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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#541 jmolinari

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 10:19 AM

When i made pastrami (not from the book), we ate it right from the smoker. Flavor was outstanding, but not too tender....will try steaming next time.

#542 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:23 AM

Oh my goddess, Ron, those take the cake.  That pate is jaw-droppingly beautiful.  Is that bacon actually cooked?

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Yes, because of the water bath cooking method, it doesn't brown at all but it is cooked (plus I'd smoked it to 150 F before I sliced it up). The little buddy is a bit salty because of the thick-sliced bacon and the smaller amout of filling. My hope is that the full-sized terrine, which I lined with very thinly-sliced bacon, should mitigate that.

I have been receiving great feedback on the pastrami from the folks with whom I have shared it. Again, I can't believe how well it turned out and frankly, I still do not understand how this book did not win the James Beard Award for single-subject cookbook. When you can turn out food like this on first attempts, it says more about the cookbook than anything else. They was robbed! :shock:

=R=
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#543 Abra

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:39 AM

I too was shocked that it didn't win. I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved. You win with us, Michael and Brian!

#544 FoodMan

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 11:52 AM

I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

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It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

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#545 Bombdog

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 12:54 PM

When i made pastrami (not from the book), we ate it right from the smoker. Flavor was outstanding, but not too tender....will try steaming next time.

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Ron's fantastic pastrami made me pull out the last small bit I had saved to have for lunch.

Yes, you definitely want to steam it after smoking. I tried a small piece right out of the smoker and it was, well....chewy. After slowly steaming for quite some time it was incredibly tender.
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#546 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:03 PM

I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

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It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

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Bones by Jennifer McLagan won the category. I read it from cover to cover, then left it in the bookstore. Not only was it not in the same league as Charcuterie, it was barely useful. I'm astounded that such a faux cookbook could win any award.

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#547 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:06 PM

When i made pastrami (not from the book), we ate it right from the smoker. Flavor was outstanding, but not too tender....will try steaming next time.

View Post


Ron's fantastic pastrami made me pull out the last small bit I had saved to have for lunch.

Yes, you definitely want to steam it after smoking. I tried a small piece right out of the smoker and it was, well....chewy. After slowly steaming for quite some time it was incredibly tender.

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I also felt that a slight hint of initial over-saltiness was also remedied via the braise. I wanted to brine the brisket long enough so that it would be cured through in the thickest section. This resulted in the thinner sections being a wee bit salty after the smoking step. So, the braising step actually contributed positively to the quality of the final product in more than one way.

=R=
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#548 FoodMan

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:17 PM

I too was shocked that it didn't win.  I'm guessing that some sort of politics was involved.  You win with us, Michael and Brian!

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It didn't win? hmm...who the heck won it then?

View Post

Bones by Jennifer McLagan won the category. I read it from cover to cover, then left it in the bookstore. Not only was it not in the same league as Charcuterie, it was barely useful. I'm astounded that such a faux cookbook could win any award.

=R=

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Is that what the TV show BONES based on?....just kidding, now back to Charcuterie.

E. Nassar
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#549 Jason Perlow

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 01:43 PM

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Ronnie, after how many god damned years, haven't you read the Member Agreement? What the hell does it say about posting pornographic material on eG Forums? Shame on you!

Edited by Jason Perlow, 02 August 2006 - 01:44 PM.

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#550 The Cynical Chef

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 03:31 PM

I followed Brian Polcyn's recipe from his Charcuterie book. A supplier of mine butchered a Wentworth pig back in the winter. The leg weighed in at 20 ish pounds but that included the femur. We salted the thing down and pressed it by filling a hotel pan with 30 pounds of (cleaned & wrapped) bricks and using that as weight. Every 4 or 5 days we rubbed it down with fresh salt as well as a little cayenne and sugar. It dropped plenty of water. After 35 days we removed the old salt, applied fresh salt (always kosher) and black pepper, rubbed it down with lard then covered in cheese cloth and hung it. The leg was hung on March 1 and yesterday (August 1) we cut into it. It probably has not dropped any water for 2 months so I thought it was good to go. The flavor is great but it is not as dry as I had hoped and the inside, especially around the hip joint was too pink and had the look of raw meat. Of course we won't be eating that part uncooked.....

Any comments as to what I may have done wrong. I think I could have pressed it longer but how do I tell when it's ready to hang?

Next time I will definitely remove the femur bone as well.

It is pretty damn good though. Anyone gonna get over here?
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#551 snowangel

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:18 PM

So,

I've really enjoyed reading parts of this thread, and there are a lot of great tips in here....but man, 57 pages and counting?  It's getting a bit hard to suss out the knowledge, especially for the beginner stuff (i.e. the trials an tribulations of Pancetta).

