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


ronnie_suburban
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Wickedly beautiful peperone!  That dark, cordovan color is utterly enticing.

Thanks Abra...and it tastes good too!

As promised....

gallery_16509_1680_209833.jpg

Here are the pork sausages made with the smoked fat. They were really tasty (grilled and served on some Rancho Gordo posole verde), but the anticipated smoke flavor from the smoked fat really didn't come through. No matter, they were still damned good!

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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That peperone is absolutely stunning. Why don't you live just down the block?

I stuffed my venison sausages, and will grill a few of them off tomorrow night. I hope that are as good as the amount of work these were. Add to it that my kitchen karma just has not been present this week.

Anyway, it was well over an hour trimming the venison. This stuff has almost no fat (and what fat there is is very brittle and tallowy) and tons of sinew and tough silverskin. My efforts did pay off, as I had a "clean" grind.

After whacking everything up. I used venison, back fat, sage, fennel seed, black pepper, garlic, and dried cherries that had been soaked in red wine. In my big wide bright yellow tupperware bowl.

gallery_6263_35_64167.jpg

During my last (and first) sausage grinding and stuffing experience, Diana and I did not like having the KA on the counter. It was just too high (and we are 5'7" and 5'8" respectively). It's constant with one arm well above shoulder level, so this time, I grabbed a chair that was a baby gift for one of the kids and we did it on the floor.

gallery_6263_35_85258.jpg

I got the little chair and she sat cross legged on the floor (age counts).

The grind when just fine. I imagine it could have been a bit colder, and since my instant read was part of a science fair project, I could only guess. It was not quite hand numbingly cold.

Here I am with half of it after beating it for the bind.

gallery_6263_35_47127.jpg

This is where things got interesting. I stuck the stuff in the freezer after the grind because it needed to chill further. Then one kid got a bloody nose. Then there was yet another kid crisis. So, it was VERY cold when I did the bind.

I loosely followed the proportions of the turkey sausage, which called for only the liquid of the reserved 1/2 cup of wine from soaking the cherries. It seemed to stiff, so I grabbed The Book and my reading glasses, and noted that Milo's Vension sausage called for 1 cup of water, so I started adding some water, which I didn't measure.

Like I said, this stuff was really, really cold when I started to paddle it (in fact, it was like a cold facial sitting and looking at it), and it never did get fuzzy, and I started to worry after 2 minutes that perhaps I was overmixing it.

Oh, well. Like I said, the kitchen gods have not been with me this week.

And, then we stuffed. This stuff was much tougher to stuff than the chicken sausages. It seemed much tighter. I'm also not at all happy with stuffing with the KA. Diana used the plunger thing for me, and we kept having these "farts" which resulted in air in the sausages, and a lot of the time, the casing that was on the stuffing nozzel was burbled up with air.

But, we "got her done."

gallery_6263_35_66634.jpg

I had one that burst, and we just cut it off and re-fed the stuff through the attachment.

Oh, and I didn't have quite enough casing, so there was an emergency soak in really hot water and flush with very hot water.

We'll eat them tomorrow night. Cross your fingers. I need at least one kitchen sucess this week. (Oh, and I forgot to get fatty butt that is on sale this week, so I'm going shopping yet again tomorrow. I hope I remember to read the list and get the poblanos.) The kitchen gods better start shining on me again.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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"I found a much better source for my pork belly today and at 1.90/lb for awsome looking belly, it is heaven sent."

Elie, where did you find the pork belly? I have been using Hong Kong Market for pork belly (and duck legs), and I think their price is $2.50 /lb for the belly and $3.50 for the duck legs. Thanks in advance.

Mark

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"I found a much better source for my pork belly today and at 1.90/lb for awsome looking belly, it is heaven sent."

Elie, where did you find the pork belly? I have been using Hong Kong Market for pork belly (and duck legs), and I think their price is $2.50 /lb for the belly and $3.50 for the duck legs. Thanks in advance.

