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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 5

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#181 dougal

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 04:54 PM

A F H: no expert, but my simple-minded suggestion would be firstly to bag it, then before setting the bag into your pot, put something (suitable) between bag and pot, in order to squish the brine further up (over) the meat. It shouldn't matter what the thing(s) is/are because they aren't in contact with the meat or brine.
Alternatively, line the more suitably shaped pan with food-safe plastic, like a bag!

You could make up more brine in the same proportions, but, in theory (its late here and I'm not going into it now) it does change the curing conditions. Slightly. Its the proportion of meat to brine...

Easy thing is to use a bag - just take care not to poke a hole in it!
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#182 Anna Friedman Herlihy

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Posted 14 September 2007 - 06:07 PM

Ah yes, a bag. Funny, I use bags for smaller cuts (and for whole animals), but hadn't thought of it for the ham, since it does fit in a pot, if imperfectly. Too bad we just used up the last of our XXL ziplocs at Burning Man. Will have to run to the store.

Still curious about the chipped enamel pot--if anyone knows the answer, please weigh in. I have another ham and a bunch of hocks I'll be brine curing in the future.

And curious about how adding more brine "slightly" changes things--i.e. within an okay margin of error for something large like a ham? Or not?

Thanks much dougal and jmolinari for weighing so so promptly!

#183 dougal

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Posted 15 September 2007 - 11:50 AM

... And curious about how adding more brine "slightly" changes things--i.e. within an okay margin of error for something large like a ham? Or not? ...

View Post

I wouldn't want to take responsibility, especially as a snap judgement.
You'd probably be absolutely fine, but using a bag and a space-filler is the easy, no-change-from-the-recipe answer.



The book doesn't touch on Brine Calculations.
Its something you only need to consider when branching out on your own.

The FDA's brine calculations are the basis of the FDA limits for nitrite and nitrate.
Whether or not these accord with reality, the limits are set on the basis of the calculations, so the calculations are the official guide as to what is considered a safe cure (or rather a commercially legal one!)

They offer two calculations. One for a cure to 'equilibrium', the other for a short cure where the only thing that is assumed to happen is that the meat absorbs some brine (and the salts in exactly the same proportion as they were in the brine).
The equilibrium calculation gives a different calculated result depending on the quantity of brine (at the same concentration). (Shown later) The short cure calculation method just depends on the weight increase through soaking and the brine's original concentration - and does not depend on the total brine quantity used.
Personally, I have criticisms of both methods (but no suggestions for formal alternatives), however they are what the limits are based on, but I don't really think either is individually fully justifiable for an 8 day cure. I think you are somewhere between them!
Note that in this specific case, the results of the two methods are quite divergent.
Lets consider a 6.25kg ham. (So an 11kg system of brine + ham)
At equilibrium 6.25/11 ie 57% of the brine's starting nitrite would be calculated to be in the ham.
For the 'pickup' method, an 8 to 10% ham weight change would be maximal (thats what you'd get at equilibrium), so maximum is 10% of 6.25kg, ie 625g of brine "picked up", meaning 625/4752 of the nitrite going into the ham, ie just 13% of the available nitrite.
Equilibrium 56%, pickup 13% - thats different!

The FDA calculations (for what they are worth) are found here
http://www.fsis.usda...ives/7620-3.pdf
The relevant section starts on the 26th page of the PDF (bearing a page number of 21)
BUT should anyone look at the calculations in this document beware
- the "percentages" used in the calculations are actually proportions (so % nitrite in Cure No1 "pink salt" is entered as 0.0625 *not* the 6.25 you might expect). Check that sort of detail in the worked examples! :rolleyes: {eg the calculation at the bottom of page "15", the 20th page in the PDF}
- of course all references to pints and gallons are to *US* pints and gallons...
- and formulae that use lb on both top and bottom, can of course simply have kg (or g) on top and bottom - its the ratio between the weights that counts!
As can be seen from my workings, I rarely use the equations in the form they are given, but I believe I *am* using exactly the same underlying logic. (Thinking in "pounds of nitrite" isn't my scale of working! )
And working in grams and kilograms is easy, at least compared to converting teaspoons into pounds...


