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ronnie_suburban

Curing and Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 2)

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[Moderator note: The original Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" topic became too large for our servers to handle efficiently, so we've divided it up; the preceding part of this discussion is here: Cooking with Ruhlman & Polcyn's "Charcuterie" (Part 1)]

 

 

 

 

Looks great Ron. What kind of smoker is that? I don't think I'd have a prayer of holding mine below 100 degrees, so cold smoked probably isn't a player in this house unless I do some very serious jury rigging.




That is a Great Outdoors brand Smokey Mountain Cooker which is actually propane-powered. In many cases, that gas power is great because it makes maintaining temperature fairly easy. It's basically built for efficient hot smoking. A cast iron box sits in a frame above the heat source and the wood chunks burn pretty evenly over time. I think the manufacturer recommends using chips but I've found that chunks burn longer and produce a better smoke.

Because I was too lazy yesterday to rig my dryer vent-aided cold smoker (a weekend project, it seems), I decided to try something new with the SMC. I only used the gas flame until the cherry wood chunks started to burn. Once they did, I shut down the gas entirely and loaded up the water pan with ice. From there, via the use of damper control, I was able to keep those chunks smoking for about 4 hours. It worked out great because the temperature stayed low and it was largely controllable. During those 4 hours, I dumped the melted ice from the water pan and refilled it with fresh ice 2 times. Also, one time near the end, I placed a single ice cube in the fire box to cool things down a bit.

I'll be curious to see how it turned out because if it did work well, I think there's some cold-smoked salmon in my very near future. At this point, I don't foresee any reason why it may have failed. But, until you taste the final product, you never know for sure. *fingers crossed* wink.gif

=R=
Edited by Mjx Note added. (log)

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Michael....I do thank you for your continued interest in this thread - it makes it so interesting to have your input.

I would like to second that motion. Michael, your comments are invaluable, and we really appreciate your participation and continued input. We're all learning here, which is what eG is all about, and you are miles ahead of any of the rest of us on these topics, so please continue to comment and contribute. I think I speak for the other participants that we're all grateful for your book and your help.

you all have given me more than i've given you. and for that gift and that honor, thank you.

all your work and words will result in more people demanding better pork which will result in happier healthier pigs and happier healthier farmers and happier healthier people. and that is better by far even than the bacon itself.

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you all have given me more than i've given you.  and for that gift and that honor, thank you.

I'm not sure how you figure that. It was the hard work and enthusiasm of both Brian and yourself that created the book and inspired me to begin.

gallery_16509_1680_50787.jpg

My curing projects are beginning to come out now. This is the bresaola that went into the curing chamber (fancy term for the hi jacked refrigerator in the garage) on March 7th at 1.5 lbs and removed yesterday at 15 oz.

Great flavor and texture and never a hint of mold of any sort.

The duck breast proscuito should be ready tomorrow or Friday, along with the Tuscan salami.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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One of my lamb prosciuttos is ready, ate it last night. Fantastic. I'll post pics when i get a chance.

jason

Jason, I have a leg of lamb curing right now, inspired by your upthread post. It should be ready to come out of the cure and begin "hang time" in a day or so.

We are making lamb, rosemary, garlic and feta sausages tonite of our own design. I'll post pics tomorrow.


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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bombdog, did you use boneless or bone-in?

The boneless one i actually prefer. i can slice it more easily very thinly for sammiches and platters, and it si less lamby. It is still gamey and lamby, but the bone-in one was almost overwhelmingly so.

jason

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bombdog, did you use boneless or bone-in?

The boneless one i actually prefer. i can slice it more easily very thinly for sammiches and platters, and it si less lamby. It is still gamey and lamby, but the bone-in one was almost overwhelmingly so.

jason

I used the bone in, thinking more along the tradional lines, I think...as far as the flavor...Well, let's just say that your description of strong and lamby was the reason I tried it to begin with.

This was a fairly small leg, at 5.5 lbs. I'm curious what you think about hang time after the cure?


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I'm happy to say more, so ask away.

ok i've got a question: how much smoke billows out of the thing as you use it?

you probably couldn't tell from when you were down here, but i live in a tiny rowhouse with a tiny deck for a backyard, in a crowded city. if it contains the smoke pretty well, there could be one in my future, but if it's pouring out smoke all day it's not going to work...

I'm not sure how to answer that question. It was windy most of the days I was smoking, so I probably think that there's less coming out than usual. It definitely leaks out of the connection between the smoke box and the main unit, and the damper on top leaks a tiny bit. But I certainly wouldn't say that it's "pouring" out. Having said that, I peeked quite a bit, and it billows when you open the door.