Mark

These prices sounds high to me (Minnesota). I'm getting bellies for $1.19 or $.99/lb (must buy two whole bellies, each weighing about 12 pounds) and butt and country ribs on sale for $1.29/pound. I haven't priced duck legs lately.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Here are the pork sausages made with the smoked fat.  They were really tasty (grilled and served on some Rancho Gordo posole verde), but the anticipated smoke flavor from the smoked fat really didn't come through.  No matter, they were still damned good!

Still, those look great! Did you use a recipe from the book? If not, recipe, please?

After whacking everything up.  I used venison, back fat, sage, fennel seed, black pepper, garlic, and dried cherries that had been soaked in red wine.  In my big wide bright yellow tupperware bowl.

. . .

We'll eat them tomorrow night.  Cross your fingers.  I need at least one kitchen sucess this week.  (Oh, and I forgot to get fatty butt that is on sale this week, so I'm going shopping yet again tomorrow.  I hope I remember to read the list and get the poblanos.)  The kitchen gods better start shining on me again.

Susan, these sound delicious and the links look good. I can't wait to hear how they turn out. Will you cook them on the weber?

Around here in north-suburban Chicago, I can generally get grocery-grade pork butt for anywhere between $0.99 - $1.29/# and good, co-op pork for about $3.00/#.

Speaking of pork butt, last night when I was recording a recipe, I wrote down on a note card "5# fatty pork butt." Moments later I couldn't find the card, so I started over on a new card. I never knew what happened to that first card (figured it probably ended up in the garbage) . . . until tonight. Somehow, that card found its way into my son's backpack. When he got to school this morning, he found it in there, took it out, and read it. Apparently, it was quite the moment when the words "fatty pork butt" were uttered in his 3rd-grade classroom. According to my son, his teacher said something along the lines of "well, that's certainly not good," as the class burst into laughter :biggrin:

=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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Here are the pork sausages made with the smoked fat.  They were really tasty (grilled and served on some Rancho Gordo posole verde), but the anticipated smoke flavor from the smoked fat really didn't come through.  No matter, they were still damned good!

Still, those look great! Did you use a recipe from the book? If not, recipe, please?

After whacking everything up.  I used venison, back fat, sage, fennel seed, black pepper, garlic, and dried cherries that had been soaked in red wine.  In my big wide bright yellow tupperware bowl.

. . .

We'll eat them tomorrow night.  Cross your fingers.  I need at least one kitchen sucess this week.  (Oh, and I forgot to get fatty butt that is on sale this week, so I'm going shopping yet again tomorrow.  I hope I remember to read the list and get the poblanos.)  The kitchen gods better start shining on me again.

Susan, these sound delicious and the links look good. I can't wait to hear how they turn out. Will you cook them on the weber?

Around here in north-suburban Chicago, I can generally get grocery-grade pork butt for anywhere between $0.99 - $1.29/# and good, co-op pork for about $3.00/#.

Speaking of pork butt, last night when I was recording a recipe, I wrote down on a note card "5# fatty pork butt." Moments later I couldn't find the card, so I started over on a new card. I never knew what happened to that first card (figured it probably ended up in the garbage) . . . until tonight. Somehow, that card found its way into my son's backpack. When he got to school this morning, he found it in there, took it out, and read it. Apparently, it was quite the moment when the words "fatty pork butt" were uttered in his 3rd-grade classroom. According to my son, his teacher said something along the lines of "well, that's certainly not good," as the class burst into laughter :biggrin:

=R=

Yes, Ron, the sausages on the trusty old Weber.

To the recipe card. Should you go to the last two pages of the Behold My Butt topic, you will find endless amounts of laughter for all, especially 3rd and 4th grade boys. Peter delights in talking about "mom smoking butt" and "my mom's butt stalled" in school to endless rolling on the floor of all kids. The girls pretend not to be amused, but they are!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Still, those look great!  Did you use a recipe from the book?  If not, recipe, please?

Thanks Ron. Not from the book, just something I came up with after our upthread discussion about different fat usage.