Lets throw in the numbers for this recipe: 42g of "pink salt" at 6.25% nitrite means 2.625g of total Sodium Nitrite in the starting brine.
Equilibrium means the 2.625g ending up evenly spread between ham and brine, so we divide by the weight of the brine + ham total system (11kg for a 6.25kg ham) to get the final equilibrium g/kg of nitrite in the ham (and brine, its at equilibrium) and to turn that into parts per million, we multiply it by 1000.

I calculate this as 206 ppm nitrite for the recipe, if a 6.25kg ham is used. Hence even if such a ham were left in the brine for perhaps two or three weeks to reach equilibrium, then it would only be slightly over the FDA's 200 ppm "ingoing" limit (see the 17th page of the PDF with the page number of 12).
Using 50% extra brine (so 50% extra on salt, pink salt, sugar and water), means 63g Pink Salt, hence 3.9375g nitrite in the starting brine. The brine plus 6.25kg ham now totals 13.378kg. so, doing the numbers, there is an equilibrium at 294 ppm - a considerable change from before! And all we have done is use more brine, of the exact same composition!

Whether this matters for 8 days, I really don't know, but I doubt it.
As I said, I think it could be "slightly" different if you increase the quantity of brine.
Significantly different? I doubt it, but I don't know for sure!
Simplest to just use a bag to give yourself an ideal container! :cool:
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#184 Sartain

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 07:29 AM

I think my family got tired of hearing about what everybody else was cooking out of this book. For my birthday they got me the Bradley Digital Smoker.

For the inaugral run, I decided on the Carolina-Style Smoked Barbecue (p. 92-93). Instead of just the salt and pepper in the recipe, I used a rub of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne pepper. The shoulder I had was about 7.5 pounds, so I smoked it for 4 hrs 20 mins instead of the 3 called for in the recipe.

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Here's the shoulder about to go into the smoker. I used mostly the apple brisquettes, with a couple of hickory thrown in.

Posted Image
After 3.5 hours, when I added more water to the water bowl. I had set the temp to 220, but it was a mighty windy day with the first sign of a chill, so the temperature varied up and down about 10 degrees. Not too bad though.

Posted Image
Out of the smoker, ready for the oven.

Posted Image
In the meantime, the barbecue sauce. The yellow streaks came from the dry mustard going in.

Posted Image
Out of the oven 4 hours later, pulling it to serve.

Posted Image
The end product, stirred together with the sauce.

We had this with potato rolls that we picked up from the Amish at the farmers market. By this time we had been waiting for it all day long and smelling the nice smells of the smoke and the pork, so I completely forgot to take pictures! It was might scrumptious - the meat was smoky and tender and the rub gave it a kick that made you sit up and take notice. The sauce was tangy with a little sweet, striking a good balance with the unctuous porkiness of it all.

I have a feeling I'll be working through the smoked foods sections of the book soon.
Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

#185 Anna Friedman Herlihy

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Posted 16 September 2007 - 11:58 AM

Dougal,
Thanks for doing those calculations. Very interesting results!

I love that I'm learning more chemistry than I ever did in school from my various cooking-related hobbies (in addition to the relatively new love of charcuterie making, that includes wine-making and organic gardening--both very chemistry-intensive).

I did go with the bag method (gotta love those XXL ziplocs). The ham's got a date with the smoker and the oven for a party this coming Saturday!

#186 Stuckey

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 03:53 AM

Forgive me if the questions I'm about to ask have already been answered in this mammoth thread, but I haven't been able to read the whole thing just yet!

I did not have any luck sourcing curing salt in Australia in small amounts, so I resorted to ordering from America. The first thing I wanted to try was bacon, so last Friday, I got a small pork belly (about 1kg = bit over 2 pounds), and mixed up a small batch of the basic cure using dextrose instead of sugar.

I poured a bunch of the dry cure into a Pyrex dish, coated all sides of the pork belly as evenly and thickly as possible, shook off the excess, and put it into a ziplock bag and then into the fridge. I also added two tablespoons of the dry cure into the bag for good measure. I've been turning the belly over once a day, and so far, about 1/4 cup of liquid has come out of the belly.

