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  1. Has anyone tried to cure guanciale (cured pig's jowls) at home? There is a simple recipe in the Babbo cookbook, which also appears on the Babbo Web site: http://www.babbonyc.com/in-guanciale.html I was surprised that the recipe did not call for using any "curing salt." I would love to avoid using curing salt/nitrite, but from some preliminary research, it seems to be a standard curing ingredient in order to kill certain bacteria. I looked at a few recipes for pancetta, and they all use a curing salt, in addition to regular salt. I'm wondering if this is an omission in the recipe, or if it could safely be made without curing salt. Another question: The recipe does not discuss washing the salt off the meat after the cure and before the drying period. This is a step I have seen in pancetta recipes. Another omission of a step that should be followed? Any thoughts on either of these questions? Thanks.
  2. Welcome back to our popular eGullet Cook-Off Series. Our last Cook-Off, Hash, took us into a heated discussion of the meat of the matter--should it be chopped, hashed, sliced, diced, or chunked. Click here, for our Hash discussion, and the answers to all of your questions about this beloved diner staple. The complete eG Cook-Off Index can be found here. Today we’re launching eGullet Cook-Off 59: Cured, Brined, Smoked and Salted Fish. Drying fish is a method of preservation that dates back to Ancient times, but more recently, (let’s say a mere 500 years ago or so), salt mining became a major industry in Europe and salt was a fast and economical way of preserving fish. Curing agents like nitrates were introduced in the 19th century, furthering the safety and taste of preserved fish. Where I live in the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans have been preserving fish and seafood for millennia. While we are best known for our ruby-red, oily-rich, smoked salmon, other species of fish found in the Pacific and in our streams are delicious when cured and smoked including Halibut, Sablefish and Idaho Rainbow Trout. And don’t think that you can’t smoke shellfish, alder-smoked Dungeness Crab is a wondrous Pacific Northwest delicacy that evokes memories of crab roasting over a driftwood fire on the beach. Another method of preserving fish is to bath the beauties in a brine—a combination of water, sugar, salt and spices that adds flavor and moisture to fish before it is dried or smoked. And speaking of smoked fish, you can do it in a small pan on top of the stove, in a cast iron drum, a barbecue pit, an old woodshed or a fancy digital smoker. The methods and flavors produced by smoking fish are endless. Old-fashioned ways of preserving fish, (while adequate at the time), aren't always the best method today. Today's technology provides us with the tools to create cured fish that is moist, succulent, tender and with a hint of smoke. The Modernist movement has certainly played a role in bringing this age-old craft into the 21st century, so for the avant-garde in the crowd, show us your creative wizardry for preserving fish the "modern" way. Cured, Brined, Smoked or Salted, the art of preserving fish opens us up to limitless possibilities that transcend the boundaries of cuisine and culture. So let’s sew-up the holes in our fishnets, scrub the barnacles off the rowboat and set out to sea in search of some delectable fish to cure, brine, smoke and salt.
  3. Following my posting a supermarket bought roast rabbit in the Dinner topic, @Anna N expressed her surprise at my local supermarkets selling such things just like in the west supermarkets sell rotisserie chickens. I promised to photograph the pre-cooked food round these parts. I can't identify them all, so have fun guessing! Rabbit Chicken x 2 Duck Chicken feet Duck Feet Pig's Ear Pork Intestine Rolls Stewed River Snails Stewed Duck Feet (often served with the snails above) Beef Pork Beijing Duck gets its own counter. More pre-cooked food to come. Apologies for some bady lit images - I guess the designers didn't figure on nosy foreigners inspecting the goods and disseminating pictures worldwide.
