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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 5

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#211 Chris Amirault

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 06:02 PM

madtowner, I've added hooch to cures in a few recipes, including this recipe for lop yuk, discussed at length here. As far as I can tell, it acts as a flavoring agent in the same way other elements do. There may be some chemistry I'm missing, but I think you should forge ahead and see what happens.
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#212 michael_g

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Posted 06 October 2007 - 09:00 AM

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?

View Post

I'm not sure how it will affect the brine, but I feel like the salt box method is pretty foolproof. You might just have to cure a little longer. Do tell how it goes!

I had a similar idea: instead of cognac, why not calvados? I just put a batch of pancetta and bacon in to cure, but maybe I'll try it out on the next bacon.

#213 FoodMan

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:22 PM

Been making lots of repeat stuff here too. Over the past few weeks I made about 20lbs bacon and 5 lbs pancetta (don't like to run out :smile:). I also had a friend join me for a sausage making day. We pooled resources and made about 35 lbs of sausage in three varieties

Italian flavored with rosemary (good variation on fennel)
Chipotle Mole
Marjoram Kielbasa

Since I've posted about these before I figured no pics or explanation needed.

The only new thing I made recently was corned beef. Boy is this stuff awsome!! We ate it for a week in sandwiches, plain and for brunch in Corned beef Hash with eggs and potatoes. Seriously good and easy.

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#214 Chris Hennes

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 12:53 PM

You all are my heroes: everything in here looks amazing. I picked up Charcuterie about a year ago and have been working my way through it: it is my goal to try every recipe in the book (well, maybe excepting the foie gras sasuage... I'm not sure I could do that to a beautiful piece of foie!). I'm currently trying a dry-cure for the first time and wondered how sensitive it is to temperature variation. I am keeping it in a cooler with an ice pack that I replace every day, so the temp swings around quite a bit: it is always between 50 and 60 degrees, but I wonder if the constant temperature cycling will adversly affect the final product (duck prosciutto). Anyone have any idea?

For anyone with a cured meat fetish, I've got some photo albums of my previous attempts (good and bad...) here.

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#215 jmolinari

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:00 PM

You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

#216 Chris Hennes

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:13 PM

You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

View Post

Great, thanks. I consider the duck prosciutto to be a "proof-of-concept" for the cooler/ice-pack system, to see if the approach is reasonable. My conclusion is that for longer-term cures it is not, at least for me, due to the daily maintenance required. My memory is not that good :hmmm: . Though maybe after a month it just becomes part of the daily routine...

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#217 jmolinari

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:18 PM

Hrm, yeah...i think i would go crazy if i had to remember to do something every single day.

#218 Chris Hennes

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 01:24 PM

Hrm, yeah...i think i would go crazy if i had to remember to do something every single day.

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Wow, I just saw your blog: http://curedmeats.bl...ion-box-it.html
Know anyone who has used one for curing? Only $100 shipped, small, silent, sounds perfect! Just what I need, more kitchen gadgets :smile: .

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#219 qrn

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 02:07 PM

You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

But having said that, i think 50-60 should be OK. 60 is really at hte upper end though. Try and keep it 50-58 if you can.

View Post


Jason, Just out of curiousity I was looking around for the "proper" dry cure temp, and Len Poli said 55 to 65. wonder what your thoughts are on that? My curing cabinet is at about 61.5º and should be 60 in another few days, and then off to the grinder...I have not dry cured cured ground stuff above 60 but have done pancetta and guancialle at 65.

Bud

#220 Chris Hennes

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 07:42 AM

You can actually make the duck prosciutto in a normal fridge. The breast is generally so thin that it'll cure without "case hardening".

View Post

I've had the duck breasts curing for about a week, and they still seem quite soft - I thought after a week they would be at least mostly firm. Maybe it is because of their size? Or am I doing something wrong?

Pre-cure:
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Post cure, ready for the cooler:
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#221 jmolinari

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:21 AM

Chris, if you do try that box, remember there is no humidity control, and it is also quite small i think, but it might be worth it for small batches. Also, the time it takes the meat to dry will be very dependent on your humidity levels, temperatures, fat content of meat, air circulation, and thickness. So, it can vary a lot.

