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Cooking & Curing from "Charcuterie": Part 1

Charcuterie Cookbook

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#61 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 07:07 AM

hi anna,

i don't know what readycure is, why there is bicarb in it or why it should be refrigerated. is it pink? does it say the percentage of nitrite in it? if it's 6.25%, then you can use as is. if it doesn't you probably can anyway--the ratios you give make it sound weaker than sodium nitrite here. or you can omit it altogether, you will still have tasty cured belly, though i'd go with a more savory pancetta style cure. in the future get pink salt for a buck fifty from butcher-packer.com.

#62 Anna N

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Posted 16 January 2006 - 07:16 AM

hi anna,

i don't know what readycure is, why there is bicarb in it or why it should be refrigerated.  is it pink? does it say the percentage of nitrite in it?  if it's 6.25%, then you can use as is.  if it doesn't you probably can anyway--the ratios you give make it sound weaker than sodium nitrite here. or you can omit it altogether, you will still have tasty cured belly, though i'd go with a more savory pancetta style cure.  in the future get pink salt for a buck fifty from butcher-packer.com.

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Thank you Michael. It does not say the percentage of nitrite - I have given everything I can find on the package regarding ingredients, etc. No, it is not pink. I now realize that the package itself says nothing about refrigeration - that is on the price sticker from the supermarket.

Purchasing on-line from the USA is often much more difficult than it should be!

This "salt" was on display next to the sausage casings, pork butt, etc. in a display to promote sausage making. I will omit it this time until I can find out more info and have another look at the pancetta-style cure. Your response is very greatly appreciated and I LOVE the book!
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#63 Anna N

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 05:24 AM

Made the Chicken Sausage with Basil and Tomatoes. These are quite incredible. I have no sausage stuffer and am not at all sure that I can handle those casings :hmmm: so I made patties. These were incredibly easy to make. I must have learned a lot from this book because my last attempt at sausage was a disaster! Thanks Michael and Brian.
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#64 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 06:31 AM

that's my favorite sausage in the book, a delicious creation from brian. i'm especially glad to hear you didn't feel that you had to use casings. they're awesome in casings, cooked gently over hot coals, but this sausage would be great with pasta as well with diced tomato and more fresh basil.

#65 jefferyc

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Posted 17 January 2006 - 11:43 AM

I had a 4 duck weekend. Fter reading the book I went to my poulterer at eastern market. Cut off the breasts and froze them. Cured and confited the legs using a modified version of the one in the book. Made a liver spread, cured and confited the giblets and made them into a stew using a recipe I found in nose to tail eating. Oh and duck bones make a stock you won't believe.
Thanks for writing the book

#66 SethG

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:21 PM

I just got my own copy of Charcuterie and I'm totally pumped to get started with it. My first projects are likely to be bacon or pancetta, corned beef, and duck prosciutto-- then I hope to move into sausage. I've already had the pleasure of confiting my own duck and pork and making gravlax, but otherwise I'm a total newbie.

The book is a pleasure to read. I can't think of another cookbook that presents a cooking art with such romantic flair. When you open Charcuterie, you really get swept up into the historical significance of the methods described, and feel a connection to people who lived not so long ago, but who seem another species entirely from the supermarket shoppers of today. Congrats to the authors. Beautiful work.
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#67 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 02:30 PM

I just got my own copy of Charcuterie and I'm totally pumped to get started with it.  My first projects are likely to be bacon or pancetta, corned beef, and duck prosciutto-- then I hope to move into sausage.  I've already had the pleasure of confiting my own duck and pork and making gravlax, but otherwise I'm a total newbie.

The book is a pleasure to read.  I can't think of another cookbook that presents a cooking art with such romantic flair.  When you open Charcuterie, you really get swept up into the historical significance of the methods described, and feel a connection to people who lived not so long ago, but who seem another species entirely from the supermarket shoppers of today.  Congrats to the authors.  Beautiful work.

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Yes! The introductory portions of the book are a real pep-talk, so to speak.

I just ordered 2 pork bellies from my butcher and plan to start up with some bacon and some pancetta this weekend. I also found the grinder attachment for my Kitchen-Aid -- still in virgin condition in its unopened box. I knew that someday I'd be happy I picked it up for half price at that Chef's Catalog warehouse sale. That day is now rapidly approaching. :smile:

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#68 Chris Amirault

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 06:55 PM

While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?
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#69 SethG

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Posted 18 January 2006 - 08:01 PM

I just ordered my pink salt, so I guess I'll have to temper my enthusiasm for a few days.

