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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#31 jmolinari

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:43 AM

Michael, i used hte recipe froma guy i got in Italy, he told me you can use a 25-35% brine. I figured for my 1st time i would follow his instructions, next time i may try a 20% brine.

50 grams seems very little to cure something that needs to keep near indefinitely, without using any pink salt, doesn't it?

j

#32 Abra

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:57 AM

Beautiful and juicy-looking sausage, Dave W. And Melicob, I'm going to steal that coat hanger trick, if one will fit in my drying chamber. I'm always looking for ways to get more stuff in there.

I'm going to send an email to Niman today, with links to the pictures of Ron's green jowls and my green lardo, and ask them for advice.

#33 Chris Amirault

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 10:29 AM

melicob, you win the award for best curing chamber!

I wanted to write up a thorough review of my first peperone efforts:

Posted Image

I'm pretty happy, overall, with them. They hung for fourteen days, total, in the chamber. I definitely would make the following adjustments:
  • As for flavoring, the substitute of vinegar for wine didn't work so well, and I'd add more pepper. I went a bit light, which brings up the cure flavor of the meat, but it isn't, well, peppery enough.
  • Using a 1:1 vinegar wash to wipe away the mold clearly worked -- and it required a good airing out to get rid of the excessively vinegary flavor it left behind. I think a weaker solution would have been a good idea.
  • It's an obvious thing to do, but it bears repeating: if the links touch each other, it really affects the curing on those spots.
  • Finally, take a look at these two images:

    Posted Image

    Posted Image

    These spots may or may not have been touching, but I'm pretty sure that they were spots where I didn't poke enough holes in the casing. They cured at a slower rate -- note that they are fatter than the more slender spots. They also left slimy casing that hasn't quite dried out, and are generally kind of gross (I peeled it off, in fact). As a result, the white mold never got that dusty quality; it's more sticky.
So next time: more pepper, wine, and holes; less vinegar and touching.
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#34 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:19 AM

Wanted to provide a progress report on my first peperone run. Because I shopped before I read the recipe, I used 100% pork for this batch. Today is Day 10 of the drying stage. Here are a few pics . . .


Posted Image
My "curing chamber." Conditions are pretty good for curing in my basement but just to keep things consistent, I'm running a humidifier (atop the red cooler).


Posted Image
I trust this unit is working properly. I'm a bit concerned because the clock is off and I just set it the other day. But assuming that it is working right, temp and humidity look just about perfect.


Posted Image
A closer look.


Posted Image
Gratuitous, second closer look. :smile:

I've been rotating the pairs each day so that they don't get "lean marks." However, stupidly, I didn't weigh any of the paired links at the outset, so I'll have to weigh the whole batch again to confirm "doneness." From squeezing them, I think they need another few days. I'm guessing that by no later than the end of the week, these will be ready to eat.

They don't seem to have any mold (yet). The whiter spots in the pics are actually light from my camera's flash bouncing off some small air pockets in the links.

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#35 Chris Amirault

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:28 AM

They look fantastic, Ron. Moving them around: you smarty!
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#36 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:29 AM

Beautiful and juicy-looking sausage, Dave W.  And Melicob, I'm going to steal that coat hanger trick, if one will fit in my drying chamber.  I'm always looking for ways to get more stuff in there.

I'm going to send an email to Niman today, with links to the pictures of Ron's green jowls and my green lardo, and ask them for advice.

View Post

I agree on the coat hanger method; great idea!

Abra, I'll be curious to hear what Niman comes back with. I've been too busy/lazy to make contact with them. FWIW, I did have some more of my green jowl bacon today for breakfast and not only was it delicious, I'm still here to type about it. :wink:

Chris, thanks for the additional pictures and assessment of your peperone project. It seems like you have a fairly solid idea of how you'll adjust next time around.