QRN: From my reading, learning and talking to people 60 seems to me to be the upper limit. I'm thinking 65 is definitely too high, but Len Poli knows his stuff, so i may be in the wrong here. I cure all my stuff at about 54-57, but that's just me.

Edited by jmolinari, 18 October 2007 - 08:22 AM.


#222 madtowner

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 02:11 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

View Post


So I rinsed, dried and smoked the brandy cured bacon, and aside from a boozy aroma, the flavor didn't really come through as strong as I had hoped. In fact, I would gander that unless you knew it was there, you would either not notice it or consider the flavor a bit "off".

So, at this point I'm considering simmering a bottle of brandy to cook off the alcohol and concentrate the flavors and use that in the cure.

Upon further consideration, I have also thought about using the wood from a bourbon barrel to smoke the bacon. I have a brewer friend that can get me a Jim Beam barrel for cheap (he assures me...), however, this presents several other issues. THe wood is oak, from what I understand, this would be too strong a flavor to use for smoke. However, perhaps I could shave off the quarter inch or so of wood that actually soaks up some of the booze and use that to augment another wood for smoking.

or...I could baste the bacon with brandy as it is smoking.

hmmm...thoughts? Tim

#223 Chris Hennes

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:38 AM

or...I could baste the bacon with brandy as it is smoking.
hmmm...thoughts?  Tim

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Or, you could put a lawn chair next to your smoker and "baste" yourself with the brandy while the bacon smokes :smile: . Maybe it's the brandy I have on hand right now, but I would think that minus the alcohol, the brandy flavor would come across as a smoky, "brown-suggary"-type flavor, which would seem to be redundant in a slab of bacon.

Edited by Chris Hennes, 20 October 2007 - 10:39 AM.

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#224 Mallet

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:13 PM

Furthering these experiments, I have a batch of maple-syrup bacon curing right now with about 1/4 cup Calvados added. I'll let you know the results...
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#225 Chris Hennes

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:12 AM

Chris, if you do try that box, remember there is no humidity control, and it is also quite small i think, but it might be worth it for small batches. Also, the time it takes the meat to dry will be very dependent on your humidity levels, temperatures, fat content of meat, air circulation, and thickness. So, it can vary a lot.

Well, I ordered the box, so we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I have these two duck breasts aging for prosciutto: they've been going for 11 days between 50-60 degrees F and what I am guessing is pretty high humidity (small container of water in the bottom of the cooler). They still feel soft to me, but I don't really know what the target texture is. Any suggestions or advice? I moved them to the refrigerator this morning, since there is no TCM or anything involved and got nervous about the amount of time it was taking.

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#226 jmolinari

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:29 AM

The texture is also a little bit of a personal preference. You could slice into one and try it.
Also, in a regular fridge they'll dry out pretty quickly, as it is only about 20% humidity in there.

#227 Chris Hennes

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 06:40 AM

The texture is also a little bit of a personal preference. You could slice into one and try it.
Also, in a regular fridge they'll dry out pretty quickly, as it is only about 20% humidity in there.

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Do you use anything to monitor humidity, or do you just make sure it is high?

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#228 michael_g

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 07:04 AM

The only new thing I made recently was corned beef. Boy is this stuff awsome!! We ate it for a week in sandwiches, plain and for brunch in Corned beef Hash with eggs and potatoes. Seriously good and easy.
Posted Image

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Wow! That cured up really nicely, good and fatty -- looks delicious. Did you do anything special, or just follow the book's recipe? Any plans for a pastrami in the works?

When I made it corned beef, the cure didn't quite make it all the way in. In retrospect, it might be the fault of the kosher meat I used, which is probably less able to absorb the brine. Now that I have access to some better, unkosher meat, I'll give it another go if it ever stops feeling like summer.

#229 dougal

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Posted 22 October 2007 - 02:37 PM

...  what I am guessing is pretty high humidity ...

