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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 1

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#541 Bombdog

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:55 AM

I'm going to take a crack at the turkey breast now, which has been drying in the fridge after 2 days in the cure. I'm leaving the skin on, right?

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Right...I leave it on and then defend my right to eat it with deadly force.
Dave Valentin
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#542 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 10:55 AM

Puck feeder update. I just talked again to Katie at Bradley (800.665.4188) and reported that my timer is still screwed up. She's sending out an entirely new smoke box and has told me I can keep the one I have for parts! As you can see, my experiences with Bradley customer service run counter to the claim I've read around here and elsewhere that it leaves something to be desired.

Chris, beautiful work on the andouille.  It must taste as good as it looks, and I'm sure you're justifiably proud.  I'd be interested in knowing the approximate percentages you changed the spices, and also what size pork(?) casings you used. 

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Thanks on the props. I'm not sure, actually, about the source for the hog casings. They are standard sausage casingsthat from Whole Foods for pretty cheap. I'll ask and report back.

And thanks, Susan, for confirming my suspicion about the skin!

edited to add: Oh, and I changed the spices I listed above (more cayenne, Colman's mustard, allspice, thyme) by about 25%

Edited by chrisamirault, 02 April 2006 - 09:28 AM.

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#543 LEdlund

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:06 AM

Re sausage stuffers, I had many problems with my KA stuffer also, and finally decided to spring for one of these from the Sausage Maker.  I've only used it a couple of times so far, but it is a dream to use compared to the others I've tried.  And I took Ron's advice and soaked the casings for two days.  It does make a world of difference compared to only soaking them an hour or two.

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I just took a charcuterie class and am looking forward to making my first sausage. The Sausage Maker stuffer is the one we used in class and it was awesome. Since I already have the KA stuffer, I'm going to try that for a while. If I find that I'm really getting into the process, I'll make the investment in the other one.

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#544 jmolinari

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:40 AM

Hwilson, beef rounds are always smaller than beef middles. Rounds are about 40-45mm and curl up like a horseshoe when you stuff them, middles are straighter and about 60mm.

jason

#545 jmolinari

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 11:42 AM

I'll repost my recommendation here for a stuffer. Don't bother with the plunge cast iron ones, they suck, meat paste squishes around the plunger and there is lots of leftover. If you're going to make sausage somewhat regularly, get a crank one.

Northern tool has a crank stuffer for about $80, whcih is identical pretty much to the Sausage maker's for $300. I have the NT one, i love it.

jason

#546 DerekW

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 12:42 PM

Thanks for all the information on stuffers, folks. My local supplier has just taken delivery of a "budget priced" vertical crank unit, and I'm going to go out and take a look. If there's a Chinese factory turning them out then I guess what I'm being offered is probably the same unit as NT carry.

And I'm definitely not coming home with one of those iron shoes :smile:

Good luck with the KA, Lauren :biggrin:

cheers
Derek

#547 Navin Johnson

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 01:11 PM

I've mostly solved the problem with my plunger stuffer by stuffing some waxed paper between the meat and the plunger in such a way that the paper creates a tighter seal between the plunger and the tube (if that makes sense). Now it works quite well, especially for a 5lbs stuffer that was less than $30 delivered.

Eric

Our local serious sausage supplier has a cast iron press available for about $100, and a serious crank operated unit for about $300.  They've got one that's closer to $10,000 as well :biggrin:

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I bought one of those curved cast-iron things from one of the Amazon affiliates. It works OK, but the sausage "stuff" tends to squeeze out around the plunger, and it seems impossible to get the last bit of stuff out of the press and into the casings. I wind up having to wash a significant amount of stuffing out of the press when I'm done. (It's wedged way down inside the press and is really hard to get out of there).

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#548 Pallee

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 03:36 PM

I just made 5 # of Thai chicken sausage (not from the book) and stuffed it using casings I've had soaking in the fridge for over 2 weeks. No problems at all and they slipped on the horn really easily. I'm wondering how long you can keep them soaking........has anyone had any problems with casings that have soaked longer?

#549 FoodMan

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 04:08 PM

Posted Image


Man, that looks freaking awsome! Absolute perfection....my next sausage project :smile: .

Looking forward to seeing your Pastrami Gravlax.

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#550 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:30 PM

Posted Image

Posted Image

That's about five pounds of turkey breast smoked with alder. It took about 4 1/2-5 hours at 200F to reach 160F, but I wouldn't treat that as a very useful number, since it was very windy today and I had to shut everything down for 30 min while I got my daughter at school. I haven't tried the meat yet because I wanted it to rest a while... and, well, because as soon as I finished these photos I ate about three-quarters of the skin in a rather sick frenzy. Man oh man....

