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


ronnie_suburban
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I'm not sure if the fan is necessary either in an operating refrigerator

I've posted up thread that I use an old refrigerator in my garage, turned to the warmest setting. It stays around 49-55 degrees, and by leaving in plugged in I am getting some circulation when it cycles.

So far that has been working okay for me. My humidity is probably a bit lower than ideal, but I keep the pan of salted water in the bottom and I've not had any problems so far with premature drying on the exterior of the projects.

Chris, I'm not sure what to suggest. Ala Alton Brown, I think you could just use a large box with some method of hanging, if you have a room that is sufficiently cool. The computer fan idea that Jason spoke of has been used in other chambers I've read about.

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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Chris start looking near any student housing...may be some dorm fridges hitting the sidewalks soon...

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

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Chris, upthread I show my curing chamber, a little mini-greenhouse with a muffin fan for circulation, a top that opens for air flow, and a pan of salted water, into which I'm imagining dropping frozen gel packs in the event that the garage gets too warm. So far I've hung my pancetta in there and had it come out perfectly, my guanciale is in its 4th week and looking great, and I have a newish lamb prosciutto in there too. I'm very happy with it, although the minute I get some sausages ready to hang I'm going to wish it were bigger.

I've got everything for sausage except casings - how dumb is that? I'm doing a Niman order on Monday, so hopefully I'll be in the sausage business next week.

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Well, from all the above I feel I'm waaaay behind the power curve here (my usual state of affairs :wacko:), but my eagerly anticipated andouille is about to become the real thing. Received the pecan last Sunday, and because of some scheduling problems (damned day job!!), I didn't get to make the sausage until today. It is in the fridge developing the pellicle as we keyboard, and will be smoked over pecan tomorrow, God willing and the creeks don't rise. Pictures - and I'm hoping some kickass shrimp and sausage jambalaya - to follow shortly.

As an aside, and with no intended putdown to anybody, the andouille I've ordered from Poche's and Jacob's has come to us in Virginia at a landed cost of almost $9 per lb. This homemade version I'm figuring is coming in at about $2.50/lb, including spices, so it won't take very long to pay for all the stuff I've bought to make this possible :raz:.

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

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Finally got to remove the venison salame from the curing box today.

gallery_16509_1680_360489.jpg

What a treat!

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 want to cure. But I am afraid.

Charcuterie recommends 60F/60% humidity for pancetta, and 60F/70% humidity for dry cured sausages.

The area that I'd like to use is a dark basement pantry that is running about 63F/40%. I got the humidity up to 49% with a pan of water, but this still seems too dry. Does it really matter?

Perhaps I could increase humidity by placing the pan inside of a big cardboard box??? What about a Rubbermaid-type of drawer unit, where the top drawers could serve as shelves, and you could remove the lower shelves for hannging space, a pan of water on the bottom?

I am looking for something that can be put away when I'm not using it, but that would let me have pancetta whenever I have a hankering. Any thoughts appreciated.

Oil and potatoes both grow underground so french fries may have eventually invented themselves had they not been invented -- J. Esther
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Finally got to remove the venison salame from the curing box today.

What a treat!

Beautiful stuff indeed, Dave. What does it taste like? And is it really as purple as the picture looks, or is that due to the ambient lighting?

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

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Beautiful stuff indeed, Dave.  What does it taste like?  And is it really as purple as the picture looks, or is that due to the ambient lighting?

Thanks!

Yes, that is a pretty good representation of the color. The taste is hard to compare to. It has a hint of that tangy fermented taste, and perhaps similar to the peperone, but not as spicy. There is a difference between the beef and the venison (DOH), but it's not near as gamy as you would expect. I don't know if that's due to the fat back (which the peperone doesn't have).

Overall, I'm really happy with it, and a bit sad, as I only have 2 lbs of venison left to play with.

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 want to cure.  But I am afraid. 

Charcuterie recommends 60F/60% humidity for pancetta, and 60F/70% humidity for dry cured sausages. 

The area that I'd like to use is a dark basement pantry that is running about 63F/40%.  I got the humidity up to 49% with a pan of water, but this still seems too dry.  Does it really matter?

Perhaps I could increase humidity by placing the pan inside of a big cardboard box???  What about a Rubbermaid-type of drawer unit, where the top drawers could serve as shelves, and you could remove the lower shelves for hannging space, a pan of water on the bottom?

I am looking for something that can be put away when I'm not using it, but that would let me have pancetta whenever I have a hankering.  Any thoughts appreciated.

I think you'd be okay with those numbers. If you look up thread a short bit, my numbers are not ideal, as far as the book recommends, and I've done okay so far. I'd say go for it and see what happens.

