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Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 6)

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Does anyone know why the recipe for pancetta in this book contains garlic? I've never come across such a thing in the Italian article.

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Does anyone know why the recipe for pancetta in this book contains garlic? I've never come across such a thing in the Italian article.

When questions of a similar type have come up before, the answer has been: -- because the authors liked the taste that way! I think the book is much stronger on technique than 'authenticity'. The recipes nevertheless are, I gather, authentic to their Michigan roots.


Edited by dougal (log)

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I am currently dry curing a belly in the fridge for bacon. The belly is just under 2.5lbs, and I used 25g of dry cure. It's been curing for 5 days now in a ziplock bag, and while there were a few tablespoons of liquid for the first few days, it appears today that there is no liquid at all in the bag. It seems like the belly leached out some liquid early on, but has for some reason re-absorbed it all again. The bag is resting on a tray, which is dry, so I know that the liquid hasn't leaked out of any holes in the bag. I understand that it is important in some recipes for the meat to always be in contact with the brine, but when there is no brine to speak of, what does this mean? I've dry cured half a dozen bellies in the past, and while none of them really gave off heaps of liquid, this is the first that has had no liquid in the bag at the end of curing (typically 5 days). Any thoughts on this? Cheers.

You are essentially using the method I use for bacon. That is, I add the %ofsalt in the cure I want in the finished product. Then let it sit in a bag, till all is absorbed. It works very well and gives no over/under salted suprises. I try for 3.5% salt in the final, which works well for my tastes. Your % assuming 2.4 lb (1088g) is at 2.3%(again assuming the 25g is all salt, if not, even less%) which would be a bit light for me. I dont think you have any problem

Bud

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Thanks for the info, Bud! :)

Next time I make bacon, I'll try adding the dry cure using the salt box method, just to see if there's any/much difference to the measured method that I've always used. Cheers, mate.

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I am currently dry curing a belly in the fridge for bacon. The belly is just under 2.5lbs, and I used 25g of dry cure. It's been curing for 5 days now in a ziplock bag, and while there were a few tablespoons of liquid for the first few days, it appears today that there is no liquid at all in the bag. It seems like the belly leached out some liquid early on, but has for some reason re-absorbed it all again. The bag is resting on a tray, which is dry, so I know that the liquid hasn't leaked out of any holes in the bag. I understand that it is important in some recipes for the meat to always be in contact with the brine, but when there is no brine to speak of, what does this mean? I've dry cured half a dozen bellies in the past, and while none of them really gave off heaps of liquid, this is the first that has had no liquid in the bag at the end of curing (typically 5 days). Any thoughts on this? Cheers.

I don't think this is a problem. I've found that sometimes the meat in the cure gives off liquid, and sometimes it doesn't...it probably depends on the meat, where it came from, how it was processes, frozen, unfrozen etc. I haven't found this to affect the quality at all though.

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I'd like to revisit the issue of Bactoferm ratios as discussed in the first topic. Here's the relevant exchange:

I made the peperone Monday and it's hanging in the wine cellar, looking happy. I followed the recipe, adding 20g Bactoferm disoved in water. Yesterday I found the paper that came with the Bactoferm F-RM-52 packet, and it claims that 25 grams will do 200 pounds of meat! I only used 5# of meat and 20g.  Seems like quite a difference - what's up?

  the amount of acidification is controlled by the amount of sugars in the sausage, which the bacteria feed on, and not the amount of bacteria added. Having said that, using 20g of bactoferm for each batch of sausage is most likely a waste.

this is exactly right.  we've added an explanation to the next editions of the book.  the reason for adding so much bactoferm is to make sure enough of the live culture makes it into the sausage.  too much won't hurt.  Butcher-packer recommends using at least a quarter of the package.  the rest can be frozen for serveral months.

So I'm assuming that Ruhlman suggests 5g/5 lb meat, yes? Does anyone have a second (or third, or...) edition of the book in which the Bactoferm ratio question is explained?

ETA the relevant passage from Butcher-Packer's website:

Each 25-gram packet of Bactoferm™ F-RM-52 will do 220 pounds (100 kilo) of meat. You can use the whole packet in 100 pounds of meat or use half of the packet and refreeze remaining culture.

