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  1. Kent Wang

    Confit myth

    This New York Times article on Nathan Myhrvold (discussion topic on his upcoming book) states: What do you think of that? I've confited duck legs several times, and I can't attest to whether the fat enters the meat and actually makes it more flavorful, but it seems that some flavor is lost from the meat and leeched into the fat as there is always a good amount of precipitated "duck jelly". Would steaming prevent this loss of juice? Nowadays, I confit with sous vide and a very small amount of fat, so it would be similar to rubbing on the fat afterwards. How about aging? A duck leg aged for a month or so certainly turns more brown, and is perhaps a bit drier. Is it really better?
  2. I was wondering if anyone could help me out with a recipe for this. I live in central Wisconsin and a friend came back with a grab bag of wonderful sausage from Louisiana, (excellent boudin, garlic sausage, etc.) The most amazing thing she brought back was fresh Green Onion sausage from Rouses Grocery store. I have to say I fell in love with it immediately. Everyone I shared it with loved it as well. I make my own sausage so I have the tools and techniques to make it. The seasonings seemed basic, but I would like to try to get some direction, before trying to create my own and end up messing things up. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
  3. I saw this link today to an article at npr.org on how chocolate and bacon are making more appearances than ever. Anyone ever tried things like this? I dipped some bacon in dark chocolate a week or so ago after having a number of people ask me about it. I have to say, it wasn't terrible, but not my favorite result. Comments?
  4. I still remember the porchetta sandwiches I had in Rome almost 25 years ago, a small shop with 4 tables, small glasses of red wine and paper cones with olives. The entire pg would come out of the oven, each pannini had meat and skin along with some fat, just great food I've always wanted to try this at home and the time has finally come. I'm going to do it for my girlfriends birthday. I have done the requisite searches online and come up with mostly variations involving a boned pork shoulder. One looks very good, it comes from Jamie Oliver, at least the photo looks like the real thing. What I'd really like to do is a small whole pig, just for the presentation value alone. I imagine I could do it with a 18-20lb pig, I have the skills to bone it. Would love to hear any comments, ideas, warnings, etc. before proceeding. thanks, Rob
  5. Porthos

    Turkey Confit

    Has anyone done a turkey confit using the whole bird, not just the dark meat? I want to do a whole bird but want to make sure I'm not going to mess the the breasts by doing this.
  6. Many who have used this book a lot note that there are many errors in it. We have used it for some sausages and the bacon only and we have found the following errors: page 42, Fresh Bacon: 9th line down: "adding 1/4 cup/30 grams of dry cure" should read "adding 1/4 cup/50 grams of dry cure" page 120, Breakfast Sausage with Fresh Ginger and Sage: fourth ingredient calls for 30 grams of fresh sage. Well, that's a whole lot of sage. I put in 16 grams and found it to be more than plenty. What are the other errors that people have found? Help.
  7. I want to make peameal bacon and have it for Christmas. It seems possible but there is no definitive recipe on the net and I'd love a little coaching from someone who has done it. Horrors - some recipes call for smoking - those people obviously don't know what they are talking about. I can get something called Morton's Tenderquick - is this going to give me the right texture? This expat thanks all who might help.
  8. I just got an e-mail from the Culinary Institute of America announcing their new charcuterie textbook, The Art of Charcuterie: Anyone know anything more about this book? Planning on buying it?
  9. I've started to try and work out a good recipe for my own breakfast sausage but so far I've had some problems. First, my sausage always seems to come out rubbery. I am achieving primary bind with a paddle in my KA. I am fanatical about keeping everything cold and generally follow the steps in Ruhlman's breakfast sausage. I understand the importance of this step in forming a cohesive sausage but it seems to run counter to the process for forming non-rubbery patties (i.e. minimal working to maintain space within the patty). Is this just a matter of finding the right balance in the primary bind step or are there other things I should do? Would finding a larger die so that I can chop the meat coarser help? Would adding more water during the primary bind step help promote tenderness? Secondly, I am finding that most breakfast sausages contain a lot of ingredients. Is there a better way to work through a lot of permutations than just making a lot of microbatches and changing one ingredient at a time? I was thinking maybe cooking up some completely unseasoned (except for salt) pork stock and then adding different ratios of ingredients until I found a good mix. If I found the right ratio between the ingredients, then it would just be a matter of finding the right ratio of ingredient mix to ground pork.