Tomorrow's an off-day for smoking (lousy weather and personal commitments), but I'll have two pork bellies in the fridge waiting for some serious pellicle development. Sunday will be full of smoke, with the bacon smoking in applewood and, if I'm sufficiently with-it, chorizo.
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#551 Bombdog

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:47 PM

as I finished these photos I ate about three-quarters of the skin in a rather sick frenzy. Man oh man....

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I told ya! And it was worth EVERY bit of the wait, wasn't it?
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.


#552 snowangel

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Posted 31 March 2006 - 05:55 PM

The skin is cook's reward. Sort of like the heart and liver of the chicken. I'm not sure my kids know these things exist.

Chris, I don't want to hijack this topic, but please tell me there's a butt in your future.

This gal is about to tell The Man that for the 25th anniversary, no power tools (which is my typical gift request) for a more sophisticated smoking machine.
Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

#553 bigwino

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 07:05 AM

For those that are still searching for a vertical stuffer, Northern Tool is out of there's with a "more than 30 day" backorder.

I did find another identical unit on Amazon by Grizzly for $60! Ordered it yesterday.

Here's the link

#554 jmolinari

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 07:51 AM

great find bigwino. That is the exact same model.

#555 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 09:09 PM

Chris,

I went back and tried to figure out if you used the Smoked Andouille recipe or the Cold-Smoked Andouille recipe. I'm guessing, from the cooking method you described, that you used the Smoked Andouille recipe. Could you please confirm that when you get a chance?

BTW, Cabela's (www.cabelas.com) has the Bradley unit you purchased on sale right now for $299. Freight isn't free but it's only about $25. But, from what I can tell, no free puckage from Cabela's. You made a nice buy. :smile:

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#556 Abra

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Posted 01 April 2006 - 10:20 PM

Thanks, bigwino. I just ordered the Grizzly.

By the way, I was in Armandino Batali's shop yesterday, and I mentioned to him that my duck prosciutto could use a little pepping up. He recommended adding a fennel rub to the curing stage, just in case anyone wants to try a variation. However, I served it to a bunch of eGers last night and people seemed to love it just as it was.

Paper-thin slicing is sure a problem with cured meat. Don't tell me we're all going to start buying slicers now, in addition to stuffers and grinders and smokers!

#557 bigwino

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 05:38 AM

Paper-thin slicing is sure a problem with cured meat. Don't tell me we're all going to start buying slicers now, in addition to stuffers and grinders and smokers!


Funny you should mention it. I've been looking for a slicer on Craigslist for several weeks now! :smile:

#558 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 09:30 AM

I went back and tried to figure out if you used the Smoked Andouille recipe or the Cold-Smoked Andouille recipe.  I'm guessing, from the cooking method you described, that you used the Smoked Andouille recipe.  Could you please confirm that when you get a chance?

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Yes, "Smoked Andouille," pages 156-7. By the way, can anyone give me a sense of how safe it would be to ship a link or two of this sausage via overnight?

I'm about to put the bacon in the Bradley; updates to follow.
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#559 FoodMan

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 09:58 AM

Paper-thin slicing is sure a problem with cured meat. Don't tell me we're all going to start buying slicers now, in addition to stuffers and grinders and smokers!


Funny you should mention it. I've been looking for a slicer on Craigslist for several weeks now! :smile:

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I hear ya! I find the best way to get thin thin slices is to get the meat cold and use a serrated bread knife.

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#560 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:02 AM

Yes, "Smoked Andouille," pages 156-7. By the way, can anyone give me a sense of how safe it would be to ship a link or two of this sausage via overnight?

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I'd recommend wrapping the sausages tightly in plastic wrap and freezing them for about 24 hours before shipping. I'd also advise the inclusion of a freezer (gel) pack in the package. It's likely that they would make it to their destination safely without taking these steps. But, if there are unforeseen delays with the shipment, taking these steps will help guard against spoilage.

I'm about to make a batch of the Cold-smoked andouille. Per the recipe, I won't have final results for a few days. I'll be back to update the thread accordingly.

As for deli slicers, my experience with the Chef's Choice line has been poor. I bought one a few years ago when Chef's Catalog was having a local warehouse sale. Yes, I've used it to slice my bacon but it isn't optimal. Neither of the blades was very effective. Both left a frayed edge on the unsliced portion of the belly. I ended up having to repeatedly flip the belly over between slices to keep that edge from taking over. Not only do both the blades that came with the unit seem dull (correctable, I assume), but the slicer doesn't seem to produce adequate RPM to handle the jobs for which it is intended.

