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Neal J. Brown

Sausage Making

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How about trying to make your salumi without the salt peter, the REAL way!!

I'm thinking more about pork shoulder or leg, and I want the safety of saltpeter.

I have heard that Michael Staedtlander at Eigensinn cures without saltpeter, and serves it, but I am still concerned about my own work.

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My ten year old supply of saltpeter is finally finished, and I can't find a store that sells it.  The original came from a drug store, but they don't bother with it now.

Is there a type of store I should go to, or gostraight to the online sources?

I would recommend going straight to the online sources. If your locals don't have it, there's little utility in making a long special trip for a couple pounds of the stuff.

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Hello Ore, (and everyone else)

Hope all your travelling's going well.

I'd love to hear what different kinds of salame/prosciutto/pancetta you made in Italy.

I'm also interested to understand why you think that the addition of chemicals is necessarily bad? Being a bit of a traditionalist, I am definitely of the opinion that the simpler the better. But mine is a position borne probably more of prejudice aginst the new and love of the old than due to any real wisdom from experience. Also, what qualifies as a chemical in your book. After all, when we talk about chemicals isn't salt as much of a chemical as potassium nitrate, which, as far as I can tell, has been used traditionally for centuries. My uncle scrapes it off rock outcrops near his house to use as fertiliser!

I guess for me the real measures are ease of production, health and above all TASTE. If it's possible to make a simpler saucisson that tastes as good or better than one full of nitrates and starter cultures, so much the better, but personally, when it comes to spending my not so plentiful money I just want to be sure I'll have something delicious (or at least edible) at the end of it.

Finally, I'm guessing that the place where you worked, had an ageing room full of other cured products, the walls and air of which would have been heavy with the kind of bacteria needed and whose temperature and humidity were either controlled or naturally stable. Unfortunatley my garden shed probably has several years to go til then, so in the meantime starter cultures (I use health-food shop-bought acidophilus) seem like a good idea. But then again, this is fear of spoilage talking, not experience.

Your advice and thoughts would be really helpful. Thanks,

Tom

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Jackal,

Sorry to hear about your bacon, but at least your salami are looking good. Just a thought, but reading the linked recipe you used for bacon, I was surprised that the bellies seemed to be left to cure uncovered on a table. All reipes I have ever read call for the belly pieces to be stacked in a large non-reactive container and weighted down. The flies might have gotten it at that stage, otherwise before smoking as jsolomon suggests, or maybe even between slaughter and refrigeration (although you'd hope not).

I'm curious to know where you hang your salami. Do you know the humidity? The temperature seems perfect. How long are you going to hang for?

Tom

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I hung the salami in one of what was meant to be a garage, but is now mostly full of junk, while the cars sit outside, for 5 days. They are more brown than red. Is that right?

They are in the smoker now. I intend to mature them for about a month after smoking.

I think you are right, and the flies got to the bacon before smoking. Next time I'll cover in muslin, or dry in the fridge. The bits I rescued were excellent and made a wonderful quiche.

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Good to hear you managed to salvage some of the bacon. I always like to hear of a bit of thrifty work...

My first salame, which was a partial success (didn't make me ill, not entirely pleasant...) did have a slightly brownish look as well. They had dried too quickly in the attic (too warm and not humid enough), I think, and were practically solid round the outside but still soft and moist in the middle. Not ideal. Since that I've moved experiments to the garden shed, which seems more humid, although it fluctuates more in temperature. Maybe the garage could do with a little humidity? Water on radiators?

Also, you didn't mention an incubation period in the description of your salame-making. Basically, to give the lactobacillus culture a kickstart (I believe it also helps with the colour) it's suggested you hang the salame first in a warm place (I've heard various indications between 15-30C) for anything from 24 to 48 hours. The last lot of bacon I made, which I'm still working my way throuhg, I gave this treatment (25C or so for 36 hours) and it turned out very well. A little salty, but the error for that must lie elsewhere. In fact, as it's been hanging in the shed for over a month now, I've taken to eating slivers of it like ham. mmmmmmmm...

Does anyone have any tips for less salty dry-cure bacon that will last? Or is this an impossible dream?

Tom

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Beautiful pictures jackal, thanks. The saucisson looks great too. Is that a pizza oven your smoking in - lucky you. I've had fanciful thoughts of wood-fired ovens recently, but no money and live in rented house in london = no oven.

