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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 1

Charcuterie Cookbook

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599 replies to this topic

#451 jmolinari

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 06:57 PM

Mallet...i thought of that exact same idea that night i posted it. Thanks !! I'll try that
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#452 Abra

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 09:06 PM

Smoked beer, yes! Since I'm having a bit of Laphroaig at the moment, getting into a smoking mood in preparation for smoking my first bacon, the idea of smoked beer tickles me. If I can get some really cool smoke I'm going to try some smoked cheese, a la jackal10.

Just like everyone else, my bacon did exude quite a bit of liquid in the curing process, and the pancetta very little. Why is that? Mine are getting an extra day in the cure until a hanging bar can be installed in my new curing mini-shed. It's so cute, I sure hope it works! I'll post a picture as soon as it's up and running.

#453 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 March 2006 - 09:10 PM

Smoked beer, yes! 

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Perhaps a good scotch ale is the ideal accompaniment to a long weekend of smoking meat....
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#454 FoodMan

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 10:32 AM

Why write my own thoughts down if I can quote a very wise woman (not sure about the Aran sweater though) :biggrin: ?

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 could not agree more! I cold smoked my bacon slab this past weekend and it was amazing and perfect. I used my Char-griller grill with a smoke chamber to do that using apple wood chips. The temperature never went over 90F for about 5 hours. I made a smaller batch just in case something went wrong or the recipe did not work perfectly. I also omitted the maple syrup because non of us really cares for it and removed the skin after smoking. Now, I need to get a bigger piece of belly and definitly thicker. From now on bacon and pancetta will never be bought again. If you are not too bored with pictures of cured/smoked and crisped pork fat yet, here are a couple of pics

Posted Image

Posted Image

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#455 Anna N

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 11:14 AM

... If you are not too bored with pictures of cured/smoked and crisped pork fat yet, here are a couple of pics...

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I am just drooling!
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#456 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 11:19 AM

... If you are not too bored with pictures of cured/smoked and crisped pork fat yet, here are a couple of pics...

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I am just drooling!

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Great stuff, Elie . . . it never gets old!

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#457 Abra

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 12:33 PM

Lovely, Elie! Hey, since I have the CharGriller too, can you tell me more about how you kept the temp so low? Did you use only apple chips, or any other fuel? Did you ice the water bath, or what? I think I'm smoking tomorrow, weather permitting.

#458 viaChgo

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 12:48 PM

If possible, is it preferable to cold smoke bacon vs hot smoke?

I finally picked up a copy last weekend and I'm looking forward to making some bacon!

#459 FoodMan

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:08 PM

Lovely, Elie!  Hey, since I have the CharGriller too, can you tell me more about how you kept the temp so low?  Did you use only apple chips, or any other fuel?  Did you ice the water bath, or what?  I think I'm smoking tomorrow, weather permitting.

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It was really easier than expected. The "grill" section is quiet large, so I placed the meat on the grill grate at the end as far away from the smoke-box as possible. In between them, on the grill grate again, I placed an aluminum tray filled with ice (of course this had to be refilled every 30 minutes or so), so the smoke would hit the ice first. To get it going I lit about half a chimney full of lump coal, and dumped it in the smoke-box, from then on I just topped the coals with soaked wood chips whenever the smoke died down. I did not have to replenish the coals at all, just kept adding apple wood chips.

Hope this helps.

E. Nassar
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#460 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:16 PM

If possible, is it preferable to cold smoke bacon vs hot smoke?

I finally picked up a copy last weekend and I'm looking forward to making some bacon!

View Post

This sounds like a ready-made experiment. :wink:

I've loved the bacon I've produced via hot smoking but have yet to try a cold-smoked version. I've been to the hardware store and bought some supplies to rig a cold smoker, which I will use the next time out. But for now, I'm still working through my last 2 batches of hot-smoked product.

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#461 FoodMan

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:33 PM

If possible, is it preferable to cold smoke bacon vs hot smoke?

I finally picked up a copy last weekend and I'm looking forward to making some bacon!