Here's the ingredients. The directions are standard for the stuff we've been making.

4lbs fatty pork butt

1 lb smoked fat back, trimmed from previous bacon projects

1 cup of poblano peppers, roasted, peeled, seeded and chopped

1 can of chipotle peppers in adobo (7 oz), run through the food processor briefly

1 bunch of cilanto, chopped

2 T cumin

1T kosher salt (the fat back was pretty salty from the bacon cure)

2t curing salt

1 cup red wine, ice cold

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, was the chipotle overwhelming?  Were they tremendously spicey?

Not at all. I'm not a real spicy eater anymore. These were pretty well balanced I think.

I wanted to respond to some of your problems with the KA stuffer. I have had some similar issues, and yesterday pretty much decided to look into a different method for stuffing. I'm pretty satisfied as far as the grinding goes, but there just seems to be too many issues for stuffing the quantities we are going through around here.

First, the "fart" issue. I found that feeding small "balls" of mixture, that just fit through the intake, seems to lessen that problem, but not totally eliminate it.

Second, after Chris' temperature post a while back, I have shoved the instant read into just about everything at every step the last 2 or 3 times I've made something. When I made the venison salame I really worked at keeping it just above 32F. That turned out to be a mistake. I found out there is such a thing as too cold. More than once I noticed that the mixture filling the casing looked like it was emulsifing. I was stimied, knowing that I had a good cold mixture. Turns out I had frozen portions that were clogging up parts of the apparatus, thus causing the emulsion effect as the unfrozen parts were forced past the remaining space. Not sure if that makes sense.

I pretty much found that, for me, 37-38 F seems to work best.

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, at the risk of sounding like an echo, that peperone is just magnificent. And I don't even like storebought pizza very much (although I might change my mind if it were homemade with real peperone :raz:).

A question for all you smokers of dead flesh: I've made the maple flavored bacon twice, smoked over apple, and both times it received rave reviews. However, I also need some savory bacon, both for eating and especially for seasoning in dishes like collards (the maple bacon makes collards taste a little strange, I found out the hard way). Am thinking of using the recipe for pancetta, but smoking it after the cure, probably over a combination of hickory and cherry, or maybe hickory and apple. Any thoughts or suggestions from the others of you who are into homemade bacon? TIA

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

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. . . Am thinking of using the recipe for pancetta, but smoking it after the cure, probably over a combination of hickory and cherry, or maybe hickory and apple.  Any thoughts or suggestions from the others of you who are into homemade bacon?  TIA

This sounds like a great idea. I can't imagine it not turning out well. If you try it, please report back.

=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, at the risk of sounding like an echo, that peperone is just magnificent. 

Am thinking of using the recipe for pancetta, but smoking it after the cure, probably over a combination of hickory and cherry, or maybe hickory and apple.  Any thoughts or suggestions from the others of you who are into homemade bacon?  TIA

Thanks!

As far as the pancetta cure for bacon...that's exactly what I do. I am NOT a fan of maple and like the savory cure of the pancetta.

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 found a much better source for my pork belly today and at 1.90/lb for awsome looking belly, it is heaven sent."

Elie, where did you find the pork belly? I have been using Hong Kong Market for pork belly (and duck legs), and I think their price is $2.50 /lb for the belly and $3.50 for the duck legs. Thanks in advance.

Mark

I have gotten belly from Hong Kong before, but the problem is they always have them cut up into 2lb square pieces and the butcher in all honesty is NOT very helpful and when I asked him to leave a whole slab of belly whole for me he said I need to stop by and if they have not cut the pork yet, I might be able to get a whole piece :angry: .

So, my new source with very heplful butcher and awsome pork for a much less cost than anywhere else is the HEB on Beechnut and Beltway-8. The place is huge and prices are very reasonable and their produce is awsome (can you tell I was impressed by my first visit?). They cater to the local Asian population so they sell all the excellent pork parts that Hong Kong does and they are very very helpful.