My questions are:

1) Is there a risk of using too much cure? The recipe states using about 1/4 cup for a belly over 1.5kg. I think I might've used a bit more than that, for a belly weighing less than 1.5kg. Would this speed up the curing process, or would it cause some kind of problem?

2) The pork belly that I got still had some rib bones attached. What should I do with them? Remove them before roasting it, remove after roasting, or just leave them on?

3) Are there other tell-tale signs to gauge when the belly is fully cured besides testing for firmness? Should a fully cured belly be rigid and uniformly firm all over? I would imagine that my smaller belly will take less than 7 days to fully cure, but since this is my first attempt, I'm not quite sure how to tell if the cure is doing its work!

Thanks so much for any advice! I'll be sure to report back with progress reports, and hopefully photos! Cheers! :biggrin:

#187 jmolinari

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 05:03 AM

Stuckey, what are you trying to make?
How come you used dextrose instead of regular sugar? The sweetness level is different between dextrose and sucrose, although you'll probably be fine.

As far as using too much cure i think you should be OK. There is a risk of having too much curing salt, which can be unhealthy, but i'm not sure what the unhealthy quantity is.

I think firmness and if you really want to see, cutting a slice to see that the cure has gone all the way throough the meat, is the only way to tell if it is fully cured.

#188 michael_g

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Posted 17 September 2007 - 06:43 AM

Stuckey, what are you trying to make?
How come you used dextrose instead of regular sugar? The sweetness level is different between dextrose and sucrose, although you'll probably be fine.

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The recipe in the book gives listings for both table sugar and dextrose versions. I seem to recall the author's preference for dextrose. I'm still not clear why it matters which sugar you use: dextrose tastes less sweet, but you use more of it! Is the sugar there to increase the osmotic pressure in the meat, or to just counterbalance the salts, or what?

#189 Stuckey

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:01 AM

Stuckey, what are you trying to make?
How come you used dextrose instead of regular sugar? The sweetness level is different between dextrose and sucrose, although you'll probably be fine.

As far as using too much cure i think you should be OK. There is a risk of having too much curing salt, which can be unhealthy, but i'm not sure what the unhealthy quantity is.

I think firmness and if you really want to see, cutting a slice to see that the cure has gone all the way throough the meat, is the only way to tell if it is fully cured.

View Post

I'm trying to make bacon.

I used dextrose instead of regular sugar because I already had dextrose on hand, and also because the authors state their preference in the book for the dry cure rub containing dextrose, because it dissolves easily and is more evenly distributed.

I don't think the belly has fully cured yet (it's been 4 full days), since there's still some give in the flesh. I'm hoping it will really firm up before 7 days, or else I'll be wary that something's gone wrong. When I think the belly has fully cured, I'll slice it in half to make sure that it is. I'm trying to be very careful on my first go - I'm sure I'll get better feel for things with a bit more experience.

Cheers! :biggrin:

#190 dougal

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:30 AM

... I don't think the belly has fully cured yet (it's been 4 full days), since there's still some give in the flesh. I'm hoping it will really firm up before 7 days, or else I'll be wary that something's gone wrong. When I think the belly has fully cured, I'll slice it in half to make sure that it is. I'm trying to be very careful on my first go - I'm sure I'll get  better feel for things with a bit more experience.

View Post

Relax! If bacon doesn't fully cure, you've got salt pork!
With salamis and dried meats for eating raw, a little paranoia is probably justified, but bacon curing is really pretty safe.
The sugar in a bacon cure is just there for flavour, somewhat (ie more or less, to taste) balancing the salt. Its supposed to be a bit more critical in salami where you may have sugars specifically to feed a fermentation culture, which acidifies the sausage, one line of defence against botulism.

If you give it a bit a bit of time after you wash the remains of the cure off the outside, you are giving a chance for the salt (and sugar, etc) distributions in the meat to even out. Its a mistake to think that you can get the cure to stop dead in its tracks by washing off the residue.
I don't know about others but I visualise a 'concentration gradient' of the salts. The saturated excess at the surface sets a maximum, and it will taper off, the deeper you go in. During the cure, the taper gets flatter. BUT, unless you intend storage at ambient (non-refrigerated) temperature, you don't want it as salty throughout as it is during curing at the surface. So you don't finish the cure on a zero gradient. But having removed the excess, it needs a little time for the stuff thats inside to even out.

