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  1. The wine fridge worked out OK in the end - even though it's harder to maintain the humidity and temp. I'll let you know how the coppa turns out, but the salame rocks:
  2. Has anyone else had a problem with the dehumidifier taking too much moisture out of the chamber? Although I have the Grainger dehumidifier control set quite high, my other hygrometer tends to show a 40-45% humidity if I leave the dehumidifier on. My salame came awfully close to getting "case hardening," and I ended up just turning the humidifier off for the rest of the cure. Ian
  3. Update - Thank you Craigslist! $50 for a 52-bottle Haier wine refrigerator. Stoked. Ian
  4. Thanks all for the great discussion. I just got a 6-bottle Haier wine fridge on sale for Black Friday w/ free shipping. But based on the discussion, it sounds like the humidity issues will likely make this unusable for salumi curing. Bummer; I should have read the whole post prior to buying it instead of just looking at the pretty pictures! Thanks! Ian
  5. Am I wrong or was Tank closed a few times for health violations? I seem to recall seeing it closed with yellow notices on the doors 2-3 times over the last 2-3 years. I've avoided it since then because of that. (But liked the pho prior). Ian
  6. There are quite a few places on Argyle street. My fave is in the strip mall just south of Argyle. Flavorful broth, tender tendon, fatty brisket and al dente tripe. I think it's called "Le's Pho" (formerly "Pho Hoa"). http://tainammarket.com/otherStores.html
  7. Well done, folks. I can't wait to get a porchetta going this summer.
  8. Thanks for the feedback: I'll probably go with Slagel Family Farm or Wettstein Organic Farm. The former delivers to Mado restaurant - killed, eviscerated, etc. I took a butchering class at that restaurant , so hope to be able to remember my lessons when it's time to make porchetta. I buy meat from the Wettsteins' regularly, so might cross-shop a bit. As for the natural thing, really I'm just looking for a healthy, humanely raised pig. If it gets non-organic feed is lower on my priority list. I just want high-quality meat (nice thick belly, well-marbled meat, good flavor) that's raised in a clean and relatively happy setting, and is as "natural" as possible. Preferably "natural" would entail no antibotics, hormones, organic feed, etc., but the limited exposure to these is more important to me than everything being absolutely "organic." Cheers, Ian
  9. Lovely, lovely Baron d'Apcher.
  10. FYI - for all those in the Chicago area interested in whole-animal cooking or charcuterie, Mado Restaurant in Wicker Park has a series of demonstrations: hog butchering, pate/terrines, sausage making and headcheese. I went to the butchering class and came out with a much better understanding of how the animal fits together - and how to make porchetta! Worth a look. Cheers, Ian
  11. Thanks! Thanks for the tip re: end of the season. I had planned to wait until the spring to get the pig, but thought I'd start the planning and purchase the deep freezer first. I'm headed to a hog butchering class at Mado this weekend, should be fun.
  12. I'm looking to buy a naturally raised hog direct from a farmer near Chicago. Does anyone know of a source? Thanks, Ian
  13. I like Anglelic Organics - they seem to have many drop points near you. http://www.angelicorganics.com/Vegetables/vegetablescontent.php?contentfile=dropsites http://www.angelicorganics.com/BucktownWP.html
  14. Thanks for the tips posted thus far. One more question - the guanciale that I am now drying seems incredibly fatty. We cut into it after a week of drying to make some amatriciana, and it seems about 10% fat and 90% meat. Should I trim the fat? I'm confused in part because the Intertubes says that guanciale is leaner than bacon. Alternately, some say that they thought their guanciale was too fatty. BTW - Chicago-area Gulleters, this organic pork jowl was $3/lb. from Organic Pastures, normally at the Evanston Farmers' Market, but also available throughout the winter on a bi-weekly basis.
  15. The pork belly (the "Porky") bahn mi is pretty good! It doesn't equal the sandwiches at Bale, but is a good option in the Loop for sure.
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