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


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One other question, I live in the south so almost all the back fat here is already salted. I have talked to a few butchers locally but all their fat is used to produce their own sausages or is already spoken for by a customer with a standing order.

Can I just soak salted fat back and change the water a few times to reduce the salt content to something negligible or is it easier just to use it and adjust the salt in the sausage recipe?

Edit: If this has already been discussed, could somebody point me in the right direction. Oddly enough, searching two large threads on Charcuterie for combinations of salt, pork, fat, and back produces results only slightly less unwieldy than the threads in their entirety and I didn't see it on the index.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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... I've been hot smoking since practically birth but I've just started cold smoking and all I've done so far is salmon (I just have a DIY rig).

++This++ might be of interest - the Pro-Q is pretty cheap in the US.

It works very well, but it does want fine and dry sawdust.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Can I just soak salted fat back and change the water a few times to reduce the salt content to something negligible or is it easier just to use it and adjust the salt in the sausage recipe?

Yes you can and I have done just that on a couple of occasions when I needed some back fat. Like you deduced, reducing the amount of salt in the recipe might be needed depending on how salty the backfat was to start with and how long you soaked it for. I would start with reducing the salt by 20% or so and do a quenelle taste. You can add more after that if you need to. I find that after the soak, the backfat is almost salt free honestly.

Another option is to use pork belly instead of the backfat if you can get it. In this case count on the belly being a good 50% fat (but could be much more) and 50% lean and adjust the recipe accordingly.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Does the effect of salting the fat change its texture markedly? I'd think it would for fresh sausages in particular...

Not that I could notice and what I made with it was fresh sausage.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Does the effect of salting the fat change its texture markedly? I'd think it would for fresh sausages in particular...

My guess is that soaking the fat in water is likely to undo some\all of the texture changes since a large part of the effect of salt on texture is the drawing out of moisture.

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Can I just soak salted fat back and change the water a few times to reduce the salt content to something negligible or is it easier just to use it and adjust the salt in the sausage recipe?

Yes you can and I have done just that on a couple of occasions when I needed some back fat. Like you deduced, reducing the amount of salt in the recipe might be needed depending on how salty the backfat was to start with and how long you soaked it for. I would start with reducing the salt by 20% or so and do a quenelle taste. You can add more after that if you need to. I find that after the soak, the backfat is almost salt free honestly.

Another option is to use pork belly instead of the backfat if you can get it. In this case count on the belly being a good 50% fat (but could be much more) and 50% lean and adjust the recipe accordingly.

How long do you usually soak for? Will an hour or so do anything or do I need to do it overnight? Do you swap the water at any point?

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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So this weekend, I smoked a pork butt and used the pork dry rub from the book(although I did add a little garlic powder). I had also used a simple brine injection of salt, sugar and ancho. It was very good and the pork was well received by the crowd.

I also made both BBQ sauces from the book. The Carolina sauce was NOT good at all and I usually love that type of sauce.

The chipotle BBQ sauce on the other hand was nearly universally loved though everybody agreed that it had little in common with what is commonly called BBQ sauce. One guest even poured her sauce on the potato salad and declared it delicious. I liked it a lot too but felt it would really be better with either beef ribs or brisket. My wife seems to think it would be good with chicken but I'm not so sure.

Most of the meat preparations have been discussed on here but the condiments haven't as much. Anyone else found anything good in the back section of the book? Found anything we should avoid?

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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Can I just soak salted fat back and change the water a few times to reduce the salt content to something negligible or is it easier just to use it and adjust the salt in the sausage recipe?

Yes you can and I have done just that on a couple of occasions when I needed some back fat. Like you deduced, reducing the amount of salt in the recipe might be needed depending on how salty the backfat was to start with and how long you soaked it for. I would start with reducing the salt by 20% or so and do a quenelle taste. You can add more after that if you need to. I find that after the soak, the backfat is almost salt free honestly.

Another option is to use pork belly instead of the backfat if you can get it. In this case count on the belly being a good 50% fat (but could be much more) and 50% lean and adjust the recipe accordingly.

How long do you usually soak for? Will an hour or so do anything or do I need to do it overnight? Do you swap the water at any point?