This is particularly important with British bacon, which doesn't get cooked before slicing and final cooking. Even smoked British bacon is cold smoked. The bacon that we buy in shops (sliced and packeted in supermarkets) is cured, but not cooked.
The North American cooking or hot smoking must itself help to even out any non-uniformity in the distribution within the meat.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#191 alexthecook

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Posted 18 September 2007 - 07:51 AM

By the way, upon smoking my bacon with some apple wood in my Bradley, any off taste (however slight) I initially detected is completely gone and the bacon is now just a pure, overwhelming piece of deliciousness. I crisped it up as lardons, together with some gésiers confits in a sald with a walnut oil and rasperry vinegar dressing, over oven roasted cubed potatoes cooked in duck fat. Do I have to describe how delicious it was? :)

#192 LooseCard

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 09:08 AM

Let me start with a "Hello" to everyone!

I got hooked on this thread, from a link off of TVWB.
1500 posts later, I ordered the book. At 2000 posts, I've joined the board, and... well... 2550+ posts, here I am (first post).

I've been a meat smoker for a few years now, and I'm ready to take it to the next level!
Just wanted to let everyone know that there's a new nut in town, and that's me!

#193 JaneMC

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 02:53 PM

After 2 weeks of reading this topic. I have decided to become a offical member. Why you ask....why not. But mostly (selfish as it is) so I can ask a question (s).

I live in the St. Louis area, we have a basement (which I'm going to get some space from hubby) from what I have read/understand to cure the meats I need "NO" light? Yes? The part I have my eye on does have a small window.

For those of you using your basement for curing you meats do use a small fan, if it's encloesd? Is it on all the time?

I have a list of must haves right now: hygrometer and a grizzly stuffer.

Then down the road it's a: Bradley Smoker and vacuum sealer.

I do have the great book on Charcuterie and Cooking by Hand.

I have done: pate, curing salmon, sausage patties and hamburger. I've always ground my own meat (KA).

First to do on my list: bacon, duck procuitto and pancetta.

Thank you for your help, I sure do wish I knew about this long ago. It's one of the best forms I've been on.

Jane

#194 qrn

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Posted 19 September 2007 - 02:57 PM

Relax! If bacon doesn't fully cure, you've got salt pork! 
With salamis and dried meats for eating raw, a little paranoia is probably justified, but bacon curing is really pretty safe.
The sugar in a bacon cure is just there for flavour, somewhat (ie more or less, to taste) balancing the salt. Its supposed to be a bit more critical in salami where you may have sugars specifically to feed a fermentation culture, which acidifies the sausage, one line of defence against botulism.

If you give it a bit a bit of time after you wash the remains of the cure off the outside, you are giving a chance for the salt (and sugar, etc) distributions in the meat to even out. Its a mistake to think that you can get the cure to stop dead in its tracks by washing off the residue.
I don't know about others but I visualise a 'concentration gradient' of the salts. The saturated excess at the surface sets a maximum, and it will taper off, the deeper you go in. During the cure, the taper gets flatter. BUT, unless you intend storage at ambient (non-refrigerated) temperature, you don't want it as salty throughout as it is during curing at the surface. So you don't finish the cure on a zero gradient. But having removed the excess, it needs a little time for the stuff thats inside to even out.

This is particularly important with British bacon, which doesn't get cooked before slicing and final cooking. Even smoked British bacon is cold smoked. The bacon that we buy in shops (sliced and packeted in supermarkets) is cured, but not cooked.
The North American cooking or hot smoking must itself help to even out any non-uniformity in the distribution within the meat.

View Post

Dougal, Good info...
I have been using the weight quanity of cure that has the %amount of salt I want in the finished product ,and then letting it cure till it has all been absorbed into the meat..
If I want 3% salt/cure in the finished product that is the amount I use. That ,(for me) ,keeps it a lot simpler, so I dont miss one way or the other..
Takes an extra 3-4-days or so in the bag for bacon, but no suprises... then there is nothing to rinse off...I have also done that for hot smoked salmon as well (it absorbs a lot faster however).
Bud

#195 Stuckey

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Posted 21 September 2007 - 11:12 PM

... I don't think the belly has fully cured yet (it's been 4 full days), since there's still some give in the flesh. I'm hoping it will really firm up before 7 days, or else I'll be wary that something's gone wrong. When I think the belly has fully cured, I'll slice it in half to make sure that it is. I'm trying to be very careful on my first go - I'm sure I'll get  better feel for things with a bit more experience.