That's all to say: I think I'd be pissed if I lived above you. Sorry, man. My condolences. :sad:


Chris Amirault

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I'm happy to say more, so ask away.

ok i've got a question: how much smoke billows out of the thing as you use it?

you probably couldn't tell from when you were down here, but i live in a tiny rowhouse with a tiny deck for a backyard, in a crowded city. if it contains the smoke pretty well, there could be one in my future, but if it's pouring out smoke all day it's not going to work...

I'm not sure how to answer that question. It was windy most of the days I was smoking, so I probably think that there's less coming out than usual. It definitely leaks out of the connection between the smoke box and the main unit, and the damper on top leaks a tiny bit. But I certainly wouldn't say that it's "pouring" out. Having said that, I peeked quite a bit, and it billows when you open the door.

That's all to say: I think I'd be pissed if I lived above you. Sorry, man. My condolences. :sad:

hmm... luckily no one lives above me. your answer is inspiring me to look into this.

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bombdog, i have to hceck my notes, but my drying time was probably about 45-60 days at about 53F and 75% RH. It lost about 40% of its weight.

My boneless one, in 30 days has lost 35%. That is the little piece you see uptopic, with no casing. It is fantastic. The larger piece is still in the curing chmaber.

jason

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bombdog, i have to hceck my notes, but my drying time was probably about 45-60 days at about 53F and 75% RH. It lost about 40% of its weight.

My boneless one, in 30 days has lost 35%. That is the little piece you see uptopic, with no casing. It is fantastic. The larger piece is still in the curing chmaber.

jason

My temps are a bit lower (48F or so) and my humidity stays a pretty constant 65%. I'm guessing that since my drying appears to be pretty consistent and there has yet to be any mold (good or bad) that I'm okay with those numbers.

I'll do a weight check at 30 days and see where it is then.

Thanks for the help

Dave


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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I'll be curious to see how it turned out because if it did work well, I think there's some cold-smoked salmon in my very near future.  At this point, I don't foresee any reason why it may have failed.  But, until you taste the final product, you never know for sure.  *fingers crossed* :wink:

=R=

Ron, I'm dying of curiosity re your sausage. Any results yet? Enquiring minds want to know :raz:.


"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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I'm just kicking myself for failing to weigh my pancetta before hanging it. I'll never make that mistake again.

I'm not sure how to tell when meat's done - firmness? That's sort of intuitive with a relatively thin roll of pork belly, but with a lamb leg, especially bone-in, how do you know how long to let it hang?

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We are making lamb, rosemary, garlic and feta sausages tonite of our own design.  I'll post pics tomorrow.

Okay, so I get this wild hair, the fiance and I wanted lamb and I wanted to make some sausage. I thumbed through the book and decided it shouldn't be too hard, as Michael suggested early on.

The idea was to create a sausage that was like a piece of rosemary and garlic marinated and grilled lamb. So here it is. Simply, lamb, fat back, rosemary, garlic, salt pepper, a bit of paprika, and just before stuffing about a cup of crumbled feta.

gallery_16509_1680_712763.jpg

Before grinding and adding the feta

gallery_16509_1680_179.jpg

During the stuffing. Lucky for me, I usually have a second set of hands and the KA stuffer hasn't been much of a problem.

gallery_16509_1680_923685.jpg

All stuffed and linked.

gallery_16509_1680_1023080.jpg

And here they are, with tabbouleh.

We were both extremely pleased with the flavor and texture, exactly as I wanted. More importantly, I was pretty happy that we have graduated to the point of making our own sausage, from conception of an idea to dinner table.

Dave


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Dave, those lamb sausages look just incredible. And the fact you were able to tube them off solo while photographing yourself, is also amazing :biggrin: Seriously, I can just imagine how great those taste and I may even "borrow" the idea. :wink:

I'm very happy to report that my batch of Cold-Smoked Andouille turned out very well indeed. A few pics . . .

gallery_3085_2744_125149.jpg

The finished product. I was astounded when I saw how red they were after 2 days of drying. They were still beige and somewhat golden brown when I put them up.

gallery_3085_2744_205591.jpg

Inside, still raw.

gallery_3085_2744_3812.jpg

A little snack. I simmered this sausage whole, in a bit of water, crisped it up right at the end and sliced it up.

gallery_3085_2744_183516.jpg

Detailed close-up of the emulsified sausage interior.

I really love these sausages. They are spicy and bursting with flavor. The smoke tastes delicious and the exterior has a firm bite but also provides that natural casing 'snap' that I love so much. These would be perfect if not for the strong onion note -- which I like -- but don't love. Also, I tubed off another batch of Andouille earlier today, based on the Folse recipe linked upthread and hope to post some additional results in the next day or two.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Dave, those lamb sausages look just incredible.  And the fact you were able to tube them off solo while photographing yourself, is also amazing

Yeah, well, that WAS a bit difficult.

Those andouille are incredible! I think I found my next project.

Thanks Ron


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Great job all around! I feel like I should make some casing pom-poms for my little cheering section.

