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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 1

Charcuterie

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#361 Chris Amirault

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 09:32 AM

:hmmm: I need to get a smoker, man.... That stuff looks astonishing....
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#362 hwilson41

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 10:13 AM

I also agree about never wanting to buy commercial bacon again. And when you're shunning Nueske product, you know you've turned out something special.  We host an annual Christmas/Hannukah party every year at which I serve home-made rumaki.  I cannot wait until Holiday time 2006, so that I can use my own bacon around those chicken livers.  In fact, I think I may have to make a preview batch really soon.

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Dammit! If I lived a little closer, I'd try to finagle an invitation for myself :raz:. Those sound really delicious.

What's your next Charcuterie project?

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I think I'm going to do some pancetta or a variant thereon. I also love savory bacon flavor and might do a regular half (smoked) and a half rolled and hung, both seasoned with the savory seasoning. But I'll have to wait awhile. The one problem with the Amish farmer is that you can only get these bellies at the first of every month (when they slaughter the hogs).

I'm also hot to trot on making some authentic Texas Hot Links like I used to get in Ft Worth when I was growing up there. I'm still fiddling with the recipe, but think I'm closing in on it :wacko: :raz:, so that'll probably keep me busy until the next hog killin' time.
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#363 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 10:16 AM

I'm also hot to trot on making some authentic Texas Hot Links like I used to get in Ft Worth when I was growing up there.  I'm still fiddling with the recipe, but think I'm closing in on it :wacko:  :raz:, so that'll probably keep me busy until the next hog killin' time.

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This sounds like a most worthy endeavor. I hope you'll keep us in the loop. :smile:

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#364 hwilson41

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 10:37 AM

This sounds like a most worthy endeavor.  I hope you'll keep us in the loop. :smile:

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Most definitely. Fifi and I discussed these way back when, and she remembers about the same thing I do. Sausages, hotter than the hinges of hell, fresh off the smoker. On the first bite, hot fat spurts out, and after that it's just some of the most devine sausage you've ever tasted (provided you can tolerate a fair amount of cayenne :wacko:).

The funny thing is, most Texans will regale you with their "true" versions of Texas chili or good BBQ (brisket, of course) until hell won't have it, complete with more instructions that you ever wanted to hear. But when the subject turns to hot links, everybody clams up and they'd part with their first-born daughter faster than they'd give you a recipe :raz: :biggrin:. Here's a link to a pretty funny article by Pableaux Johnson on the subject.

Edited to correct bad link.

Edited by hwilson41, 15 March 2006 - 10:50 AM.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#365 jmolinari

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 10:48 AM

Edsel, yes, i think the amounts to use on teh bacto ferm packages are for the manufacturer to cover their ass. I only use that much, and i monitor the acidification with a pH meter, making sure i'm at about 5.1 in 24 hours or so.

James: I use collagen casings i got from Butcher-packer. I have 100mm and 120mm. Find the casing that would fit best around your bresaola, and jam the hunk of beef in there...tie it up, and hang. It will help your dry outer edge. I've made bresaola both ways, with and without casings...the one without casings dried out much more.

jason

Edited by jmolinari, 15 March 2006 - 10:49 AM.


#366 James Satriano

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 11:38 AM

Thanks Jason

Do you add any sugar to your bresaola dry cure and if so how much? Also, I am looking for soprasatta recipes if you will be kind enough to share.

Jim

#367 jmolinari

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 04:28 PM

James, i do use sugar, i have my formulas at home, it is almost as much white sugar as salt. I'll post my exact formula tonight at home (assuming i remember:) ).
As far as the soppressata, i don't have any tried and true..most of my curing is solid pieces of meat like coppa/bresaola...still perfecting my salame.

jason

#368 Abra

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 06:37 PM

Jason, it sounds like you might have the most charcuterie experience of any of the usual posters on this thread, so I'm eagerly awaiting your formulas. I want to use the least amount of chemical curing agents possible, but I want an excellent and safe result, obviously. I probably speak for everyone in that regard.