Did you manage to keep the temperature down while you were smoking? I haven't done any smoking myself yet but there's a smoker in the pipeline I hope (at the back of a long line including incubator, maturing fridge and paying my mum back...) Having pancetta but not being able to smoke it is just torture.

What kind of wood did you use? Chips or sawdust? Did you have to attend to the smoker often or could you let it be?

Don't forget to let us know when it's ready, with more pictures. If there's one thing to learn from home charcuterie it's that patience really is a virtue.

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Yes its smoking in my outdoor pizza/bread brick oven. The trick is to put a line of sawdust down and light it with a cook's blowtorch so it just smolders, and doesn't heat the oven. I use cherry and oak sawdust from a local joinery shop. A heap of sawdust around the inside edge about 3 inches wide smolders for about 24 hours - you can see it int he first smoking picture.

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For what it's worth, I haven't tried to cure a damn thing yet. After reading through this thread and considering that I only got 51% in Biochemistry, I might wait to be professionally trained.

I have however, constructed a smoker from two terra cotta pots, a 15' circular grill, one hot plate, a thick pie tin and a thermometer. As soon as I remember how to post a picture of it I will. I'm into the thing for $40 for the terra cotta, $35 for the grill, $6 for the hot plate on e-Bay, pie plate, wood chips and thermometer are all in the pantry anyway.

Long story short, soaked the chips for 30 minutes, drained and placed in pie tin with hot plate on high, smoked 10 lbs of home made Andouille at about 175F to 190F for 6 hours. I'm hooked, doing a whole duck, some salmon and some black cod this weekend.

gallery_22380_1221_196448.jpg


Edited by Wine_Dad (log)

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After reading through this thread and considering that I only got 51% in Biochemistry, I might wait to be professionally trained. 

What have we done... :sad: How ironic that this thread could turn to bite the hand that feeds it. We've created a MONSTER... :blink::shock:

A remedy hopefully - you can't get much simpler than this:

Generously rub some pork bellies with a 75/25 mix of salt and sugar along with any spices you fancy, stack them in a covered plastic or wooden box. Store in a cool place for 5-7 days, and you have bacon.

Easy, no science degree required...

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I am hoping we wont let this thread die like some of the best in eG, although they always do.

Has anyone made anything interesting lately?

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Well, Because of this thread and ColKlink's excellent kielbasa thread, I bought an ALFA5 grinder w/funnel attachment at a yard sale for $20, brand new. Cleaned the hell out of and looking forward to making something... :smile:

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For what it's worth, I haven't tried to cure a damn thing yet. After reading through this thread and considering that I only got 51% in Biochemistry, I might wait to be professionally trained. 

I have however, constructed a smoker from two terra cotta pots, a 15' circular grill, one hot plate, a thick pie tin and a thermometer.  As soon as I remember how to post a picture of it I will.  I'm into the thing for $40 for the terra cotta, $35 for the grill, $6 for the hot plate on e-Bay, pie plate, wood chips and thermometer are all in the pantry anyway.

Long story short, soaked the chips for 30 minutes, drained and placed in pie tin with hot plate on high, smoked 10 lbs of home made Andouille at about 175F to 190F for 6 hours. I'm hooked, doing a whole duck, some salmon and some black cod this weekend.

gallery_22380_1221_196448.jpg

I am curious to hear how often you have to replace the woodchips.... I saw on TV Alton Brown use saw dust and thought that was a terrific idea..

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I just took 2 coppe out of hte curing chamber, they are my best yet! If anyone is interested in the recipe let me know..

jason

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I usually soak the chips in water for 20-30 minutes prior and refresh with a little moisture every 2 hours. I add another handful of moist chips again after about 3.5 hours. The temp reaches about 140F if soaked and 170 if not.

I've also added dried berries that burst once re-hydraded in the smoker and impart a wonderful fruity taste to the smoke. And I once soaked the chips in a water/port combo.

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I usually soak the chips in water for 20-30 minutes prior and refresh with a little moisture every 2 hours.  I add another handful of moist chips again after about 3.5 hours.  The temp reaches about 140F if soaked and 170 if not.

I've also added dried berries that burst once re-hydraded in the smoker and impart a wonderful fruity taste to the smoke.  And I once soaked the chips in a water/port combo.

Berries seem cool.. When i went to go buy wood chips last weekend, i had seen the guy who wrote the BBQ Bible was selling old wine oak barrel pieces for smoking.. Seemed interesting, but expensive.. I didnt think that the flavor would translate all that much to ribs, or a bacon wrapped turkey.. Or even if it did, how would it mix with my heavily paprika/cayenne rub...