  4. I have been making pancetta for the first time. I have experience with the curing process doing things like bacon and cold smoked salmon in the past but this is the first time I have ever hanged anything. After a week of curing it has had 11 days hanging so far (I was planning on taking it to 28 days hanging) Although I foolishly forgot to weigh it. It smells really good like some awesome salami and the outer rim of the pancetta looks lovely and rich and dark. It was a recipe by Kuhlman in one of their charcuterie books. But when I inspected it today it had the mould growing on it as in the pics below. I have since scrubbed the mould off with white wine vinegar and returned it to the cellar. Is it wise to continue? Daniel
  5. As I have noted a few times recently, it seems like bacon is perilously close to jumping the shark. Not only does it seem like an interminable length of time that internet foodies have been making a fetish of bacon, but even the fast food and "casual dining" megachains have been catching on with their offings of just about everything "baconized." Even relatively late-to-the party old media are starting to go bacon-wild, and as Steven noted, "typically by the time a trend gets recognized by the New York Times it is already on the decline among the people who actually drove the trend." Now Win Rosenfeld of The Big Money weighs in with similar thinking. None of this is to say that I don't still love bacon. It's tasty as hell. But I long ago stopped obsessing about it, eating it every chance I had, and thinking things such as bacon-flavored mayonnaise were charming, cool or even delicious. Thoughts?
  6. DanM

    Diced Bresaola

    Normally, the local market has bresaola in tissue paper thin slices. Today they also had packages in small dice, probably the leftover ends, bits and pieces. Any thoughts on how to enjoy them, besides nibbling on it? Thank you!
  7. Of late I've become much more interested in dry-curing my own salami. I make a lot of fresh sausage already, but dry curing is a great and unique challenge, and well-made salami is one of my favorite foods. I think I got hooked for good after making the peperone out of the Ruhlman and Polcyn book (I wrote about that over here). I had made the Sopresatta first, and it was good, but that peperone was AMAZING. I have quite a few books on charcuterie, including the Marianski book dedicated to dry-curing. I do my curing in a wine fridge, I've got a smoker set up, I use the Northern Tool grinder, and a cylinder stuffer with a 5lb capacity. Hell, I've even got an old slicer I got off eBay. I should be totally good to go. But sometimes, you just have one of those days... This morning I threw away twelve pounds of salami that I started curing last weekend. The problem? I killed the starter. Somehow. Dunno what I did, but when my new pH test strips arrived (thanks for the recommendation, Dougal, they worked great), to my surprise the pH had not dropped one bit. But, it turns out the three-year-old bottle of distilled water I was using to make the meat slurry had a pH of 5.5!!! So, this topic is for advice, assistance, and general commiseration about how everything woulda been just fine if only... Advice point 1: when that package of starter culture says "use no less than 1/4 of this package," they have a reason. Because instead, I foolishly followed the Marianski recipe to the letter and included only 0.6 grams of starter. The results speak for themselves. Hey, maybe that's not what did it, maybe there was something else wrong. But $45 in trashed meat later and I'm seriously regretting my decision to skimp on the starter.
  8. Where I live pork loin is often on sale for $2.00 or even less... Has anyone an opinion about using just pork loin for the meat along with the 20% pork fat? ? I've read that any meat can be used to make the cured salami... I'd like to hear from anyone before I try it...
  9. I am looking for good sources on the process of making dried and/or cured sausages. I am fairly comfortable making fresh, but really need some direction when it comes to safely drying and curing them. Thanks and happy eating.
  10. Hello to all... At this stage of my dry salami making I'm afraid I have more questions than I'm entitled to. However any help I receive will be most appreciated. 1. I followed directions on the 5 lb. batch as well as I was able... Three weeks into this I have achieved about 43% reduction in weight on all links. I use a wine fridge to cure.. My neighbor took one link home at the same time and just "hung it in his refrigerator" with no special settings for humidity or temperature... This one came out IDENTICAL to all the rest in appearance and weight reduction of 43%. How can this be? 2. I put the left over Mold 600 in a bowl in with the drying salami links. Is this good or not good ? 3. Now that desired weight has been achieved is further aging beneficial? Thanks so much for offering a site like this... All the best to all of you... Joe Wood
  11. After a few years making fresh sausages and occasional dry-cured whole cuts (e.g. pancetta, guanciale), I finally have the space to do some dry-cured sausages, so I hung my first ones up in my basement on Monday. I did a split batch of two recipes from Ruhlman/Polcyn's Charcuterie, the tuscan salami and a variation on the spanish chorizo. The sausages looked good, I pricked them with a needle to get rid of air bubbles, and I placed them into a warm spot overnight to incubate the lactic acid starter. Unfortunately, it got a bit warmer than I expected in there - about 95 degrees F - but that still seemed to be within the starter culture's acceptable range (up to 100). The sausages looked fine, but had wept a small amount of liquid fat, which surprised and slightly concerned me. Since then I've had them hanging in a basement at about 60-65 F and 60% RH. They continue to drip fat consistently, the chorizo a bit more than the salumi. Any thoughts? I'm obviously going to let them dry and see how it goes, but I'm curious what's going on here, and whether it's normal or not. I haven't really found any references to this in any text or on the internet. Many thanks in advance.
