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Found 429 results

  1. Sous Vide Duck Confit

    Need to make duck confit in under 4 hours... I was thinking sous-vide at higher than 80°C... any ideas? thanks! pw
  2. Making Bacon

    Can anyone recommend a butcher who can handle an order for a pork belly? I want to try making my own bacon.
  3. Curing Chamber Development

    For the past several years I've used a wine fridge as a curing chamber. This had the advantage of being dead simple: I just set the temperature as low as it would go (55°F, 13°C) and left it alone. This worked fine for short cures (a month or so), but the temperature control was poor, and humidity was controlled via the wet salt method, which results in humidity that is a bit too high. Because the cooling was thermoelectric, during the hot summer months here the fridge ran constantly and was still more like 65°F/18°C, which is bit higher than I would like. I also wanted to move the chamber to the garage so it wasn't taking up space in the kitchen, which would be completely untenable in the summer with only thermoelectric cooling. They also proved to be unreliable, repeatedly breaking down over the years (I've replaced both fans and Peltier units in two fridges). SO.... I wanted a new, more reliable, more accurate, more controllable system. I also wanted an excuse to goof around with my fledgling microcontroller skills. Here are the goals of the project: Temperature controlled to any set point between 10°C and 38°C (for fermentation stage). Humidity controlled to any set point between 60%RH and 90%RH. External readout of temp and humidity. Long-term average display of temp and humidity. Looks cool. Is fun to create.Actually, number six was probably the primary driver here, if I'm being honest with myself. The others followed from that! To address temperature control over that range, I needed to use a compressor-driven refrigerator, rather than a thermoelectric unit (basically none of which can reliably get the interior temperature that low when living in the garage). At the other end of the spectrum the plan is to simply use a lamp as a "heater" -- this is unimplemented as of yet, because I don't need a fermentation stage in my current curing projects. For humidity control the plan was to use a humidifier in a box below the fridge that vents into the fridge itself, and to use an exhaust fan at the top of the unit to dehumidify (given the nearly-always-low humidity here in central Oklahoma). I have not implemented the actual humidifier yet because I don't need upward control at the moment, my problem is dehumidification. To control all of this I am using an Arduino Uno development board coupled with a DHT22 temp/humidity sensor, plus four pins used to control the fridge (via an AC relay), lamp (AC relay), humidifier (AC relay), and exhaust fan (transistor). I've also got a 16x2 LCD wired up to display the status and averages. Here is a shot of the breadboarded system (obviously once I'm happy with it I'll ditch the breadboard...): The LCD is set up to display the current conditions on the top line, and a rotating set of averages (hourly, daily, and monthly) on the bottom line: Here's the installed prototype (you can see the chamber for the humidifier below the fridge): A closeup of the electronics: The sensor placement (obviously not permanent, the whole thing is still in the prototype stage): My fancy dehumidifier (there is a hole drilled into the fridge beneath the fan): If you are of a technical bent you can see the control code at GitHub. Once I've finalized the system I'll also publish the schematics there.
  4. Is there anyone in the forum that can suggest me how to cook this kind of Portuguese sausage? Many thanks in advance!!!!
  5. Confit Duck

    I'm in the process of making confit duck, so I thought I'd share my technique for doing so; it's a slightly modified version of the one I make in the restaurant. I hope this encourages people to try making it, as it's a wonderful thing to have in the storecupboard. I'd be interested in hearing how other people's techniques vary from my own. You'll need: 10 duck legs (I use French Babrary) a lemon, sliced into 6 or so slices an orange, ditto a couple of dozen sprigs of thyme half a dozen bay leaves a head of garlic about 8oz / 220g medium coarse salt about 2kg / 4lb duck or goose fat (I use goose) 1) In a plastic or otherwise non-reactive contatiner that'll fit in the fridge, place everything apart from the goose fat, and mix with the hands to combine. Leave in the fridge for 12-16 hours. 2) Take the legs out of the fridge. The salt will have dissolved and there'll be some fluid in the bottom of the container. 3) In warm water, rinse the duck legs, and leave them to drain. Rinse and drain the herbs, garlic, orange and lemon. 4) Place half the herbs, garlic and fruit slices in the bottom of a heavy pot (I use a cast-iron Le Creuset pot) 5) Make the first layer of duck legs, overlapping like this. 6) Place the fifth leg in to make a complete circle. 7) Fill in the middle with the remaining herbs/garlic/fruit. 8) Make the second layer of five legs in the same way as the first. 9) Just cover with warm duck/goose fat. 10) Cover with a cartouche of aluminium foil. It's imporatant that the foil doesn't overlap the edge of the pot otherwise the fat may spill over upon cooking. 11) Place in the oven at 90C (200F) for 12-14 hours. The lid should be slightly ajar, as shown, and it's good practice to place a tray underneath the pot to avoid any spillage catching fire on the oven floor. I learned this the hard way. If there's any interest, I'll put up pics of the potting process when I do that tomorrow. Hope this proves of interest...
  6. 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.
  7. Pancetta troubles

