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


ronnie_suburban
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With the chicken sausages we don't eat for dinner, I'm tempted to freeze them on a sheet pan and then putting them in a zip lock so I can defrost just the right number.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I don't seem to have much of a problem figuring out storage, as everything seems to go pretty fast.  That said, it's extremely gratifying to put a plate, like I posted earlier, in front of your guests and listen to them moan.

Yes this part is the best -- moan and then devour them in a very short period of time.......

hell even my teenaged sons are all geeked when they know they are getting fresh sausages or salami - just like when I started making my own pasta way back...

In any event -- thanks all for your tips. Vacuum sealing 80 sausages might be a bit time consuming - not to mention a pain. I think I'll follow your suggestion Susan - seem easiest and I doubt they will last more than a couple of weeks.

Edited by mdbasile (log)
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Geez.  This is turning out to be one expensive cookbook.  I need a stuffer.  I need a vacuum sealer.  And more charcoal.

... and the cold smoker...

Oh. Let's not forget the meat slicer.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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I need a stuffer.  I need a vacuum sealer.

... and the cold smoker...

Oh. Let's not forget the meat slicer.

Well, the ex fiance got me the Bradley for Christmas...but I definitely need a stuffer and I'll admit to starting the investigation of a slicer. I'd love to have Chris' Hobart...but counter space is just too rare for that option.

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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Charcuterie sighting over here.  Scroll down and see my perfect sausages!

Susan, you did good and made all of us Charcuterie folks proud! Those sausages look fabulous!

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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Thanks, pals. I think that they would not have been nearly as good had it not been for the collective wit and wisdom of this topic.

Lessons learned:

Cold, cold, cold. Hand numbingly cold. If it's too frozen, you can leave it on the counter for a few mintues.

It isn't proper sausage without fat. The recommended percentage.

Don't hesitate to add some extra liquid.

This sausage had the right mix of fat, and I kept it really, really cold throughout the grind and bind. An instant read thermometer is another piece of necessary equipment, I think (cha-ching; another piece of stuff to buy for The Most Expensive Cookbook ever).

Peter put it perfectly. Mom, is is creamy but has definition (the latter word is on his spelling list this week). He was right. The only change I would make is to up the black pepper to 1T and be a bit more generous with the sun-dried tomatoes.

So, I'm off to get butt this week, and hopefully, there will be breakfast sausage on the menu this weekend.

Ron, I know that you have done the breakfast sausage from The Book. Any changes you would make? Did you microplane or finely grate the ginger?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Ron, I know that you have done the breakfast sausage from The Book.  Any changes you would make?  Did you microplane or finely grate the ginger?

Susan, the first time out, I made the breakfast sausage almost directly from the recipe in the book and even though it was delicious, it didn't quite scratch the itch for me. For example, I cut the ginger in half, but it was still too much for me and the sausage tasted more like potsticker filling than breakfast sausage (btw, I chopped the garlic and the ginger into a fine mince in my mini cuisinart).

I eventually created a recipe for breakfast sausage that I really liked but somehow I've managed to lose it :sad: Still, it was fairly similar to the recipe in the book with the main difference being that I removed the ginger entirely. I'd suggest starting 'by the book' and tweaking the recipe from there, based on how you feel about the first batch. And, if I can find or re-create my recipe, I'll post it asap.

=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 eventually created a recipe for breakfast sausage that I really liked but somehow I've managed to lose it :sad: 

Don't you just hate it when that happens :raz:? My wife was out for a meeting one night a while back, and I decided to experiment with duck stock, shrimp and a few veggies (scallions, maybe some spinach, etc.). I ended up with a delicious soup, and I'll be damned if I can find that recipe now :wacko:.

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

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This sausage had the right mix of fat, and I kept it really, really cold throughout the grind and bind.  An instant read thermometer is another piece of necessary equipment, I think (cha-ching; another piece of stuff to buy for The Most Expensive Cookbook ever).

Peter put it perfectly.  Mom, is is creamy but has definition (the latter word is on his spelling list this week).  He was right.  The only change I would make is to up the black pepper to 1T and be a bit more generous with the sun-dried tomatoes.

I knew I was in good shape when my 14 yr old who was helping load the meet asked if could take a break because he could feel his fingers!!!

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I eventually created a recipe for breakfast sausage that I really liked but somehow I've managed to lose it :sad: 

Don't you just hate it when that happens :raz:? My wife was out for a meeting one night a while back, and I decided to experiment with duck stock, shrimp and a few veggies (scallions, maybe some spinach, etc.). I ended up with a delicious soup, and I'll be damned if I can find that recipe now :wacko:.

Yes . . . absolutely hate it and even though my wife wasn't home when I created it, I still teasingly blame her for it. Because, of course, if she had been home at the time, she wouldn't have let me lose it. How dare she leave the house during sausage making! :wacko::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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FINALLY

gallery_16509_1680_501762.jpg

Lamb proscuitto

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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Share on other sites

I eventually created a recipe for breakfast sausage that I really liked but somehow I've managed to lose it :sad: 

Don't you just hate it when that happens :raz:? My wife was out for a meeting one night a while back, and I decided to experiment with duck stock, shrimp and a few veggies (scallions, maybe some spinach, etc.). I ended up with a delicious soup, and I'll be damned if I can find that recipe now :wacko:.