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Chris, you can find really cheap humidity meters, on eBay even. Usually with a temperature readout and max/min recording too.
Word of warning - humidity measurement (wired or wireless) remote from the display is fairly unusual (and so more expensive). Remote "outdoor" temperature with "indoor" humidity - no problem. Check descriptions very carefully! A large display makes it much easier to read if you must mount it inside a fridge or box.
This seems a bargain for a unit with remote wireless humidity measurement...
http://www.amazon.co...r/dp/B000EX83RU
Doesn't seem to be available in the UK... :sad:
"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

#230 Chris Hennes

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Posted 23 October 2007 - 08:24 AM

...  what I am guessing is pretty high humidity ...

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Chris, you can find really cheap humidity meters, on eBay even. Usually with a temperature readout and max/min recording too.

View Post

Yeah, you are definitely right - humidity is much more important to this process than I realized. I was thinking that as long as it wasn't too low, I would be OK, but my duck breast prosciutto failed apparently due to a combination of too high humidity and lack of air circulation (at least, that is the current theory). There was green mold forming on the surface after a week and a half, and when I sliced into it the interior was still basically "raw". Looks like an equipment upgrade is in order (gosh, how I hate being forced to buy more toys...).

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#231 JaneMC

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:21 PM

Well today was my first try at my bacon. The first thing I have made out of the Charcuterie book. I must say, I like it a lot. I didn't do the sweet one or the savory one. I did inbetween one. It was done with black pepper, bay leafs and amaretto. For dinner tonight we are having bacon sandwhiches. I have the bread on the last rise, made the mustard already, pickles were done 4 days ago and the mayo was done this morning. I can't wait for dinner! Can't wait for it to cool down here. We are to get into the mid 70s for the rest of the week. Sick of it. Once the room cools down a lot then I'm going to try my hand at curing. Oh last week I did the garlic sausages.....we will be eating them tomorrow.

I don't have a smoker. I was thinking about the Bradley until it can only use their pallets for the most part. Does anyone use anything else. I use would love the smoke my bacon and everything else. I'm on the look out for a pate mold also.

Thank You,
Jane

#232 Chris Hennes

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Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:00 PM

I don't have a smoker. I was thinking about the Bradley until it can only use their pallets for the most part. Does anyone use anything else. I use would love the smoke my bacon and everything else. I'm on the look out for a pate mold also.

View Post

Well, I'm "thrifty" (that is to say, "cheap") -- I bought the electric-model Brinkman bullet-style smoker for around $80 at Home Depot, and it makes great bacon. Plus, I converted it to do cold-smoking as well, and so far, so good on that front. I thought the garlic sausage was one of the best recipes in the book, actually. I love that one!

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#233 FoodMan

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Posted 30 October 2007 - 11:17 AM

The only new thing I made recently was corned beef. Boy is this stuff awsome!! We ate it for a week in sandwiches, plain and for brunch in Corned beef Hash with eggs and potatoes. Seriously good and easy.
Posted Image

View Post

Wow! That cured up really nicely, good and fatty -- looks delicious. Did you do anything special, or just follow the book's recipe? Any plans for a pastrami in the works?

When I made it corned beef, the cure didn't quite make it all the way in. In retrospect, it might be the fault of the kosher meat I used, which is probably less able to absorb the brine. Now that I have access to some better, unkosher meat, I'll give it another go if it ever stops feeling like summer.

View Post


I just followed the recipe. I did notice a very small section, about 1/2 inch wide in the center of the thickest part to which the cure did not penetrate though. Of course Pastrami is in the plans...my wife keeps asking for it actually. I will post once I do make it.

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#234 KrazzyJoe

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Posted 09 November 2007 - 10:58 PM

Hello eGullet faithful!

I'm going to attempt some lardo asap. I am going for the brine method found in this thread

300 g salt
1 l water
2  cloves of garlic
9 g fresh rosemary
7  sage leaves
3  bay leaves (i used fresh)
7  juniper berries
1000 g hunk of backfat (as thick as you can find)



Make a brine and bring to a boil, add the herbs and let it sit as if you were making a tea (i let it sit covered until it was cool)


Put lard in a tightfitting tupperware or non reactive vessle that you don't need for 3 months :)


pour brine with all the herbs over the lard. The lard is going to want to float, so you need to so something to keep it down. I used a clean meatl chain to weigh it down, and then put a weight on top of the tupperware lid.