Has anybody thought of putting together a Carcuterie FAQ?  Is there a way to print out the entire thread, or get it into a format to be, er,  sliced and diced into categories?

sander

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I've been working on this, but the task gets more and mroe daunting every day. But, if it helps, in the lower LEFT* corner, there is a search window that allows you to only search this topic. It is most helpful!

*Edited to change right to LEFT corner for the search button
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#552 Bombdog

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:46 PM

I followed Brian Polcyn's recipe from his Charcuterie book. A supplier of mine butchered a Wentworth pig back in the winter. The leg weighed in at 20 ish pounds but that included the femur. We salted the thing down and pressed it by filling a hotel pan with 30 pounds of (cleaned & wrapped) bricks and using that as weight. Every 4 or 5 days we rubbed it down with fresh salt as well as a little cayenne and sugar. It dropped plenty of water. After 35 days we removed the old salt, applied fresh salt (always kosher) and black pepper, rubbed it down with lard then covered in cheese cloth and hung it. The leg was hung on March 1 and yesterday (August 1) we cut into it. It probably has not dropped any water for 2 months so I thought it was good to go. The flavor is great but it is not as dry as I had hoped and the inside, especially around the hip joint was too pink and had the look of raw meat. Of course we won't be eating that part uncooked.....

Any comments as to what I may have done wrong. I think I could have pressed it longer but how do I tell when it's ready to hang?

Next time I will definitely remove the femur bone as well.

It is pretty damn good though.  Anyone gonna get over here?

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I don't have any idea what is going on here. I replied to your original post not long after you started the topic. It's even in "find member posts" for my profile.

But here is my answer again

My guess is that you didn't do anything wrong, it just needed to cure a bit longer. I too have a ham curing at the moment, also done from the book. I seem to have misplaced my charcuterie notebook at the moment, but if my memory serves me right I hung mine in March and noted that it would not be ready before September at the earliest.

What was the weight when you removed it? I normally shoot for at least 30 percent wt loss during a cure. Like I said, I can't find my damned notebook. But I know I removed mine to check the wt a couple weeks ago and noted then that I was still far from 30 percent. I started with (I think) about 13 lbs.

Michael frequently posts to the charcuterie thread. You might want to post your question over there and see if he has any ideas.
Dave Valentin
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"Got what backwards?" I ask.
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#553 snowangel

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Posted 02 August 2006 - 04:55 PM

Michael frequently posts to the charcuterie thread. You might want to post your question over there and see if he has any ideas.

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Host note: topics merged so hopefully, Michael or someone with experience will weigh in. And, Bombdog, we look forward to a report on your ham.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#554 mdbasile

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Posted 03 August 2006 - 07:02 AM

Tears to my eyes Ron - WOW!!

I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal.  I cannot believe I made this from scratch.  It's just sensational.  Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.


Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

Posted Image
After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.


Posted Image
You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat.  I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that.  It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out.  And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking.  As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book.  Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away.  And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

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#555 Le Mec

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 12:16 PM

Just wondering if anyone has picked up the book "Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and Pâtés". I was looking at it on amazon and one of the reviews, by a professional charcutier, made it sound questionable. Most of the other reviews said it was way too advanced, but that is essentially what I am looking for. Anyone know anything about this book?
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#556 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 12:57 PM

Just wondering if anyone has picked up the book "Professional Charcuterie: Sausage Making, Curing, Terrines, and Pâtés".  I was looking at it on amazon and one of the reviews, by a professional charcutier, made it sound questionable.  Most of the other reviews said it was way too advanced, but that is essentially what I am looking for.  Anyone know anything about this book?

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If it's the one by John Kinsella, I have it and refer to it occasionally. It is a bit technical but it provides a plethora of recipes as well -- most being for 10-pound batches. If I'd bought it before this book, I'm not sure I ever would have started any of these projects because it isn't very accessible for the non-pro. That said, it's nice to have the library of recipes the book provides because once you get the techniques down, as they are conveyed in Charcuterie, you'll probably want to have some proven recipe variations to help guide your future improvisations. Ditto for Bruce Aidells' Complete Sausage Book. It's a bit weak on technique relative to this book but the additional recipes it provides can be useful.

=R=
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#557 Le Mec

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 01:44 PM

Thanks for the info Ronnie. Sounds like the two books are the combo I'm looking for. I'm a professional chef looking to expand on our charcuterie work at the restaurant, so all in all, sounds perfect. Thanks again.

-Tyson
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#558 edsel

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 04:00 PM

Those of us who attended the eG Heartland gathering in Ann Arbor this past weekend got to taste some of Ron's pastrami. All I can say is that it is staggeringly good. :wub:

There are pictures and reviews of Ronnie's charcuterie course in the 2006 Heartland gathering thread starting at post # 45. Check out the terrine (post # 58) - classic stuff! There's a pic of the whole spread at post # 66.