View Post

Relax! If bacon doesn't fully cure, you've got salt pork!
With salamis and dried meats for eating raw, a little paranoia is probably justified, but bacon curing is really pretty safe.
The sugar in a bacon cure is just there for flavour, somewhat (ie more or less, to taste) balancing the salt. Its supposed to be a bit more critical in salami where you may have sugars specifically to feed a fermentation culture, which acidifies the sausage, one line of defence against botulism.

If you give it a bit a bit of time after you wash the remains of the cure off the outside, you are giving a chance for the salt (and sugar, etc) distributions in the meat to even out. Its a mistake to think that you can get the cure to stop dead in its tracks by washing off the residue.
I don't know about others but I visualise a 'concentration gradient' of the salts. The saturated excess at the surface sets a maximum, and it will taper off, the deeper you go in. During the cure, the taper gets flatter. BUT, unless you intend storage at ambient (non-refrigerated) temperature, you don't want it as salty throughout as it is during curing at the surface. So you don't finish the cure on a zero gradient. But having removed the excess, it needs a little time for the stuff thats inside to even out.

This is particularly important with British bacon, which doesn't get cooked before slicing and final cooking. Even smoked British bacon is cold smoked. The bacon that we buy in shops (sliced and packeted in supermarkets) is cured, but not cooked.
The North American cooking or hot smoking must itself help to even out any non-uniformity in the distribution within the meat.

View Post

Cheers, mate.

I rinsed off my pork belly last night. I'm still trying to get through all the info on bacon contained in this thread. I figured after 7 days, the belly should be cured.

I'm just about to take the belly (at which stage does the belly technically become bacon?) out of the oven, after roasting at 200F. The book says it should take about 2 hours, but geez, it's taken me over three-and-a-half hours to get to an internal temperature of 150F! It's possible that the large difference is because I used a large sheetpan on the lowest rack in the oven, which might affect the air circulation. Next time, I'll try using a smaller sheetpan and use the middle rack of the oven.

How long has it taken others when roasting in an oven? Is there a real benefit from roasting at 200F rather than a higher temp to reach the same internal temp? Or would too much fat render off at a higher temp, even though the belly wouldn't be in the oven for as long?

Also, what should I do with the small section of ribs still attached to the belly?

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by Stuckey, 21 September 2007 - 11:42 PM.


#196 JaneMC

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 10:36 AM

I hope someone can answer this as it seems the store around here can't. Does the Bradley Smoker only use their bisquettes? Or can I use other woods? I have the catalog and doesn't say.

Thank You,

Jane

#197 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 11:32 AM

Their bisquettes only, I'm afraid.
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#198 dougal

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 01:45 PM

Their bisquettes only, I'm afraid.

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There's a chap in the North of Scotland who'd disagree...
http://forum.downsiz...p?p=51094#51094
he uses branches cut into 1/2 inch thick slices then briefly soaked (see linked thread for further detail)

... though I believe its absolutely correct that (even in the US) there is no commercial alternative.
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#199 joesan

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 02:18 PM

Nice one Dougal. Looks like it would be worth a try...

PS Everytime I look on here it's only you, me and Jason signed in on the forum. Has everyone else been charcuteried out? :smile:

#200 qrn

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:41 PM

Nice one Dougal. Looks like it would be worth a try...

PS Everytime I look on here it's only you, me and Jason signed in on the forum. Has everyone else been charcuteried out?  :smile:

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I am here,,,
Just looked at the drying box in the basement, and it is 64.4ºF, after a few months of close to 70...Time for the things I have been thinking of for the last few months...Onward!!!!
Bud

#201 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 03:45 PM

Nice one Dougal. Looks like it would be worth a try...