Put in the fridge


Flip ever 30 days


Leave minimum 3 months. Take it out, rinse and dry very well.


My question is: minimum 3 months? Is longer better or is there a sweet spot where it is the right taste and texture? How can you tell?

Thankyou!

#235 jmolinari

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 06:53 AM

I think i posted that method?
I said 3 months b/c that is what i was told by an italian fellow:)
I will warn you, that batch came out a little salty. I'm trying to figure out how to make make it less salty.

#236 Mallet

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Posted 10 November 2007 - 11:10 AM

Furthering these experiments, I have a batch of maple-syrup bacon curing right now with about 1/4 cup Calvados added. I'll let you know the results...

View Post


This batch of bacon was a qualified success. The flavour of the Calvados definitely came through, although it imparted a bit more sweetness than I would have liked (my girlfriend absolutely adores it, though). Next time I may cut down on the sugar in the cure by a little bit.

Any thoughts on adding fruit to a cure (e.g: diced Granny Smitth apples to a bacon cure)?
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#237 Habeas Brulee

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 07:25 AM

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I'm so excited to finally be joining in on this thread! I smoked up my first batch of bacon yesterday.

My butcher wouldn't sell me less than 10 lbs, ribs included, so when we got the meat I trimmed off the ribs and some of the belly for dinner that night, and cut the rest into 3 slabs of approximately 2.5 lbs each.

I did one slab with the maple cure, one slab with the Sichuan cure (Sichuan peppercorns and lapsang souchang tea) that was posted waaaay back in this thread, and the last slab with an experimental sage and mustard cure.

Because of the size of my grill (one of those cylindrical Weber-ish ones with space for charcoal and wood in the bottom, a bowl of water/ice above it, and a round grill above that), I had to smoke the bacon in two batches.

For the first batch, I used apple wood, and smoked the entire maple bacon and half of each of the others.

For the second batch, I used hickory, and smoked the remaining halves of the Sichan and sage mustard bacons.

The maple is amazing - the best for eating on its own, and probably the best bacon I've ever had.

With the sage mustard batch, the sage flavor really came through. The Sichuan bacon was probably the least flavorful of the three. Both the Sichuan and sage mustard were better smoked over hickory than over apple - great over apple, but really extraordinary over hickory.

I think that I prefer sweeter bacon for eating plain, and I expect the more savory batches to really shine best when used in chowders and such.

So, coming up this week: chowder night, and bringing some of each bacon back to the butcher who sold us the belly. Our butcher shop is right around the corner from our apartment, and they are always wonderful and kind and excited, so we figure they'll enjoy getting a taste of what we've created from their meats.

Next, I really want to make a Hungarian spiced bacon, and give that Calvados bacon Mallet just mentioned a try!

Not to mention, I am quite possibly even more excited about the possibilities for using these gorgeous bacon skins than I am about the bacon itself.

Edited by Habeas Brulee, 12 November 2007 - 07:27 AM.


#238 Abra

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 07:16 AM

I've been staying out of this thread since while I'm in France I don't really have a way to make charcuterie, not to mention the coals to Newcastle element. But I know you guys, of all eGers, will appreciate seeing this ham.

#239 jmolinari

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Posted 14 November 2007 - 08:27 AM

Wow. New studies show nitrates and nitrites are actually GOOD for you being cardioprotective, and have no studies showing links with cancer.

therefore... EAT MORE CURED MEATS! or leafy vegetables

http://www.scienceda...71112172140.htm

#240 Habeas Brulee

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Posted 15 November 2007 - 07:10 AM

I have a question about meat grinders. I know they've been discussed here before, but now that you all have so much more experience with them, I'd like to see how your feelings on them have developed.

I'm about to order my first meat grinder and sausage stuffer. For the stuffer, I think I'm going for the Grizzly 5 lb hand-cranked piston model. For the grinder, I know I don't quite want to splurge on an expensive electric one right now, so...

I'm not sure whether I should get the KitchenAid attachment or a hand-cranked model (such as this one).

Which would you recommend, and why?





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