  10. So this will be the first time I take on a project of this type. As a kid I did some butchering of hogs and beef, and I have plenty of experience processing and handling wild game. I've never dry cured anything, however, and would appreciate any help any more experienced folks might be able to give. I'm planning to use a slightly modified version of the pepperoni recipe at the following link. http://homecooking.about.com/od/porkrecipes/r/blpork85.htm I live in Missouri and right now it's nice and cold outside. I have a concrete basement and a dirt-floor crawl space. The basement is used for storage and laundry. The crawl space isn't used for anything, is about 4 feet tall, and about 100 square feet. I have a dehumidifier in the basement which I can regulate the humidity with. It stays at about 50% right now. Without the dehumidifier it hangs around 75%. The temp in the basement is in the high 40s/low 50s now. I expect it to get into the high 50s/low 60s by mid April, but no higher. My main question is whether either the basement or the crawl space would be a suitable location to hang these pepperonis for 2 months, and what, if anything, I might want to do to make sure this first attempt goes well. Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for any advice. Neil
  11. The Wife® and I recently discovered a little Eastern European/Russian deli in town and we've been exploring their coolcase filled with all kinds of sausages and salamis. A repeat favorite is Karpatskaya and I've decided that I'd like to add it to my repertoire. My reference books are mute on this variety and I haven't had any luck online, either. Can anyone help?
  12. I was working on the WikiGullet Project article on jagerwurst this afternoon and was unable to find any good information on it under that name: the only stuff in Wikipedia is called "Jadgwurst" but it sounds like the same thing. Does anyone know for sure if that is the case? Also, in the Ruhlman Charcuterie book it's a pork sausage, but the Wikipedia article seems to indicate it's beef and pork. Naturally, neither the WP article nor Ruhlman cite any sources for this info. Does anyone know anything about it? Have you ever made it? What are the seasonings you think exemplify it?
  13. I brought back lots of professionally made whole salami, coppa, bresaola etc. from Italy. The idea was to cut them as needed on my meat slicer and enjoy piles of fresh charcuterie. However I find cleaning the meat slicer each time a real pain so I've gone ahead and sliced everything into the appropriate cuts. I've then packed the meats into separate vacuum bags. Each one weighs about 200g. The salamis were about 3 months opened at the point where I sliced them, and in good condition. I was wondering what people thought would be the best way to store them? I was thinking of freezing them in the vacuum bags but wasn't sure how well they would freeze. Anyone have any practical experience or tips?
  14. Hello all, just wanted to know a few things here before I try making this blood sausage recipe I found on ochef. The ingredients call for a number of things, and I have all of them save for a few. Obviously you need blood, pork blood preferably. I have only been able to find beef blood and pork blood at the local Asian markets, which come in frozen containers. They contain "pig's blood, water, salt product" Now I'm assuming this is still usable, but the water and salt product threw me off a bit. Is this probably a low percentage of the total liquid, mainly for preserving? I really have never worked with blood before, and I know that fresh is prefered, however that's nearly impossible for me to find so I have to do with this. Do you think I can still use this blood? The recipe also calls for leaf lard, the only way to get leaf lard is to mail order and it's going to be more than I'm willing to spend for only needing a 1/2lb of it. The question I have is this: for the purpose of sausage making, do you think they leaf lard they're calling for in this recipe is just ground pork fat, or rendered fat (lard) that you find in the tubs? I know lard is good for baking, but I have always thought that the ground up fat would be what you would need for making sausages, right? Last but not least, the recipe calls for breadcrumbs. Correct me if im wrong (and I usually am) but if a recipe states breadcrumbs, usually its the small granular DRY breadcrumbs, and not fresh ones (the recipe for this calls for 1/4 breadcrumbs) I don't think 1/4 of fresh breadcrumbs would do the trick to thicken the blood, so I'm assuming the regular dry breadcrumbs are what is needed. Thanks for anyone who looks or helps out, it's appreciated.
  15. I'm currently on my externship in the deep south, and am quickly becoming familiar with the omnipresent hunger for Fried Chicken. I was reading an eG post detailing duck confit, and I just wondered if anyone has ever tried or at least thought to take a leg of poultry confit (frig cold), dunk in buttermilk, flour, and deep fry at a high high temp to cook the flour and just heat through the meat? Would this even work or would the meat fall right off the bone?
