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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 3


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#241 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 09:41 AM

In the meantime, I'll be concentrating on terrine, rillettes, and stuffed pig feet, in preparation for a party in a couple of weeks.  Those pigs trotters from Niman are as long as my forearm, which is pretty long.  I'm going to try a boned, stuffed, rolled thing that I'm hoping will be impressive.  I'll show it off, if it works out.

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Those stuffed trotters sound amazing. I hope you'll share the results here even if they're not optimal. Less than perfect attempts are just as important to learning as the perfect ones -- maybe even more so.

Good luck, Abra.

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#242 pedrissimo

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 10:01 AM

Rob,

It seems to me that the bacteria don't just kill bacteria- as far as I understand it, they share that duty with your curing salt (in this case #2, right?). For us, who have fridges, in the modern world, the most important thing they bring besides another measure of safety is that they completely change the taste of the meat! They are a mix of bacteria that is much like the bacteria used to make yogurt, and some cheeses. I know that the stuff from BP includes at least one strain from Lactobacillus, which is the same genus as you find in most yogurt. Yogurt sure does taste different from milk, and the low pH allows it to be more stable. At the same time, just like your body, or yogurt, you want your sausage to be colonized by benign bacteria, not nasty kinds! That, in addition to the low pH will reduce the risk of later infection by the unhealthy ones!

By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,
Peter

This, then, brings up a question I've had for a while.  If the drying is being done in an environment below 40 degrees, is it necessary to use bacteria (Bactoferm) at all?  In other words, is there any threat of botulism if the sausages spend their entire drying time within the so-called "safe" temperature range?  Any thoughts?

-Rob

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#243 Rubashov

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 10:34 AM

Rob,

It seems to me that the bacteria don't just kill bacteria- as far as I understand it, they share that duty with your curing salt (in this case #2, right?). For us, who have fridges, in the modern world, the most important thing they bring besides another measure of safety is that they completely change the taste of the meat! They are a mix of bacteria that is much like the bacteria used to make yogurt, and some cheeses. I know that the stuff from BP includes at least one strain from Lactobacillus, which is the same genus as you find in most yogurt. Yogurt sure does taste different from milk, and the low pH allows it to be more stable. At the same time, just like your body, or yogurt, you want your sausage to be colonized by benign bacteria, not nasty kinds! That, in addition to the low pH will reduce the risk of later infection by the unhealthy ones!

By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,
Peter


Thanks, Peter. I had the feeling that it was still worth it for the taste. On the bacon, how did you like the flavor of the cherry wood? I used hickory when I did it and thought it was a bit harsh. I'm thinking about apple or cherry next time.

And Abra, I know how frustrating the BP stuff can be sometimes. The day I got my order, I realized I wanted to order the M-EK as well to try to get some white mold. With their shipping as expensive as it is, I feel like I should wait until I need a bunch of stuff before I order. Oh well!

#244 jmolinari

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:01 AM

pedrissimo...correct. Although as i understand it, the only thing the curing salts do is oxidize the meat, stopping botulism.

jason

#245 mdbasile

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 11:30 AM

Hmm... I guess I will be living dangerously then. The Tuscan and the Chirizo were both done with ME-K "in" the salami and they are fine -- eaten a bunch and still here. The Venison I have hanging is the same - I'll keep my fingers crossed. It had been frozen very cold far a few months.

I spoke with BP about it and I am pretty sure if it goes bad - I'll know it.

I am thinking that getting a serious strain of deadly bacteria is not very likely...

I am curing right @ 60 degrees

Doesn't the curing salt DC #2 in my case help prevent deadly bacteria?

Edited by mdbasile, 13 June 2006 - 11:34 AM.


#246 jmolinari

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 12:13 PM

Mark, as i understand it, all the DC#2 prevents is botulism...which i guess is probably the worst of the bacteria...

#247 dougal

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 12:14 PM

pedrissimo...correct. Although as i understand it, the only thing the curing salts do is oxidize the meat, stopping botulism.