Not sure an hour is enough. I usually do it the night before and swap the water once.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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I made the Spanish Chorizo off page 190. I tweaked the recipe a bit to increase the fat content (the recipe calls for 2.25 kg of shoulder, but my shoulder was a bit leaner than I would have liked, so I used 1.75kg shoulder and 500g of belly fat). I also used F-LC instead of F-RM-52, on recommendation from Modernist Cuisine.

After ten days at 60°F and between 70% and 80% humidity, the sausage had lost 30% of its weight and the internal pH was about 4.4: I vacuum sealed it at that point and let it cure for an additional ten days at 60°F, then moved to the refrigerator. At that point the internal moisture had evened out nicely and the sausage was ready.

DSC_9235.jpg

The flavor is excellent, but of course entirely dependent on your Pimenton. I guess mine was good! I found the texture a bit moister than the Spanish chorizo's I've had: I think a 40% moisture loss may be a more appropriate target here, however.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Made the Duck Ham and the Duck confit with cloves this weekend.

I had a couple of issues with the ham. First, the weight he gives seem unreasonable for the number of breasts listed. I had a pretty large Pekin and each breast only weighed 9oz as opposed to the 1 lb average he lists. I don't think he meant 6 whole breasts (i.e. 12 breast muscles) since the brine amount listed would not have been enough to cover that many (though I guess if the indicidual breasts were nearly twice the size of mine you would have the same issue). Also, I felt the salt content was a little high. I am not sure whether to brine for less time on my second attempt or lower the salt content by 10% (it's not a long cured item so I'm not real worried about changing the salt).

Overall the ham was very good outside of the saltiness. Anybody found a good sauce to accompany it? I was thinking of making a sweetened bing cherry\red wine reduction.

The confit turned out well though I thought it could use a bit more clove.

Edited to clarify.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

I made the Whiskey Glazed Chicken from page 81 and it produced the most beautiful looking smoked bird I've ever seen. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best tasting smoked bird I've ever made.

First, the meat was insanely salty and I had a slightly bigger bird than was called for and I brined it for 4 hours less. I can't imagine how it would have been had I used a smaller bird or more time. I like my food more salty than most people so if I thought it was salty, it would likely be inedible to others.

Second, the glaze does nothing to solve the issue with smoked chicken skin. Namely, that it turns to rubber. The glaze is delicious but since the only skin you can eat is that covering the breast (because it's thinner than the leg\thigh skin) the delicious glaze is mostly wasted.

Finally, the addition of the pink salt to the brine means the legs and thighs maintain a very raw pink look and I had considerable difficulty convincing my wife it was safe to eat.

Edited by BadRabbit (log)
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I made the Whiskey Glazed Chicken from page 81 and it produced the most beautiful looking smoked bird I've ever seen. Unfortunately, it wasn't the best tasting smoked bird I've ever made.

First, the meat was insanely salty and I had a slightly bigger bird than was called for and I brined it for 4 hours less. I can't imagine how it would have been had I used a smaller bird or more time. I like my food more salty than most people so if I thought it was salty, it would likely be inedible to others.

Second, the glaze does nothing to solve the issue with smoked chicken skin. Namely, that it turns to rubber. The glaze is delicious but since the only skin you can eat is that covering the breast (because it's thinner than the leg\thigh skin) the delicious glaze is mostly wasted.

Finally, the addition of the pink salt to the brine means the legs and thighs maintain a very raw pink look and I had considerable difficulty convincing my wife it was safe to eat.

yes his brine is a bit much(3%as I remember) ,and the times are way to long,if it long enough to come to equalibrium.

Bud

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So, I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I just finished drying and slicing some of the duck 'prosciutto'. It was an easy recipe, which explains why it was my first real success from the book. I'm starting to learn how rewarding this can be when it turns out ...

Header1.JPG

 

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So, I'm a little late on the bandwagon, but I just finished drying and slicing some of the duck 'prosciutto'. It was an easy recipe, which explains why it was my first real success from the book. I'm starting to learn how rewarding this can be when it turns out ...

Header1.JPG

What did you think of the salt levels in the DP?

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What did you think of the salt levels in the DP?

Well, I need to make clear that I'm pretty new into curing meat, so honestly I don't know if it was too salty or not. It tastes pretty heavily of salt, but I guess I just figured that's how it was supposed to be. I'd like to try it with less of a salt influence. Would I just cure it in the salt for 18 hours instead of 24? Twelve hours? Or am I on the wrong track entirely?