I also have to add that, thanks to this book, I felt like such a cooking stud on Saturday when I had a bunch of people over for a cookout. One of the items I served was a batch of Italian Sausage that I'd put up on Thursday. Not only did it feel totally cool to serve homemade sausage to my guests, but the feedback was terrific. Every single link was eaten and my guests were just blown away. A couple asked if I had just bought the ground meat and added seasonings. A few others couldn't quite comprehend how the stuff was made (until I showed them the stuffer, etc). My poor, naive mom was shocked when she learned what the casings really were :biggrin: and lots of folks told me that they were the best sausages they'd ever eaten. A very rewarding experience! :smile:

=R=
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#37 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 11:33 AM

They look fantastic, Ron. Moving them around: you smarty!

View Post

I've run into a similar dynamic when smoking links -- where I've ended up with some annoying "dead spots" where the links were touching each other. On that basis, I figured that I might as well move them around every so often while they were drying.

We'll see how they turn out. It's really hard to wait. :rolleyes:

=R=
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#38 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 02:31 PM

More adventures in sausage making for Memorial day.

Posted Image

Chicken breast meat, softened dried fruit, pork backfat, and kosher salt.

The liquid for the sausage was Calvados (which, I think, in retrospect, should have been cut 50/50 with apple cider, the flavor is very pronounced in the final sausage), with a bay leaf in it. The bay leaf imparted no noticeable flavor, I wouldn't use it again.

Posted Image

The sausage after the grind. I'm very pleased with the way the dried fruit ground in with the meat.

However, after the bind, when I tasted the sausage I thought it was a bit too harsh, so I added a half teaspoon of dried orange peel, and a tablespoon of good honey. They had a modest impact, and I think in the future I'd add more honey, and mix the honey in with the liquid. Also note that I make sausage in half batches, so this is based on 2.5lbs of meat.

Posted Image

And done...

Posted Image

#39 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 04:56 PM

Dave, using the Calvados is a great idea. Did you soak the dried fruit in it too? How exactly was the sausage " too harsh" after the bind? Too much alcohol?

=R=
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#40 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 05:58 PM

Dave, using the Calvados is a great idea.  Did you soak the dried fruit in it too?  How exactly was the sausage " too harsh" after the bind?  Too much alcohol?

=R=

View Post


The fruit was actually a "soft dried" fruit I happened to have on hand, so I didn't need to soak it myself.

The sausage has a little too much of the harsher bite of the Calvados to my mind. For dinner tonight, we're going to sautee some sweet onion and apple, and make sandwiches with the sausage, and some melted Parano cheese. I suspect that the cheese and the apple and onion will tame the overtones nicely.

Some of this may be taste; my wife doesn't think the sausage is as strongly flavored as I do (or alternatively, appreciates the Calvados more).

I guess the easiest way to describe it would be that it has the same "feel" as a Marsala sauce with too much wine in it.

--Dave

#41 jmolinari

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 07:49 PM

In my last batch of salame i boiled the wine for about 5 minutes, reducing from 1 1/4 cups to 3/4 cups...getting rid of the alcohol. You could try the same thing with the calvados?

#42 Expat Russ

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 06:16 PM

I'm happy to report that the pulled pork as described in the cookbook turns out perfectly in the Bradley smoker, as was evidenced by the loosened belts around the table yesterday. I used maple and apple for about 3 hours of smoking at 200-220 degrees F and then followed with 4 hours in a 250 degree F oven. Took it out and it basically fell apart upon first sight of the forks...it really takes faith to cook something for 7 hours...and further unbelievable it is so moist. I highly recommend the method to those with smokers.

It was served with baby back ribs and beef brisket also both smoked.

I have found a free fridge, so my next project is a curing chamber. The charcutering adventure continues...

I must say that the success the board has had is inspirational...and is good to show my wife from time to time to show her that I'm not the only one sleeping with the book on my bedside table.
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#43 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 07:45 PM

I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

#44 snowangel

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 09:57 PM

I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

View Post


Richard, tell us more about the smoking process, your chamber, method, wood, etc. please!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#45 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 30 May 2006 - 10:09 PM

No smoking process, Susan. I am late to the party. This is one of the first recipes in the book: the fennel cured salmon.

