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

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Great stuff as usual, Chris. I'm surprised you weren't using your cool trick of placing the KA bowl into it's own bowl of ice for the mixing, Chris. I stole that one and use it all the time, and it makes a huge difference when you're trying to maintain the temperature. Did you decide not to do it or just forget or...?


Chris Amirault

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Great stuff as usual, Chris. I'm surprised you weren't using your cool trick of placing the KA bowl into it's own bowl of ice for the mixing, Chris. I stole that one and use it all the time, and it makes a huge difference when you're trying to maintain the temperature. Did you decide not to do it or just forget or...?

I forgot... :hmmm: I had the bowl set in ice when I ground into it, but once I got thinking about doing two smaller batches to make it easier on the mixer, I forgot about my earlier "tricks." Over here on the general Sausage-Making topic I've started to put together a sausage-making checklist. Come on over and help out!


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
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I have a question for those of you who have made the smoked andouille: how long did you end up smoking them for to get them to the recommended temperature? I have a batch that I'm just about to stuff, and I'm wondering whether I'll have time to smoke them this evening, or if I should wait until tomorrow morning. Thanks!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

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I have a question for those of you who have made the smoked andouille: how long did you end up smoking them for to get them to the recommended temperature? I have a batch that I'm just about to stuff, and I'm wondering whether I'll have time to smoke them this evening, or if I should wait until tomorrow morning. Thanks!

I smoked them at a very low temp this last time (170 F) so it took a LONG time, something like 8 hours. What temp are you smoking at? That's what will govern how long it takes.


Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I have a question for those of you who have made the smoked andouille: how long did you end up smoking them for to get them to the recommended temperature? I have a batch that I'm just about to stuff, and I'm wondering whether I'll have time to smoke them this evening, or if I should wait until tomorrow morning. Thanks!

I smoked them at a very low temp this last time (170 F) so it took a LONG time, something like 8 hours. What temp are you smoking at? That's what will govern how long it takes.

Thanks, Chris. I'm just smoking with chips in a foil pouch on a gas grill, so I'll be lucky if I can keep the temp down around 200F. Sounds like I could probably give it a try tonight!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

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I didn't end up doing them last night, because life got in the way. But I needn't have worried anyway: I fired up the grill this morning, and after 45 minutes, the sausages had already overshot 150F. I'm a little worried they won't taste very smoky, but I guess we'll see. If they don't, I'll just have to buy (or make) a dedicated smoker!

Because I was expecting this process to take a little longer, I now have a bunch of extra wood chips soaking in water. Can I leave them there for a few days, or do I have to use them pretty soon?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

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I didn't end up doing them last night, because life got in the way. But I needn't have worried anyway: I fired up the grill this morning, and after 45 minutes, the sausages had already overshot 150F. I'm a little worried they won't taste very smoky, but I guess we'll see. If they don't, I'll just have to buy (or make) a dedicated smoker!

Because I was expecting this process to take a little longer, I now have a bunch of extra wood chips soaking in water. Can I leave them there for a few days, or do I have to use them pretty soon?

I frequently soak wood ships overnight, so it should not be a problem. They will just become completely saturated, which I would think would enhance the smoldering action. Did you have your grill set as low as it would go, with only one burner turned on? 45 minutes is a really short smoke.


Chris Hennes
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chennes@egullet.org

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I didn't end up doing them last night, because life got in the way. But I needn't have worried anyway: I fired up the grill this morning, and after 45 minutes, the sausages had already overshot 150F. I'm a little worried they won't taste very smoky, but I guess we'll see. If they don't, I'll just have to buy (or make) a dedicated smoker!

Because I was expecting this process to take a little longer, I now have a bunch of extra wood chips soaking in water. Can I leave them there for a few days, or do I have to use them pretty soon?

I frequently soak wood ships overnight, so it should not be a problem. They will just become completely saturated, which I would think would enhance the smoldering action. Did you have your grill set as low as it would go, with only one burner turned on? 45 minutes is a really short smoke.

Thanks, I'll try leaving the chips for a bit and see what happens. The approach I've been using is to mix the soaked chips with some dry ones, so the dry ones start smoldering right away and then the wet ones catch once they dry out.

