white sugar, half a cup of brown sugar, and a quarter cup of honey for the pastrami.  Which recipe did you follow?

I've got no explanation for why the book uses a longer cure for the corned beef.  I've been working with 20lb whole briskets and scaling the brine and adjusting the curing time accordingly.

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I seached this thread and if I missed this please forgive me - But I have question about the length of time you are brining your pastrami. I have a 5 lb brisket that I am going to make into some lovely pastrami. Did you find that the 3 days was long enough or did you find that it needed longer?
Also - any reccomendations on tweaking ingrediants? I was planning on using the exact recipe from the book but thought I would check and see if you had any pointers from your experience. THANKS!!!!!
della

#25 mdbasile

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 01:13 PM

Now THAT is Food Porn!!!


After 3 months in a brine with spices and herbs, i finally tried my lardo tonight. Sliced super thin on my slicer and cracked some black pepper on it. It is fantastical. The fat is super soft, herby, and a bit salty (i'm attempting to soak it for an hour or 2 in water to remove some salt).

The fatback was purchased from a farmer who raises his pigs on acorns.

For a first try it is amazing.

Posted Image

Posted Image

View Post



#26 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 06:50 PM

I have a couple of pieces of lovely high grade leaf lard in the freezer.

Would these be good candidates for Lardo? They are about one pound each.

Additionally, I haven't set up a good air drying setup yet, would a purely refridgerated cure work? If so, do I need to bother with the nitrates?

--Dave

#27 melicob

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 07:21 PM

The sausage stuffer finally arrived and I completed my first air dried sausage -- the epic Spanish chorizo. (I was lucky enough to find delicious smoked hot spanish paprika at the store when I was browsing...) They smell fantastic and I can't wait to see the results. Terrarium dials read 65 degrees & 70% humidity. Cross your fingers for success!

And now for the winner of the jankiest drying closet in the universe:

Posted Image

Having no dowels and not enough space to create a separate drying structure, I decided to use the coat closet! I put the towels in there as temporary spacers to keep the sausages from touching. And made a paper towel "hammock" to catch the drips. (And the coats that used to occupy the space have been tossed on the floor.)

I am going to (hopefully) have more sausage than I know what to do with in 18-20 days. Too bad there is no barter system built on sausages!

#28 jmolinari

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Posted 27 May 2006 - 09:17 PM

Dave, i don' t think leaf lard can be used for lardo. Also, the lardo is done purely in the fridge, i should have mentioned that!

#29 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 12:10 AM

Pork Sausage (pork shoulder from the butcher specialty shop, fatback from whey raised pigs, garlic, wine, and thyme from the herb garden):

Posted Image

Posted Image

This was a half batch (to leave myself both room for more experimentation, and to leave myself more ingredients in case of failure). This is the first sausage recipe out of the book, but I added fresh thyme (8-10 sprigs worth) to the wine before chilling it.

The sausage thankfully did not break:

Posted Image

Then I realized that sausage was not in and of itself a meal (especially since lunch had been bread, cheese, and salumi since we had had a couple of hour power failure during the day).

So I tossed together a quick pasta using canned and fresh tomatoes, and I sauteed onion, garlic, and mushrooms in the pan drippings from the sausage (and a bit of the same wine used in the sausage):

Posted Image

Tomorrow, chicken sausage...

#30 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 05:51 AM

This is the recipe i used for mine:

1 liter water
300g salt
9g rosmary needles
2 cloves garlic
3 small bay leaves (i used fresh)
7 juniper berries
7 leaves of sage
1000g hunk of fatback that is as thick as you can find

View Post


that is really salty--30 percent salt?

i would think you could take it down to 50 grams which is what you want for any basic pickle





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