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The curing salts (nitrate and nitrite in #2, as used in sausage that would be eaten raw) are there to protect aginst botulism. They do change the taste of the meat - and that's why, in this age of refrigeration, we still cure meat. We like the taste of it! (And the dark colour it produces.)
I do think that "oxidises the meat" is a simplification that invites being called an over-simplification! :smile:

If anyone is interested in the detail of the action of these curing salts, I was given a very detailed explanation, and lots and lots of references, here: http://forum.riverco...pic.php?t=12943 (the thread developed from humble beginnings...)


Using curing salts *and* fermentation makes for a "belt and braces" approach. And there's no harm in that!
But personally, I'd be a bit wary of eating a raw sausage without the benefit of either fermentation or curing salts... whatever temperature it might be said to have been dried at.
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#248 pedrissimo

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:14 PM

The difference is huge. The hickory I am using has a bit of an odd metallic edge to it- just a touch, and is strong and familiar. I smoked kielbasa last night with it- it is awesome- tender, brown on the outside, pink on the inside, ready for my wife's white bean, kielbasa, carrot and kale soup. But the cherry is fragrant and just as intense, but more subtle, if that makes sense. The smell of it leaps out of the bacon, and it is intoxicating. I have only started to experiment with smoking this spring, and besides a brisket, some pork shoulders, and a few links of cajun-style boudin, the bacon and the kielbasa are my first relatively un-spiced smokings. I have heard that many of the fruitwoods are milder, but I didn't realize that they could still impart such intense flavor. I wouldn't smoke a brisket in cherry, though. Probably mildly spiced pork, chicken, and fish. On the other hand, mesquite and hickory can stand up to beef and heavily spiced meats. Does that make sense?

Cheers,
Peter

Rob,


By the way, I just made my first bacon- cherry smoked with brown sugar in the cure, and it smells AMAZING- I fried up a few thick chunks and diced them into a potato salad with mayo, green onions, green beans, and salt and pepper. Served it warm. Mmmmmmmm.

Cheers,
Peter


Thanks, Peter. I had the feeling that it was still worth it for the taste. On the bacon, how did you like the flavor of the cherry wood? I used hickory when I did it and thought it was a bit harsh. I'm thinking about apple or cherry next time.

And Abra, I know how frustrating the BP stuff can be sometimes. The day I got my order, I realized I wanted to order the M-EK as well to try to get some white mold. With their shipping as expensive as it is, I feel like I should wait until I need a bunch of stuff before I order. Oh well!

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#249 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 03:30 PM

I agree with what pedrissimo says above. Hickory works great in certain cases. For me, those are primarily with beef, pork butt or more heavily-spiced sausages (with the exception of andouille). For bacon, my favorites are apple, cherry or a combination of the 2. The combo has pretty much become my default fuel for most pork and smoked sausage.

The differences imparted upon finished product by the various woods is surprisingly profound. Not only do certain woods seem to pair better with certain foods, but I think there's also a sensory memory aspect to a successful pairing as well because we get used to certain aromas accompanying certain foods. When they change, it can really affect our satisfaction levels. As this applies to our own projects, finding the right wood is part of "perfecting" a recipe and it can definitely be a challenge.

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#250 thomasevan

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 08:12 PM

I agree with what pedrissimo says above.  Hickory works great in certain cases.  For me, those are primarily with beef, pork butt or more heavily-spiced sausages (with the exception of andouille).  For bacon, my favorites are apple, cherry or a combination of the 2.  The combo has pretty much become my default fuel for most pork and smoked sausage.

The differences imparted upon finished product by the various woods is surprisingly profound.  Not only do certain woods seem to pair better with certain foods, but I think there's also a sensory memory aspect to a successful pairing as well because we get used to certain aromas accompanying certain foods.  When they change, it can really affect our satisfaction levels.  As this applies to our own projects, finding the right wood is part of "perfecting" a recipe and it can definitely be a challenge.

=R=

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Another consideration with woods I have experienced over many trials is over not to oversmoke. Meats/Protiens can only take on so much smoke before the smoke will impart a bitterness and overpower instead of enhance.

#251 Abra

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 08:35 PM

Now that I've finally gotten a source of cherry, I'm really liking it. The fragrance of the smoke itself is intoxicating.

But I find that I still want that hickory hit with some foods, like ribs, and I like to add a bit into the cherry with bacon.

