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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 5

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#451 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:34 AM

I believe that, humidifier or no, you're getting flavor development the longer you wait. I let my first batch hang for over four weeks: never got too hard, never got mold, so I figured that I was gaining better pancetta by waiting.
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#452 kaatje

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 11:41 AM

I did it! Read all post from 1 to the last.
Lots of inspiration and a question.
I use my KA as stuffer but plan on buying something better. How does the grizzly hold out after a year or more? In the first 20 pages or so some people bought the Grizzly so how is it doing after being in use for a year r so?

#453 jmolinari

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:01 PM

I've found that extending the drying time greatly improves the flavor

#454 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:03 PM

I use my KA as stuffer but plan on buying something better. How does the grizzly hold out after a year or more? In the first 20 pages or so some people bought the Grizzly so how is it doing after being in use for a year r so?

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If you mean the hand-cranked sausage stuffer, it's fantastic. No problems at all. Worth every penny.
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#455 kaatje

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:08 PM

If you mean the hand-cranked sausage stuffer, it's fantastic. No problems at all. Worth every penny.

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Yes, that's it. I know you were all enthusiastic but I was wondering how they hold up after being used for some time. I remember reading about hte Grizzly being Chinese and an other stuffer that was similar but a lot more expensive. Obviously I don't want to spent more than necessary. But buying something and hen not using it seems a shame.
Luckily the dollar is very cheap! :wink: Even makes up for the postage!

Edited by kaatje, 26 March 2008 - 12:08 PM.


#456 Chris Amirault

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:19 PM

Basically, it's a bunch of thick metal soldered together with a simple crank and gear mechanism. I think that you could probably use the thing weekly for a decade or two.
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#457 Brian Brenner

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:25 PM

Thanks for the response...I guess I'll just have to be patient and eat more bacon in the meantime!

#458 dougal

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 12:58 PM

If you mean the hand-cranked sausage stuffer, it's fantastic. No problems at all. Worth every penny.

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Yes, that's it. I know you were all enthusiastic but I was wondering how they hold up after being used for some time. ...

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I have one. Northern Tool badged, but bought from sausagemaking.org in the UK.
Works a treat.
There are just three areas of (extremely mild) concern.
-- The crank gear is plastic. Seems solid, but some have somehow managed to break it. IMHO you'd need to apply seriously excessive pressure to do that - and to apply that force when the piston has reached the end of its travel. No problem at all unless you were very ham-fisted.
-- I have a bit of tarnish on the basic but effective air vent "valve". It'll be easy to improve/upgrade that bit.
-- I reckon the big plastic nut that holds the stuffing nozzle in place might be the life-determining component. But, treated nicely, and stored out of sunlight, it should last for many years. And its something a metalworking shop could replicate or replace simply enough. I'm sure its a standard off-the-shelf item. Maybe I should ask a plumber... :biggrin:

It turns out to be no bother to crank the piston back up again (since its missing a quick release mechanism).
I put a thin wash-sponge under the thing and then clamp it to the kitchen worktop, rather than bolting the base to anything (as seems intended).
I'm pleased with the custom-made stainless steel (parallel not tapered) stuffing tubes I had the opportunity of acquiring - though they are by no means necessary.

After you have just once used such a thing, you wouldn't want to use a nozzle on the front of a mincer - ever again!

Edited by dougal, 26 March 2008 - 01:00 PM.

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#459 kaatje

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Posted 26 March 2008 - 01:05 PM

Thanks! I'll order one then. Getting a new bold or something won't be a problem. I'll just ask my brother ("the metalworking shop").
I love the way everybody helps, thanks!

#460 Abra

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 01:00 AM

I just have one thing to add about the shrimp and salmon terrine, now that I've made it again. This time I used the mushrooms the recipe calls for, which made a world of difference. Whereas it was excellent before, it's sublime with the mushrooms. I still added a bit of spice, this time a mixture made for Moroccan fish tajine, but just a hint, unidentifiable. I served it to a group of French people who are accustomed to fish terrines, and it got rave reviews.

Since the group was my wine tasting class, I'll add that if you make it, find a dry Vouvray to serve it with - it's an exceptional pairing.

#461 Kilgore

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 09:22 AM

If you mean the hand-cranked sausage stuffer, it's fantastic. No problems at all. Worth every penny.

View Post

Yes, that's it. I know you were all enthusiastic but I was wondering how they hold up after being used for some time. ...

View Post

I have one. Northern Tool badged, but bought from sausagemaking.org in the UK.
Works a treat.
There are just three areas of (extremely mild) concern.
-- The crank gear is plastic. Seems solid, but some have somehow managed to break it. IMHO you'd need to apply seriously excessive pressure to do that - and to apply that force when the piston has reached the end of its travel. No problem at all unless you were very ham-fisted.