I definitely had only one burner on, but it was set to medium or medium-high. I'm always worried that the chips won't actually smolder if the heat is too low. Am I wrong on that? If I can keep the single burner on low and draw out the smoking process, I'd really like to. As you say, 45 minutes is a really short smoke, and I'd like to smoke things for a lot longer, if I can. (I have some bacon that should be cured by Sunday...) On the other hand, these sausages still smell pretty good!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

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Thanks, I'll try leaving the chips for a bit and see what happens. The approach I've been using is to mix the soaked chips with some dry ones, so the dry ones start smoldering right away and then the wet ones catch once they dry out.

I definitely had only one burner on, but it was set to medium or medium-high. I'm always worried that the chips won't actually smolder if the heat is too low. Am I wrong on that? If I can keep the single burner on low and draw out the smoking process, I'd really like to. As you say, 45 minutes is a really short smoke, and I'd like to smoke things for a lot longer, if I can. (I have some bacon that should be cured by Sunday...) On the other hand, these sausages still smell pretty good!

First off, you probably don't really want to mix in any dry chips: the problem with dry chips is that they actively burn, rather than gently smolder. I guess getting them a bit wet with the soaked ships probably cuts down on this, but nevertheless I'd recommend only using soaked chips, and make sure they aren't getting much oxygen (by putting them in a foil packet). Your wood chips will smolder if they hit around 600 degrees F: the propane flame on your grill is (probably well) over 1000 degrees even at its lowest setting, so if you get the chips right up near the heat source, they should smolder no problem (I'm omitting some technical complications here...). It will take 30-45 minutes before you have significant visible smoke: I generally don't put my meat in the smoker until 30 minutes in.

I like the taste of this Andouille recipe even unsmoked, so I'm sure your sausages aren't ruined :smile:.


Edited by Chris Hennes (log)

Chris Hennes
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I'm thinking I should have asked some of these questions before I began this process! I'll give your suggested approach a try next time. And if I end up having to make more andouille, so be it! :biggrin:

By the way, I'm assuming I can freeze the andouille now, right?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

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By the way, I'm assuming I can freeze the andouille now, right?

Absolutely -- I have a batch in my freezer right now. I personally like to reheat them in water just above 150, treating the sausage basically like Sous Vide (which in a way it is). I don't find that the Andouille benefit much from sauteeing or roasting, since they pack a powerful flavor punch on their own.


Chris Hennes
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First off, you probably don't really want to mix in any dry chips: the problem with dry chips is that they actively burn, rather than gently smolder. I guess getting them a bit wet with the soaked ships probably cuts down on this, but nevertheless I'd recommend only using soaked chips, and make sure they aren't getting much oxygen (by putting them in a foil packet). Your wood chips will smolder if they hit around 600 degrees F: the propane flame on your grill is (probably well) over 1000 degrees even at its lowest setting, so if you get the chips right up near the heat source, they should smolder no problem (I'm omitting some technical complications here...). It will take 30-45 minutes before you have significant visible smoke: I generally don't put my meat in the smoker until 30 minutes in.

I had a batch of bacon ready today, so I tried out this suggestion for smoking it. I put the wet chips in a foil pouch and put them in the grill over low, right on top of the heat diffusing plate. After 45 minutes, I had some wisps of smoke, so I put the bacon on the side of the grill that was turned off. After 2 hours, the bacon was up to temp, but I never really had more than a wisp of visible smoke. It's starting to pick up now, of course.

I'm thinking a hybrid of the method I was using and the method I tried today would be good: either mixing in some dry chips and keeping the heat low, or using all wet chips and starting the heat higher, then dropping it once I get some smoke. Obviously, the ideal situation would be to have the wood in a separate compartment, so the heat driving the wood smoldering isn't also cooking the meat. I guess that's what a real smoker does.

This smoking stuff isn't easy! Clearly I need more practice...


Matthew Kayahara

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First time to this thread and I've already learned so much....! Thanks for all the info and the pictures - now I'm really hungry... :rolleyes:


Live and learn. Die and get food. That's the Southern way.