    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.
  8. Curing Duck Prosciutto

    I'm thinking of dry-curing some duck prosciutto for the first time and I've been reading through a lot of blog posts about it. I've noticed that most people who don't have access to a humidity-controlled chamber end up with a very hard surface on the meat due to the overly-dry air. When curing regular prosciutto, most producers avoid this by covering the exposed meat with lard. Has anyone tried covering the exposed meat on the duck breasts with either lard or rendered duck fat?
  9. I made some Lonza and cured it for 2 weeks. In the drying chamber (70% humidity and 55F with gentle air flow) it's only been 4 days but it's already lost 30% of its pre-drying chamber weight. Normally that can take weeks. Is that normal, and is the meat ready? Thank you
  10. Pig Face

    I have received a wonderful gift from a lovely friend. A whole home cured, dried pig face. I call her Cameron. This will be used slowly over the winter. I'm dribbling thinking about the ears stir-fried with chilies Hunan style. The cheeks! The snout! I'm ecstatic. Snout I'm watching! I'll follow up with with how I use it, but for the moment I'm just content watching her watching me as she hangs in the wind on my balcony. It's love!
  11. Guanciale; mold?

    My first Guanciale is looking good. It smells clean, fresh, and is firming up nicely after about 3 weeks in the curing chamber at 65% humidity and 55F. First piece slices nicely and it seems great. I've a question… On the outside are some tiny white/straw-colored flecks (ignore darker flecks - this is some remaining Thyme from the cure). They do not penetrate the skin and I am not sure whether it's mold or salt coming out or fat or what. Thoughts? Likely safe? Thank you
  12. 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.
  13. Mold on Bresaola?

    This is elk bresaola 3 weeks after hanging in the drying chamber, and losing weight as expected. The growth on the outside seems mainly green on the outside of the netting. Probably safe... or pitch it? And if safe, wash or spray with anything? Strip the netting off, or...? Thank you
  14. Help with our charcuterie

    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.
  15. Hello! I'm not sure if the "cookbook" section of the forum is the best choice for this post, but... I recent was gifted "Dry-Curing Pork" by Hector Kent - a purely self serving gift from my boyfriend, I might add! I'm going to make the coppiette this weekend, and his instructions for slicing the loin are a bit vague to me. He directs to slice it in "... 3/4 inch strips at least 8 inches long." Do you suppose the 3/4" dimension refer to thickness of the slice (ie the smallest of 3 dimensions), or might he mean thinner slices that are 3/4" wide? Misinterpreting this would really change the cure/dry time... Am I making sense? Thoughts? And for fun, here's my report on my first attempt at his bacon recipe (among other things). Um... wow! http://operaflute.blogspot.com/2015/06/when-time-is-on-your-side-bacon-and.html Thanks!
  16. This is a product that has been mentioned in various threads here, but I don't think it's ever had one of it's own. This is a shame, because it seems intriguing. It promises the ability to do charcuterie and/or dry aging of steaks without a specialized room or curing chamber - just bags - all in your refrigerator. However like many products, their marketing lacks detail and it's difficult to discern exactly what is being claimed. But basically, the main product consists of specialized bags that will allow moisture out, but nothing else in (like oxygen). And another thing called a VacMouse - which is important in some way that is never totally explained. But the basic idea is that you're going to cure your meat in a standard way for 1-2 weeks and then vacuum pack it in the Dry Bag with the help of the VacMouse using a typical FoodSaver device. Then you just put it in the refrigerator on a rack and wait for weeks or months. Then you have bresaola, capicola, prosciutinni, lonzino, etc. After watching some online videos and doing some web searches, it appears that this may be a very useful thing - with some caveats.... First, dry aging of steaks seems to be a major marketing focus. But it looks like they're taking some criticism from dry aging enthusiasts who point out that without the exposure to oxygen, dry aging isn't really taking place. They are aging, and they're drying, but not with all the benefits of the traditional process. Yet, they do have some support in the form of positive reviews on various sites. For the same reasons, no one is going to challenge Parma for the best cured ham bites using this product. That's just a given. But it could offer something in between. And I'm not ready to build my curing chamber just yet. So I ordered a kit and it arrived today. It will probably be months before I know anything further, but I thought I'd relate what I've found so far. And I hope people who have used it will chime in. I'll have some waiting to do. The particular charcuterie kit I ordered from Amazon (I was using Amazon bucks) was 24.99 plus $8.99(!) shipping. For this I received 5 dry bags, 6 VacMouses, a packet of Instacure #2, and a packet of juniper berries - all packaged frugally, but practically, stored in an elongated ziplock bag between a cardboard brochure. It hardly seemed to justify an $8.99 shipping charge (although perhaps that was Amazon). Anyway, the good news is that after I examined everything, it all went back into it's original packaging without any fuss and awaits its call to duty. So, besides the cure and the spice, we have plastic bags and VacMouses. The plastic bags are apparently special because they will let the moisture out with out letting any of bad stuff from your refrigerator in. The VacMouses appear to be some sort of plastic fabric that make up for the fact that the bags do not have the channeling that FoodSaver bags do. Apparently, they will (along with the recommended crinkling of the neck of the bag) will take the place of those channels until they are sealed shut by the heat of the element. (and again by the recommended second sealing). It all seems plausible, and I feel supported by many wonderful pics on unaffiliated forums of beautifully sliced meats. But then again, I paid nearly $7.00/bag (including spice, and cure, and shipping). If you buy meat at $2/lb and put in a $5 bag, some calculations have to occur. But, of course, we're competing with the cost of high price specialty items or investments in curing chambers. Well, I guess we'll see.... (sorry for the long post, but I wanted to include all the information I wish I'd found upon learning of this product - as opposed to having to all the searching myself. And, also, I could be wrong in anything I have said. I haven't actually used the product.)
  17. Sausage Making

