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ronnie_suburban

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

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On the "help, I'm curing and I can't stop" front, today I put up, using all Charcuterie recipes:

the diced and seasoned mix to make Italian sausage tomorrow (yay, my first sausage at last!)

tasso - now curing briefly, to be smoked later this afternoon with a mess of chicken thighs

lardo - I really can't wait for this one!

pork confit - curing until tomorrow before its oil bath

Actually, it was easier to do all of this at once than doing the individual items at separate times. Having one 7 lb Niman butt and about 6 pounds of back fat out, plus, the curing salts, made doing all four projects pretty easy. It took me about 2 hours to get all of them squared away, and that included dicing the meat for the sausage. Now they're all resting peacefully in the fridge, along with the soaking casings, and 4 lbs of back fat, properly divided and bagged up, is back in the freezer.

Tomorrow we stuff!

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Tomorrow we stuff!

That would make a great sig line for someone on this thread! hehehe

I'm trying to keep up with this, but you are all working too fast for me! I bought the book based on the first couple of pages of this thread...if only I wasn't so lazy.

I'm very impressed by all the wonderful charcuterie you have produced. Every form, every shape, every flavor just looks delicious.

I wanted to thank you all for the photographs documenting all the stages of your work. It is an amazing resource. I only wish the book could have all those photos too. I normally only buy cookbooks with pictures, but I'm sure it would have cost a fortune to print (and the retail price would have shot up).

So thank you all for the great work! It is much appreciated.

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After over four hours of strangely anxious labor, I now have 2.5 kg of peperone inoculating in my oven:

gallery_19804_437_258966.jpg

It is very odd to write that sentence. I'm inoculating my food. What a strange world curing is!

I followed the peperone recipe in the book pretty faithfully, save for a few things based on the advice here: scaling way back on the bactoferm (1 1/2 tsp for 5# of chuck), using the coarse plate on my KA grinder, substituting 2 T of red wine vinegar for the wine, and adding 2 t of black pepper to the spices. I also combined the spices, dextrose, etc. (not the bactoferm) to the diced cold meat before grinding, which I've been doing consistently for a while to mix the spices in more effectively. Grind, chill, beat for the bind, chill, stuff, and finally hang in the oven with the light on. It's probably going to be about 70 in there, max, so I'm going to give it a blast of heat in the a.m. and then leave it a bit longer than 12 hours.

Ruhlman is right: there's something very odd about doing all this work and then hanging a bunch of raw meat around the house.

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Great job Chris! Those look fantastic. Keep us up on how they cure (and taste of course) I don't think you'll be disappointed.

I think I'll go slice some right now for breakfast.

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Thanks, Dave. I appreciate it! I have a question, though. They've been in an oven that's been around 70F most of the night; I gave them a little more heat around 11 and 12m, then at 8a and 9a, which bumped the temp up to 90F max. I can't imagine they were in the 75-85 range more than 2 hours total.

I can run home at noon and take them out -- 13 hours -- or I can just do it when I get home from work at six -- 19 hours. Given the lower temp, should I leave them extra? Or should I stick to the 12 hour timing?

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Thanks, Dave. I appreciate it! I have a question, though. They've been in an oven that's been around 70F most of the night; I gave them a little more heat around 11 and 12m, then at 8a and 9a, which bumped the temp up to 90F max. I can't imagine they were in the 75-85 range more than 2 hours total.

I can run home at noon and take them out -- 13 hours -- or I can just do it when I get home from work at six -- 19 hours. Given the lower temp, should I leave them extra? Or should I stick to the 12 hour timing?

I normally put my stuff in the oven with the light on and leave it overnight, or about 12 hours. I laid an instant read thermometer ontop of the sheet pan once and it read 78. I think your 13 hours is fine. I have never left anything in for much longer so I really can't say if it would cause you any problems.

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I've made the peperone twice and agree it seems so weird to have it hanging at such high temps for the first fermentation. Goes against all the food safety stuff I know, but I've brewed enough beer to know that fermentation is your friend. I've been hanging it in the bathroom with the heater on and have kept it at 85 -90' for almost 24 hours before moving it to the 65' wine cellar.

Just finished smoking my second batch of bacon yesterday. I took a smaller piece of belly and stuffed garlic cloves into it. Looking forward to tasting that. I gave my brother bacon of the month club for Christmas a couple years back and the garlic stuffed bacon was their favorite.