  16. by Chris Amirault Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like 'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you? - Nora Ephron I attended a training last fall at which we were asked to share an object representing something important about mentoring, our focus for the week. I suspect that few in the workshop had difficulty coming up with their tape measures, baby photos, and flower pots, but I usually find this sort of assignment challenging, preferring simple denotations to forced connotations. On the drive home, I rolled down the windows, sensing that the air was turning slightly crisp and cool. I savored that harbinger of autumn in New England, when my thoughts turn to braises, stews and charcuterie. After a summer of keeping the oven off in my non-air-conditioned kitchen, I dreamed of daubes, considered new curries, and generally jonesed for the promise of meat to come. And then I realized that I had a perfect metaphor for mentoring: my 5 lb. vertical sausage stuffer from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. The next day, I lugged the apparatus to the training, hiding it behind a door for fear of ridicule. When my turn arrived, I hauled it out and clunked it down dramatically on the center table. "Good mentoring is like a sausage stuffer," I said, "for at least ten reasons: One. When you make sausages, everything -- utensils, machine, meat, fat -- has to be properly cool. If you've got warm meat, you can't make sausage, so don't try. Heat will prevent for a good bind. Two. It takes two people to make a sausage stuffer work. [Note: That's not entirely true, or at least it's idiosyncratic to my situation. My sausage stuffer is mounted to a free-floating piece of particle board and not to a countertop, and thus someone has to hold the thing still while the other person cranks away. But, hey, cut me some slack. It was overnight homework and I was trying to get to a round number.] Three. Contrary to popular belief, you do want to know what ingredients are in a sausage. What goes in determines what goes out. Reflecting on the stuff makes the product much better. Four. To fix a sausage that isn't working, you tweak it slightly; small changes can have big results. Trying to fix everything at once with bold gestures is doomed to fail. Five. You don't find out whether your sausages are good while you're stuffing them. The proof is in the blood pudding. When you apply heat, good sausages bind unlike elements; bad sausages break and separate. Six. The sausage stuffer takes something messy and encapsulates it, bringing order where there was chaos. Seven. You never know everything that there is to know about sausage making. Hubris is your enemy, humility your friend. Ask around and make friends with experts. Eight. You will never perfect your sausages. The greatest charcutiers in the world stress the impossibility of perfection. Forget about it. There are too many factors beyond your control. Strive for making them as good as you can make 'em. Nine. The only sane approach to sausage-making is to take the developmental long view. After all, this isn't Plato's cave in which you're hanging the links; it's your unfinished basement. Since you can't get perfection, you want improvement each time. Ten. Despite all efforts to the contrary, sometimes your sausage turns out really lousy. Flavor dissipates; binds break; good mold flees and bad mold flowers. When sausages go awry, don't wring your hands. Just do the best you can to figure out what happened, toss 'em, and take another crack. I mean, it's just sausage. Thank you." + + + That's the article as I started writing it. But over time, Nora's words came to haunt me. The whole shtick began to smell a bit fishy, and I began to fear that, like many tropes, this metaphor turned attention away from a trickier, worrisome truth hiding in plain view. But unlike many tropes, the worrisome truth I was hiding is in the object, and not the subject, of the metaphor. That is, the metaphor wasn't really about my relationship to mentoring. It was really about my relationship to sausage. Imagine the scene: I whip out my sausage maker and give ten reasons why my metaphor is bigger and better than everyone else's. (I did mention that I was the only man among three dozen women in that training, didn't I?) Laugh if you want, but one's sausage is important to many a man. A quick perusal of this topic reveals that I'm not alone. (You did notice the gender breakdown in that topic, didn't you?) Last weekend, while in the unfinished basement of a chef buddy, talk turned to our sausages, and before long we four charcuterie nuts were looking at our feet and commiserating about our failures. We shared a bond: our sausages had the better of us, and we knew it. Pathetic though it is, are you surprised that I felt a deep sense of relief, even of control, when I walked through my ten reasons? My metaphor afforded me a rare opportunity to feel superior to the process of sausage-making, and believe me, that doesn't happen often. My name is Chris A., and I have sausage anxiety. Read that list up there about my sausage maker, the instrument that I describe with distanced