Dave, I have to try those lamb and feta sausages. I'm thinking now how great it would be to do them with gyro seasonings. My husband would adore those.

And Ron, thanks for taking so many for the team in search of the perfect andouille recipe! How did you feel about the texture of these latest ones? They look super-smooth, much more so than I'm used to seeing with andouille. That's a gorgeous emulsion - did you feel the need for additional texture, or were they just right? And what does make them red, anyway?

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Abra, regarding done-ness, i go by feel and by weight loss. Normally the cured meat is done after it has lost about 40% of it's weight...but that isn't always the case. Personally i feel it is better to over-dry the meat the 1st time and take notes and make adjustments subsequent times.

This is part of the reason curing is as much an art as it is a science, and note taking is key.

jason

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I'm very happy to report that my batch of Cold-Smoked Andouille turned out very well indeed....

A little snack.  I simmered this sausage whole, in a bit of water, crisped it up right at the end and sliced it up....

I really love these sausages.  They are spicy and bursting with flavor.  The smoke tastes delicious and the exterior has a firm bite but also provides that natural casing 'snap' that I love so much.  These would be perfect if not for the strong onion note -- which I like -- but don't love.  Also, I tubed off another batch of Andouille earlier today, based on the Folse recipe linked upthread and hope to post some additional results in the next day or two.

=R=

Beautiful sausages Ron, and I'm glad to hear the flavor worked well. How would you compare them to LA Andouille?

I'm anxious to hear how the Folse recipe worked out too, because one of the two will be my next project when we get home Sunday night. Right now, smoking my second 10 lb batch of bacon over some apple, and it already smells devine :raz:.


"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." John Maynard Keynes

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And Ron, thanks for taking so many for the team in search of the perfect andouille recipe!  How did you feel about the texture of these latest ones?  They look super-smooth, much more so than I'm used to seeing with andouille.  That's a gorgeous emulsion - did you feel the need for additional texture, or were they just right?  And what does make them red, anyway?

I loved the texture -- and the fact that I was able to reproduce it properly -- but it does seem a bit fine compared to the andouille I'm most used to using. These are almost hotdog-like in their texture, which again, is very cool but not necessarily what I was after. The 2nd batch (using the Folse recipe linked above) will be closer to the other end of the texture spectrum. The first batch were ground twice through the smaller die, whereas the Folse andouille, which I hope to smoke tonight, were ground only once and it was through the larger die (1/4" IIRC).

The redness, I believe, is a function of the smoke and the curing salt. On other occasions when I've smoked whole foods at home, they often take on a reddish hue on their exterior. The interior pinkness, I'm pretty sure, is due to the use of curing salt. That expression is similar to bologna, mortadella or hotdogs.

Flavorwise, these have a few more elements and a slightly more complex flavor than the andouille I'm used to. Again, the main difference is the onion, which seems a bit out of place in the andouille. Still, these smell and taste great. I still consider them to be andouille because they are more similar than different but I will categorize them in my mind as a personal, stylized version.

I was so captivated by Bombdog's lamb sausages that I made a point of picking up 5 pounds of lamb shoulder while I was at the butcher today. I think I'll attempt those on Sunday.

=R=


"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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I was so captivated by Bombdog's lamb sausages that I made a point of picking up 5 pounds of lamb shoulder while I was at the butcher today.  I think I'll attempt those on Sunday.

I'm honored Ron. I used about 2.5 lbs of lamb to about 10 oz of fat back, trying to stay in the ratios Michael suggests. Probably about 3 T of chopped fresh rosemary, 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, 2 t of kosher salt and added the crumbled/diced feta AFTER the grind.

On an other note (happily), I removed the duck proscuito from the box today...

gallery_16509_1680_601415.jpg

What a happy mouth this created! This stuff is great! I highly recommend it!

Dave


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Dave, not saying it is good or bad, but just noticing your duck looked totally differnet than when i made it. Mine was a dark dark red and looked a lot drier.

What method/recipe did you follow?

jason

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Dave, not saying it is good or bad, but just noticing your duck looked totally differnet than when i made it. Mine was a dark dark red and looked a lot drier.

What method/recipe did you follow?

jason

I used the one in the book Jason. Not sure if it comes across in the picture, but the flesh is very firm and easy to slice paper thin. The flavor is a bit gamey (expected) and very remeniscent of pork proscuito.

These are not some kind of special duck, just a supermarket buy in South Carolina. Perhaps that's the difference?

Dave


Dave Valentin

Retired Explosive Detection K9 Handler

"So, what if we've got it all backwards?" asks my son.

"Got what backwards?" I ask.

"What if chicken tastes like rattlesnake?" My son, the Einstein of the family.

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Dave, perhaps the duck. I used magret breast when i made it.

I think everyone needs to make a boneless lamb prosciutto immediately. I can't get over how awesome it is.

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