I realized that of course my concerns about botulism with regard to the duck breast prosciutto were silly, since it's a ground meat as opposed to solid muscle issue, but I am super safety conscious with regard to food and I still haven't solved the humidity question. I'm holding off on dry sausage until I figure that one out, although I've got the DC#2 and Bactoferm, and a Niman pork butt in the freezer along with some back fat, so I'm good to go as soon as I get my kundalini up.

I'm going to put up my first bacon tonight. I never did find any 2 gallon bags, but I have a roll of foodsaver bags, so I think I'll work with that. Not vacuumed, though, for the cure, right? Just sealed is what I've been thinking, unless somebody here straightens me out.

#369 hwilson41

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 08:01 PM

I never did find any 2 gallon bags, but I have a roll of foodsaver bags, so I think I'll work with that.  Not vacuumed, though, for the cure, right?  Just sealed is what I've been thinking, unless somebody here straightens me out.

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I would think (based on zero experience) that the vacuum would retard or totally inhibit circulation of the cure liquid. The book says explicitly that the curing liquid should be in contact with the meat at all times.
"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#370 Abra

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Posted 15 March 2006 - 08:37 PM

Thanks, h, that's my read on it too.

#371 jmolinari

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 04:46 AM

Abra, i don't know if i have the most experience, but i have been doing this for about a year and a half or so now, but that is nothing compared to how long it takes to learn and become good (a lifetime!). I'm also very safety concious..but like you, don' tlike chemicals..i use what i think is hte least possible amount.

Last time i made bresaola this is what i did/had:
1 2lb 1oz eye of round
1 2lb 13 oz rump roast (i wanted to try a different piece of meat, usually i use eye of round)

66g salt
53g white sugar
8g cure #2
6g blk pepper
4g garlic powder
5g fresh rosemary
2g dry thyme
1g juniper berries
1/4 tsp (0.2g) cinnamon
1/4 tsp (about 5) cloves

grind spices and combine with sugar/salt and mix the cure well. Rub and massage the meat with 1/2 the mixture..really kneading the meat
Put in bag/tupperware

14 days later rerub with the rest of the mixture

10 days later, rinse the meats and put in casings (or don't, and you can rub them with a spice mixture if you want) and in the chamber at 55F/72% RH

After about 1 month they had lost 39.5% weight, and i ate them

The rump was good, a bit different flavor than the eye, but it was too fatty for bresaola, with large fat streaks in it. I'll stick to eye of round, as it is the perfect shape anyhow.

jason

#372 edsel

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 05:22 AM

I never did find any 2 gallon bags, but I have a roll of foodsaver bags, so I think I'll work with that.  Not vacuumed, though, for the cure, right?  Just sealed is what I've been thinking, unless somebody here straightens me out.

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I would think (based on zero experience) that the vacuum would retard or totally inhibit circulation of the cure liquid. The book says explicitly that the curing liquid should be in contact with the meat at all times.

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I've got some pork belly vacuum-sealed with the salt/dextrose/spice cure for bacon in the fridge right now. There's a small amount of liquid in the bags now, so I think the cure should be well distributed at this point. I massage the bags a bit every time I flip them over, just to be sure.

I don't see much difference between using the vacuum pouches and the large Zip-lock bags others have been using. Think of the vacuum pouch as a Zip-lock with a better seal. :smile:

#373 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:35 AM

I never did find any 2 gallon bags, but I have a roll of foodsaver bags, so I think I'll work with that.  Not vacuumed, though, for the cure, right?  Just sealed is what I've been thinking, unless somebody here straightens me out.

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I would think (based on zero experience) that the vacuum would retard or totally inhibit circulation of the cure liquid. The book says explicitly that the curing liquid should be in contact with the meat at all times.

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i think it would speed up the cure.

#374 hwilson41

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 06:42 AM


I would think (based on zero experience) that the vacuum would retard or totally inhibit circulation of the cure liquid.  The book says explicitly that the curing liquid should be in contact with the meat at all times.