It turns out to be no bother to crank the piston back up again (since its missing a quick release mechanism).
I put a thin wash-sponge under the thing and then clamp it to the kitchen worktop, rather than bolting the base to anything (as seems intended).
After you have just once used such a thing, you wouldn't want to use a nozzle on the front of a mincer - ever again!

View Post


I bought a Grizzly Stuffer based on my reading here and I'm quite pleased with it. However, I did break the plastic gear that the handle fits on the first day that I used it. I made three batches and the gear broke as I was finishing up.

As dougal mentions, it's easy to know when the piston is at the bottom and not be "ham-fisted" once it is all the way down. However, mine broke as I was cranking the piston up to remove the canister. The piston had become "loose" on the screw rod and the piston hadn't cleared the top of the canister - so I was merrily cranking away when the rod reached its end of upward travel and I heard a pop as one of the teeth on the gears broke. So the moral of this story is to be sure to keep the piston screwed on tight and to recognize that it might not clear the canister before the rod reaches its limit.

The good news is that I had purchased the Grizzly from the company's Ebay sales, so I called them the next day and they sent me out a new part at no cost. The gear arrived yesterday, and now I've got the stuffer repaired and ready to go for another batch. Just in case, I've epoxied the broken gear and it seems sturdy enough to use as a backup. (The stuffer actually worked with the missing tooth, it just wasn't very smooth when cranking.) So even if the gear breaks, you should be able to order a replacement from them.

I also use a clamp and some non-slip drawer liner to attach the stuffer to my countertop while working. It was very sturdy and the difference between stuffing with this machine and a KitchenAid tube is amazing!

#462 Brian Brenner

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Posted 27 March 2008 - 03:16 PM

I will second the don't work too hard to crank the stuffer. I originally purchased a stuffer from Butcher-Packer for double what the grizzly cost. Stupidly busted a gear during the first batch because a part was loose and gears were not synchronizing properly (also plastic gear). Knew I was forcing something that I should'nt, but did it anyway! Idiot. Butcher-packer refunded the money (fortunately I live nearby), but moral of the story...realize these gears are plastic and as dad always said "Don't force it". Afterwards immediately ordered a grizzly and have lived happily ever after.

#463 A Patric

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Posted 31 March 2008 - 06:13 PM

Hi all,

Just got back from NYC and visiting Salumeria Biellese. Ruhlman mentions this on page 174 when talking about amazing charcuterie makers. Mark Buzzio is the one in charge, and though the place looks unimpressive inside and out, if you venture in and pay close attention, you'll finally notice delicious looking fresh sausage at the furthest case from the door, all labeled "certified Berkshire." If you ask, you'll receive their dry-cured "menu" with pricing, and you can choose anything from it even though it isn't displayed in the case. Unfortunately Mark wasn't there on Saturday, so I didn't get to see his drying room, but I'll undoubtedly be back later this year, and hopefully I'll be able to catch him.

For what it is worth, I bought a whole Rosette de Lyon, a very long dry-cured pork sausage of large girth, that is flavored with red wine and quatre epices. As Ruhlman mentioned, it did indeed smell like a nasty old sock. However, upon cutting it open...well, it is hard to put into words, but it took me right back to my year living in France, and really brought home to me the difference between the locally available, mass-produced dry-cured products, and the real deal. For anyone who has the chance, I highly recommend visiting the shop. After all, can you really go wrong with a place that sells a sausage called a "petit jesus"?

Best,

Alan

#464 HKDave

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Posted 01 April 2008 - 08:49 AM

For those considering moving up from the 5lb Grizzly made-in-China stuffer, at the moment Northern Tool has the 15lb version at $170 (vs. $250 at Grizzly).
Hong Kong Dave

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#465 A Patric

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 01:14 PM

So the question is, am I gaining anything by the extended dry time (texture or flavor development, etc.) or is it just extending my wait for pancetta. 


I'm no expert, but I'd agree with Jason and Chris that more time makes a positive flavor difference. Having just recently had saucisson that is incredibly flavorful due to very long aging--see my post above--I began wondering about the mechanisms behind all of this. I assumed that enzymes played a role, but wasn't sure if that was the case, or if they were pretty well inactivated due to the salt. I referred back to McGee's On Food and Cooking, as always, for the answers.

Here is what I found:

Not only will the flavors simply be more concentrated as the meat dries further, but you'll also get enzymatic breakdown of the protein in the meat into flavorful and savory peptides and amino acids over time (up to a third of all proteins will be broken down). This is similar to what you'd see in non-cured aged meat, but probably happens more slowly. Some further of beneficial enzymatic actions are: the breaking down of muscle glycogen stores into glucose, breaking down something called ATP into IMP, which is apparently quite savory, and the breaking down of fats into hundreds of aromatic fatty acids. all of these interactions create intense meaty/porky, nutty, and caramel flavors.