assurance. It's a ruse, I tell you. No matter how often I try to buck up, no matter how definitive a recipe, no matter how wonderful a pork butt or a lamb shoulder, when it comes to making sausages, I go limp with worry. Can you blame me? Look at all the places you can screw up, where your sausage can fail you utterly and leave you in tears. You grab some wonderful meat, hold it in your hands, appreciate its glory. Chill. You grind it, add some fat, and sprinkle some seasoning, whatever the flesh requires. Chill again. Slow down, contemplate the moon or something. You paddle that meat to bind it, melding flavor and texture seamlessly. Chill some more. What's your hurry? Toss a bit into a skillet, ask: are we ready? and adjust as needed. Stuff away. Then relax. If you can. I can't. You need to keep things cool to take care of your sausage, and it's challenging to stay cool when I'm all a-flutter about the prospect of a culminating, perfect, harmonious bind. If you read the books and you watch the shows, everyone acts just about as cool as a cucumber. But that's not real life with my sausage. It's a frenzy, I tell you. I know I should chill and relax, but I get all hot and bothered, start hurrying things along, unable to let the meat chill sufficiently, to take things slowly. Hell, I'm sweating now just thinking about it. I have to admit that I don't have this sausage problem when I'm alone in the house, have a couple of hours to kill, and know I won't be disturbed. I just settle in, take it nice and slow, not a care in the world, and everything comes out fine. But with someone else around, forget about it. Despite this mishegas, my wife is as supportive as she can be. She humors me patiently about these things, gently chiding, "Slow down! The house isn't on fire. It's just your sausage." Though I know she loves me despite my foibles, that sort of talk just adds fuel to that fire -- I mean, she can speak so glibly because it's not her sausage we're worrying about. Even if I am I able to relax, the prospect of sudden, precipitous sausage humiliation comes crashing down upon me. Think of it. All seems to be going so well -- a little too well. I'm keeping things cool, making sure that I'm taking it easy, following the plan step-by-step, trusting my instincts. I smile. I get cocky. And then, the frying pan hits the fire, and within moments I'm hanging my head: instead of forming a perfect bind, my sausage breaks and I break down. I want a firm, solid mass, and I'm watching a crumbly, limp link ooze liquid with embarrassing rapidity. Given my gender, in the past I've tried to subdue sausage anxiety with predictable contrivances: machines, science, and technique. If there's a tool or a book useful for perfecting my sausage, I've bought or coveted it. I calculate ratios of meat, salt, cure, sugar, and seasonings past the decimal; I measure out ingredients to the gram on digital scales; I poke instant-read thermometers into piles of seasoned meat; I take the grinder blade to my local knife sharpener to get the perfect edge. (We've already covered the stuffer above, of course.) I've got a full supply of dextrose, Bactoferm, and DQ curing salts numbers 1 and 2. The broken binding of my copy of Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie has xeroxes and print-outs from eight other sources, and the pages are filled with crossed-out and recalculated recipes. It's the sort of thing that I used to do when I was younger: arm myself with all things known to mankind and blast ahead. It hasn't helped. I've learned the hard way that my hysterical masculine attempt to master all knowledge and technology has led, simply, to more panic and collapse. There is, I think, hope. I'm older, and my approach to my sausage has matured. I'm in less of a hurry, I roll with the challenges, and when the house is on fire, I just find a hydrant for my hose. If things collapse, well, I try to take the long view, recall the successes of my youth, and keep my head up. I mean, it's just my sausage. * * * Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
  17. Hi all! I'm new here. I'm an amateur cook from Stockholm, Sweden, sometimes with ideas far loftier than my skills. My current project: I'm doing pork belly confit. I have some slabs of pork belly brining in the fridge right now in a standard sugar/salt brine. Tomorrow I'm planning on slowly confiting them in duck fat. I don't want a rilette type end result, rather I'm after whole confited pieces. After maturing in duck fat in the fridge for a week or two, the confit could be carved, heated and served with...puy lentils perhaps. I could have gotten pork fat instead of duck fat (cheaper!) but it was just too easy to grab a big can of duck fat when I visited my lokal market yesterday. I've never done this type of confit before (but I have done rilettes). Anything I should think of? Temperature? Cooking time? For duck confit I've seen 190F/90C oven for up to 10-12 hours and I'm assuming the same will apply for my pork. (I also have a big chunk of tough cow marinating in red wine and and the usual aromatics in the fridge. I'm planning on braising it in it's own juices in an aluminium foil packet.)