View Post

This sounds like a ready-made experiment. :wink:

I've loved the bacon I've produced via hot smoking but have yet to try a cold-smoked version. I've been to the hardware store and bought some supplies to rig a cold smoker, which I will use the next time out. But for now, I'm still working through my last 2 batches of hot-smoked product.

=R=

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I really have never tried hot-smoked bacon, so I cannot tell for sure which is "superior" if any. Typically though good American bacon is cold smoked and that is why I went with cold smoking. I was very happy with the result, so I am not sure I will hot-smoke it in the future. My guess the difference might be more in the texture of the two bacons, since one is cooked the other is not.

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#462 Bombdog

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:45 PM

I hot smoked some yesterday and have a slab in the Bradley right now cold smoking. I'll be happy to do a side by side test and let you know.
Dave Valentin
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#463 viaChgo

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 01:54 PM

I hot smoked some yesterday and have a slab in the Bradley right now cold smoking.  I'll be happy to do a side by side test and let you know.

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Awesome! Thanks! Gotta love eGullet!

#464 Abra

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 02:08 PM

Great, you guys! Bombdog, I'm looking forward to your results. Pictures, too, if possible!

Elie, that's perfect, and I can follow your procedure exactly. I also have a Brinkman that's been outside being used as a home for spiders, because it's never "up to temp" when I want to hot smoke. I'm going to vacuum out the bugs and stick a thermometer in there today, to see if it stays cold enough to qualify for cold-smoking.

#465 Bombdog

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 02:23 PM

Great, you guys!  Bombdog, I'm looking forward to your results.  Pictures, too, if possible!


Posted Image

Even with the temp control on the lowest setting, it's kinda difficult to keep the chamber temps below 100. I have filled a hotel pan with ice (directly below the bacon). I checked the temperature a few minutes ago by laying an instant read thermometer on top of the slab and closed the door for a few minutes. 73 degrees F. I just have to stay on top of the ice.
Dave Valentin
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"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#466 Pallee

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 03:41 PM

I put a tray on the rack above the bacon and put a ziplock full of ice on that as well as ice below. It helped keep the temp low.

#467 snowangel

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 04:37 PM

... If you are not too bored with pictures of cured/smoked and crisped pork fat yet, here are a couple of pics...

View Post


I am just drooling!

View Post

Great stuff, Elie . . . it never gets old!

=R=

View Post


What Ron said. Having seen the light, I don't think I could ever tire of seeing pictures of homemade smoked flesh.

So, Ron, you mentioned rigging your rig to cold smoke. I'm still puzzling over how to do this with the trusty Kettle, which is capable of more than most will give credit for.

But, I'm also sititng here and realizing just the price of this cookbook. It's what, about $35, retail? OK, let's add the meat grinder. The sausage stuffer. Now, lets either add a cold smoker or the stuff to convert the hot smoker to the cold smoker. I think it's time for a martini!

BTW, one of the best parts of doing this was how I smelled after hot smoking and slicing that stuff. Paul thought it was pretty darned alluring, too. :wub: :wub:
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#468 DRColby

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 05:56 PM

This cold smoke subject keeps popping up and how to best hold at 90 degrees or less so I have been reading and watching the thread and been through a number of things trying toarrove at a reliable cold smoking method.
First, and this was a year ago, I tried doing lox in the closed roaster-smoker. The mfgr recommended get it smoking - with the lox iin - and then shutting off the heat and letting it steep in the smoke... cooked lox.
Then, somewhere on eGullet a guy in NYC mentioned Japanese smoke sticks. Ordered a couple and used one a few weeks ago on the cold smoking part of a pastrami. Seemed to work prettywell on that, but I am wondering what's in these sticks, which burn for an hour with little or no heat and seem more like an incense. I don't read Japanese, but I gather there are used where lots of people live in crowded quarters and fire regulations are tough.
The way I used them was to let a couple of brics burn down in a Webber smoker and then add the Japanese smoke stick to smolter in the coals.
I have a Bradley Smoker order with the hopes doing a better cold smoking job and getting cleaner hot smoke but after reading Bombdog's latest post, I am scratching my head again about holding 90.
Michael, can you add light on the Japanese smoke sticks?

Dave

#469 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 07:06 PM

So, Ron, you  mentioned rigging your rig to cold smoke.  I'm still puzzling over how to do this with the trusty Kettle, which is capable of more than most will give credit for.