At the cost of belly, you really don't have much to lose, compared with the results of your OWN cured pancetta. Just keep an eye on things. Others have posted that they rubbed a project with olive oil if they felt it was drying prematurely.

The only caveat I have here, is that this is rather additive. I think you'll be looking for a more permanent chamber, rather than one you can put away when not in use.

Edited by Bombdog (log)

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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Question about curing jowls . . . I started curing mine on Friday night using the salt box method and the basic cure recipe from the book. I went to flip them over today and I noticed kind of a funky greenish tint on the meat. It doesn't seem 'normal' but they weren't even out of refrigeration for longer than about 10 minutes. I took them from their cryovacked packs, rinsed them, dried them, dredged them in cure and returned them, in ziplocs, to the fridge.

Can anyone comment on this?

=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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Question about curing jowls . . . I started curing mine on Friday night using the salt box method and the basic cure recipe from the book.  I went to flip them over today and I noticed kind of a funky greenish tint on the meat.  It doesn't seem 'normal' but they weren't even out of refrigeration for longer than about 10 minutes.  I took them from their cryovacked packs, rinsed them, dried them, dredged them in cure and returned them, in ziplocs, to the fridge.

Can anyone comment on this?

=R=

Well, that sent me running out to check on mine. They went into the cure on Wednesday and even with the fresh herbs in the cure, I didn't notice anything "green" that didn't look like it was supposed to be there.

Can you post some pictures of it?

I have noticed a very slight greenish tint to some bacon once...I wonder if that is the same. It had not seemed to affect the flavor, or safety (I'm still here) But then again, I ate Navy food for nearly 10 years

Edited by Bombdog (log)

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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Here's what the stuff looked like. Wish I could tell you what it tasted like, but most of you are probably familiar with your own products. I didn't take a picture of the inside of the Canadian bacon, but when I first sliced it, I thought it was raw, it was so pink. But that was from the nitrite salt. I have never tried smoking in a kettle before, but it worked. It kept a steady 300 degrees, using hardwood charcoal, and wet hickory chips. We played in the yard, which obviously needs more than raking, I lied. I fired up the oven with some of the brush we pulled out. Had nothing to bake in it, but lit it anyway.

The herb sausage

sausage.jpg

The Canadian bacon

bacon.jpg

The little-used brick oven

oven.jpg

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Another successful (and experimental) bacon. This time I cured the meat with expressed orange oil (an ingredient I love to use with meats in general), dried orange peel, lapsang souchong tea, and brown sugar, as well as the basic cure.

The orange flavor stays with the bacon even after frying, and the other ingredients keep it from being too harsh.

--Dave

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I have never tried smoking in a kettle before, but it worked.

Nice to know I'm not the only one smoking in a kettle with an oven thermometer!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Question about curing jowls . . . I started curing mine on Friday night using the salt box method and the basic cure recipe from the book.  I went to flip them over today and I noticed kind of a funky greenish tint on the meat.  It doesn't seem 'normal' but they weren't even out of refrigeration for longer than about 10 minutes.  I took them from their cryovacked packs, rinsed them, dried them, dredged them in cure and returned them, in ziplocs, to the fridge.

Can anyone comment on this?

=R=

Ronnie are you talking about the shimmery coppery green...like Roast beef from the deli gets or something funky and green??

tracey

The great thing about barbeque is that when you get hungry 3 hours later....you can lick your fingers

Maxine

Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

"It is the government's fault, they've eaten everything."

My Webpage

garden state motorcyle association

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Great looking stuff McDuff....thanks for posting the pictures!

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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Here's a pic of my greenish jowls . . .

gallery_3085_2460_79031.jpg

Especially near the bottom of the picture, you can see some greenish/brownish discoloration. I thought I'd removed the glands but perhaps I missed some and that's the source of the discoloration. It's kind of hard to see but the liquid being leached is a strange color; more yellowish today but a bit greener yesterday.

I'll try to capture some better images but I really don't want to remove the jowls from their bags unless I absolutely have to.

Any thoughts?

=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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A couple more images for the sleuths . . .

gallery_3085_2460_182538.jpg

A light greenish-yellowish tone on some of the surface area of the jowl.

gallery_3085_2460_20137.jpg

Not looking so good.

=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's a pic of my greenish jowls . . .

Any thoughts?

=R=

I don't know Ron....beats me. They don't look anything like mine

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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Well, they say confession is good for the soul, so here is my mea culpa for today :wacko:. I haven't included any pics for reasons that will be obvious shortly.

I smoked my andouille yesterday, and made a pot of andouille and shrimp jambalaya last night. I've made my version of jambalaya many times, always with andouille from either Jacob's or Poche's, so we all know pretty well what it sould taste like. Bottom line, I made the andouille too hot for that use and its heat obscured the other flavors in the dish. I'm a pretty hardcore chili head, and the sausage makes a nice accompaniament to scrambled eggs, and probably a pretty fair hot dog, but the spice was overwhelming in the jambalaya. The recipe was a variation on Folse's, but with much more heat.