(Edited to fix an entirely inconsequential grammar issue that would have bothered me the rest of the day had I not addressed it)

Edited by Rico (log)

 

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You can adjust it either through time or by lowering the salt in the brine. I personally think that the difference in saltiness for something as thin as a duck breast is likely to be imperceptible past 6 hours so I'd probably adjust the brine.

Perhaps Jason or one of the others more experienced could speak to that if anybody is still following the thread.

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Curing in brine, i've concluded, is at best a random guess on the absorption of the salt and cure, so i really don't do it. When i do, i use an equilibrium brine as described in the FDA handbook or Modernist Cuisine. That way you know how much salt you'll end up with, rather than trying to guess based on brine %, time and temperature.

The FDA inspector handbook is here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

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Curing in brine, i've concluded, is at best a random guess on the absorption of the salt and cure, so i really don't do it. When i do, i use an equilibrium brine as described in the FDA handbook or Modernist Cuisine. That way you know how much salt you'll end up with, rather than trying to guess based on brine %, time and temperature.

The FDA inspector handbook is here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

I tried making sense of this as it relates to bacon but not having a scientific mind, I have to admit my eyes glazed over. I could not get my head around the quantities they use in their examples, other than to reduce the cure by 10% if the skin has been taken off. I follow the Maple-Cured Smoked Bacon from Charcuterie and just smoked some the other day. I follow the recipe each time and find that the taste of the salt varies. Some are just right - the last batch was, I thought, too salty but still edible. Can you tell me what you would use for a 5 pound piece of belly? I don't know if you have the book or not but it is a dry cure, no water. Thanks in advance if you are willing to share this info.

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Curing in brine, i've concluded, is at best a random guess on the absorption of the salt and cure, so i really don't do it. When i do, i use an equilibrium brine as described in the FDA handbook or Modernist Cuisine. That way you know how much salt you'll end up with, rather than trying to guess based on brine %, time and temperature.

The FDA inspector handbook is here: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OPPDE/rdad/FSISDirectives/7620-3.pdf

I tried making sense of this as it relates to bacon but not having a scientific mind, I have to admit my eyes glazed over. I could not get my head around the quantities they use in their examples, other than to reduce the cure by 10% if the skin has been taken off. I follow the Maple-Cured Smoked Bacon from Charcuterie and just smoked some the other day. I follow the recipe each time and find that the taste of the salt varies. Some are just right - the last batch was, I thought, too salty but still edible. Can you tell me what you would use for a 5 pound piece of belly? I don't know if you have the book or not but it is a dry cure, no water. Thanks in advance if you are willing to share this info.

I've never made bacon, but i would probably use 2.5% of the weight of the meat in salt and 0.25% in cure #1. So for a 5lb piece i'd use about 57g of salt and 5.68g of cure #1.

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I use the "to equalibirum" method,it works perfect every time, I made an excel spread sheet that you can calculate it very easily either using brine or adding it to the meat and letting it sit,until all is absorbed...

Bud

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For the duck prosciutto, he calls for a dry cure of ... salt. Just kosher salt. Just lay the breast on a layer of salt and cover it completely with salt. Then refrigerate for 24 hours before the week-long drying.

So should I cure it in a brine, is there a better way? And by better, I mean have a less salty result and still have it be 'cured.'

 

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For the duck prosciutto, he calls for a dry cure of ... salt. Just kosher salt. Just lay the breast on a layer of salt and cover it completely with salt. Then refrigerate for 24 hours before the week-long drying.

So should I cure it in a brine, is there a better way? And by better, I mean have a less salty result and still have it be 'cured.'

I wasn't looking at the book when I asked the question about brining. The duck ham I made was in a brine and I thought the prociutto must be as well.

Now that I think about it, prociutto is fairly dry and you probably would not want to brine it as the texture would be affected.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I don't think that I'll be making stuff like procuitto but I did buy a meat grinder and sausage stuffer for my KA.

Do y'all recommend Ruhlman and Polcyn for the sausage recipes or would you recommend another book for sausage?

TIA!

ETA: I'm interested in terrines and pates too...I guess I'm interested in ground meat charcuterie but not whole chunk of meat charcuterie at this time...Is this a good starter cookbook?

Edited by CDRFloppingham (log)
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