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I've purchased a 12' piece of flexible dryer hose (4" diameter) of which I'm going to attach one end to the fully-open, top damper of my weber kettle. I'm going to attach the other end to one of the side dampers on my smoker cabinet which will be positioned a few feet away. I'll close the other side damper on the smoker and open its top damper all the way. I'll burn the wood in the weber and hopefully, the smoke will travel from the weber through the dryer hose and into the smoker cabinet. And hopefully, it'll be cool enough when it gets there to cold smoke the food in the cabinet.

Once I get the rig set up, I'll be sure to take some pics.

=R=
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#470 Bombdog

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 08:48 PM

    I  have a Bradley  Smoker order with the hopes doing a better cold smoking job  and getting cleaner hot smoke but after reading Bombdog's latest post, I am scratching my head again  about  holding 90.

View Post


I have to say that I really am feeling good about how this worked out, cold smoking the bacon today. And with what Pallee said about his set up I am even more optomistic. I held below 80 degrees pretty much the whole 4 hours. It's a bit labor intensive that you have to set a timer and make sure the ice is changed, but the results were fine.

I'm going to be out of town tomorrow, but will do the cold vs hot smoked bacon comparison on Sunday and post the results/pictures
Dave Valentin
Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler
"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.
"Got what backwards?" I ask.
"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.


#471 snowangel

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Posted 24 March 2006 - 08:49 PM

Ron, what kind of "cabinet" are you referromg to?
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#472 dougal

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 10:16 AM

For *cold* smoking with a Bradley, this is a scheme that I gather has been much copied to de-couple the smoke generator (and its heat) from the chamber, and the food.
http://www.johnwatki...coldsmoking.htm

I'd have thought that there ought to be better materials than cardboard and plastic :huh: , but its widely reported to be a workable solution...

Edited by dougal, 25 March 2006 - 10:20 AM.

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#473 hwilson41

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 11:27 AM

I've purchased a 12' piece of flexible dryer hose (4" diameter) of which I'm going to attach one end to the fully-open, top damper of my weber kettle.  I'm going to attach the other end to one of the side dampers on my smoker cabinet which will be positioned a few feet away.  I'll close the other side damper on the smoker and open its top damper all the way.  I'll burn the wood in the weber and hopefully, the smoke will travel from the weber through the dryer hose and into the smoker cabinet.  And hopefully, it'll be cool enough when it gets there to cold smoke the food in the cabinet.

Once I get the rig set up, I'll be sure to take some pics.

=R=

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I'm anxious to see those pics Ron. I have a side-box smoker, and have trouble keeping the temp below 200F, let alone 100F. Might be time for some Rube Goldberg at my house :wacko: :raz:.

Then again, I'll also be very interested in whether or not you think cold smoking is worth the trouble. The hot smoked product I reported on upthread received rave reviews from all who tasted it, including some family members who wouldn't say nice things just to be polite :wacko:.
"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

#474 Expat Russ

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 12:51 PM

I am in the middle of enjoying the gravlax as described in the book...oh dear God, i'll never buy lox or gravlax again. I brought some into work on Friday (bagel day at the office) and it went quickly, with moans of pleasure that made it sound like an office orgy. Next time I'll do it with dill instead of fennel so wife can enjoy as well (she's not a fennel fan)...wait a minute, maybe I won't ;)

I can't wait to get my Bradley so I can make Lox (waiting for new model review to decide which to get)

What surprised me more than anything, was how easy it is to make something so wonderfully delicious.

Edited by Expat Russ, 25 March 2006 - 12:52 PM.

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#475 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 12:57 PM

What surprised me more than anything, was how easy it is to make something so wonderfully delicious.

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If there were a theme to my experiences with this book, that's it. I am just stunned at how a little skill and some time yields remarkable stuff. All of the sausages I've made are utterly superior to anything I've ever had, and I'm sure I'm still just getting going. And the bacon? Fuggedaboudit. I'm inventing new ways to eat bacon so I can justify curing additional slabs.