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i think it would speed up the cure.

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The vacuum would speed up the cure? Or am I reading you backwards :wacko:?
"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#375 Chris Amirault

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 07:38 AM

Sure. If there's no air in the bag, then the only thing that can come into contact with the meat is the curing liquid.
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#376 hwilson41

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 08:29 AM

Sure. If there's no air in the bag, then the only thing that can come into contact with the meat is the curing liquid.

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And the curing process does not require oxygen?
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#377 edsel

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 08:52 AM

And the curing process does not require oxygen?

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That's an interesting question - does that lack of oxygen in the bag change the way the meat cures? I just assumed that it wouldn't.

Vacuum sealing seems like a good idea just because there's no chance of stuff leaking out (or anything getting in). I'm not worried about the botulism issue (anaerobic environment) since there's pink salt and regular salt in the curing mix.

#378 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 08:56 AM

And the curing process does not require oxygen?

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That's an interesting question - does that lack of oxygen in the bag change the way the meat cures? I just assumed that it wouldn't.

Vacuum sealing seems like a good idea just because there's no chance of stuff leaking out (or anything getting in). I'm not worried about the botulism issue (anaerobic environment) since there's pink salt and regular salt in the curing mix.

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Vacuum sealing is considered to be an excellent way to marinade. I don't see why it would be any different for curing, but I'm not a science guy.

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#379 hwilson41

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 09:07 AM

Vacuum sealing is considered to be an excellent way to marinade.  I don't see why it would be any different for curing, but I'm not a science guy.

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Ron, you may very well be correct. I wasn't asking to be a smartass. I was asking because I don't know the answer :raz:. My gut feeling is that oxygen would enhance the curing process, but I'm not sure. Where are all the SSBs when you need them :wacko:?

Edited to add comment that might or might not sound semi-intelligent :wacko:.

Edited by hwilson41, 16 March 2006 - 09:09 AM.

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#380 BarbaraY

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 10:03 AM

A question for those who have this book. Does it have instructions for making dried beef? Not jerky but the kind that's sliced thin for chipped beef.
Haven't decided yet whether I want to buy it since I haven't done any curing for about 8 years, except for jerky.

#381 Pallee

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:01 PM

Regarding zip locks for bacon curing, I just used a hotel pan and turned it a couple times a day. It cured up fine in 7 days. The side facing down was covered in the brine all the way. Plus I got to play with it more! :laugh:

#382 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:05 PM

Vacuum sealing is considered to be an excellent way to marinade.  I don't see why it would be any different for curing, but I'm not a science guy.

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Ron, you may very well be correct. I wasn't asking to be a smartass. I was asking because I don't know the answer :raz:. My gut feeling is that oxygen would enhance the curing process, but I'm not sure. Where are all the SSBs when you need them :wacko:?

Edited to add comment that might or might not sound semi-intelligent :wacko:.

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Oh, I didn't interpret it that way at all. And yes, I'd genuinely like to know the science behind this concept too. Indeed, where are all our resident SSB's today? Is there some sort of convention going on? :raz:

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#383 Anna N

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:39 PM

A question for those who have this book. Does it have instructions for making dried beef? Not jerky but the kind that's sliced thin for chipped beef.
Haven't decided yet whether I want to buy it since I haven't done any curing for about 8 years, except for jerky.

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BarbaraY, I do not believe there is a recipe for that kind of dried beef. I have looked at the index and don't see any such thing.
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#384 BarbaraY

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 03:51 PM

A question for those who have this book. Does it have instructions for making dried beef? Not jerky but the kind that's sliced thin for chipped beef.
Haven't decided yet whether I want to buy it since I haven't done any curing for about 8 years, except for jerky.

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BarbaraY, I do not believe there is a recipe for that kind of dried beef. I have looked at the index and don't see any such thing.