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Guanciale (1st ed., pp. 47)

Fresh off my pig head adventure (documented here, not for the squeamish), I had a whole bunch of jowls, so my first thought was to make them into Guanciale. Due to a somewhat sloppy slaughter, and a downright poor fabricator (yeah, that'd be me), they were in various states of "wholeness" and so despite having eight to work with, I only ended up with four times the weight Ruhlman mentions, so I made up a quadruple batch of his seasoning (which is very heavy on the garlic and thyme), complete with a small amount of pink salt:

gallery_56799_5407_71658.jpg

I poured the mixture into the Ziploc bag with the jowls:

gallery_56799_5407_51702.jpg

And attempted to massage it into submission, or at least even distribution:

gallery_56799_5407_52626.jpg

I was trying to avoid getting my kitchen any messier than in already was from all the hog head action, but to no avail. I ended up dumping the whole lot into my last clean big bowl and mixing it up there, then dumping it back into the bag:

gallery_56799_5407_67507.jpg

Then it was into the fridge for a week. After a week, it looked like this:

gallery_56799_5407_99890.jpg

I rinsed it off the best I could (a lot of the thyme was resistant to being removed):

gallery_56799_5407_84937.jpg

Here are half the jowls ready to go into the curing chamber (documented here):

gallery_56799_5407_45865.jpg

And here they are three weeks later, ready to come out of the chamber:

gallery_56799_5407_60184.jpg

They were quite firm, more like prosciutto than bacon (I've never had the stuff so I don't know if they are supposed to be like this -- any thoughts?):

gallery_56799_5407_46880.jpg

I vacuum-packed most of them and froze them, but of course I had to sample some, so I shaved one up very thinly on my meat slicer:

gallery_56799_5407_43556.jpg

Fried a bit of it up:

gallery_56799_5407_70568.jpg

Victory!

gallery_56799_5407_52360.jpg

The first taste is almost sweet, then you get the garlic and thyme, and then the salt kicks in. Hard. I think I let it go too long in the fridge: since the pieces were smaller than Ruhlman's, I should have taken it out after 4-5 days, rather than giving it the whole week. It will still be good in stuff (where I can just reduce the salt in the recipe), but plain it's too salty to really enjoy. I guess I'll have to get me some more pig heads!


Chris Hennes
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Great pix as always, Chris.

Most of the guanciale I've seen and had is firmer than bacon but not as firm as prosciutto, so I think you're in the right range.

As for the saline OD, you could certainly make some fantastic bucatini all'Amatriciana and adjust the salt levels.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Chris,

Great pictures and I'm glad the here the wine cooler has worked out great. I should be getting mine tomorrow....I'm getting it from Lowes and I can't wait! I like the 's' hook idea.

Jane

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From Wikipedia

Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Martin Mallet

<i>Poor but not starving student</i>

www.malletoyster.com

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From Wikipedia
Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Exactly. It isn't guanciale if it's made with belly. Just unsmoked bacon, correct?

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Because naming it "pork belly guanciale" makes it sound fancy pantsy and high falootin':)

It's totally incorrect, and basically meaningless. Guanciale is made only and exclusively from the cheeks. The name derives from that as stated above.

Thanks. That's what I thought.

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From Wikipedia
Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Exactly. It isn't guanciale if it's made with belly. Just unsmoked bacon, correct?

the spices are the same as guanciale ,just the base flesh is diffferent, Probably otta be "pork belly in the style of guanciale"

Bud

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From Wikipedia
Guanciale is a kind of unsmoked Italian bacon prepared with pig's jowl or cheeks. Its name is derived from guancia, Italian for cheek.

Exactly. It isn't guanciale if it's made with belly. Just unsmoked bacon, correct?

the spices are the same as guanciale ,just the base flesh is diffferent, Probably otta be "pork belly in the style of guanciale"

Bud

As I understand it, though, it's not the spices so much as the part of the pig. It's like saying "chicken wing in the style of chicken leg."

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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.

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Victory!

gallery_56799_5407_52360.jpg

The first taste is almost sweet, then you get the garlic and thyme, and then the salt kicks in. Hard. I think I let it go too long in the fridge: since the pieces were smaller than Ruhlman's, I should have taken it out after 4-5 days, rather than giving it the whole week. It will still be good in stuff (where I can just reduce the salt in the recipe), but plain it's too salty to really enjoy. I guess I'll have to get me some more pig heads!

That looks sooooooo good!

I bet if you could crumble it up into smaller pieces, it would be really good straight on top of some freshly cooked rice. Freshly cooked rice is a good foil for crispy salty things in small doses (like salted fish).

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