It's quite wonderful to discover an entirely new area of cooking, devote some time and interest to learning, and be able to do so well so quickly. For that, I owe the authors of this book a great debt.
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#476 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 02:43 PM

Ron, what kind of "cabinet" are you referromg to?

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Susan, I can't find a pic of the exact unit I own, but this one is really similar to it:

http://stores.yahoo....mokmounser.html

As you can probably see in the pic, there are dampers on each side of the cabinet and one on top. Hopefully, the method I described above will work out.

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#477 snowangel

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 02:50 PM

Ron, what kind of "cabinet" are you referromg to?

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Susan, I can't find a pic of the exact unit I own, but this one is really similar to it:

http://stores.yahoo....mokmounser.html

As you can probably see in the pic, there are dampers on each side of the cabinet and one on top. Hopefully, the method I described above will work out.

=R=

View Post


Thanks. I'm feeling exceptionally primitive with my Kettle. Hmmm. Might be time to look changing things.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#478 Abra

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 04:44 PM

Ok, I have to admit it, my husband is a genius. When I was thinking out loud last week about what sort of contraption we could use for a curing box, since our extra fridge really needs to remain cold for food, he remembered that we have this -

Posted Image
it's a mini-greenhouse, useful for starting seeds in cold weather. However, it never really gets warm enough here to make seed-starting a worthwhile endeavor, so it's just been a spider house for the past 5 years.

After a big scrubbing, removal of the seed trays, some retrofitting with a hanging bar, and rolling and tying my cured pancetta, voila
Posted Image
a charcuterie shed. What's especially cool is the adjustable top, so that the air flow can be controlled pretty well. That, plus propping it up a little so there's air circulation underneath, and

Posted Image
a 12 volt muffin fan running on 3 volts, plus a pan of salted water, and my already-beloved hygrometer

Posted Image
make me hopeful that I can get this thing right. Men are so great for doing stuff like this! There's a lot of light in the pictures, but normally the garage is pretty dark, so I think it'll be a fine environment for curing. I just have one question:

Posted Image
Did everyone's pork belly come with nipples???? Oh, and because I know you're wondering, yes, those doorknobs are little feet. Don't ask.

Oh, and on the Brinkman experiment, I have to say that I was an idiot heretofore. It has a gauge that ranges from Warm, through Ideal, to Hot. Because it never makes it up to Ideal here on the cool Puget Sound, I'd assumed that it wasn't really getting hot. But hey presto, put a thermometer in there and whaddya get? It's 270 friggin' degrees at the top of Warm! So not only is it too hot for cold smoking, it's even too hot for hot smoking. Now that was a real surprise. Of course there was no meat in there to serve as a heat sink, but I think all indications are that this is not meant to be a cold smoker.

The other surprise was to open my CharGriller and find it all full of white fuzzy mold. Not cute little white fuzzy mold, but Major Ick mold. We have a flame weeder that never gets used as such, but give a man a flame weeder that roars like a 747 and permission to play with fire, and even the nastiest mold doesn't stand a chance. The smoker is now clean, but there's not 5 hours of daylight left, so I'll be smoking my bacon first thing in the morning.

And just as a bonus, I fried up a little trimming of the pancetta, just to test the cure. Yum. Really.

Edited by Abra, 26 March 2006 - 10:06 AM.


#479 Pallee

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 05:08 PM

Mine had nipples.

Since we're on the subject, my neighbor was over for dinner celebrating her 55th birthday with dinner at our house. She was joking about it being "double nickles" and my cousin from Montana didn't quite hear her and said something to the effect "Of course you have double nipples, doesn't everyone?"

My pork belly had more than 2! :laugh:

#480 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 08:10 PM

I've probably handled 7 bellies to this point and not one of them had nipples. :sad:

Abra, that looks like a great set-up. I've got to improvise something similar for myself. I'm suddenly feeling deprived. :wink: :smile:

Susan, I have 3 smokers, a Weber kettle and a Weber Genesis grill (gas). They all play very nicely together, and the only one I've really obsoleted is the gas grill, which was left here by the folks who sold us the house. You're always going to use that kettle; they're too useful to just abandon. So, even if you buy some new equipment every once in a while, you're not foresaking the weber, you're buying it a friend. :biggrin:

=R=
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