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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 1

Charcuterie

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#421 Chris Amirault

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 10:56 AM

Yes, it's a power cord issue:

As a result, there is a potential that current in the short jumper cord plugs could shock a person connecting the cord to the smoke generator and the smoke tower.


More here at the recall notice.
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#422 James Satriano

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:05 PM

yet another question. I just bought a bone in pork shoulder picnic. It has a good deal of fat on it. Can I use this fat instead of the back fat when making soppresata? Any help would be appreciated.

#423 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:07 PM

yet another question.  I just bought a bone in pork shoulder picnic.  It has a good deal of fat on it.  Can I use this fat instead of the back fat when making soppresata?  Any help would be appreciated.

View Post

Definitely yes, when making fresh sausage. I've used it in such applications with outstanding results. As for Sorpressata, my guess is yes but I'd love to hear from someone with some actual, hands-on experience.

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#424 jmolinari

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:30 PM

James, regarding the bactoferm. I would overestimate, and use more, as it won't cause it to be more sour. The pH drop is caused by the amount of dextrose. But i think for 5lbs a teaspoon or so would be more than enough.

Regarding the fat in the shoulder, you can use it, but it may not be as hard as nice back fat, so it might smear a little more when grinding. I wouldn't worry too much about it, and i'd use it.

jason

#425 James Satriano

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:43 PM

jason

thank you so much for your help. I'll report on my progress.

jim

#426 jmolinari

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Posted 21 March 2006 - 02:49 PM

Please do James! Love to see how they turn out.
how are you "incubating" them at 85deg.F?

#427 James Satriano

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 06:18 AM

Jason

I am incubating in my oven with the light turned on. It stays at about 87F. I'm assuming that the light is not a bad thing. Let me know if I'm wrong.
Jim

#428 jmolinari

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 06:59 AM

I'm torn between the light issue. In Charcuterie Michael specifically states that the light can harm the fat (maybe not in just 24 hrs for incubation, but for drying), and yet in Bertolli's book "Cooking by Hand" he, like me, controls his humidity partially though the use of lights to heat the environment.

I've been debating getting a terrarium heater bulb which emits heat with no light, but it is an expensive experiment at $30 for a bulb....

jason

#429 Pallee

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:22 AM

I incubated my peperone in the bathroom with the heater on and lights out. First I misted the air and all sufaces with a bleach solution and let it dry. I have remote temp and humitity monitors so it's easy to control. The drying takes place in my wine cellar where I have temp control but have to add humidity at times by pouring water on the concrete floor.

So far it's worked really well. My second batch of peperone, the one with much less Bactoferm, looks just as good as the first. No visible mold or off odors - today is day 10.

#430 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 09:32 AM

As an aside, there was a very upbeat 'review' of Charcuterie, by Nicholas Day, in today's Chicago Tribune:

As Ruhlman explains, charcuterie is more than just miraculous things such as prosciutto di Parma and jamon Serrano, the famous hams that are salt-cured and air-dried for as long as a year. Put simply, charcuterie is about making meat last longer: an ancient version of the refrigerator. That means salting--the authors devote a whole chapter to salt and its effect on protecting meat from bacterial growth--and air-drying, but also stuffing meat into sausages, smoking it, forming pates or cooking it in its own fat (a technique known as confit).

Embarking on a lost art

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#431 Chris Amirault

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 12:14 PM

Not quite lost by the looks of this thread!
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#432 snowangel

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 03:24 PM

Over the course of years, I have had some "creation" Epiphanies. My first cream puffs. My first "from scratch Aran sweater not using a pattern. They have all been eclipsed by my bacon Epiphany.

I mentioned uptopic that I got two whole bellies, stuck one in the freezer, and cut the other one in half. I used the cure from Charcuterie, but omitted the maple syrup (I was out, and my family prefers a less sweet bacon). The other change I made was I did not trim the belly halves before curing because I figured all of those trimming would be especially yummy). Just a day or two after I had this stuff in the cure, some apple wood appeared on my doorstep.

BTW, I did not take any pictures of the cure, or the belly halves in the zip lock bags. Sorry.