I also went ahead and ordered this meat grinder. Seems like a bargain at $1390.00. I figure it's big enough to double as an activity table for my kids.








Just kidding.
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#70 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 06:12 AM

While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?

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It depends. Naturally raised pork will have a better meat to fat ratio, taste better, and be better for you. Factory raised pork, though, will still taste fine.

If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

#71 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 06:18 AM

However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order.

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If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

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You said it, man. I didn't.
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#72 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 08:14 AM

However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order.

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If your butcher wags his head at you when you ask him for pork belly (skin on, ribs on, if possible), then he's not a real butcher.

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You said it, man. I didn't.

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My butcher asked me if I wanted them with the ribs still on. He's a good person! :smile:

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#73 jefferyc

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:29 AM

There are cuts my butcher won't get because he has to order 30 at a time.

While I wait for my order of DC/Q #s 1 and 2 to arrive (damn you, UPS, and your bumbling handlers, damn you!), I have a question about pork belly for bacon. I can pretty easily get massive slabs of pork belly from a local Asian butcher or carnicaria, and it looks like it's pretty good quality. However, my best source for prime pork, the Whole Foods butcher, wags his head at me whenever I ask him for belly; apparently, if I bug him, I probably can get some carefully fed, organic, utterly pampered pig on special order. Of course, I'll also have to pay him two or three times what I'd pay the other butchers.

Is it worth it? Should I take the plunge at WF or give the belly elsewhere a go?

View Post



#74 melkor

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Posted 19 January 2006 - 09:35 AM

We made another batch of merguez yesterday, this time using lamb fat in place of rendered beef fat (which was in place of the pork fat in the recipe). The lamb fat was cut into 1/4 cubes and partially frozen before grinding with the fine blade, the end result was far better than the previous attempt. In place of the water the recipe calls for we used more wine. This batch came out quite well.

The duck sacussion sec from mid-december is at the proper weight, but it still feels quite moist so it'll continue to hang for another week or two.

More brisket is curing for pastrami in the fridge at the moment, this time without the white sugar - though the brown sugar and honey are still in there. After 4 days last time the meat still had a small uncured section in the center - this time I'll give it 5 or 6 days in the cure.

#75 SethG

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Posted 20 January 2006 - 06:53 AM

Over here I posed a general query about the DeLonghi meat grinder attachment, but have seen no responses. Anybody on this thread have an opinion about it?
"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;
but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

#76 Pallee

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Posted 22 January 2006 - 04:12 PM

I'm about to make the peperone for the first time. I've made lots of fresh sausages and always done the taste test before stuffing. This is a fermented sausage and I'm wondering if a taste test will be at all accurate at this stage?
I'm hoping to make a quite spicy peperoni.

#77 Adam Balic

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:58 AM

OK. I have the book now and the sausage maker is on order. I have a sack of salt peter (potassium nitrate) at home and would like to use this as I can imagine that getting pink salts or sodium nitrate is going to be a struggle in Edinburgh.

Is there a general rule fo the ration of sodium chloride to potassium nitrate (in weight) in a cure or does it vary from recipe to recipe? I have a few older cookbooks that have cures for pork and mutton hams etc, which mention that too much potassium nitrate with make the meat brittle and tough.

Thanks very much, the book looks very good.

#78 jmolinari

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:22 AM

Cure #1 is 6.25% nitrite to salt. But it isn't just a mix, i believe they are dissolved together and then re-evaporated to make sur there is an even distribution of the nitrite in the salt. Otherwise you may get different amounts in different scoops, which would be dangerous.
jason

#79 Adam Balic

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 05:34 AM

Just to be certain on this, that is for instance 6.25 grams of saltpetre 100 grams of sodium chloride?

#80 Michael Ruhlman

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:36 AM

I don't know how saltpeter compares with sodium nitrate and nitrite. If you have a local charcutier, you might ask him or her.

the two books i have that include it (la technique and saveur cooks authentic french) recommend 1/2 teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat, or about 3 grams per 2.25 kilograms.

#81 Adam Balic

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 06:52 AM

OK, I will checj some of my books and let you know what I find out.