    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.
  18. [Moderator note: The original Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 6)] Duck prosciutto.
  19. Green Mold on Dry-Cured Sausages?!

    My battles with green mold are well documented here. For example, I present a few sticks of particularly memorable sopressata: Following the advice of basically every book ever published in English on the subject, in which green mold = deadly, horrible failure, I tossed them out. There are a few exceptions out there; members here mention washing it off and rehanging it, but only at the early stages. Shortly after that disappointment, I went to Barcelona, where I had this experience: Still no answers. Fast forward to August 2009. Chris Hennes and I are hitting the outer boroughs in search of good food, and we arrive here. The justly famous Calabria Pork Store, on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx. The place is the holy shrine of cured pork on the east coast, and it smells hog heavenly. Hundreds of sausages, sides of pork, hams, you name it are hanging overhead. However, when you walk a bit closer to the product, you see this: These sausages weren't speckled with green mold; they didn't have a bit here and there. Most of the product in room was coated 40-50% with fuzzy, green to blue mold. Our jaws dropped. We asked the counter person three or four different times what the story was, and he looked at us like we were nuts. We got the sort of reaction you'd get if you tried to ask a crab on the ocean floor why it was so humid around here. Meanwhile, Hennes and I ate about as much of the free sample plate as we could eat without being arrested. The stuff is fantastic: funky, rich, deep flavor that only the best cured pork gets. And we're not dead. Something, clearly, is going on, and I'm hellbent on getting to the bottom of it. Here are my questions: 1. What, exactly, is this "fuzzy green mold"? What distinguishes "fuzzy green mold" from "chalky white mold"? 2. What effects do these molds have? How do you determine which effects are detrimental, beneficial, or both? 3. If, as all the books indicate, this "fuzzy green mold" is so terrible for you, why in the world is a premier salumeria displaying it overhead for all the world to see? For starters, does anyone have any access to actual facts?
  20. No where near kosher, but never the less interesting... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/28/dining/2..._r=2&ref=dining Dan
  21. 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.
  22. We made some salami a couple of months back using the pork from our berkshire pigs (which we rear on our orchard). We followed Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's advice in the River Cottage Cookbook, using LS25 as a starter and hung the sausages in our verandah, which is well aired and generally in shade except perhaps at sunset. We were going to take them down around about now, but have noticed the mould on them is not quite as it should be. They developed white mould about midway through the process of being hung, but this week we spotted other colours. We are uncertain how long they've been like that - maybe just a few days, potentially a few weeks. They are partially covered in a thin layer of white mould, but also in places grey/green and, more worryingly, with spots of black. The black seems to be a development of the white mould - you have spots of black surrounded by a circle of white. In addition, they have some moisture on them - which looks to me like condensation but appears slightly correlated with the black mould. (There appear to be spots of black where the condensation is - possibly just random coincidence.) I took a couple of pictures, below. Does anyone have any experience they could share on this? I've seen a lot of different opinions, ranging from "anything other than white is potentially deadly" to "you can just wipe it off with vinegar and it should be fine". Obviously I don't want to take risks with our health, but nor do I want to throw away 3 kilos of our produce. So I'm hoping someone will have useful insights! Thanks Josh
  23. 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?
  24. Curing weight loss plateau

    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?
  25. Capicollo not drying properly

    Hey,so I made capicollo few weeks ago,and for drying I got small Danby fridge,I placed some water with vinegar inside,turn the fridge up so in the end the temp was like 6-8 C,and humidity 90% and the thing still dry more on outside,forming dark harder layer what am I doing wrong? Thanks.