My halves actually sat in the cure from Saturday through Monday (a week and two days) just because of my sked.

But, on Monday afternoon, I removed them from the cure, rinsed and dried them, and juggled things around in the fridge so that I could get two halfsheet pans on two separate shelves (this was the most difficult part of the process).

So, yesterday morning, I fired up the trusty Weber Kettle. Not too many briquettes in the chimney, first scraping the half-burned briquettes that were already in the Kettle to one side. I think that the chimeny was about 1/4, maybe 1/3 full. Oh, let me backtrack, the first thing I did was take the axe to the applewood, which was not split, and got that soaking.

Chimney ready, coals dumped onto the small bed of half-burned briquettes. Water pan in. Water pan filled with ice. Grill scraped and on. Regular old fashioned Taylor thermometer on the grill. Retrieved the first of the bellies from the fridge and slapped it on the grill. Because of limited space, I had to do this in two stages -- first one half, then the other. Each took not much more than 5 hours.

I did remove the skin (using a J Marttini knife that my husband has had for ages -- like this -- really nice thin blade that worked very well). The skin came off nice and easy.

Now for the porn:

Posted Image

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And, I did remember to snap a photo before we devoured the after school snack for the kids.

Posted Image

The verdict of the kids and I? Why would anyone buy bacon? The two friend's Peter has over right now each called their mom's immediately and asked when they can make bacon. I achieved the right balance of sweet and smokey. The other thing that impressed me was how easy this was, and how easy it would be to vary flavor of the bacon.

I know what everyone is getting for gifts this Christmas.

Must add not: Moment of pride. The Kettle averaged between 180 and 190 throughout the process. Just goes to prove that you don't need any fancy equipment to do hot smoking. My Kettle suits me just fine.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#433 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 03:27 PM

Congrats, Susan. That looks great. And I agree that store-bought bacon is a now a thing of the past in our household.

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#434 snowangel

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 03:32 PM

Ron, what's interesting is that I have such easy access to all sorts of locally smoked bacon -- done in-house -- that's quite outstanding. I'd be hard pressed, however, after doing this to ever purchase it again.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#435 Anna N

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:17 PM

Right on, Susan! That bacon looks beautiful. I can almost smell it. Unfortunately today was the day I hoped to get some pork belly from the SLM in Toronto but hubby's medical procedure was not a pleasant experience and he needed to get home ASAP so no side trips today. Bacon remains in my future though!
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#436 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:30 PM

Ron, what's interesting is that I have such easy access to all sorts of locally smoked bacon -- done in-house -- that's quite outstanding.  I'd be hard pressed, however, after doing this to ever purchase it again.

View Post

Yeah, I feel the same way. I have easy access to good commercial product as Nueske is sold fresh at many markets near me. Additionally, my own butcher -- the one from whom I source raw bellies -- has a smokehouse on premises and turns out some really fantastic bacon. Yet, unless I run into some sort of time crunch, I cannot foresee buying it "out" again.

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#437 ojisan

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 04:34 PM

I did remove the skin (using a J Marttini knife that my husband has had for ages -- like this -- really nice thin blade that worked very well).  The skin came off nice and easy. 

View Post


Looks great - did you cook to 150 deg.?

Did you remove the skin before, or after the smoking?

Hmm... my Luhr-Jensen runs at 180-190 deg....

Monterey Bay area


#438 snowangel

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 05:43 PM

I did remove the skin (using a J Marttini knife that my husband has had for ages -- like this -- really nice thin blade that worked very well).  The skin came off nice and easy. 

View Post


Looks great - did you cook to 150 deg.?

Did you remove the skin before, or after the smoking?

Hmm... my Luhr-Jensen runs at 180-190 deg....

View Post


In order of your questions:

I cooked one of the belly halves to 150, the other two 155 (watching for Heidi's bus caused me to neglect it).

I removed the skin after, but while it was right off the smoker. The nice thin blade of the fish fillet knife made it really, really easy. I did chop up the skin into roughly 2" squares, and I think they will make anice addition to bean dishes, soups, etc.

