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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#391 jmolinari

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 05:46 PM

Chris, why does the water look oily?

Do you think the mold might be from the slurry spray, and not the cheesy water?

Looks good though!
jason

#392 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 05:49 PM

It looks oily because there's, like, um, stuff kinda floating in there.

Mold could be from the rinds, the cheesy slurry, the dog piss, the ghosts of dead Italian charcutiers....
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#393 mdbasile

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:07 PM

Mark, 2 weeks seems very fast...i thin mine was about 3-4..but i could be wrong. I also had mine in a collagen casing, so that probably slows down the loss.

looking back, the one i posted about here was the one not in collagen..

jason

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However 35-40% weight loss from original weight is what I am looking for - right?

I certainly could re-hang it, but given the feel, the salty dry top side and just the look of it made me think it was done. I even put a metal rod through - thought it smelled kind of cured, but could not be sure... It looks great and tastes wonderful - but I would not want to be early if I am.

I know Abra said she had about 50% loss in about 2 weeks with hers. How can I be more sure it is ready?

All input is appreciated.

Thanks.

Edited to add that I just re-hung it for a couple more days just to see any difference - I must add the thing is quite solid.

Edited by mdbasile, 27 June 2006 - 08:25 PM.


#394 mdbasile

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 08:24 PM

Nice mild slightly wild taste.


Hey Dave did you hang a lamb procuitto?

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I guess I was just expecting more of a gamy flavor, so was a bit disappointed by the lack of it. Next time I think I'll use more venison. The recipe I used (I think) had pork, venison and fat back.

I did a lamb prosciutto, yes, using Jason's recipe. I hung a bone in leg though and it took quite a while to cure. After that experience and the pictures of Jason's and Abra's I'll go boneless next time.

I'm still working on a lomo...the tenderloin was a failure. I need to try with a loin this time.

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I just tried abit more and I think you are on to something -- the venison could just as easily be some other meat ... sort of -- mine still has a unique, almost sweet flavor (not surgary but "meat sweet" - if that makes sense.

#395 tristar

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:04 PM

PS Tristar, when you say "K beater", I'm thinking that implies the Kenwood equivalent of the Kitchenaid "Paddle', rather than any "food processor", doesn't it?

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Hi Dougal,

I actually have a Philips HR 7805/A which is an old combination machine that I bought here in Indonesia about 8 years ago at a sale. You are correct in thinking that the paddle is similar to the Kitchenaid and Kenwood paddles.

I drool when I see some of the machines in this and other forums, but due to the low demand here for kitchen equipment, prices are double what you would pay in the West if you can actually find the machines! So I have to make do! In actual fact condsidering that I normally produce small quantities, it seems to work out quite well, I can beat, whisk, knead, process and slice\grate with one machine!

Regards,
Richard
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#396 Rubashov

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 09:25 PM

Oh, one thought about tough casings. I remember reading many years ago about using papaya enzymes to tenderize natural casings. Just a thought!

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I seem to recall having some tough casings about a year ago. The occasion was the Super Summer Sunday Sausage Slam, and bockwurst was the guest of honor. It seemed that it was that batch of casings, as I've never had problems since. They were tough to bite, but not impossible.

I've read in a few places (I forget if one of them is Michael's book) that adding some acid like vinegar when you soak the casings can help tenderize them. Also, I've read that not stuffing the casings enough (not stretching them thin enough) can make them tougher, but I think that's a slippery slope: you're tempted to overstuff them (which I did the batch after the bockwurst), and the result is burst links. So maybe it's best just to get new casings...

-Rob

#397 Rubashov

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 10:00 PM

OK, comrades, now it's my turn for stupid mistake/will this kill me?

Apparently the temp in my meat fridge was a little higher than I thought. My (uncured) bone-in leg of lamb has been in there, and when I took it out it was in the early stages of spoilage. I trimmed off all the funky looking areas (brownish green) and got it back to looking nice and fresh, albeit smaller. I went ahead and put the cure on it, turned the temp down on the fridge, and am hoping for the best.

So, the question is: will this still safe to eat once it's cured and dried?

Embarrassed,
Rob

Edited by Rubashov, 27 June 2006 - 10:30 PM.


#398 dougal

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:16 AM

Up-topic a bit, I mentioned that I have had sopressata in my curing chamber for a while, along with some friendly white mold courtesy of a goat cheese I had in the fridge. I went down in to the laBORatory -- er, I mean the basement today to see how things were going.