#46 mdbasile

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:02 AM

I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

View Post


Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

#47 Dave Weinstein

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 06:34 AM

So, are there any suggestions for what to make with Leaf Lard?

--Dave

#48 Richard Kilgore

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 07:09 AM

I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

View Post


Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

View Post


Thanks, Mark. As long as I am not food poisoning myself and others. I'll try future ones for different lengths of time, as well as different cures.

#49 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 08:20 AM

So, are there any suggestions for what to make with Leaf Lard?

--Dave

View Post

The use I most often hear suggested for leaf lard is pie/pastry crust. I'm sure there's a process for getting it into the right form but I've never had any in my mitts so I can't advise.

=R=
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#50 FoodMan

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:24 AM

I did the salmon, about 2 1/2 pounds of COSTCO salmon,so skin-off...and left it in for a total of about 80 hours (after checking it at 48). While there is nothing squishy about it, the center section 1/3 is a lighter orange than the edges, which are a dark orange. Looking at Elie's first post it appears to have some of that effect, but not as pronounced. I assume this is because I left it in longer, but someone let me know if there is a problem.

View Post


Richard - I have done about 10 Costco Salmons so far - each time I vary the recipie a bit. I pretty much stay with salt, brown sugar(light & dark) - then I use scotch, or rum and lemon or lime zest.

The reason for the color difference is the amount of concentration of the cure at the edges vs the middle. No worries -- actually the edges end to get a little "over-cured."

I have found that the salmon gets better if it sits for a few more days - I put them in a food saver bag - seems there is a bit of an osmosis(sp?) that occurs and a more even color and curing is the result. Actually I like to wait at least a week... seems to be best after that time.

Mark

View Post


Thanks, Mark. As long as I am not food poisoning myself and others. I'll try future ones for different lengths of time, as well as different cures.

View Post


Richard-
You will be just fine and enjoy some good salmon. Like mdbasil said, the cure is much more concentrated on the edges giving it a darker color.

jmolinari-
That is some wickedly awsome looking lardo! I cannot get over how thick it is. I so wish I have access to as good raw ingredients as yours.

I really need to start dry curing sausages. Everyone's stuff is just fantastic.

E. Nassar
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#51 Abra

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:44 AM

Ok, here's a different sort of question. Michael, are you there? Anyone?

I want to make the boudin noir from the book. Our local Asian markets sell frozen pork blood, but it also lists water and salt as added ingredients. I have no idea how much dilution there is, and if this blood will work for the boudin. Has anyone successfully made a blood sausage using a similar product?

I love the blood sausages I've eaten in France, Sweden, and Finland, and the imported Spanish morcilla I've had here, and would be so happy to be able to recreate them at home.

#52 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 May 2006 - 09:47 AM

I'm glad you asked that question, Abra! I've had the same thought. I await a response.
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#53 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 05:19 AM

Ok, here's a different sort of question.  Michael, are you there?  Anyone?

I want to make the boudin noir from the book.  Our local Asian markets sell frozen pork blood, but it also lists water and salt as added ingredients.  I have no idea how much dilution there is, and if this blood will work for the boudin.  Has anyone successfully made a blood sausage using a similar product? 

I love the blood sausages I've eaten in France, Sweden, and Finland, and the imported Spanish morcilla I've had here, and would be so happy to be able to recreate them at home.

View Post


not sure why water is added. salt maybe to preserve. i've never used frozen, but i'm told it freezes well. assume you can use according to recipe as is. in that recipe the blood is like a binder for the apple and onion.

#54 Abra

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 07:59 AM

Thanks, Michael. I'm going to give it a try - will let you all know how it turns out.