Here is their number, 281-564-5201 ask to talk to Joakim, Edward or Joe at the meat/butcher counter. To get a full uncut slab of belly you need to call early around 7 AM before they divide up the pork.

PM me if you need any more details.

Good luck.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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"I found a much better source for my pork belly today and at 1.90/lb for awsome looking belly, it is heaven sent."

Elie, where did you find the pork belly? I have been using Hong Kong Market for pork belly (and duck legs), and I think their price is $2.50 /lb for the belly and $3.50 for the duck legs. Thanks in advance.

Mark

I have gotten belly from Hong Kong before, but the problem is they always have them cut up into 2lb square pieces and the butcher in all honesty is NOT very helpful and when I asked him to leave a whole slab of belly whole for me he said I need to stop by and if they have not cut the pork yet, I might be able to get a whole piece :angry: .

So, my new source with very heplful butcher and awsome pork for a much less cost than anywhere else is the HEB on Beechnut and Beltway-8. The place is huge and prices are very reasonable and their produce is awsome (can you tell I was impressed by my first visit?). They cater to the local Asian population so they sell all the excellent pork parts that Hong Kong does and they are very very helpful.

Here is their number, 281-564-5201 ask to talk to Joakim, Edward or Joe at the meat/butcher counter. To get a full uncut slab of belly you need to call early around 7 AM before they divide up the pork.

PM me if you need any more details.

Good luck.

Thanks for the information , Elie. I live in The Woodlands, and we have the hybrid HEB-Central Market up here, but I think they cater to the prime filet crowd :laugh:

I do get into Houston two or three times a week, so as soon as I finish off the 4 two-pound bacon slabs I just finished smoking, I'll head that way! "get there around 7 a.m." let's see, if I leave about 5:45 I can make it! Thanks for the phone number--it seems that a call the day before is in order.

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As far as the pancetta cure for bacon...that's exactly what I do.  I am NOT a fan of maple and like the savory cure of the pancetta.

Thanks much for the info. Do you remove the skin before curing (as in the pancetta recipe), or smoke it and then remove the skin like the other bacon recipes?

This sounds like a great idea.  I can't imagine it not turning out well.  If you try it, please report back.

Done deal. I'm also supposed to pick up the pecan either Sunday or Monday, so I'll be a busy boy curing, stuffing and smoking for the next week or so :raz:. I'll report back on the bacon and the andouille as soon as they're done.

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

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"I found a much better source for my pork belly today and at 1.90/lb for awsome looking belly, it is heaven sent."

Elie, where did you find the pork belly? I have been using Hong Kong Market for pork belly (and duck legs), and I think their price is $2.50 /lb for the belly and $3.50 for the duck legs. Thanks in advance.

Mark

I have gotten belly from Hong Kong before, but the problem is they always have them cut up into 2lb square pieces and the butcher in all honesty is NOT very helpful and when I asked him to leave a whole slab of belly whole for me he said I need to stop by and if they have not cut the pork yet, I might be able to get a whole piece :angry: .

So, my new source with very heplful butcher and awsome pork for a much less cost than anywhere else is the HEB on Beechnut and Beltway-8. The place is huge and prices are very reasonable and their produce is awsome (can you tell I was impressed by my first visit?). They cater to the local Asian population so they sell all the excellent pork parts that Hong Kong does and they are very very helpful.

Here is their number, 281-564-5201 ask to talk to Joakim, Edward or Joe at the meat/butcher counter. To get a full uncut slab of belly you need to call early around 7 AM before they divide up the pork.

PM me if you need any more details.

Good luck.

Thanks for the information , Elie. I live in The Woodlands, and we have the hybrid HEB-Central Market up here, but I think they cater to the prime filet crowd :laugh:

I do get into Houston two or three times a week, so as soon as I finish off the 4 two-pound bacon slabs I just finished smoking, I'll head that way! "get there around 7 a.m." let's see, if I leave about 5:45 I can make it! Thanks for the phone number--it seems that a call the day before is in order.