Yes . . . absolutely hate it and even though my wife wasn't home when I created it, I still teasingly blame her for it. Because, of course, if she had been home at the time, she wouldn't have let me lose it. How dare she leave the house during sausage making! :wacko::biggrin:

=R=

So, put your recipe into RecipeGullet. I just added my Venison Sausage recipe!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Dave, that proscuitto is da bomb, as my kids would say. I trust the taste is as rewarding!

Next, I need help. I scored a mess of butt today for $.79/lb! I'm leaving Friday morning for the Cabin, and want to take some breakfast sausage (along with bacon, which I have). The more that I think about the recipe in the book, the more I am questioning the amount of ginger. One of my kids really doesn't care for ginger.

So, suggestions for breakfast sausage, soonest, please.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Dave, that proscuitto is da bomb, as my kids would say.  I trust the taste is as rewarding!

Next, I need help.  I scored a mess of butt today for $.79/lb!  I'm leaving Friday morning for the Cabin, and want to take some breakfast sausage (along with bacon, which I have).  The more that I think about the recipe in the book, the more I am questioning the amount of ginger.  One of my kids really doesn't care for ginger.

So, suggestions for breakfast sausage, soonest, please.

Susan, here's my recipe for breakfast sausage, as best I can remember it . . .

5 pounds fatty pork butt

3 T dried sage (I prefer dried and use very high-quality material but obviously fresh is ok if you prefer it)

3 T morton kosher salt

2 T minced garlic

2 T granulated sugar*

1 T red pepper flakes

1 T freshly-ground black pepper

1 T ancho chile powder

2 t cayenne pepper

1 C ice water

casings, optional

This is a pretty close approximation, iirc. And, in spite of how it may appear, this was not overly spicy. My 9-year-old gobbled it without complaint.

Good luck!

=R=

*Edited to add: I think I included granulated sugar, but I'm not 100% certain.

Edited by ronnie_suburban (log)

"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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Loosely related, very fun piece -- including quotes from Brian Polcyn -- in today's NYT by Julia Moskin (free registration required):

LIFE. Death. Salami. These are the elemental forces that shape each day for Marc Buzzio, one of New York's last and best makers of traditional dry-cured sausages. "There's no substitute for morbidity," he said recently, raising a 12-pound soppressata to his nose.

The smell of rot — the ripe funk you breathe in Italian pork stores and French charcuteries — has always been part of the craft of curing. Traditional dry-cured sausages — the rough-textured, chewy ones like Italian soppressata and French saucisson sec — aren't cooked. Instead, the raw meat is stuffed into natural casings and left exposed to the air, picking up wild yeasts and cultures that start fermentation. Then, like wine and cheese, the sausages are aged in a cool, humid place to develop the rounded, savory taste that comes from slow ripening. White mold grows on the outside; water drips out as the sausage dries.

Dry-Cured Sausages: Kissed by Air, Never by Fire

I think Charcuterie is the new culinary black. :wink:

=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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Thanks, Ron, for the recipe and the article link.

My sage is in, and like you, I prefer dried, so I dug out that food dehydrator we got many years ago that I don't use often but sure is handy. I don't have any ancho, but I'll make do.

My butts don't seem quite fatty enough, and what I got equated to 4.25 lbs per portion, so I'll add back fat to make up; the difference.

What in the hell is up with trimming meat? I can pitch or render my own damned fat if I don't want it, thank you very much.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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My butts don't seem quite fatty enough, and what I got equated to 4.25 lbs per portion, so I'll add back fat to make up; the difference.

What in the hell is up with trimming meat?  I can pitch or render my own damned fat if I don't want it, thank you very much.

It is definitely annoying how lean most pork is these days. I have a great butcher who sources his pork from Prairie Grove Farms and even the butts I buy there are often too lean for sausage making -- that's how they come to him. I will say that the PGF pork is nicely marbled but when it comes to our craft, that's not always adequate. That's one of the reasons I sourced some fatback from Niman -- for those times when I need just a bit more to make things go.

=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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It is definitely annoying how lean most pork is these days.  I have a great butcher who sources his pork from Prairie Grove Farms and even the butts I buy there are often too lean for sausage making -- that's how they come to him.  I will say that the PGF pork is nicely marbled but when it comes to our craft, that's not always adequate.  That's one of the reasons I sourced some fatback from Niman -- for those times when I need just a bit more to make things go.

=R=

Same deal here. You should see my butchers' (at the local meat market as well as at the supermarket) swell with pride when I say -- "please go in back and find the fattiest butt you can." They hate it too.

I'm tempted to get to Southern MN and get a half a hog, and tell them that I want the whole half hog. Don't do any trimming. At all. And, they can give me all of the fat that everyone else wants trimmed away.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Loosely related, very fun piece -- including quotes from Brian Polcyn -- in today's NYT by Julia Moskin (free registration required):

Dry-Cured Sausages: Kissed by Air, Never by Fire

I agree that portions of that piece were "fun", but I found this part heartbreaking:

On Monday inspectors destroyed all the cured meats at Il Buco restaurant in NoHo. They did so, according to the owner, Donna Lennard, not because of any evidence of contamination but because the temperature in the curing room was six degrees higher than it should have been.

"These are pigs that were raised for us," Ms. Lennard said. "We knew their names. We were trying to do something sustainable and traditional, and this is what happens."

The saddest thing is that the meat was probably at the right temperature for best results, but as Polcyn states in the article, this process is too complex for the authorities to "get".

I've seen what Dominic Cerino (in Cleveland) has to do to please the inspectors. Expensive dedicated coolers, digital monitors for temperature, humidity, and pH. His grandma just hung the stuff in the cellar. :smile:

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