But, as I assume that it is the nitrate that is the important bit and the MW of potassium nitrate is 101.1 verses 85 for sodium nitrate, this means that you would use more weight of saltpetre to get the same concentration on Nitrate's.

"local charcutier" :rolleyes: . I wish.

#82 coquus

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 08:01 AM

The MSDS for Potassium Nitrate says may cause reproductive harm. I have a recipe from my great great grandmother for corned beef in which she used this, oak barrels, water, spices, and lots and lots of time to make corned beef. I'm suspecting that I might try this someday, and furter suspect the time can be reduced with the use of a sodium nitrate curing salt.

#83 FoodMan

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:35 AM

I finally got to work with natural casings and made the “Hunter Sausage” (Jagerwurst, is it? :smile: ). Even though they are less convenient that the collagen ones, natural casings are amazing. They are so thin and so strong and make perfect links with no problem. I truly am a convert and will use them regularly.

The recipe itself was very good and tasty with a great texture. It would work as a cold sliced sausage or as an ingredient in other dishes. I did reduce the amount of nutmeg by about half and am glad I did. I could still taste it but it was not assertive. The next time around I might add more of the other two major spices, coriander and mustard seed. Especially the coriander, it gave it a wonderful aroma and an exotic taste that worked very good with the smokiness.

Posted Image
Here are the smoked links. I do have a nice grill/smoker with a fierchamber and a smoking/griling chamber, but I have no way to hang the sausages. So, I had to lay them on the grates and flip them halfway through. Worked out fine as u can see.

Posted Image
Here is a the cut sausage. Even with the overexposure to the flash, you can see the nice texture.

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#84 jmolinari

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 09:38 AM

Cure #1 is 93.75% salt and 6.25% nitrite.

#85 Chris Amirault

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Posted 23 January 2006 - 04:28 PM

Elie, those look fantastic. I envied you your smoker -- until today.

I just got back from a local Portuguese butcher where I've gotten great chorice. I was there to buy a pork belly, because my curing salts finally arrived today. So, at checkout, the boss apologizes because we was out in the smokehouse. Feeling brazen, I asked him whether I could bring stuff by to be smoked. "Sure, on Fridays, usually."

:shock:

We struck up a conversation, and now I think I've got a foot in the door there. I am going to start with some fresh bacon with this slab, but the sky's now the limit!
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#86 Michael Cook

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Posted 24 January 2006 - 02:46 PM

Love the book enourmously, it was an early Christmas present from my wife, with a smoker arriving for Christmas. I've tried 2 sausage recipes, the bacon, the duck ham, and the pastrami. All have been excellent.

I had no problem with the sweetness of the pastrami, if anything it was spicy for me in the thinner sections - where the ratio of peppercorn crust to interior was higher. I did have the same problem, where certain parts in the center didn't turn pink from the cure. In culinary school we pumped curing brine into anything over a certain thickness, I'm wondering if we should do the same with thicker parts of the brisket here?

#87 Pallee

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:32 PM

I made the peperone Monday and it's hanging in the wine cellar, looking happy.

I followed the recipe, adding 20g Bactoferm disoved in water. Yesterday I found the paper that came with the Bactoferm F-RM-52 packet, and it claims that 25 grams will do 200 pounds of meat! I only used 5# of meat and 20g. Seems like quite a difference - what's up?

#88 jmolinari

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:53 PM

I noticed the same thing when i read the book. When i make my salame i use about 0.5g of bactoferm for about 5lbs of meat. I THINK you should be ok, since the amount of acidification is controlled by the amount of sugars in the sausage, which the bacteria feed on, and not the amount of bacteria added.
Having said that, using 20g of bactoferm for each batch of sausage is most likely a waste.

jason

#89 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:45 PM

First curing project: I just put 4 lb of pork belly into the fridge to cure using the basic curing mixture and a fistful of cracked pepper. I'll check back in in seven-ten days.
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#90 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 09:56 PM

First curing project: I just put 4 lb of pork belly into the fridge to cure using the basic curing mixture and a fistful of cracked pepper. I'll check back in in seven-ten days.

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I'm a few days ahead of you -- 2 bellies curing since last Friday evening -- one as bacon, one as pancetta. If all goes well, I'll be smoking the bacon belly over applewood this Sunday. I'm still trying to figure out exactly where I'm going to hang the pancetta. :wacko:

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