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ronnie_suburban

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

594 posts in this topic

I really love smoke, so I'm not even sure I could get it too smoky. I guess that means that I'm going to try this dual/temp technique on the next meat I smoke too, and see if I continue to love it.

One reason I favor the intense smoke is that I'm trying to minimize my own personal resemblance to The Noble Pig, so I tend to use my charcuterie more as a garnish than the main event. I can't resist posting one more bit of Canadian bacon porn, my lunch today - Bacon and Egg Salad

gallery_16307_2661_14460.jpg

And no, I didn't enhance the color at all, that's the way my farm eggs look at this time of year.

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bombdog, he was refering to snowangels comment, and he's cranky today anyway.

Whew!


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, he was refering to snowangels comment, and he's cranky today anyway.

abra, your bacon looks perfect.  the reason for smoking at a low temp is to get more smoke on the meat; if that's what you want, you did it just right.

there isn't much difference between ham and canadian bacon, that's what pork cured with sodium nitrite tastes like--you'd get the same flavor if you did it with a pork chop, or as a pork shoulder (which is called a cottage ham in some places).

The local market occasionally makes what they call "Arkansas bacon" from halved and cured pork shoulder--have you ever ran across this term before? Thanks.

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I hope no one minds if turn back the clock a bit to pork belly. I've got a couple of questions.

I got a five-pound belly (yes, nipples and all). I cut it in half, squared each part up and applied the cure -- since I was dealing with the same size belly as described in the book, I stuck to the recipe (btw, Michael, props on using weights as well as volumes). I put each half in a ziplock bag and stuck them in in the refrigerator. I've turned and redistributed the liquid religiously. This project commenced last Friday. I'm wondering how to tell when it's ready to come out of the cure. I suppose it's not as limp as it was to start, but I'm at seven days, and my belly is still pretty damn floppy.

Second question: I'm guessing what y'all are going to tell me is that I just need to wait a few more days. That's going to put me early to mid-week. Add two days or so for the pellicle, and we're close enough to the weekend to make it work. The problem is that I'm not going to be able to smoke it immediately, or even next weekend. Can I freeze the cured belly? If I can, should I do it pre- or post-pellicle? I'm guessing the former, but you guys are more experinced than I am. Or should I just roast it off? (Even if the advice is to freeze, I might roast off one piece just to see how it tastes.)


Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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No, Dave, feel free to turn the clock back to belly. I'm thinking that other 12 pounder needs to come out fairly soon and get baconed. Have you been poking your belly with a finger daily? That's what I did, and when it started to firm up, I smoked it. I probably smoked it too early; I was impatient. And, if my bacon supply runs out before I do another batch, I'll be impatient, too. I guess the question is just how firm should this be after the cure?

My one comment, Dave, is I didn't bother squaring anything up. I just sort of figured that all of the extra bits that were hanging over or not quite square would find a use, and the idea of not smoking a square cm of this stuff would be a waste. And, I was right. I'd be changing that direction is a re-issue of the book. Since I squared it off after the fact, I had all sorts of wonderful nibbly bits for salads, pasta, etc.

Sorry, no answers about freezing the cured stuff. My immediate reaction would be that if you can smoke it tomorrow, do so.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Dave, unless your belly is unusually thick, I'll bet that it's ready. It should feel firm when you press on it, but it's not going to be completely stiff. I've never left a belly on the cure more than 7 days using that quantity of salt. If I were you, i'd take it off the cure to day, rinse and dry it, refrigerate it uncovered today and smoke it tomorrow.

Or: leave it on the cure for a few more days, then refrigerate till next weekend. It's cured so no need to freeze if you're going to cook it in a few days. you could hang it in your kitchen to dry if you wanted and it would be good.

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. . . . .

I guess the question is just how firm should this be after the cure?

Michael says it's done, so I'm calling it done. It is firmer than I thought -- the ziplock adds a flop quotient, making the belly seem less firm than it really is. I'd call it, after the old rule for knowing when a steak is done, slightly less than thumb-pad firm.

. . . . .

My one comment, Dave, is I didn't bother squaring anything up.  I just sort of figured that all of the extra bits that were hanging over or not quite square would find a use, and the idea of not smoking a square cm of this stuff would be a waste.  And, I was right.  I'd be changing that direction is a re-issue of the book.  Since I squared it off after the fact, I had all sorts of wonderful nibbly bits for salads, pasta, etc.

I am all about nibbly bits. I admit to keeping the fleshier trimmings. I might roast them off, or toss them in the smoker. Next time, I'll just leave them on.
Dave, unless your belly is unusually thick, I'll bet that it's ready.  It should feel firm when you press  on it, but it's not going to be completely stiff.  I've never left a belly on the cure more than 7 days using that quantity of salt.  If I were you, i'd take it off the cure to day, rinse and dry it, refrigerate it uncovered today and smoke it tomorrow.

This is what I'm going to do. It's out, rinsed, dried and chillin'. Thanks.

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

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I am all about nibbly bits. I admit to keeping the fleshier trimmings. I might roast them off, or toss them in the smoker. Next time, I'll just leave them on.

Once caveat Dave. I trimmed my first offerings to the bacon God too, and then put a fairly good size irregular piece in the cure also. Just don't leave it in near as long as the others (normal slabs) It was almost unbearably salty.

I only trim to fit the ziplock now and square it away after the smoking is done. I don't know why I bother, unless I'm afraid Martha Stewart is going to come in and check them out. I hate the thought of being gigged for irregular bacon slabs.


