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Found 407 results

  1. Hi. I'm brand new to this site. I used to be on Chowhound but I see now that that site is a mess. I found this site and it looks pretty cool. The main reason I joined is I’m looking for recommendations for a restaurant to hold my wedding in March 2018. We were hoping maybe in Brooklyn but we are open to anything interesting. There will be 55-60 people and the ceremony will also be at the restaurant. I’m thinking of a brunch/early afternoon affair, most likely on a weekend. Would love to find a funky/old school/unique/charming type of place for my sweetheart. Inexpensive please! Thank you in advance!
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.)
  9. 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?
  10. Salami - the wrong kind of mold?

    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
  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. Salami Safety

    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?
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
  16. Fresh Spanish Chorizo

    Hola egulleters! Those of you who know me know that I like to turn my hand at Charcuterie now and then. Nothing is more satisfying than breaking down a whole pig and turning it into delicious cured meats and sausages. I'm quite happy making a wide range of products but there's one thing that I just can't get right. Fresh Spanish cooking chorizo, in particular I want to try and recreate this wonderful stuff from Brindisa http://www.brindisa.com/store/fresh-chorizo-and-morcilla/all-fresh-chorizo-and-morcilla/brindisa-chorizo-picante/ They're wonderfully red, juicy and packed with deep pimenton flavour. Now when I make them I can get the flavour right but the texture is all wrong, very mealy, not at all juicy and the colour loses it's vibrancy too easily. What's the secret to them I wonder? Some kind of additive and/or food colouring? My recipe sees me mincing 2.3 kg fatty pork shoulder through a fine die, mixing with 80g pimenton, 50g salt, 30g sugar, 35g fresh garlic and stuffing into sheep casings. Here's a photo of them: I rest them overnight in the fridge before cooking with them. Maybe I should be putting some curing salt in there and hanging them for a couple of days? Does anyone have any experience making this kind of juicy fresh Spanish chorizo or even chistorra?
  17. Hi all, I am a first timer with regard to making confit duck legs. Living out in the sticks, I cannot readily get fresh duck, so have procured some frozen white pekin duck legs. I have defrosted them, trimmed off the excess fat to render, salted them heavily with sea salt, bay leaves, thyme, garlic, juniper berries and pepper and vacuum sealed them. I intend to leave them to cure for twelve hours in the fridge, unpack and rinse then cook sous vide at 78 degrees C for 12 hours. The photos are just after packing. My main questions are: How much liquid should be extracted from the legs? Should I include further seasonings in the bags when cooking? Is 12 hours curing adequate? How long should I let it rest before consumption? I have trawled the forums and google, and I am finding so much conflicting information. Thanks Simon
  18. Hello All! I wanted to share some great news-- my friend, French cook and culinary instructor Kate Hill, is bringing famed butcher and charcuterie master Dominique Chapolard for a bunch of workshops. There's still seats available at some of the sites--here is a link with the details: http://kitchen-at-camont.com/2013/02/24/two-day-workshops-in-the-usa-the-french-pig-making-farmstead-charcuterie/ TTFN, jeff
  19. How to bone a lamb Neck?