Edited by Daniel (log)

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For 2 coppe each about 1 lb 14 oz.

140g salt

100g brown sugar

19g black pepper coarsely ground

8g cure #2

6.5g ground coriander

5.7g garlic powder

3g crushed clove

2g juniper berries

2g fresh bay leaves

Massage the meat with this mixture and put them in a

air tight container in the fridge.

9 days later remassage the meat. I didn't add any more

cure, just massaged the meat in let them sit in their

solution formed.

5 days later, i hung it in the oven with the light on

(about 87 deg. F) for 12 hours.

put in casing ( i used collagen)

Put in curing chamber set at about 52 deg. F and 75%

humidity.

after about 4 or 5 weeks the meat should have lost

about 35% of its weight (weight from after cure).

I don't know about the need to put in the oven to

"mature" for 12 hours, one of the 2 i made i didn't

put in the oven, and i havn't tried it yet..so i don't

know if they are any different

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Jason - Thanks for the detailed recipe. Can't wait to try it.

Just one remianing question: what cut of pork did you use?

Thanks,

Phil

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Charcutier, i used the coppa. It is a specific piece of meat found in the shoulder (sometimes, depends how the meat packers butcher the meat, which makes it all the bigger pain in the ass to get!). Some people just use a hunk of meat out of the shoulder. Try to get a piece with nice marbling (even a lot is ok), but little connective tissue.

If you go here: http://home.pacbell.net/lpoli/page0005.htm

at the bottom there is a photo sequence on getting the coppa out of hte shoulder, and what it looks like...

jason

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I'm making one of Paula Wolfert's recipes that calls for Toulouse sausage, not available locally.

So, I'm making sausage.s for the first time. No problem with making the meat mix which is resting in the fridge right now. I used the large grinder plate as called for in the recipe and am wondering if some of the little bits of fat, about 1/4", aren't too large. Should I do a second grinding? Paula, you online?

I did consider just making little hand shaped, casing free sausages. But I've decided to go all the way.

My KA grinder attachment accepts funnels for stuffing the sausage. I'm soaking the hog casings now and have experimented with getting them onto the funnel. So far it looks as though it must be done under running water. But then, there are a few little puffs of water between the funnel and the casing. Will that hurt anything? Is there another, a simpler way to do it?

Are there any little tips to make a successful outcome more likely?

Also, the casings came in a packet of about 50' which is much more than I will use today. How long will they remain good in the fridge? Or should I just pack up the extras and freeze them right away?

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I'm not Paula, but I have a few suggestions.

Cook up a little patty of your sausage mix and see if the little bits of fat disappear. Judge the cooked texture to see if it will be suitable for the dish, in your opinion. If it is too coarse for your liking, there's no harm in putting it through the grinder again.

My KA grinder attachment accepts  funnels for stuffing the sausage.  I'm soaking the hog casings now and have experimented with getting them onto the funnel. So far it looks as though it must be done under running water.  But then, there are a few little puffs of water between the funnel and the casing. Will that hurt anything?  Is there another, a simpler way to do it?

Well, no, it isn't done under running water. You have to attach the nozzle to the machine and then slide an appropriate length of the casing on. Unfortunately, the best analogy for putting sausage casing onto a funnel is that it is like putting on a condom. (With apologies to the abstinence-only sex education proponents.) :wink:(I used to teach a cooking class in which we made sausage in/on a KA mixer, and it was really difficult to get the class back, from acting up like kids after this demonstration!)

The sausage casings should be rinsed with running water first, though. Slip one end of the casing over the tip of the faucet and run water through it. Then remove the remaining water by pulling the casing between two fingers.

Are there any little tips to make a successful outcome more likely?

Making sausages without any voids is the trick. Hold the casing back on the nozzle with one hand and extrude enough sausage mix to fill the casing completely, but not too tightly. Otherwise the casing slides off too fast, making voids in the sausage. Extrude all of the mix, then twist (at least twice) to make links the length you want. If you can find a helper the first time you try it, that would help a lot.

Also, the casings came in a packet of about 50' which is much more than I will use today.  How long will they remain good in the fridge? Or should I just pack up the extras and freeze them right away?

I've been taught to keep the casings (presumably natural, not synthetic ones) packed in salt in the refrigerator. Don't know if freezing weakens natural casings or not. I've never used synthetic casings. Natural casings are made from the intestine of pigs, usually, also cows.

What recipe are you making? Good luck, and keep us posted.

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