Here's the absurdly salty water (equal parts water and salt someone recommended somewhere) with the two pieces of moldy rind in them:

Posted Image

...

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...  I'm am curious about one thing.  Michael says that the salt water solution in the curing chamber is to inhibit mold growth.  Isn't putting your mold source in the solution counter productive?  I guess, since you have mold on the sopressata it works.  But it's got me scratching my head.

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Hold on, there's some confusion here!

-- the "absurdly salty" water in the curing chamber is to act as a humidity control. If you have enough surface area of a *saturated* salt solution (ie excess undissolved salt), then that will control the humidity in the sealed chamber to about 75% relative humidity. (Less salt will give higher RH, 100% RH at zero salt, naturally.) This gets upset whenever the chamber door is opened, and it gets upset by lumps of meat contributing moisture to the atmosphere (drying). And the bowl of salty water is pretty sluggish in responding to humidity change, but it will exert a control influence tending towards its eqilibrium (at 75%RH for a saturated solution). You can increase the 'power' of the control (so it tries harder to get to equilibrium faster) by increasing the surface area of the solution and by keeping the air moving over the solution.

-- now, the bugs and salt. Essentially, salt doesn't evaporate. The chamber atmosphere simply cannot be salty (unless you go spraying salt solution around). Salt is bad for most bugs. So salt *in* the meat helps to preserve the meat. Salt in the *water dish* will stop the water (dish) going mouldy. But salt in the water in the dish won't have anything to do with bugs in/on the meat, or the walls of the chamber, other than by moderating the humidity.
And the cheese in the water dish is probably in the least effective place to contribute its bugs to the process. Hanging it up amongst the meat would seem a much better idea.

On a related theme - spraying with a solution containing traces of appropriate cheese rind - this is probably best done outside the chamber, unless you are hoping that the chamber will develop its own resident flora...
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#399 jmolinari

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:30 AM

Mark, 40-50% loss for your lamb, means in my mind it is ready...if it feel firm, and tastes good, that is even more proof. Eat away! I keep my humidity at about 75%. If yours is lower it would explain the faster drying too.

Rob: i would not mess with teh lamb. To me, getting really ill, and never wanting to eat cured meat again, is reason enough to start over, and waste a few weeks or a month.

jason

#400 mdbasile

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 05:35 AM

OK, comrades, now it's my turn for stupid mistake/will this kill me? 

Apparently the temp in my meat fridge was a little higher than I thought.  My (uncured) bone-in leg of lamb has been in there, and when I took it out it was in the early stages of spoilage.  I trimmed off all the funky looking areas (brownish green) and got it back to looking nice and fresh, albeit smaller.  I went ahead and put the cure on it, turned the temp down on the fridge, and am hoping for the best.

So, the question is: will this still safe to eat once it's cured and dried?

Embarrassed,
Rob

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As others here have told me.... trust your nose....

#401 Darren72

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 06:44 AM

Hi everyone,

I am going to do a hot smoked salmon this weekend. I am thinking about doing something quite similar to the cold smoked salmon in Charcuterie, but rather than finish with a cold smoke, do a hot smoke at about 200-250 in my Weber.

Is this approximately the right procedure, or are there other recommendations you'd give me? Also, I'm guessing it will cook in about 25 minutes or so -- is that on target?

Thanks!

#402 Bombdog

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:36 AM

Salt in the *water dish* will stop the water (dish) going mouldy.

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Yes, that's exactly what Michael said. I'm sorry I wasn't clear on that point.

I am going to do a hot smoked salmon this weekend. I am thinking about doing something quite similar to the cold smoked salmon in Charcuterie, but rather than finish with a cold smoke, do a hot smoke at about 200-250 in my Weber.

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What are you looking for with the cold smoke? The hot smoke will give you a significantly different texture from the cold smoke. Either one is good, just not sure what you will accomplish by cold smoking afterwards.
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#403 Rubashov

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:44 AM

Hi everyone,

I am going to do a hot smoked salmon this weekend. I am thinking about doing something quite similar to the cold smoked salmon in Charcuterie, but rather than finish with a cold smoke, do a hot smoke at about 200-250 in my Weber.

Is this approximately the right procedure, or are there other recommendations you'd give me? Also, I'm guessing it will cook in about 25 minutes or so -- is that on target?

Thanks!