    Hello All- I often purchase lamb necks and they usually come in 1 inch slices. Well..............I went to the slaughterhouse this time and purchased three and each was 5 -6 inches tall. I'm not quite sure how to approach it. I'm just creating chopped meat for some merguez patties so it doesn't have to be pretty, but I have NO idea of what to do first. I'm sure all of the butchers are laughing at me, but any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
  20. I am first time poster (Have lurked here fior 5+ years)... I have made Pastrami a number of times with reasonable success, but have never made Montreal smoked meat... I have finally found a recipe for Smoked meat (Mile End Cookbook) and want to have a go at it.....As well as Pastrami....I have bought a whole un-trimmed brisket (flat and point (deckel) attached for my smoked meat as well as a plate (navel) for my pastrami.... I will be dry curing both cuts (whole brisket for smoked meat & plate (navel) for pastrami) (obviously different curing & spicing processes)....I shall be smoking them together with either cherry, apple or oak..(suggestions as to which wood will be appreciated). As my whole brisket is approx. 10 lbs and my plate is about 7 lbs. I am going to have more pastrami/smoked meat than I can reasonably consume in a few days.... My question is: I have a "Foodsaver" vacuum sealer and want to package into 2-3 lb. portions for use at a later date....My thought is to take the process through curing/spicing/smoking and then portion and vacuum pack for later use. I would then finish with the steaming just prior to consuming.... Question #1.......How long will the vacuum sealed pastrami/smoked meat last in the fridge??? Question #2. ...Can I freeze the vacuum sealed packages without loss of quality for a longer period of time, say 1-2 months...??? Question #3....Should I steam the meat prior to vacuum sealing, freezing etc.??? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.. Thanks Mike
  21. Hi, I did one of my first attemts at sausage making yesterday; and had a rather frustrating experience with my Kenwood Chef sausage filler attachment. I had to press really hard to get anything to come out of the nozzle, and the "plastic stuffer" was hard to get up again, because of the vacum beeing produced. The meat was gooy and a mashy when it finally got into the casings. Is this attachment any good at all, or did I do something wrong, like pressing down to hard? I sure was hard work, I got a real good workout. I sous vided the sausages to 61.5c and shock-chilled. I have not tasted them yet; but they look almost like emulsified sausages (not intended!) - I am hoping for great taste and sub-par texture :-)
  22. Hi everyone, I just had to re-sign up since it's been awhile I wanted to let you all know the awesome news that I will be releasing a book at the end of the year about my time learning the charcuterie and butchery of Spain. It's called Charcutería: The Soul of Spain, and will have a foreword by James Beard award-winning chef José Andrés. The book is going to have a bunch of traditional techniques and recipes for Spanish charcuterie and pork butchery, as well as recipes and other little tricks I picked up working with the folks in the Extremaduran countryside. My photog and I just got back from visiting Spain for the photoshoot and the guys up in Asturias did a little video about it. Here's the link to the video: http://www.whereisasturias.com/?p=6602 And a link to our FB page (Lots more photos... please like!): https://www.facebook.com/charcuteriaspain?ref=ts&fref=ts Please feel free to write me if you have any requests or questions for the book--really trying to make something that my fellow meatheads and sausage nerds can get into. Ciao, jeff PS: As a little offering to my hopefully-new eGullet pals here's a sexy photo from the Jamón slicing shoot. Tatoos and meat...
  23. LEM Meat grinders

    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.
  24. Ordering Boar's Head Online?

    Maybe my google mojo is wearing thin these days - but is there a supplier anywhere that carries the full line of boars head products online? I've found a few random products, but alas, nothing complete. And not what I want (corned beef, pastrami, small hard pepperoni). I know there's better products, but I've got a bit of an emotional connection to the BH product and there's nothing within hundreds of miles of me... Any ideas?
  25. Hot Dog Fiasco

    I just started making my own hotdogs. The first two tries were fairly successful. I use a recipe found in Len Poli's collection of sausage recipes. I adapted it to use lean beef and pork fat. I then smoke them with hickory. Normally until they are 130F or so. Then I vac pack and sous vide to the recommended 151F finish temperature. However, many folks will simply put them in a water bath, no sous vide, and finish that way. Last time I decided to do mix the approach a bit. I used my sous vide setup, but instead of vac packing, I simply put in heavier ziplock style bags, added water, and finished that way. The result was disasterous. The fat leached out of the hotdogs and left me with a very dry product. And this puzzles me greatly. At the 151F temperature, there shouldn't be any serious loss of fat. That is the lower end of what a street vendor should be keeping his hotdogs at in a cart. And those can sit for quite awhile before they are sold. I had expected to lose some flavor to the water in the ziplock, but not all the hotdogs moisture. Any ideas what would be causing that? I have cooked these hotdogs in boiling water, they come out fine. But sit for an hour or more in a bath and they become barely edible. Size of dogs: about a 1 inch "dinner dog" using 26ml or 28ml collagen casing. Photo below is the normal setup, not with water in the ziplock. - and we make sure they are all submerged.
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