I don't understand the relation of the two sentences: in the first, it says 220 and the second it says 100.


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

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I just use the ratio to calculate how much bacteria i need.

eg: if the 25g pack of bacteria is for 200lbs of sausace , 5lbs will get 0.625g...i would just round up to 1g. ( 5/200 * 25).

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So, Jason, that suggests that using that significantly smaller amount works just fine for your (excellent) product, yes?

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Chris, the smaller amount works for my products...whether they are excellent isn't for me to say:)

I normally just round up to make sure i get enough bacteria (in case it's slowly dieing in my freezer or whatever).

I've also found that fermenting at a lower temperature for longer yields a better flavor (for me). I use F-LC culture, ferment at 72 deg. for about 48 hrs.

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ETA the relevant passage from Butcher-Packer's website:
Each 25-gram packet of Bactoferm™ F-RM-52 will do 220 pounds (100 kilo) of meat. You can use the whole packet in 100 pounds of meat or use half of the packet and refreeze remaining culture.

I don't understand the relation of the two sentences: in the first, it says 220 and the second it says 100.

My reading of this is that they have designed the package size for 100 kg of meat, but you can use the whole package in less meat, or you can use less of the package and freeze the rest. My understanding is that as long as you have enough live bacteria to get you going, it is actually the amount of sugar (lactose, sucrose, etc.) you add that controls the flavor: the bacteria will simply consume it all, converting it into the flavor compounds we are looking for, regardless of how many of the little buggers there are.

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Has anyone noticed that there are 2 different versions of the hot dog recipe (page 164) in 'Charcuterie'?

My copy at home calls the recipe "Chicago-Style All-Beef Hot Dogs", and it calls for a mix of lean beef and suet, and cold-smoking at 90F/32C (sic) then poaching to 140F/60C internal, then chilling.

But the copy at work just calls the recipe "Hot Dogs" and calls for beef short ribs, and hot-smoking to 140F/60C internal, then chilling.

They appear to be the same (First) edition, but not same printing (mine's earlier)... anyone know what's up with this? Are there any other recipes that got changed? I did some Googling to see if this had come up anywhere before but couldn't find anything.

For the record, I've done hot-dogs both ways, but lately it's hot-smoked.

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On Oct 15 2008, 04:14 AM, HKDave said:

Has anyone noticed that there are 2 different versions of the hot dog recipe (page 164) in 'Charcuterie'?



Yes - According to Ruhlman (original post here):
On Sep 7 2006, 02:21 PM, ruhlman said:

i was never happy with the hot dog recipe and so worked on an alternative method. [...]

It's impossible to make a hot dog at home identical to the big good producers (such as vienna beef, which makes the best commercial hot dog there is) due to the power of their choppers, so the main goal for the hot dog was to devise a method that could give a home sausage maker a good dog with a firm texture and a good bite.

The main innovations of this recipe, if you will, is to use the meat from beef shortribs, which are very fatty, rather than using suet or pork fat and leaner beef. the flavor of beef fat is very important to the hot dog. this soft fat emulsifies well. second, and this i learned at the vienna beef factory, the salt and pink salt and water are added to the ground shortrib meat at least a day before regrinding and mixing. myosin is salt soluable and this brining stage helps ready the protein that will give the sausage a solid texture.

the main flavors of the hot dog are beef fat and beef, paprika, garlic and smoke. the smoke is more critical in a hot dog than i'd imagined. abra tried adding some liquid smoke to what she felt was an insipid batch and she thought, "There's the hot dog flavor."

they don't need a lot of smoke, just a little. I smoked a batch for twenty minute and finished them in a warm oven and they were extraordinary.


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On Oct 15 2008, 08:47 PM, Chris Hennes said:

On Oct 15 2008, 04:14 AM, HKDave said:

Has anyone noticed that there are 2 different versions of the hot dog recipe (page 164) in 'Charcuterie'?



Yes - According to Ruhlman (original post here):
On Sep 7 2006, 02:21 PM, ruhlman said:

i was never happy with the hot dog recipe and so worked on an alternative method. [...]