PS Everytime I look on here it's only you, me and Jason signed in on the forum. Has everyone else been charcuteried out?   :smile:

View Post

I am here,,,
Just looked at the drying box in the basement, and it is 64.4ºF, after a few months of close to 70...Time for the things I have been thinking of for the last few months...Onward!!!!
Bud

View Post

I'm here too and definitely chugging along. I made a pate about 3 weeks ago that turned out very well. I'm about to start my "sausage season" as conditions in my basement are just about perfect right now.

=R=
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#202 jmolinari

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 04:21 PM

64 is a touch high in my opinion...for dry curing that is.

#203 Kerry Beal

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Posted 02 October 2007 - 05:03 PM

I'm here too. Now that the cooler weather is here, my thoughts are turning back to charcuting. I've got guanciale in the skinny little wine cooler in the basement drying away. Holds a perfect 55 degrees. Only another 3 weeks to go.

I'll pick up another belly while I'm up north here, added to a couple I've got in the freezer there will be more bacon in a few weeks and perhaps pancetta when my 'drying chamber' is free.

I had an article published in July in the Medical Post about "Makin' Bacon" in which I talked about my first experience with bacon and about how wonderful I find the Charcuterie book.

#204 adey73

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 05:49 AM

You got a free link to your bacon article?
“Do you not find that bacon, sausage, egg, chips, black pudding, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes, fried bread and a cup of tea; is a meal in itself really?” Hovis Presley.

#205 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 06:09 AM

You got a free link to your bacon article?

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Took a bit of doing but here is a link to my article.

#206 CaliPoutine

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 06:23 AM

You got a free link to your bacon article?

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Took a bit of doing but here is a link to my article.

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I had to register!! I'm waiting for my password to be sent before I can read it.

#207 Kerry Beal

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 09:50 AM

You got a free link to your bacon article?

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Took a bit of doing but here is a link to my article.

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I had to register!! I'm waiting for my password to be sent before I can read it.

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I could attach it as a PDF file but I'm not sure how that is done.

#208 JaneMC

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 12:40 PM

Thank you for the information on the Bradley Smoker. I had a feeling. Now I must decide, I always like things that do several things. But then again what everyone is saying that is really it. Hum.

Well I think I have found a local source for pork belly, fat back and so on. I'm picking up my order on Saturday!

I have read Charcuterie, Cooking By Hand and Complete Sausage book. I have on order Professional Charcuterie. Thinking about Beyond Nose to Tail any one have? Also Garde Manger: The art and craft of the cold kitchen.

I go to CuredMeats.blogspot.com quite often it's a good one. I show my husband that I'm really not nuts!

The hygro-thermometer is reading 70 degrees with 65% humidity. I figure in another month I will be able to start curing the meat! It's been 90 and hotter here. Yes, even now. So by November we will be cold....at least we better be! I'm looking forward to trying my hand at Charcuterie. First on the list will be bacon.

Jane

#209 jmolinari

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 12:58 PM

Jane, i have nose to tail which is Fergus Henderson's 1st book, and i like it, although i have yet to cook a single thing out of it!

Glad you like my blog. I should have an update to the farmer/commercial taste off in the next few days.

You'll also have to rememebr that as winter comes along, air tends to get dryer as well, so you might have to have some sort of humidification device.

jason

#210 madtowner

madtowner
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  • 21 posts

Posted 05 October 2007 - 03:38 PM

Hi everyone, I've perused all 87 pages of the topic, and this is my first post here. I've been using the bacon and corned beef recipes here at the restaurant I work at, and have upped the quality of our product to the nth degree. I just put a few bellies in the pancetta cure today as well. Thanks, Charcuterie!

So, this has gotten my imagination running, and I have a few ideas and questions I want to post, but I'll just start with the one that has me really curious...Cognac Bacon.

I'm wondering if during the cure I can throw a cup or so of brandy in the Ziploc with the belly to impart more flavor, but I'm wondering if this will either dilute the brine, or if the alcohol will have any strange effects on the process. The idea hit me when I was looking at the pork confit recipe (which I will probably try next week!) which calls for white wine to be added to cover the belly pieces, and I thought, why not some other liquor?

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks again for the tons of info and beautiful products! tim





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