#55 dougal

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Posted 01 June 2006 - 08:18 AM

Re the blood. On another forum (sausagemaking.org), this was recently posted

We use blood to train tracking dogs for {deer} stalking and the general way we use to stop it coagulating is to add a tsp of salt to it...

Which suggests to me that the frozen blood may not have had very much salt added to it as an anticoagulent...

Now, the reason that subject came up was a result of the failure of an attempt to drycure a (mock "Parma"-style) ham. The problem was putrid decomposition, which was discovered on 'autopsy' to be centered on the main femoral artery. The chap thought some blood might have been retained there. Now, I've heard of the concept of pumping curing brine up the artery to distribute it quickly through the flesh, (which might have made things worse), but my more fundamental question (esp in the light of the green jowls a few pages back), is whether the slaughtering and immediate butchery needs to be done better, (more carefully? perhaps in some ways differently to modern standard practice?) for meat that is to be cured (particularly air cured) rather than conventionally cooked?

Edited by dougal, 01 June 2006 - 08:21 AM.

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#56 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 05:52 AM

Ok, here's a different sort of question.  Michael, are you there?  Anyone?

I want to make the boudin noir from the book.  Our local Asian markets sell frozen pork blood, but it also lists water and salt as added ingredients.  I have no idea how much dilution there is, and if this blood will work for the boudin.  Has anyone successfully made a blood sausage using a similar product? 

View Post


Brian who has worked with frozen says, "thaw completely stir with a stick blender then proceed as described in the recipe."

blood coagualates to something like dense Jello almost immediately outside the body (an important trait!), and I don't think any amount of salt (or vinegar) will change that. it becomes liquid again on stirring.

#57 Abra

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:08 AM

Ok, it's good to know that it will work! I decided against doing the boudin tomorrow for our Charcuterie Play Day, since there will be a dozen people in the kitchen all grinding and stuffing, except when they're out on the deck smoking. The boudin seems delicate, a la minute-ish, and in need of a cool and concentrated sausage maker. I'm just looking for a near-future good opportinity to do this, though.

Merguez for me tomorrow. I'll take lots of pictures - it looks like we're going to be doing 7 kinds of sausage, bacon, and pastrami, all at once. My smokers are getting overheated just thinking about it.

#58 pedrissimo

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 06:45 AM

I was wondering if those of you who have gained many months of experience with dry curing could give me some feedback on my aging chamber. I live in Texas, so a cellar is an unheard of thing, and there is obviously no place in my house that is anything like 60 degrees!

I have a fridge in the garage that is unused. I have cleaned it with bleach... I set it to its warmest setting, and it keeps between 51-54 degrees F. I have a humidifier that is a basin of water, a pad that soaks up the water, and a fan that pulls air across the filter. I can set it for humidity as high as 65%, and it varies in the fridge now between 60-70% humidity.

So, I think I have decent temperature (if on the low side), decent humidity (again, lowish), and intermittent air movement from the humidifier.

Do these conditions sound workable, given your experiences?

Has anyone had major trouble using a fridge?

Thanks,
Peter

#59 jmolinari

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:17 AM

pedrissimo, thost conditions are very good, and should work really really well. One bit of advice i can give you is that while those cool mist humidifiers will work well, the moisture wicks (the pad) will start to mildew and mold rather quickly. I was having to change the pad every 3-4 weeks. At about $8 a pad it was getting expensive.

I use an ultrasonic humidifier...nothing to change. Just clean the thing off every cuopld of refills. For some reason though, very few ultrasonic humidifiers come with a hygrostat, and definitely none of the cheap ($30-$50) ones i've seen. I happened to find a good deal on ebay on a hygrostat for a greenhouse. I put that in the fridge, and the humidifier plugs into that. Works well. It if made by Greenair products, and costs about $120 retail. It is this one:
http://www.greenair.com/humidistat.htm

#60 Bombdog

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Posted 02 June 2006 - 08:58 AM

Peter
That's pretty much my set up and the same conditions. So far <knock on wood> I've had pretty good success with it.
Dave Valentin
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