Oh, no need to GET THERE at 7AM, just give them a call and talk to the butcher around that time. I did just that and picked up the meat on my way home after work. It was all ready and wrapped for me.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Thanks much for the info.  Do you remove the skin before curing (as in the pancetta recipe), or smoke it and then remove the skin like the other bacon recipes?

I do everything the same as bacon, leaving the skin on, and smoke it facing down. The only thing different is using the cure for pancetta.

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 ate some venison sausages for dinner last night, done on the Weber.

gallery_6263_35_47632.jpg

The flavor of these was divine, and the seasonings were so different than the sausages that my FIL has had processed by local meat markets. I'll dig out my notes and post those.

Although the sausages were crumbly, they were very juicy.

I'm curious why they were so crumbly. As I noted above, this stuff was really, really cold when I paddled it, and it just seemed stiff.

I noted also in the book that the venison sausage recipe is an emulsified. Perhaps I should have just kept mixing it so it was emulsified. Comments?

Unfortunately, I won't be making any more venison sausages until next fall. The two deer that were in my freezer has gone very fast -- I only have about 1/2 a milk crate remaining!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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We ate some venison sausages for dinner last night, done on the Weber.

Although the sausages were crumbly, they were very juicy.

I'm curious why they were so crumbly.  As I noted above, this stuff was really, really cold when I paddled it, and it just seemed stiff.

They sound delicious! Please do post the recipe. I have some more venison here and I'd like to try them.

I really can't say why they are crumbly. I've had that happen too, even when I knew that I had everything cold enough. It's frustrating....at least they still taste great.

Maybe someone else can give us a clue.

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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"Although the sausages were crumbly, they were very juicy."

I would also be interested to see your recipe. My experience with venison is that due to the almost total lack of fat in the venison, there must be ample backfat to keep it from the crumbly texture. As a comparison, the venison terrine wiht dried cherries from the book was, in a word, ethereal, no doubt due to the 50:50 ratio of venison round steak and backfat. :laugh: If you have enough fat, and based upon the "juicy" description I think you did, then I would suspect that you may have stopped mixing before completely emulsified. I think I have some more venison in the freezer, so perhaps I should do a test batch with your recipe and see if the answer is in the emulsifying.

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My "recipe" for the vension sausages:

3.5 lb. venison

1.5 lb. back fat

1/4 cup minced fresh sage (packed)

2 generous T of fennel seeds (toasted)

1 cup dried cherries (these had sugar in them) soaked for a while in 1/2 cup of wine. (Drained the wine and reserved when I did the mix with the diced stuff and spices in a bowl)

2 generous teaspoons of cracked black pepper. Ground reasonably fine

2 (or was it 3) T of kosher salt

4 minced cloves of garlic

I probably could have gone with a higher percentabe of back fat, and I could have paddled it longer, or paddled it when it wasn't so cold. It was really, really cold.

When I paddled it, I ended up adding another 3/4 c or so of water.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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How do you all think a beer fridge would work as a curing chamber?

I don't know, but I'd sure like to have a better idea about a curing chamber. We have one room in the house which is always cold, but it's not dark (and I think that's essential, but I'm not sure). I'm actually loathe to finish this room -- not that I mind drywalling and wiring the room -- but because I'm thinking Curing Chamber somewhere in this room.

This topic is getting so long that we just might need a separate "curing chamber" topic.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My in-laws were over this afternoon, and we gave them a small package of the venison sausages. THey had many questions about my sausage making, and the one thing Diana and I have agreed upon is that we will definitely be looking into a different stuffer. The KA is a pain in the blanking butt for stuffing.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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How do you all think a beer fridge would work as a curing chamber?

I have an older refrigerator in my garage that I use as a curing chamber. I cleaned it out, removed all but the topmost shelf supports and it works fine. I keep a thermometer and hygrometer on a door shelf and a pan of salted water on the floor.

Susan, if your room is cold enough, why don't you get a large box and rig up a method to hang things. That would take care of the light issue. Is your humidity in that room high enough?

And THANKS for posting the venison sausage recipe.

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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