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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We grilled the last of my chicken sausages tonight. Again, they are wonderful, but like I said, next time I will aim for colder when grinding and binding, and perhaps add more fat.

But, I must admit that one of the most useful tips I have received from this book is the advice on what temp at which one should pull the sausages.

As Diana said "I think one reason I don't like a lot of sausages is because they are waaaayyyy overcooked." Well said, Diana.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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But, I must admit that one of the most useful tips I have received from this book is the advice on what temp at which one should pull the sausages.

As Diana said "I think one reason I don't like a lot of sausages is because they are waaaayyyy overcooked."  Well said, Diana.

This is SO true. It's great to confidently pull those sausages off the grill at the right moment, when the juices are still inside the casings and the fat is still integrated with the meat. Knowing precisely what's inside those casings is a big part of being able to do that without worry.

Liberating! :smile:

=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 really love smoke, so I'm not even sure I could get it too smoky.  I guess that means that I'm going to try this dual/temp technique on the next meat I smoke too, and see if I continue to love it.

One reason I favor the intense smoke is that I'm trying to minimize my own personal resemblance to The Noble Pig, so I tend to use my charcuterie more as a garnish than the main event.  I can't resist posting one more bit of Canadian bacon porn, my lunch today - Bacon and Egg Salad

gallery_16307_2661_14460.jpg

And no, I didn't enhance the color at all, that's the way my farm eggs look at this time of year.

Serious porn, Abra. I'm sticky in places I never knew I had. You tha Woman.


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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I'm finally getting around to my vension sausage. Wow, that meat is full of sinew and tendons. It took well over an hour to get the 3.5 pounds trimmed and ready.

Some questions:

I'm doing a riff on the turkey with dried cherry sausage. Should I use red wine or red wine vinegar? Some recipes call for wine, some for vinegar. Could use some guidance.

I'm prepping to up up the back fat, which has skin attached. I'm sure I should remove the skin, but wondering what to do with the skin.

Advice, please!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'm prepping to up up the back fat, which has skin attached.  I'm sure I should remove the skin, but wondering what to do with the skin.

Advice, please!

I've been freezing all this skin for later use. The only thing I can come up with right now is cassoulet. Bourdain's recipe calls for 1 lb. I'm sure I'll come up with other uses.

I smoked 2 slabs of bacon yesterday, along with another herb brined turkey breast.

YUMMY....

My 28 year old son was having a Chris event with the skin of the turkey breast until I threatened to smoke him (in a totally different manner)


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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You can boil the skin until it's soft and add it to stuff like beans, jambalaya, etc. I've used the smoked skins from the bacons I've made for similar-type stuff, including a 'stock' that I used in some jambalaya. I think you can make cracklings with the skin too. My one attempt at that was delicious. although it was very hard to the bite. I'm pretty sure the method I came up with wasn't a sound one.

=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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You can use the skin to make cotechino, a traditional italian new years boiled sausage..it kicks ass.

Jason, is that the sausage that has crisply-cooked skin in the filling? I read somewhere about that, perhaps in Cooking by Hand.

=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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gallery_16509_1680_403018.jpg

Had some of my chicken sausages with sun dried tomato and basil tonite....they actually had better definition than these pictures show. I was very happy with the flavor and the texture.


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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Bite! Beautiful sausages, Dave.

Last pork belly I didn't use the skin, because I wasn't sure about it having been cured. All of these uses you guys are mentioning would work with cured skin? Or would you remove the skin before curing if you were going to use a pound of it in one dish?

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gallery_16509_1680_403018.jpg

Had some of my chicken sausages with sun dried tomato and basil tonite....they actually had better definition than these pictures show.  I was very happy with the flavor and the texture.

Beautiful, Dave. These are a wonderful sausage, aren't they? Talk about your fat. I mean the fat in the sausage.


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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Ronni, no, cotechino uses boiled skin which is ground up, then added to meat and spices and cased into large casings (60mm or so) and then boiled for about 2 hours. It all becomes an unctuous delicous, sticky-when-cold from the skin collagen, sausage.

Cooking by hand does have a recipe.

jaso

n

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pig skin is loaded with collagen--add it to your stocks for fantastic body. poached till tender it can be diced and added to stews, beans etc or you can scrape the fat from it, slice it thin and deep fry it. cured skin can be used same as fresh though it will have that bacony flavor if it's cured. the skin's great smoked as well.

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Thanks, Jason, for the info about cotechino. I'll check it out.

Here are a few pics from my most recent Andouille run:

gallery_3085_2744_26107.jpg

These casings were horrible and gave me nothing but trouble. A few of the links are misshapened and somewhat deformed because of it. But even with a few split casings, I tubed off and smoked every bit of filling.

gallery_3085_2744_217113.jpg

A closer look.

gallery_3085_2744_86947.jpg

This is pretty much the definition I was seeking.

I'm really happy with the way these turned out. I smoked them over a combo of cherry and apple (couldn't find sugar cane or pecan locally) for about 3.5 hours, to an internal temperature of 150 F, then cooled them on a rack. They taste great -- very spicy -- and with a nice aroma. This is about 95% of the way to my ideal andouille.

Here's the final revision of the amalgamated Andouille recipe I previously posted upthread:

5 pounds pork butt

1/2 pound fat back

3 oz. chopped garlic

2 T black pepper, freshly ground

2.5 T cayenne pepper

2 T dried thyme

3 T kosher salt

1 t curing salt

1 C ice cold water

10' hog casings

=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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Ron

Those look FABULOUS! I think you got this sausage thing down...

Time for some salame


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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