  12. Looking to learn and ask questions about home curing meats. I have an 11 lb batch of genoa salami going and it is my first batch. Worried about the PH level not dropping as needed. Need some advice. I followed the Marianski recipe exactly. I have a pH meter and the starting point was 6.15pH which I thought was unusually high. 2.5 months in, I am about 73% of starting weight yet my pH is only 5.88pH. My curing chamber is consistently at 57deg. F. /80% humidity. My pH tester seems calibrated properly using the calibration solutions. I am using the meat probe adapter and just sticking it in the salami until the tip is submerged etc...Thanks in advance for any suggestions or reassurances. Glen
  13. Coppa is a classic italian delicacy of matured cured meat. Not as widely known as prosciutto and, in my opinion, not justifiably. The curing time takes weeks, as it should for a well matured and multilayered flavour. Good things come to those who wait, but while you do, why not treat yourself to a quick fix of cooked coppa? Here is what I do: Salt the meat in 2% dry rub (nitrate salt and regular salt 50/50) in a vacuum bag for 5 days; Rub dry herbs and spices (whatever comes to mind). The meat will be sticky, so it's easy; Cook on rack above a tray in the oven on fan setting at 80 celcius to internal temperature 67 celsius. This will take a couple of hours. When internal temperature reaches 60 -ish I add some boiling water in the tray to speed up the heat delivery; Cool in the fridge overnight; Enjoy. This is a seriously moreish ham.
  14. I just finished curing my first lomo, and all looks/smells/tastes great except a couple sections inside the lomo that could be black mold? I kept the exterior clean from mold (I had mostly white and some green pop up during curing, but wiped with vinegar to keep clean). This picture shows one of those spots closer to the edge in the fat, but there was a second near the middle of the loin that I cutout already. Unless I find more substantial sections, I think I'm good just cutting away those parts, but would love second opinions.. Thanks.
  15. I'm looking for guanciale, preferably in the Sonoma County area but am willing to travel a bit or order online if necessary. Any ideas?
  16. I've recently been reading (well, skipping around) my copy of Ruhlman & Polcyn's Charcuterie. My interest is primarily in dry cured products like prosciutto or bresaola. So I'd like to start a thread specifically about these variants. As my plans for building a curing chamber (and a proper place for it) take a back seat to other pressing home renovations, I'm in a kind of limbo between consumer and producer/both. But my imagination goes on and I keep finding new questions - among these are: 1) Commercial prosciutto: I've been doing taste tests with various super/specialty market prosciuttos and have found less differentiation than I would've expected. Even between a Walmart Del Duca and a Boar's Head imported Prosciutto di Parma, The Parma did take the edge in the judging, but not but not at a premium of $10/pound. Is actual prosciutto bought in Itally better? 2) The book Charcuterie seems to stop at describing the procedure for specfic things, That's fine, but what if I want to do something different (e,g, treat a pork loin as a breasaola)? Could science create a prosciutto in a shorter time by cutting it down into smaller pieces?
  17. This afternoon I found a bag of sliced supermarket Genoa salami in my bedroom, where it had been several days without refrigeration. I was wondering where it went. It looked OK. Do you think it is safe to eat? Perhaps should I try to pasteurize it?
  18. Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
  19. DanM

    Smoked Beef

    One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  20. Hi! i am working at a restaurant in south africa where we are curing our own meet. We are having a problem with tiny little white bugs (they look almost like lice) that are inside our leg hams. Does anyone know what they are and how we should get rid of them. the picture attached is the damage they have done on one of our legs.