There are apparently also some flavor-beneficial bacteria that can play a role on the external parts of the meat, and it seems that this is one of the reasons that Prosciutto di Parma is so flavorful. Then, of course, in inoculated sausages there are internal flavor-beneficial bacteria that create, in addition to some level of tartness, fruity and nutty notes. A lot of these flavor compounds are apparently related to those that you find in cheese, which helps to explain why my Rosette, and the Chabichou goat cheese that I was eating with it smelled quite similar in many ways.

While reading all of this I found myself wondering if there is a limit to aging/drying after which flavor deteriorates. I wonder if the main limiting factor is salt content (i.e. after a certain point the meat will begin to become too salty due to a lower moisture content). One could use less salt in the cure to allow a longer aging and slightly drier meat, but I would think that this would increase the risk of spoilage and non-beneficial microbes setting up shop in or on the sausage/meat.

Maybe aging/drying of the meat could be extended by running a slightly higher relative humidity such as 75%-80% instead of 70%, but at a certain point I imagine that increased humidity would also risk spoilage.

I guess that the diameter of the meat could also play an important role by slowing down the aging/drying time, which may be why hams, with their large size, are so flavorful, as it takes them much longer to age/dry properly at a safe humidity level. This might be reason enough to do the larger diameter sausages, despite the longer wait. Looks like a bit of experimentation is in order.

#466 jmolinari

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Posted 02 April 2008 - 02:09 PM

I've been drying my products at about 54 deg. F and 72% RH.

I've made a pancetta that i dried for 11 months, and it was still good, very good in fact, but maybe not that much better than one that aged 2-3 months. So i think there is a limit to the betterment.

#467 A Patric

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:47 PM

Hi all,

For all of you who love Ruhlman's Charcuterie, I thought that you might also be interested in a book that I recently purchased: Volume 1 of The Professional Charcuterie Series by Marcel Cottenceau, et al. It is a French book that has been translated into English with US readers in mind, so it constantly references the USDA, and the types of cuts that are available in the US. It covers sausage, ham, confit, and smoked pork to a lesser degree. The largest part of the 300 page book covers various French sausages, and some German ones, with some time spent on specialty sausages and even a variety of blood sausage recipes. Dry sausages, however, are relatively absent from the book, though there are a couple, such as Spanish Chorizo. Overall, I find it to be interesting, thorough, and filled with recipes about which I would otherwise not have ever known.

It isn't cheap, but at Kitchen Arts and Letters in NYC you can find it for about $89, which is far less than where I have seen it online. The second volume, which I don't have, is about terrines.

#468 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:52 PM

Hi all,

For all of you who love Ruhlman's Charcuterie, I thought that you might also be interested in a book that I recently purchased: Volume 1 of The Professional Charcuterie Series by Marcel Cottenceau, et al.  It is a French book that has been translated into English with US readers in mind, so it constantly references the USDA, and the types of cuts that are available in the US.  It covers sausage, ham, confit, and smoked pork to a lesser degree.  The largest part of the 300 page book covers various French sausages, and some German ones, with some time spent on specialty sausages and even a variety of blood sausage recipes.  Dry sausages, however, are relatively absent from the book, though there are a couple, such as Spanish Chorizo.  Overall, I find it to be interesting, thorough, and filled with recipes about which I would otherwise not have ever known.

It isn't cheap, but at Kitchen Arts and Letters in NYC you can find it for about $89, which is far less than where I have seen it online.  The second volume, which I don't have, is about terrines.

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I had a look through this series at Niagara College a few weeks ago. Defiantly excellent books.

#469 A Patric

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:17 PM

Kerry,

Did you try Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit yet? If so, what did you think?

Alan

#470 Toufas

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:09 AM

i have a whole duck in the fridge, and i am not feeling like roasting it. so i am gonna use it in various recipes. i am gonna use the recipe from the babo cookbook ( http://www.babbonyc.com/rec-duck.html ) but it doesnt say if you live the skin on or not.
what should i do?
also, it says to live it hanging for 3 weeks, will there be any droppings? what kind of rapping i should use the 2nd time?
thanks a lot.

#471 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 10:23 AM

Leave the skin on.

When you hang it you want to tie it the way you'd tie a roast: in concentric circles along the length of the breast. I've just tied and hung two bellies for pancetta and will snap a shot when I get home tonight if you'd like.