Thanks, Chris. Now that I think about it, if I had looked up 'Hot Dog' in your index to the old thread instead of Google, it probably would have taken me to the answer... (I just checked, and indeed it does).

I'm going to have to set aside a few days and read that entire 98-page thread.

Are there any other recipe changes in later printings?

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Has anyone tried to make the pancetta that isn't rolled (stresa)? R&P say to wrap it in cheesecloth and hang it for a week; CIA's Garde Manger doesn't mention cheesecloth and suggests 2-3 weeks. I'd very much appreciate feedback on this one, as I've had to toss 30% or more of my previous pancetta attempts due to internal molding from inadequate rolling of the arrotola.

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Has anyone tried to make the pancetta that isn't rolled (stresa)? R&P say to wrap it in cheesecloth and hang it for a week; CIA's Garde Manger doesn't mention cheesecloth and suggests 2-3 weeks. I'd very much appreciate feedback on this one, as I've had to toss 30% or more of my previous pancetta attempts due to internal molding from inadequate rolling of the arrotola.

Chris,

I made stresa quite successfully on a rack in the fridge without cheesecloth. In the old thread, someone said there's no noticeable difference between this and stresa air-dried. Tasted delicious. No mold. Good luck.


Edited by MikeHartnett (log)

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So you cured it for how long, and then air-dried it in the fridge for how long?

I have hung it in my drying chamber (60º+-at70% humidty) for 2 to 2 1/2 weeks. Not rolled ... I don't think its to critical...Might look at Len Poli's site..

Bud

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So you cured it for how long, and then air-dried it in the fridge for how long?

Sorry I can't be more specific, but I vacuum-sealed it, let it cure until it was firm, maybe 4-ish days? (small belly piece). Then I dried it maybe 7 days?

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My pancette are always stese. I cure them in the fridge for about 10 days, and then hang for anywhere between 3 weeks to 6 months.

Take a look at my blog. My latest post was on pancetta.

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Decided to go with some pancetta stresa. I'm also hoping to do a better job of tracking what I do and how it goes. I trust my senses more than I did in the past, too. These two slabs were firm enough whereas the others need a few more days. Here's one getting weighed:

gallery_19804_437_110158.jpg

And the other hanging in the basement with the tag:

gallery_19804_437_54995.jpg

I'm very curious about the specifics of weight loss, which Ruhlman doesn't mention very often but which Bertolli uses as his guide.

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Weight loss with a pancetta is very different than with a salame. For a salame i use weight loss as an indicator of readyness. For a pancetta, it's more based on time. (keeping an eye on the weight loss too)

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I am seriously thinking of trying to make a lamb bacon I just cut cut up a (Eastern Washington ..best on the planet I think) lamb we bought this week ...and there is a really nice belly on it I do NOT want to do anything to overwhelm it

suggestions on brine time and smoke? I was thinking something light but am not sure

I am going to keep the brine simple salt and brown sugar

right now I have several slabs of bacon smoking today at home under my husband supervision (and a lot of phone calls... he has never done this alone!) and 20 ham hocks ready to go in the smoker when I get home tonight

I am feeling pumped this week hope I can keep this going, it is the first time in ages I have taken a project on like this!

...help on the lamb? thanks (I have the book and love it but there is nothing like someone telling you what they have done to help this come out great!)


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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How thick and fatty is it? Can you give photos? Very interesting questions.

it is about 1-1 1/2 inches thick but not at all even some parts are pretty thin there are chops at the end that can be cut off when I make it ..I did not want to mess too much with cutting it up because I had never thought of doing this before

... but when I looked at it today it screamed "MAKE BACON" at me so I am posting :smile:

..I stuck it in the freezer since I can not do it until next week so no pics I am sorry I can post them later when I take it out

it looks like bacon quite fatty these lambs are awesome they are the right age ..not too young and not quite mutton and lots of fat

they eat well over there in Easter WA that is for sure!


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

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I have to be completely honest I am freaking out that my husband is alone with my bacon

I specified exactly how it is to be smoked and how much of each flavor wood (I have done this many times and have it down)

when I talked to him first thing he asked me "so what temp is cold smoking?" argh...I have to have faith he is a good man

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