#252 thomasevan

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Posted 13 June 2006 - 09:49 PM

I am going to cure and smoke 4 bellies next week time permitting with different regional cures, and smoking woods. One of them I would like to try using Corn cobs! I am wondering if anyone has experience using cobs for smoke?
Do they need to be dried?
Cow corn or peaches and cream?
Kernals or sans kernals?

Thanks in advance

Edited by thomasevan, 13 June 2006 - 09:50 PM.


#253 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 05:28 AM

The best trotter recipe i know of is in bouchon cookbook. i'm biased of course but it can be done as much as a week ahead and is very easy to finish and serve when the time comes. it's the perfect entertaining dish.


In the meantime, I'll be concentrating on terrine, rillettes, and stuffed pig feet, in preparation for a party in a couple of weeks.  Those pigs trotters from Niman are as long as my forearm, which is pretty long.  I'm going to try a boned, stuffed, rolled thing that I'm hoping will be impressive.  I'll show it off, if it works out.

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#254 Abra

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 08:46 AM

Thanks, Michael. I have been, in fact, planning to do a Keller recipe. It's stuffed with sweetbreads - is that the one you mean? I have the FL book, but not Bouchon, and I found this recipe here. Is that the one? Doing it a week ahead sounds really good.

I'm thinking that, plus boudin noir (trying out my pre-salted pig blood), and pork confit rillettes (put up the confit last month), plus a pate de campagne. It's meant to be a tasting plate to accompany a bottle of Cayuse Merlot, which warrants extra effort. If it looks like I'm making a mistake here, please set me straight!

#255 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:13 PM

I must say my charcuterie life is a breeze with this Grizzly. I cut up more pork butt on Sunday and, last night, ground it up and mixed it with the KA, then stuffed it pronto with the Grizzly. A night in the oven to get cookin', and I now have about five pounds of sopressata in the curing chamber downstairs. Looked a little smeary even though I was uber-careful about temps -- but I wonder if it's the milk powder and not smeared fat. We'll see soon enough....
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#256 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 12:35 PM

that recipe is the french laundry version. the bouchon is easier and you don't wrap it in the pig skin, the pig skin is in the trotter mixture. if you want to try it i can send you an unedited copy if i can dig one up...

i'm eager to know how the blood works.

#257 Abra

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:21 PM

Michael, I'd love to see the Bouchon version! And I'll be sure to document the boudin noir process. Since you caution not to make it ahead, it'll be about 10 days before I can make it, but I have the blood, which is the first step.

Chris, I'm with you in loving the Grizzly. Of course, it's the very first stuffer I've used, but it works a treat. We did try to use sheep casings with it, when I did the merguez at our Play Day, and kept having them tear. Does anyone have sheep casing tips? They'd been soaking for a couple of days, and we were using the smallest nozzle.

And edited to say that I'm an idiot - my course is a Leonetti merlot. There's a Cayuse syrah, but someone else gets to pair that.

Edited by Abra, 14 June 2006 - 03:21 PM.


#258 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 01:32 PM

Does anyone have sheep casing tips?  They'd been soaking for a couple of days, and we were using the smallest nozzle.

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I have never completed a tear-free run with sheep casings (in 4 or 5 attempts). OTOH, all those casings were from the same supplier and same package. Based on other runs I've completed successfully using hog casings, my guess is that another package from another supplier (or even the same supplier) could produce better results. That said, even my butcher tells me that they (sheep casings) are the bane of his existence and that F-bombs have been known to drop when he tries to fill the breakfast links in his shop.

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#259 thomasevan

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 10:57 PM

Does anyone have sheep casing tips?  They'd been soaking for a couple of days, and we were using the smallest nozzle.

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I have never completed a tear-free run with sheep casings (in 4 or 5 attempts). OTOH, all those casings were from the same supplier and same package. Based on other runs I've completed successfully using hog casings, my guess is that another package from another supplier (or even the same supplier) could produce better results. That said, even my butcher tells me that they (sheep casings) are the bane of his existence and that F-bombs have been known to drop when he tries to fill the breakfast links in his shop.

=R=

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I will ask my uncle who is owns Rowe Farm Meats. They have switched to collagen casing as most have, but Trevor his sausage guru will be able to help you from dropping the F-Bomb!