View Post


Hey Darren,
When I've done hot-smoked salmon and bluefish in the past it usually takes 45 min to an hour, smoking at around 215 degrees. I use a pretty simple cure that's a 2:1 ration of brown sugar (packed) to kosher salt. You can, of course, add other spices and seasonings. I'll usually stick to black pepper. I cover the fish in the cure, let it cure overnight, rinse it off, and set it out to dry for a couple hours and form a pellicle. If I'm impatient I'll put an oscillating fan in the kitchen to speed this up. Then it's into the smoker. I tend to be paranoid about overcooking things, so I use a digital probe thermometer for just about everything I smoke. When it hits 140, it's done in my book.

Hope this helps,
Rob

#404 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 07:56 AM

I've read in a few places (I forget if one of them is Michael's book) that adding some acid like vinegar when you soak the casings can help tenderize them.  Also, I've read that not stuffing the casings enough (not stretching them thin enough) can make them tougher, but I think that's a slippery slope: you're tempted to overstuff them (which I did the batch after the bockwurst), and the result is burst links.  So maybe it's best just to get new casings...

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I'll definitely try the vinegar. My current plan is to tie one end of the hank shut, and then "inflate" it with water to stretch the casings, and then stuff it normally.

#405 Darren72

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:07 AM

I am going to do a hot smoked salmon this weekend. I am thinking about doing something quite similar to the cold smoked salmon in Charcuterie, but rather than finish with a cold smoke, do a hot smoke at about 200-250 in my Weber.


What are you looking for with the cold smoke?  The hot smoke will give you a significantly different texture from the cold smoke.  Either one is good, just not sure what you will accomplish by cold smoking afterwards.

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Sorry that I wasn't more clear. I am not doing any cold smoking. I am only doing a hot smoke. But to do the hot smoke, I was going to use Ruhlman and Polcyn's cold smoked salmon recipe as a starting point. Namely, use their pre-smoke cure. Then, instead of cold smoking, I was going to do a hot smoke only.

Edited by Darren72, 28 June 2006 - 08:07 AM.


#406 dougal

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 08:43 AM

... I am only doing a hot smoke. But to do the hot smoke, I was going to use Ruhlman and Polcyn's cold smoked salmon recipe as a starting point. Namely, use their pre-smoke cure. Then, instead of cold smoking, I was going to do a hot smoke only.

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Darren, experimentation leads to learning! So give whatever you fancy a go, and report back.
But conventional hot smoking, (not even US-style "BBQ" smoke roasting, just hot smoking), would use a brine rather than a dry cure. (Because you don't want to dry out the salmon before *hot* smoking.) And it'd be probably too quick to get much flavour in - I've brined for an hour or less in an egg-floating (so maybe 40% of the way to saturated) 50/50 salt/sugar brine, dried for a pellicle and then hot smoked (just a kettle barbecue, charcoal and oak sawdust) for maybe an hour. Fabulous cold the following day, after a night in the fridge to let the flavours meld.
Compare the Smoked Salmon recipe with the one that follows it for Scallops. (But you want the salmon to cook just a little, to 'set' it.)
Take care to keep flies off it, for the hour or so, while you are letting the pellicle form. That's the hardest bit. They appear from nowhere!

Edited by dougal, 28 June 2006 - 08:44 AM.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#407 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 09:48 AM

Took out all of the sopressata today:

Posted Image

And I found green mold! Lots of it!

Posted Image
Posted Image

I also found the mystery link that never, seemingly dried out.

Posted Image

I cut into it but discovered nothing. There was one link that had only a teensy bit of green, and this one that has none at all:

Posted Image

So I cut off the casings on both and had at 'em.

Posted Image

They're delicious. Just perfect. They smell the way that really, really great cured stuff smells. Even though I'm disappointed to throw out most of the batch, of course, these two links are very encouraging.

Thoughts on tackling the green mold?
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#408 Bombdog

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 10:18 AM

Wow Chris, that sucks!

But the stuff you cut open looks great!

I guess if your options are to toss 'em, I'd open one...remove the casing and see if it looks like the mold has penetrated. If not, give it the sniff test. I'm guessing this green stuff has developed fairly quickly, as it didn't look like it was there the other day in your pictures. Perhaps it's not had a chance to do any real damage.

I did 5 lbs each of pepperone, Tuscan salame, and Spanish chorizo the past 2 days. The last 2 are inoculating at the moment and I hung the chorizo this morning.