There may be some dripping so put a plate under it. (Hopefully there'll be no droppings -- definitely kill it first! :wink:)
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#472 kaatje

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 11:21 AM

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Posted Image


Thanks to Derek I could build my own cold smoke room. And it works! :smile: I'm planning on cold smoking my own salmon. Farmed I'm afraid. it's almost impossible to buy wild and if you can it costs an arm and a leg.
But how long would you salt a half a salmon (approximately?) I have recipes varying from 1 to 36 hours! And again, how long do you smoke it for? I can sure use your expertise! :unsure: I'm aiming for the traditional Scots smoked salmon.

#473 Kerry Beal

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 01:42 PM

Kerry,

Did you try Jim Drohman's Pork Belly Confit yet?  If so, what did you think?

Alan

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Alan,

Somehow missed this post. Haven't tried it yet. Soon I hope.

#474 qrn

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:00 PM


Posted Image


Posted Image


Thanks to Derek I could build my own cold smoke room. And it works! :smile: I'm planning on cold smoking my own salmon. Farmed I'm afraid. it's almost impossible to buy wild and if you can it costs an arm and a leg.
But how long would you salt a half a salmon (approximately?) I have recipes varying from 1 to 36 hours! And again, how long do you smoke it for? I can sure use your expertise! :unsure: I'm aiming for the traditional Scots smoked salmon.

View Post

When I smoke salmon, I weigh it, and calculate the % amount of residual salt I want in the fish. Then use that much salt, and leave it until all the salt is absorbed by the fish. That way you dont get a suprise of way to much, if you dont take it out soon enough...
Bud

#475 kaatje

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 03:46 PM

Thanks. But how do you calculate how much salt you want? That is what percentage are you aiming for?

Edited by kaatje, 07 April 2008 - 03:46 PM.


#476 Toufas

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 05:45 PM

Leave the skin on.

When you hang it you want to tie it the way you'd tie a roast: in concentric circles along the length of the breast. I've just tied and hung two bellies for pancetta and will snap a shot when I get home tonight if you'd like.

There may be some dripping so put a plate under it. (Hopefully there'll be no droppings -- definitely kill it first! :wink:)

View Post

thank a lot. should i use parchment paper again for the 2nd stage as well?

#477 Chris Amirault

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 06:57 PM

Leave the skin on.

When you hang it you want to tie it the way you'd tie a roast: in concentric circles along the length of the breast. I've just tied and hung two bellies for pancetta and will snap a shot when I get home tonight if you'd like.

There may be some dripping so put a plate under it. (Hopefully there'll be no droppings -- definitely kill it first! :wink:)

View Post

thank a lot. should i use parchment paper again for the 2nd stage as well?

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Here's the relevant section from the recipe:

Rub the duck breast with this mixture, wrap it loosely in wax paper, and refrigerate for 4 days. Unwrap the breast, then wrap it like a package with string, leaving one long end.


The idea is to hang and dry it, so you don't want any parchment, just the string. Here's that photo I mentioned -- still working on that technique:

Posted Image
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#478 qrn

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 07:44 PM

Thanks. But how do you calculate how much salt you want? That is what percentage are you aiming for?

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It depends on what your taste is. I like 3 to 3.5%. that would be 30 to 35 grams of salt per kilo of weight..
Bud

#479 Toufas

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Posted 08 April 2008 - 05:20 AM

Leave the skin on.

When you hang it you want to tie it the way you'd tie a roast: in concentric circles along the length of the breast. I've just tied and hung two bellies for pancetta and will snap a shot when I get home tonight if you'd like.

There may be some dripping so put a plate under it. (Hopefully there'll be no droppings -- definitely kill it first! :wink:)

View Post

thank a lot. should i use parchment paper again for the 2nd stage as well?

View Post


Here's the relevant section from the recipe:

Rub the duck breast with this mixture, wrap it loosely in wax paper, and refrigerate for 4 days. Unwrap the breast, then wrap it like a package with string, leaving one long end.


The idea is to hang and dry it, so you don't want any parchment, just the string. Here's that photo I mentioned -- still working on that technique:

Posted Image

View Post


thanks a lot, i will start it tomorrow
i assume its ok to use dry herbs as i dont have any fresh ones atm

#480 FoodMan

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 11:33 AM

I am finally sick and tired of hand cranking to grind meat. Clean up for the damn heavy hand cranked model takes almost as much time as grinding too! So, after research on and off this thread I figured this grinder from Northern Tools is the best deal for my money. It seems sturdy, with all metal parts, powerful enough and is a great deal at this price. Better yet, apparently there is a NT store 15 minutes from my work. So, I did not have to pay for shipping.

Looking forward to to giving it a try ASAP and reporting on the results. Anyone else has more experience with it? I know a couple of posters early on in this thread mentioned buying a NT grinder.

edit: borken link

Edited by FoodMan, 09 April 2008 - 11:33 AM.

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