  18. Have you ever wondered what would happen if you encased a slice of bacon, and a raw egg, in a clear plastic box, and let it sit for a year? This guy did.
  19. I'm working on creating a vegetarian bacon for a rather elaborate plate. This is my idea for the process (try and follow): Using a long, rectangular terrine bold, I'll fill it with store-bought egg whites and steam it. I'll then thinly slice the big regtangular bar with a sandwich slicer so that I'm left with paper-thin, long, rectangular slices of cooked egg white that very closely resemble the fatty part of a bacon strip. I'll lay that on the plate. I'll then create a spice mixture that I feel closely resembles the flavour of bacon (smoked paprika, brown sugar, a bit of cayenne, a bit of hawaiian salt, ground sezchuan pepper, all spice, etc. [lots of 'red' spices]). I'll sprinkle the spice mixture in 'lines' of varying width along the egg white 'fat'. Voila, fake bacon! Should work pretty well, shouldn't it?
  20. Novice at meat-curer looking for advice. I'm making 2 pancettas this season. The first one I used the over-salting technique. What I didn't expect was that the salt would all turn into brine in a day, and I expected that I could scrape away the excess salt at the end. Instead, I left it on the brine for too long, and the result was too salty. The meat firmed up in 2 days so I should've taken it out then. For my second one, which is currently in the fridge, I used the equilibrium salting technique. I added about 100g salt for 3.5kg meat. The problem now is that it's not firming up seemingly at all! It has been 9 days in the fridge, and flipping it every day or 2. After 6 days, however, there was no pool of brine left. I put the meat in a folded over but unsealed bag. Did the brine evaporate or resoak into the meat? Any advice on how to continue would be appreciated.
  21. I'm a big fan of pastrami and a big fan of lengua tacos, so when I saw a tongue at the butcher's shop I immediately thought "tonguestrami!" I've never had it before, but I know it exists and it sounds delicious. I'm going to use the Modernist Cuisine recipe, seeing as I've got copious amounts of the spice rub on hand, but I had a couple questions: First, do I need to skin the tongue? I always find my lengua more appetizing if this step has been followed, but am not sure if it's necessary if it is going to be sliced. I was thinking about blanching and peeling after the cure and before the cook. Second, what is the best temp/time to cook sous vide for a good sliceable texture? MC lists 154 F for 12 for a tender, juicy texture but don't know if thats equates to what I want. Other recipes seem to show much longer cooking times, like 24-48 hours, so I just want to make sure that I get the right formula. Thanks!
  22. We all know you can brine a bird, smoke a turkey, etc... I am looking for info on preserving turkey & chicken through a curing process. The googlenet has suprisingly little info on the subject. Any knowledge would be appreciated.
  23. As I mentioned in the Half a Hog Fall 2014 topic, I'm doing a bunch of dry curing right now (in my new curing chamber!). Here's a plot of percent weight versus time as of today: I'm doing the cures according to Ruhlman and Polcyn's Salumi, so am targeting a 30% weight reduction. As you can see, however, while the Lonza is on track to achieve that level of reduction, both the coppa and the pancetta seem to be asymptotically approaching a final dried state that does not achieve the desired 30% reduction. Is this a problem, do you think? Should I keep them curing, or call them done?
  24. I found a link here, on egullet, for a recipe of pancetta. I was amused by the sentence at the bottom "pancetta is not meant to be eaten uncooked". Is it just cultural? I grew up eating it. In my university cafeteria in Milan, it was the cheapest panino on sale, only 1,000 lire at the time. Nice and comforting for me a panino with pancetta dolce (the fattier pancetta). So, why not eating it raw? And lardo?
  25. We recently moved to rural Virginia, and have found a local farmer selling whole pastured hogs and we are buying one, about 400# on the hoof. They will deliver to a closely USDA approved butcher, and I could use some suggestions as to how to instruct the butcher, and any good resources online, so I can get the most out of the pig. In addition to the major cuts, I'm planning to ask for the extra fat, the caul fat, soup bones, probably some skin, and for all the scraps to be packaged in pieces rather than ground, so I can grind it myself for sausage. Any other tips? And good ideas for things to do with pig organ meats? Is it worth taking the head or should I just stick with the jowls (hubby is a bit squeamish about the head)? Thanks!
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