The book also says to smoke at 200, it's just that I was aiming to see how low I could go on the Kettle. My husband has declared that I am the Kettle Queen!

We had a bacon themed meal. Quiche (with bacon). Bacon on the side. For veg, asparagus "pan roasted" in bacon grease. As Diana was cooking the bacon, she noticed that this cooked much faster than regular supermarket bacon. I think it's because there's no water involved.

The family has agreed that this was the proper balance of smoke and salt (it was not too salty) and sweet. Just right. Gosh, I'm so pleased!
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#439 Marlene

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 05:49 PM

Right on, Susan! That bacon looks beautiful.  I can almost smell it.  Unfortunately today was the day I hoped to get some pork belly from the SLM in Toronto but hubby's medical procedure was not a pleasant experience and he needed to get home ASAP so no side trips today.  Bacon remains in my future though!

View Post


Aha. And I just finished telling snowangel I couldn't get pork belly here. I really must make a trip into the market one Saturday or something!
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#440 ojisan

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:28 PM

Thanks Susan!

And now I have to go take my cholesterol meds.... but I'll have nice dreams tonight.

I wish my favorite market (99 Ranch) carried pork belly as lean as the ones in your pics....

Monterey Bay area


#441 Abra

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Posted 22 March 2006 - 08:40 PM

Beautiful, Susan! I can't wait to get mine done. It'll be curing for 2-3 more days, so I have a short wait, during which I can just salivate over the pictures on this thread.

#442 Bombdog

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 01:27 PM

Alright folks. I finally got around to taking some pictures of the operation here.

Posted Image

This is the refrigerator in the garage. Left to right, Tuscan salami, panchetta, bresaola, salt cured ham in the back and more Tuscan salami.

Posted Image

This is a shot of the Bradley in operation today. Those are chicken sausages with sundried tomato and basil and a nice chunk of soon to be smoked bacon below.
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#443 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 01:40 PM

Nice cache, Bombdog. Thanks for the appetizing images.

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#444 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:17 PM

I have two slabs (4.5#) of belly curing into bacon in the fridge, and I'm going through the book getting ingredients for andouille, almonds, jalapenos, turkey, pastrami, ham, hocks, salmon, chorizo, gouda, and hunter sausage.

That will all fit in the Bradley at the same time, right? With enough beer?
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#445 snowangel

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:24 PM

I just remembed something. When I was curing the belly halves, one of them seemed quite thin, and I was worried. During the smoking process, both of them seemed to "plump up" and becone thinner.

BTW, I have had to inform my kids that we do need to eat things other than the bacon I made.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#446 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:26 PM

I think that the bacon goes well with a nice hock on the side, Susan.
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#447 torakris

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:40 PM

Susan, that bacon is the most incredible thing I have ever seen.
This book has been in shopping cart at Amazon Japan since before it was out, I have been hoping the price would come down but it is still over $40 here.... :sad:
This thread is getting to be too much for me, I can feel my credit card creeping out of my wallet....

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#448 Bombdog

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:45 PM

That will all fit in the Bradley at the same time, right? With enough beer?

View Post


Chris, take a close look at that picture above. There just isn't ANY room for beer in there, let alone another slab of bacon.

I have 6 lbs of Hungarian sausage and another bacon slab ready to go in when that batch is done. Just plan on smoking for a LONG time when you start.

BTW, what kind of wood are you going to smoke the beer in?
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#449 Mallet

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 03:54 PM

I'm torn between the light issue. In Charcuterie Michael specifically states that the light can harm the fat (maybe not in just 24 hrs for incubation, but for drying), and yet in Bertolli's book "Cooking by Hand" he, like me, controls his humidity partially though the use of lights to heat the environment.

I've been debating getting a terrarium heater bulb which emits heat with no light, but it is an expensive experiment at $30 for a bulb....

jason

View Post


What about covering the lightbulb with aluminium foil? It should still let the heat radiate through, but stop light from reaching the fat.
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#450 snowangel

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 05:13 PM

Can a person live on bacon?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"





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