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


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I've done it once, and I didn't use a casing. I suspect a casing will keep it more moist and slow down the drying process, if you want that. It seems that there are a number of kinds of air dried beef from different parts of the world that don't use a casing, so it's not a necessity, and since you're starting with a solid piece of beef rather than ground meat, I'd think it would be a challenge to size the casing to the meat and avoid air pockets.

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In addition to what David mentions, there's a potential benefit for when your product is done. Any molds that develop during curing can be easily removed (if desired) by peeling back the casing, rather than by trimming away the exterior of an uncased bresaola.

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was just gonna ask if you guys took the skin off of your pancetta. I just started the curing process for one belly split into two halves. So much fat came off with the skin, I was sure I was doing it wrong even though in the book it says to skin them. I'm extremely lucky to have an old school butcher about 15 minutes from my house, so I can pretty much get anything I can name with a week's notice. Also have two fresh jowels in the fridge, gonna start the guanciale process this weekend.

pancetta%20-%20trimmed%20-%2020101112.jpg

pancetta%20-%20cure%20applied%20-%2020101112.jpg

Here's a question, can I stack them one atop another in the same bag during the initial cure in the fridge? Just looking to save on bags.

Edited by Big Mike (log)


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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I'd be concerned about stacking them ,as it would act like a piece of meat twice as thick

But there's also a good layer of salt in the middle, so might it act like a thick piece of meat curing from the outside in and inside out simultaneously?

I would still advocate flipping and rotating, which could get a) complicated and b) messy dealing with multiple pieces per bag, as Chris indicates.

 

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Here's a question, can I stack them one atop another in the same bag during the initial cure in the fridge? Just looking to save on bags.

I stack the bellies I cure all the time (I just smoked two pieces of very thick Red Wattle bellies that were stacked) but like was mentioned before, you need to keep an eye on them and cure them evenly. What I do is stack them always with a layer of the cure in between and, after "stacking" a few bellies I found that stacking them with both skin sides touching is best. I also flip them over every day. About halfway during the cure, I open the bag and redistribute the cure even more evenly, and maybe rotate the peices.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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Thanks for the advice, I guess I'll split them up. I wasn't accounting for the mess factor in shuffling the meat around during the curing process. Also decided on the basement for hanging, I think it's too dry in my garage this time of year.

What's the opinion on weighting the bellies during curing? The book says to do it so I have a sheet pan with a couple of bricks on it resting on top of the bellies in the bag.


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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Started the guanciale curing tonight.

Before trimming the glands off:

IMAG0444.jpg

The jowels look great, but I'm curious about something. There's a nice chunk of meat on the underside of the jowel that looks like it doesn't belong. Check it out:

IMAG0445.jpg

IMAG0446.jpg

I left it on one and removed it from the other to compare the difference. It looks delicious but since this is a cut I have zero experience with I thought maybe someone here has some knowledge they can share. Thanks a bunch, can't wait for the first piece to hit the pan.


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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There is a light layer of spongy fat but I left it on. The only thing the book said to trim off was the glands, which I did. My thinking was to keep as much fat as possible on the jowl. Hopefully it doesn't suck, at the very least I can trim it off before I use it.


I have simple tastes. I am always satisfied with the best - Oscar Wilde

The Easy Bohemian

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BTW, cooked up that little hunk of heaven that I cut off of the jowl. Braised it for two hours in some hard cider, it was beyond good.

154345_459121786555_558081555_5854999_2410685_n.jpg

Looks really good. Cheeks have become my new favourite cut of meat this year, beef or pork have never been anything short of spectacular when I've cooked them.

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BTW, cooked up that little hunk of heaven that I cut off of the jowl. Braised it for two hours in some hard cider, it was beyond good.

154345_459121786555_558081555_5854999_2410685_n.jpg

Looks really good. Cheeks have become my new favourite cut of meat this year, beef or pork have never been anything short of spectacular when I've cooked them.

I agree. I love cheek meat. Although I have never had pork cheek, I assume it would be heavenly.

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Made a gallantine from the Charcuterie book. Used turkey instead of chicken. (1 16 pound bird for 2 people = lots of extra meat). I used the breast and foie gras for the forcemeat, and cut up the loin to add texture.

After pulling from the stock bath this morning, I have a question I am hoping to find an answer to: The turkey skin used as casing is still kind of 'slimy' - for lack of a better word. Does anyone have experience with using poultry skin as casing, an if so, is it an acquired taste, or are there better ways of finish it for a less slimy texture. I currently have the whole think in the oven, slowly browning to see if that will do the trick.

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