#260 thomasevan

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Posted 14 June 2006 - 11:10 PM

I have also been working on trying to replicate Montreal style smoked meat or as i say BBQ Pastrami! This is my first attempt which I am proud to say that it is quite close to shwartz's. I split the brisket in half and did two cures. One was brined and the other was dry cured. Here are a few shots of the brined version which I had smoked over hickory for 6 hrs and steamed for 3hrs. I had tested for texture at 1/2 hr periods and found that 3 hrs. rendered a extremely succulant brisket. Posted Image
The dry cured brisket was smoked for 8 hrs but I am suffering from mouth over stimulation and rather lethargic and sleepy at this point, so I will steam tomorrow and post pics. :biggrin:

Edited by thomasevan, 14 June 2006 - 11:12 PM.


#261 peteswanson

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:09 AM

Jaques Pepin has a great blood sausage recipe.
The best one I've had was from John Campbell (i'm not sure if his recipe is in his book, but it's a great recipe I have) but it actually uses dried pigs blood. The salted blood can be a real pain in the arse to work with, as it is congealed...

#262 Abra

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 11:14 AM

Thomas, that's a gorgeous brisket. Will you tell us more about how you made it?

#263 Meez

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Posted 15 June 2006 - 07:41 PM

Posted Image

I can't breathe.

#264 thomasevan

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 09:30 AM

Thomas, that's a gorgeous brisket.  Will you tell us more about how you made it?

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Thanks everyone!
Here you go:
I wet brined this brisket for 9 days, then soaked it for one day with 4 water changes. Let it air dry in my fridge for 6 hrs. Coated with deli mustard and rubbed coriander and cracked pepper. Smoked over hickory for 6 hrs, then I wrapped it in foil and let it rest until it cooled, refrigerated over night and them steamed (Gently!) for 3hrs. I checked every 1/2 hr. to find the best texture and found that 3hrs. produced the what you see in the pics!

I am documenting in more detail in my link below.

Edited by thomasevan, 16 June 2006 - 09:33 AM.


#265 thomasevan

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:01 AM

Small white spots (slightly fuzzy?)on my Chorizo and Salami! :sad: Smells fine.
Posted Image

Any help here?

#266 Abra

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 10:10 AM

Wow, nine days is a long brine! Was that a pretty weak solution, like 1 cup to a gallon? Did you use sugar, herbs, or just salt?

That's a really nice catering menu you have. I'm especially craving that Brazilian chicken app. And a cool mobile smoker. You really need to join in on the famous ang long-running Behold My Butt thread. A lot of serious home smokers hang out there.

Hey, I'd wipe those sausages down with vinegar in a hot second. Fuzzy mold is a no-no, and vinegar seems to nix it if you get it fast.

Edited by Abra, 16 June 2006 - 10:11 AM.


#267 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 11:15 AM

What Abra said. Did the trick for my peperone!
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#268 mdbasile

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 07:46 PM

That mold looks like the good white stuff to me - can you get a clearer photo?

#269 mdbasile

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Posted 16 June 2006 - 08:15 PM

Ok - I have a nice one...

One of my pieces of Venison salami fell to the floor in my cellar... I am thinking it was there for about 1 week... with nice white mold - BTW... anyway the parts that were on the floor were still "soft and wet meat, while the exposed areas were pretty dry. Floor is a cellar floor - though I doubt any bugs...

It looks and smells fine - Do I have to pitch it or should I continue to hang and wait?

Edited by mdbasile, 16 June 2006 - 08:23 PM.


#270 Eastgate

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Posted 17 June 2006 - 07:00 AM

I made the salmon, shrimp, and spinach terrine yesterday.  After-action report en route, with luck.  (Oddly, I haven't found any discussion of this recipe here.)

Any suggestions on saucing or garnishing it?

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Things I tried this week:

* Served plain. Nice texture, but the terrine was probably under-seasoned. Certainly acceptable, especially as My First Mousseline.

* Basil cream: I had some lovely basil, but I scorched the cream and didn't have enough to start over. Too thick, too salty. Still tasty -- everyone ate every last droplet.

* Garlic and red pepper aioli: very tasty, but overwhelmed the terrine

* A little sherry vinegar: my favorite