I can't believe I have kept putting off the purchase of the Grizzly stuffer. Well, after this ordeal, I can guarantee that the KA stuffer is history!
Dave Valentin
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#409 mdbasile

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 10:37 AM

Wow Chris, that sucks!

But the stuff you cut open looks great! 

I guess if your options are to toss 'em, I'd open one...remove the casing and see if it looks like the mold has penetrated.  If not, give it the sniff test.  I'm guessing this green stuff has developed fairly quickly, as it didn't look like it was there the other day in your pictures.  Perhaps it's not had a chance to do any real damage.

I did 5 lbs each of pepperone, Tuscan salame, and Spanish chorizo the past 2 days.  The last 2 are inoculating at the moment and I hung the chorizo this morning.

I can't believe I have kept putting off the purchase of the Grizzly stuffer.  Well, after this ordeal, I can guarantee that the KA stuffer is history!

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Chirs, I agree with Dave -- if they peel ok - and smell ok - then I would think you are ok.

Dave -- get the stuffer - It will change your life - believe me - and your sausages and salami will be better too.

#410 Bombdog

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:19 AM

Dave -- get the stuffer - It will change your life - believe me - and your sausages and salami will be better too.

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This I promise...I'll get the stuffer or NEVER do another sausage or salame.
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.


#411 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:34 AM

Damn, Chris. That sucks about the green mold, especially because the link you cut open looks so damned good. I'm not sure what to advise. Of course, you know what I'd do if it were me :biggrin:

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#412 mdbasile

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 11:43 AM

I was thinking Chris -- you could always send me a link - I'd try it for you....

#413 Bombdog

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 12:14 PM

  Of course, you know what I'd do if it were me :biggrin:

=R=

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Yeah, Ron...you pretty much confirmed how you handle questionable food stuffs when you ate the green jowl...

Then again, I would too.
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.


#414 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 12:30 PM

Thanks for the support, folks. I peeled a few of them, and found that the really thick green stuff makes the casing stick. So if I can peel 'em easily, then I'm eating 'em. Three passed the peel test.
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#415 snowangel

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:14 PM

Glad to hear that not all is lost, Chris. When did you first notice the mold?

Now, a question for me. I'm having a sausage making party tomorrow (with three 10-year old boys; oy, I must be crazy or smart -- the verdict will be in tomorrow). Anyway, can I grind some of this tonight, let it set in the fridge overnight, and stick in the freezer for a great chill before I bind? Or, should I do it all in one fell swoop?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#416 jmolinari

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 01:27 PM

The lack of ever curing/drying could be due to the lack of, or insufficient acidification. Maybe that one link was further from the heat than the other, and didn't acidify as much, or maybe you need to leave them at 85 deg. for a little longer.

jason

#417 peanutgirl

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:02 PM

What's the going rate for pork bellies?

I told my husband that the butcher had our order in and by his whistle (and sensing the eyeroll :rolleyes: ) I fear we will be making extemely overly priced bacon.

*Bacon...The adventure begins!*

#418 snowangel

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:09 PM

What's the going rate for pork bellies?

I told my husband that the butcher had our order in and by his whistle (and sensing the eyeroll  :rolleyes: ) I fear we will be making extemely overly priced bacon.

*Bacon...The adventure begins!*

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I get them for anywhere between $1.29 and $1.49/lb, but I'm sourcing from a slaughterhouse or a friend's neighbor. But, I need to buy two of them (totalling about 25 pounds), which really isn't a problem given how fast the bacon goes. I'm giving bacon for Christmas presents this year.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#419 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:10 PM

What's the going rate for pork bellies?

I told my husband that the butcher had our order in and by his whistle (and sensing the eyeroll  :rolleyes: ) I fear we will be making extemely overly priced bacon.

*Bacon...The adventure begins!*

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'Round these parts the good stuff runs about $3/pound.

=R=
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#420 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 June 2006 - 02:30 PM

I just scored 25 pounds of Niman Ranch pork -- two big bellies -- from Whole Foods on special order. Two halves are curing now, the rest are in the freezer vacuum-sealed. $4.29 per pound. I'm very interested to see how they stack up to the $1.59-1.99 stuff I've gotten at the local carnicaria. I'll tell you one thing: the carnicaria bellies don't smell sweet and wonderful like these Niman ones do, and they're about 40% as thick.
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