Have yet to make the salami, but that's next on the list, with andouille close behind!

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Since I'm cooler than 78F I'm going to split the difference and take it out late tonight. Do you think that 70F is too low for the inoculation?

edited to clarify -- ca


Edited by chrisamirault (log)

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Just finished smoking my second batch of bacon yesterday. I took a smaller piece of belly and stuffed garlic cloves into it. Looking forward to tasting that. I gave my brother bacon of the month club for Christmas a couple years back and the garlic stuffed bacon was their favorite.

That sounds awesome! How did you do it?

Since I'm cooler than 78F I'm going to split the difference and take it out late tonight. Do you think that 70F is too low for the inoculation?

edited to clarify -- ca

Actually, confession time. The first Tuscan salame I made (before someone mentioned the idea of the oven with the light on) I just covered the sheet pan with a towel and placed it in my laundry room (with my dogs, nothing is safe on a counter) for a few hours. I'm certain the temp never got above 70F, and that project turned out just fine.

I think you are okay Chris.

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That's actually quite a relief. I don't know why I'm finding this so extraordinarily stressful....

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I don't know why I'm finding this so extraordinarily stressful....

Maybe because it is possible to poison yourself if you're wrong :raz:?

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That's actually quite a relief. I don't know why I'm finding this so extraordinarily stressful....

I'll admit to being a bit weirded about the entire process when I did my first batch of Tuscan salame.

Speaking of which:

gallery_16509_1680_350886.jpg

I just removed my second batch from the curing chamber.

Yummy!

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I'll admit to being a bit weirded about the entire process when I did my first batch of Tuscan salame.

Speaking of which:

I just removed my second batch from the curing chamber.

Yummy!

Dave, beautiful work, as usual. You seem to have the gift with these dried salames. But what in the world do you do with all the food you're turnout out :biggrin:? Surely your family isn't that large...is it?

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Dave, beautiful work, as usual.  You seem to have the gift with these dried salames.  But what in the world do you do with all the food you're turnout out :biggrin:?  Surely your family isn't that large...is it?

Thanks much. I'm not sure it's as much knack as it is luck...but I'll take either one. As far as where it's all going.....I've asked myself that recently. I guess I give away more to my son and my neighbor that I realize.


Edited by Bombdog (log)

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Hey all -- I have been reading and doing some posting in the restaurant area here, but this is my first post(I think) here.

I have made my own version of the salmon half a dozen times, the fresh brats, sweet/hot italian, duck sage sausage, and the tuscan salami.

I am planning on doing some more salami and sausages this weekend, but I realize that I do not have any more bactoferm. I want to make the spanish chorizo... just how obligatory is the bactoferm?

Can you make it without?

Yes Yes -- I will post some pictures too -- when I stop being so lazy...

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I am planning on doing some more salami and sausages this weekend, but I realize that I do not have any more bactoferm. I want to make the spanish chorizo... just how obligatory is the bactoferm?

Can you make it without?

I'd say that the easy answer to that, since it's a dry cured sausage, is no. You need the live culture to release the lactic acid and prevent bacterial growth.

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Ah, shee-it.

So I came home to put the links into the curing chamber, and thought I'd give them one last blast of heat. So I cranked up the oven for just one minute -- but then Bebe knocked something over, and the dog got into it, and... suddenly they'd been in a 225F oven for several minutes. :blink:

Then, when I was flailing the door of the oven opened and closed, they all fell off their chopsticks onto the oven floor. :blink:

So I now have this very skeezy looking set of peperone links hanging in the curing chamber in the basement (which is, of course, a perfect 60F and 70% humidity). I guess I'll try to keep that mist on 'em and hope for the best.

I knew that I was going down a dangerous road....

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Chris, what a drag. I doubt they'll cure properly. I'd smoke them and finish the cooking process and start over.

Here, hopefully, is a shot of my garlic stuffed bacon

gallery_35908_2903_477763.jpg

I blanched the whole cloves and then sliced open a pocket and slid them in. Next time I'll add a few more.

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That looks great, Pallee (sniff). I think I'm going to let this batch cure and see what happens. Some of the links are fine. Some of them look like a teenager with bad acne and a sunburn....