I have to say that the pastrami is absolutely phenomenal.  I cannot believe I made this from scratch.  It's just sensational.  Michael and Brian, this is, without a doubt, my favorite recipe in the book.


Anyway, for all those requesting brisket . . . :wink:

Posted Image
After about 4 hours braising at 250 F, the pastrami is, at last, ready.


Posted Image
You can see the melted fat and the soft connective tissue in the flesh of the meat.  I'm guessing that this brisket's 'Wagyu-ness' had some part in that.  It's very soft, essentially fork-tender but because of its beautiful elasticity, it holds together very well upon slicing.

Again, I'm just stunned by how well this turned out.  And really, it's a very, very simple thing to do, culinarily-speaking.  As long as you have the time, the rest of the process is very clearly set forth in the book.  Considering this was my first attempt, I'm blown away.  And, I cannot wait to try it again.

=R=

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#559 FoodMan

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:00 AM

I am not sure pork fat can get any better than this. Since pictures are worth a million words, here is the pork belly confit after resting for almost a week in lard, crisped up (boy these are some kicked up 'lardons'), but meltingly tender and served with stewed beans

Posted Image

Posted Image

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#560 Abra

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:09 AM

Wow, Elie, that's gorgeous. It makes it look like winter will almost be fun.

#561 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 09:14 AM

Oh, Elie, that looks so delicious. I'm calling the butcher to order another belly right now!

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#562 Bombdog

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:01 AM

Speaking of ordering more belly.....

I suddenly realized that I was taking the last slab of bacon and chunk of pancetta out of the freezer the other day, so today I made a trip to my slaughter house/butcher and came home with this haul. Two bellies and two jowls here.

Posted Image

The last time I purchased jowls they were trimmed. These two were not and look what I found!

Posted Image

So, now I know what that infamous gland actually looks like.

Gotta love these guys. 8 lbs of fat back, 16 lbs of belly and 7 1/2 lbs of jowl for 56 bucks!

BTW Elie...that looks fantastic!
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#563 FoodMan

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 11:58 AM

BTW, the Lardo-belly is hanging already to age and so far so good. I will probably hang the lomo tonight.

Unfortunatly the pork belly has been curing for more than a week already and I will not have time to smoke it till the weekend. Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

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#564 Bombdog

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 02:18 PM

Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

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I don't see any problem with waiting. I would just take it out of the cure to make sure you don't get it any saltier than you want. I can't imagine any issue with you placing it in a clean ziplock in the frige for a few days.
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.


#565 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 02:56 PM

Should I wait or should I do an oven-roasted non-smoked bacon? Can I wait till the weekend for a total of 2 weeks?

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I don't see any problem with waiting. I would just take it out of the cure to make sure you don't get it any saltier than you want. I can't imagine any issue with you placing it in a clean ziplock in the frige for a few days.

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Agreed.

=R=
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#566 FoodMan

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Posted 08 August 2006 - 02:58 PM

ok, i'll try that. I'll remove from the cure but will not rinse it yet and store it in a clean bag till Saturday or Sunday. If it rains again, then in the oven it will go :sad:.

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#567 pedrissimo

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:37 AM

Question about ham:

I have a friend who is a hunter, and he has just given me a frozen foreleg of a wild pig. What can I do with this?

I would love to dry cure it, but I don't know if frozen meat does well.

If I did, as it is small, how do I tell how long it needs to be in the cure?

Thanks!

#568 jmolinari

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 06:57 AM

I would actually freeze it and keep it frozen for, i think, 3 weeks. This is done to kill trechinea which is found in wild hogs.
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#569 Rubashov

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Posted 11 August 2006 - 08:46 PM

Greetings all.

I'm happy to report that I just returned from Tahiti, and the lamb prosciutto and coppa I hung before leaving are doing quite well. I was very relieved to find no mold or other critters when I got back, considering that they were left unattended for about 3 weeks.

I'm also happy to report that it seems the coating of lard I put on when I hung them is working - it's prevented the exterior from drying too quickly or developing any sort of crust. In fact, it seems to be slowing down the entire drying process (a good thing, as far as I'm concerned). After 3 weeks, each piece had only lost about 15% of their weight, meaning lots of time for flavor to develop. I'm aiming for 40% loss overall, so it will be a while longer.

After I checked the pieces, I redistributed the lard a bit, re-wrapped them in cheesecloth, and returned them to the chamber. Fun stuff!

Finally, I'm looking forward to a fun weekend, as I finally got my KA grinder and Grizzly stuffer. No more hand-cranked meat grinding/stuffing for me!

Best,
Rob

#570 jmolinari

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 06:41 AM

i may try the lard next time as i've found the bresaola dries very quickly (it has no fat), in only about 3 week. More time for flavor to develop would be nice.





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