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Thanks Anna, My daughter wanted some chipped beef gravy so I bought a jar of the Hormel stuff. Naaaaasty!
It is no longer made from, what I believe was, beef round but ground up Who Knows What. It was distressingly salty and had no other taste. Obviously some time since I bought any.
I have my grandfather's butchering book from 1939 that has a recipe for 100 pounds of meat but that might be a bit much. :blink:
I found one on the net for 3 lbs. and may give that a try.

#385 melkor

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 09:42 PM

I finished off batch #2 of beef bacon earlier in the week. This time I used wagyu brisket point from snake river farms. The first batch I cold smoked for 4 hours before hot smoking it, this time I just hot smoked it. Double smoked is much better. The wagyu fat has a much better taste and texture than the fat from the generic untrimmed brisket I had used previously. Behold, bacon for those of us living reduced pork lifestyles:

Posted Image
before slicing
Posted Image
sliced
Posted Image
Almost ready to flip...

I'll double smoke the next batch, otherwise I'm happy with how it turned out. The flat from the same brisket made some seriously good pastrami. I'll post pics when I steam some more.

#386 James Satriano

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 07:01 AM

I am going to try the soppressata recipe from the book. Can anyone tell me how to gauge the pH? Is this done after it is in the casing and has incubated? If so how do you test with pH paper? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jim

#387 CDC

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:11 PM

For bresaola, I think you're right about the eye of round. That's what I've been using (now on my second batch) and it seems just about perfect both in size and leanness. My recipe is pretty similar to yours except that I include some red wine, which probably deepens the flavor and works nicely with some of the other ingredients. The raw ingredients are pictured at http://larder.blogspot.com/ . The outside is very hard after hanging for three or four weeks, though. I've hung hams for several months that were still less hard than this beef. It's not so bad as to be case-hardened, and the inside is perfectly fine all the way through, but could a too-dry environment be responsible for the extreme outer hardness? Could the acidity of the wine be a factor?

#388 jmolinari

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:16 PM

James, to measure the pH of the meat, i would keep some of the paste out of the casigns, and wrap that in plastic wrap, so it is about the same diamter as the cased meat. Hang it in the incubation chamber with the others, and then after 24 hrs, take some of the paste in the plastic wrap, and mince it super fine, and mix it with the same amount of distilled water.
Take the pH of that slurry.

CDC, i've tried using wine on pancetta, and it gave the meat a very winey flavor i didn't care for, so i havn't used it on other meats. The hams have a lot more fat, which probably explains why they don't dry out as much.

jason

#389 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

CDC, i've tried using wine on pancetta, and it gave the meat a very winey flavor i didn't care for, so i havn't used it on other meats.

jason

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that's interesting about the wine. i would urge anyone using wine in cures or marinades to cook it till most of the alcohol is gone and chill it. what's left is a fantastically fruity liquid that won't denature the exterior protein or add the harsh effects of alcohol.

#390 CDC

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Posted 18 March 2006 - 01:56 PM

Michael, that's a good suggestion about vaporizing off the alcohol first, especially in a situation like this where it's in contact for days rather than hours. Thanks!

Like many of the others here, I recently acquired your Charcuterie book. For many years I've acquired or at least examined every book I could find with material on the subject, and yours is one of the few (maybe 5% or so?) that has any significant amount of original (i.e., non-obvious) content. I think that down the road it could end up being viewed as a fairly important book in the popular culinary history of these years. Seriously. :smile:

I think the hot-smoked bacon idea is pretty interesting. I've always cold-smoked it, and would never have thought to try the other -- but I'm going to do so now...

re the Ziplocs, I'd be afraid to put the cure directly on a hotel pan as Pallee does (especially an aluminum one) or any other reactive surface for fear that I'd end up with metal in my meat. Aluminum is very conductive and so corrodes readily (ever had an aluminum boat in salt water with no zincs protecting the hull?) and in fact is sometimes used as anode material to protect brine tanks in industry. Not very appetizing; thanks anyway. I usually use food-grade plastic containers, or ceramic or glass if the meat fits in one.





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