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Pallee, that looks FANTASTIC! I'm all over that for my next bacon cure....Thanks for posting.

Chris, I'm so sorry for you loss...(sounds like you lost a loved one), but I think I'd do the same. Just hang it and see what happens.

In the future, I wouldn't worry about trying to blast it with a last bit of heat. Like I said earlier, I had a good inoculation without ever getting to a high heat.

I realize that we need to be conscious of all kinds of health concerns. But let's don't forget that this is an ancient craft and was done for centuries without the aid of thermometers or controlled elements.

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Nice work, Pallee. What a great idea to stuff those garlic cloves in there!

Chris, hang in there. Just look at this run as the one you had to get under your belt before everything starts going perfectly. And I'll bet this batch turns out better than you're expecting it to.

Your comments remind me of that quote from Fergus Henderson about the ingredients misbehaving when they sense your aprehension (or something to that effect). I bet you'll look back on this 'catastrophe' not too far from now and have a good chuckle over it.

=R=

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Pallee, I am seriously considering your garlic plan! Well done! I wonder what else you can stuff in there....

Chris, I'm so sorry for you loss...(sounds like you lost a loved one), but I think I'd do the same.  Just hang it and see what happens. 

In the future, I wouldn't worry about trying to blast it with a last bit of heat.  Like I said earlier, I had a good inoculation without ever getting to a high heat.

I realize that we need to be conscious of all kinds of health concerns.  But let's don't forget that this is an ancient craft and was done for centuries without the aid of thermometers or controlled elements.

All good points. I think that I was in some strange combination of over-conscientious and haphazard, actually, probably in relation to the issue that Ron brings up:

Chris, hang in there.  Just look at this run as the one you had to get under your belt before everything starts going perfectly.  And I'll bet this batch turns out better than you're expecting it to.

Your comments remind me of that quote from Fergus Henderson about the ingredients misbehaving when they sense your aprehension (or something to that effect).  I bet you'll look back on this 'catastrophe' not too far from now and have a good chuckle over it.

"Do not be afraid of cooking, as your ingredients will know and misbehave." That's Sir Fergus's advice, from page XX of his book -- and which I had as a signature line for many, many months. And then promptly forgot. :huh:

Ron, I'm pretty convinced that some of this batch will turn out and the rest will be "valuable from a scientific standpoint." Ahem. Speaking of which, I've got that chamber at 60F and 90% humidity. I assume that humidity is too high? Or is there no such thing as "too high" for humidity?

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your support for my absurd psychic dilemmas!

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I am planning on doing some more salami and sausages this weekend, but I realize that I do not have any more bactoferm. I want to make the spanish chorizo... just how obligatory is the bactoferm?

Can you make it without?

I agree with Dave. If you don't have some bugs in there to generate acid, it's not likely to dry properly and will remain mushy and will rot. but maybe not, maybe you'll get lucky. in any case, you'll know it if it's not right.

do you have any sourdough starter or real yogurt? i have no idea if adding liquid from those would work but it would be better than nothing...

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I am planning on doing some more salami and sausages this weekend, but I realize that I do not have any more bactoferm. I want to make the spanish chorizo... just how obligatory is the bactoferm?

Can you make it without?

I agree with Dave. If you don't have some bugs in there to generate acid, it's not likely to dry properly and will remain mushy and will rot. but maybe not, maybe you'll get lucky. in any case, you'll know it if it's not right.

do you have any sourdough starter or real yogurt? i have no idea if adding liquid from those would work but it would be better than nothing...

I am thinking I will wait 'til next weekend...

I'll make the duck-sage sausage instead...it is pretty time consuming getting the meat from the duck... probably won't have time anyway...

thx


Edited by mdbasile (log)

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Ron, I'm pretty convinced that some of this batch will turn out and the rest will be "valuable from a scientific standpoint." Ahem. Speaking of which, I've got that chamber at 60F and 90% humidity. I assume that humidity is too high? Or is there no such thing as "too high" for humidity?

Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your support for my absurd psychic dilemmas!

Chris, I've noticed that for about 24 hours, or so, after I put a new project in the chamber that the humidity is pretty much higher than normal. I think you'll notice it come down soon.

As far as too high, I'd rather have it too high than too low, causing the exterior to dry too quickly.

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