  21. Has anyone used the LEM Meat grinders? I have been using the attachment on my Hobart mixer 20QT, but it does not quite do the job as weel as I would like. IE: clogging of some of the holes, not uniform grind etc. I'm not sure if this is due to sloppy tolerances of the die plates and blade or not. I always chill the grinder and make sure the meat is cold usually start off on a 3/4 die and go down to a 3/16. I'm curious if the commercial grinders are any better with this? I have been looking at the LEM 780 3/4 hp unit.
  22. rlibkind

    Lamb Bacon

    I couldn't find a topic dedicated to lamb bacon in a quick search, so here goes . . . I ordered two lamb breasts from one of my Reading Terminal Market butchers in Philadelphia, and for less than $16 got two breasts with the bones removed (reserved for scotch broth or grilled riblets for nibbling - there's still a little meat left). I followed the simple recipe from Mark Bittman's blog (contributed by Danny Meyer, from a recipe from his colleague Brian Mayer; you can find it here). It's two cups salt, one cup sugar, coat the meat, wrap and let it sit in the fridge for 2-4 days until firm. (Mine took four.) Then roast at 250F until you hit internal temp of 140F. I failed to correct for my inaccurate oven, so I overcooked a bit and didn't pull the breasts until they hit 180F. But they were still delicious. Here are the before and after cooking photos:
  23. I have recently become obsessed with Charcuterie. It started with a plate at Craftsman in Minneapolis made in house by the chef. I found a little spot in Duluth, Minnesota named Northern Waters Smokehaus making salumi that recently entered their wares in Batali's Salumi contest in Seattle and won top prize. Their salumi is incredible but I would like to branch out to the big boys like Fra'Mani and Salumi. I found a little spot in my hometown in Minneapolis that sells Salumi's selection at $25 a pound. This seems expensive but I have no idea what they charge in Seattle. Is this in line? I am a liitle cash strapped but am looking for suggestions. Anyone know of good Salumi that has reasonable shipping charges and prices?
  24. While I'm a frequent participant in the Cocktail forum here, I would normally describe my participation in the rest of eGullet as "dedicated lurking". The issue at hand, however, is of such import that I figured it would be best to ask a direct question rather than rely on the indirect information on the subject I have uncovered. Recently I became slightly obsessed with making confit. Duck legs and lamb shanks are both in the queue, but I have already completed projects with chicken legs (in a mix of shmalz and home-rendered lard) as a way to explore the concept on a budget, and pork shoulder in lard as another cheap way to experiment and broaden my horizons with the technique. I also began getting into sausage making around the same time and have since read much about canning and so as you might expect I've had a lot of recent exposure to information and warnings about botulism. The warnings on things like confit have been relatively oblique, however. My fiancee and I are planning to make gift baskets for friends and family containing a variety of homemade food items and pork confit was to be part of this ensemble due to its low cost of production and high level of deliciousness. But while I'm cavalier about health risks to myself at times the last thing I want to do is give my friends and family botulism. The fabulous duck confit thread gives cursory info on canning of confit, implying that it can then be stored at room temperature. As I have read that pressure canning has an adverse effect on confitted meat, I assume that a stronger (ie saltier) cure is in order if one plans to do something like this. My plan is merely to allow the meat to be stored in the long term at refrigerator temperatures, but this seems like it would be an ideal environment for botulism development, particularly in recipes with garlic and/or onions. I admit that Ms. Wolfert's recommendation of 22 g of salt/lb of (bone-in?) meat is far more than I have used in either of my initial attempts (ok, I didn't measure with any sort if precision on the first go 'round). Is this the safe amount of salt to use in the cure to prevent the growth of botulism? Does a longer cure time help? Am I obsessing over nothing? There don't really seem to be any reports of people getting sick from confit, but it is hardly a kitchen staple in the English-speaking world so that doesn't rule anything out. Anyone have any good information about this? -Andy
  25. I just ate some morteau sausage for lunch - it was lightly-smoked and I got if from the cooked meat counter of selfridges, but it seemed pretty raw... are you supposed to cook it? If so I might be in trouble.. would someone please clarify (quickly! i might not have long left...)
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