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Dry cure for confit

6 posts in this topic

Hi all,

I've made some batches of duck leg confit and pork belly confit following the recipes in "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman and Polcyn. I'm pretty new to confit in general, so I'm wondering about the dry cure that is usually applied to meat that is to be used for confit. Why do we do it?

It often involves significant amounts of salt, so I'm wondering if it's done for flavour, conservation purposes, or perhaps both? Would uncured, confited duck legs spoil quicker or simply taste less?

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I think that "cured" is a key component of confit, as it is a preparation that historically existed to preserve the meat. I'm not sure, therefore, what a non-cured confit would be. Oil-poached?

Chris Amirault


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far from an expert on duck confit, other than eating it, but i believe the salt and spice rub serves two purposes. first to draw moisture out of the meat, which is critical to preserving it. and secondly to add flavor. is that what you are asking?

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."


Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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And thanks! I guess it's obvious that the dry cure both improves shelf life and impact flavour due to the moisture loss in the meat.

I had some duck confit at a local restaurant a few weeks ago, and even with my tolerance for salty foods, I found it be way too salty. I'm planning on serving some confit (perhaps pork belly) next time I'm having guests, and I think I'd like to err on the safe side and not over-salting the meat prior to cooking.

Edited by hansjoakim (log)

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The cure is done in order to help with preservation. Really, introducing curing salt to the meat fully during this process is more important than removing moisture with the regular salt, at least if you plan to preserve it in the fat. This is done for the same reasons of botulism reduction as it is in smoked products. Once the meat is properly confited, moisture should be reduced to a level that it won't pose a problem. For my personal purposes, I usually do 2% kosher salt and .5% pink salt, plus various herbs and spices.

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Duck confit is not meant to be cured'; nitrites and nitrate are not used in duck confit recipes. A properly mad confit should not be salty. Duck confit recipes call for rinsing off the seasonings prior to cooking.

Confit is dry brined for flavor and cooked in fat for preservation. Judy Rodgers famous roast chicken recipe at Zuni Cafe uses similar techniques to tenderize and flavor poultry. The techniques are now frequently used for roasting turkey and other meats.

An excellent way to boost flavor is to process the ingredients and dry-brine in a zip lock bag prior to cooking.


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