3-1/2 lbs Pork Butt, trimmed of fat and cubed

1-1/2 lbs Fatback, cubed

5 Tbsp Garlic (not enough)

3 Tbsp Cayenne

2 Tbsp Black Pepper

2 Tbsp Red Pepper flakes

2 Tbsp Kosher Salt

1-1/2 Tbsp Dried Thyme Leaves

1 tsp Pink Salt

1/2 tsp Allspice

1-1/2 C Ice Water

10' Beef Round Casing (38-40mm)

The red pepper flakes, I think, were the culprit on the heat, and I'll eliminate them next time. I'll also increase the Garlic to 8 Tbsp (1/2 C) and the Thyme to 2 Tbsp. Basically I'm getting to about the same point as what Ron's recipe is evolving into. That's probably not surprising, because we both have bought andouille from well known vendors in Louisiana and that has fixed in my mind at least what it should taste like.

As an aside, the folks selling beef casings say they are inedible, but we did not find that to be the case. They are a little tougher and chewier than pork casings, but after cooking in the jambalaya for an hour or so, they are just fine. They are also much less subject to blowout than the pork casings.

And a final thought: it is not a pleasant task to explain to a hungry wife and son that if you're going to be a chef, you have to be prepared for occasional failures :sad:. But I promised I'd do better next time :biggrin:.

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

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Here's a pic of my greenish jowls . . . .

I really don't want to remove the jowls from their bags unless I absolutely have to.

Any thoughts?

=R=

One quick test that won't require removal. What does it smell like when you open the bag? If it smells like it looks, I fear you might be done with this experiment :sad:.

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

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Here's a pic of my greenish jowls . . . .

I really don't want to remove the jowls from their bags unless I absolutely have to.

Any thoughts?

=R=

One quick test that won't require removal. What does it smell like when you open the bag? If it smells like it looks, I fear you might be done with this experiment :sad:.

I know, this is a real stumper. I will do an "aroma check" when I get home tonight. There was no "off" smell coming from inside the bags, so I'm still hopeful. My only thought is that this is somehow a glandular problem and that I didn't trim the jowls well enough before setting out. FWIW, I sourced the jowls from Niman and they had no off aroma at all when I took them from their original, crovacked packaging.

=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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Operation Lamb Sausage

I attempted my first sausages. With the lamb sausage recipe posted upthread, meat and casings from the Golden Gate Meat Company, borrowed food Grinder , and KitchenAid sausage stuffer attachment I went to town. I improvised and added part pork shoulder, kalamata olives, cumin, and a little bit of bacon. Due to empty/old spice rack syndrome/laziness, I omitted the roasted garlic, oregano and rosemary.

I started with meat cubes, seasoned and chilled.

meat.jpg

And got all my bits ready.

bits.jpg

Then I attempt to use the KitchenAid food grinder and got really frustrated because it kept clogging up. Whatever could be the problem? Let's check all the parts we got? What's this blade thing? Perhaps it will help? Ah! Yes! Something to actually CUT the meat rather than just pushing it through the holes of the die. Brilliant!

Then I successfully ground the remaining meat. (In my elation, I forgot to take a picture.) I lost about 25% of the meat and 15% of my pride (I'm still making sausage from scratch -- I'm allowed to be a little proud!) in the process of trying to push the meat through the grinder without the blade. (So very smart I am! In my defense, the assembly instructions don't actually mention the blade. But I should know better. I digress.)

Then I added some ice cold wine (that we call the "Bacon wine" in our house because of its smoky overtones) & did the primary bind.

mix.jpg

Then I tested the seasonings with an itty bitty test patty. (Flavors were spot on. Excellent recipe!)

taste.jpg

And stuffed the casings full of lamby goodness

fill.jpg

And formed myself a giant sausage ring

ring.jpg

Twist, cut and cook

cooked.jpg

The flavors were EXCELLENT, but the texture a little dry and crumbly. (I think I over cooked them a bit.) But it was really really fun to do, so thanks to all you forum folks that made the process that much less intimidating. (The pictures really do help!)

It was so much fun that even the puppy wanted in on the action when I left the book on the couch. Unfortunately she hasn't learned that picture of sausage ON the book doesn't mean sausage is IN the book.

charcuterie.jpg

Terrarium thermometer and hygrometer arrived today! (For my sausagearium?) And I'm going to try my hand at Spanish Chorizo as soon as my package from B-P arrives. Hopefully all these orders haven't set mine back! I need my Bactoferm!!

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