OTOH, it seems like they offer a few different models and maybe they've been improved since I purchased mine. But my hunch is that you need to go strictly commercial with a slicer to make the purchase worth it.

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#561 Abra

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:05 AM

I did actually freeze the prosciutto then slice it with a grooved slicing knife, but it still wasn't thin enough.

I can't see why shipping the andouille would be a problem. After all, we all order meat online and it arrives cold-packed overnight. Yours should be fine, unless the smell entices the postal folks into opening your package!

#562 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:08 AM

Thanks, Abra and Ron. I've already vacuum-sealed and frozen it so I think I'm going to be set with your suggestions.
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#563 Bombdog

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:28 AM

Thanks, Abra and Ron. I've already vacuum-sealed and frozen it so I think I'm going to be set with your suggestions.

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Chris, please let us know how it is on arrival. My fiance is all over me to ship some things to her mother. I was thinking of doing it in the same manner.
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.


#564 Dave the Cook

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 10:32 AM

Paper-thin slicing is sure a problem with cured meat. Don't tell me we're all going to start buying slicers now, in addition to stuffers and grinders and smokers!


Funny you should mention it. I've been looking for a slicer on Craigslist for several weeks now! :smile:

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I hear ya! I find the best way to get thin thin slices is to get the meat cold and use a serrated bread knife.

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I had to blow considerable dust off it, but there's some helpful information in this topic.

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#565 hwilson41

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 11:14 AM

And back to bacon...again :raz:. I'll skip the blow by blow and the pictures because I'm doing almost exactly what I did before with an 11 pound belly from the Amish farmer. When I suggested experimenting with other recipes, spouse person said in no uncertain tones "Don't even let it cross your mind." I guess that means she liked the initial effort :biggrin:.

Alas, this will be the last from the Amish farm until October sometime when they start slaughtering hogs again after the weather cools down. Anyway, the lesson I've learned is that once family and friends get a taste of the bacon, you'll be stunned at how quickly 10 pounds can disappear. After giving quite a bit away, cooking up several samples for tasting, and eating it ourselves several times, my 10 pounds is gone!! As in zippo, zilch, nada!! We ate the last this morning with pancakes. My only comfort is that the new bellies already have four days curing on them in the fridge, so I'm only a few days away from being resupplied.

Next project, after a road trip next weekend, will be hot smoked Andouille using the recipe Chris used with such spectacular success. I'm planning on using beef rounds for casings, and an enhanced spicing similar to Chris's. And thanks much for all the tips Chris. I'm anxious to see how it turns out in a horizontal smoker where I can't hang the sausages, but based on past experience, I don't think that's going to make any difference. More to follow :rolleyes:.
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#566 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 11:42 AM

Well, I've run into my first "must wing it" moment with the cold-smoked Andouille recipe and I'm looking for some guidance. The first grind is complete, the seasoned meat mixture and the grinder attachment are in the freezer for the next hour until I do the second grind.

After the second grind is complete, the recipe calls for the addition of water during the mixing stage but there is no quantity of water specified in the recipe. Because the mixture contains fresh onions, the mixture is juicier than it's been in the past when I was making other types of sausages. Other recipes in the book (for non-emulsified sausages) call for 1 cup of water. I'm thinking about adding just 1/2 cup but I'm really not sure if that's the right move. Or, is the water just a "by feel" addition, like it might be for certain pastry doughs? Any thoughts?

Thanks,

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#567 Chris Amirault

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 11:56 AM

Ron, how much water does one add to 1/2 c of milk powder to get reconstituted milk? Maybe that would be a useful guide?
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#568 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:09 PM

Ron, how much water does one add to 1/2 c of milk powder to get reconstituted milk? Maybe that would be a useful guide?

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Good thought, Chris. You'd need 14 fluid ounces of water to reconstitute that 1/2 cup of milk powder. But, that seems like way too much liquid to add to the meat mixture. Or, maybe not. :wacko:

I know that the water is usually added primarily to help distribute the seasonings evenly thoughout the mixture. Maybe I should just eyeball it and measure how much I add for future reference. Problem is, I don't really know the exact texture I'm shooting for.

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#569 Mallet

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:26 PM

I had to blow considerable dust off it, but there's some helpful information in this topic.

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Thanks for digging this one up! Very useful.
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#570 Tonyy13

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 12:32 PM

Hey guys, I have been on curing sabatical for the last three weeks, I feel like I am going through nitrate withdrawal!! Anyway, I am just wondering if anyone has read or seen anything from John Kinsella's charcuterie book? I just orderd a desk reference copy from the distributer the other day (one of the perks of being a chef instructor... free cookbooks!!!).

I know, I know, this is the thread about Polcyn and Rhulman....... just curious...
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