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


ronnie_suburban
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Susan, I made chicken sausages with roasted poblanos and they were great. I roasted the pepper first on the Weber and then cut then into a large dice, figuring that they'd break down a bit during the mixing. I'm pretty sure I used one heaping-packed cup of peppers for a 5-pound batch.

=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 pulled the smaller of the jowl pieces too, to see how the guanciale is doing.  It's been hanging over 5 weeks, and still feels somewhat tender to the touch.  I know guanciale isn't meant to be eaten without cooking, but holy porker, that stuff is delicious just as it is!  Sweet, mild, and almost all fat.  It really makes me look forward to my lardo.

Abra, when will your lardo be ready? I have a nice chunk of fatback from a local farmer, and am considering the lardo cure. It will be my second attempt at anything out of the book, after today's Pate Grandmere is all done.

I don't have any pink salt, nor have I got a good hanging set-up. But I figured I could just leave the fat to dry in the fridge instead of hanging it, and that way I wouldn't need the preservative/ antibacterial properties of the nitrite.

I talked to a guy at the farmer's market yesterday, and he said all he does for his salt-cured fatback is rub it with salt, wrap it in plastic and leave it in the fridge for three weeks or so, until it feels right. Talk about easy! So I figure I can modify the lardo cure in a similar way. Maybe it will take longer to dry in the fridge.

Any thoughts?

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Peperone update: even with the warmer, dryer weather, I'm still at 61F and 90% humidity -- thank you, dank basement! And, this morning, I spotted some dusty white mold. Yeah!

Congrats Chris! Keeping my fingers crossed still. I'm feeling a bit of mold envy, as I have yet to have any develop on any of my products. Is it because I have so much salt on my water pan? Or maybe that my temperature is a bit lower?

Susan, I made a pork sausage of my own recipe (up thread a bit) using the smoke fat back. If you can't find it let me know and I'll check my notes and can PM you the ingredients.

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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Hey folks, just wanted to mention to anyone in the area that Michael and Brian Polcyn will be doing a charcuterie demo and book signing at The Butcher Shop in Boston on Tuesday, May 23 at 7 pm.

Damn! I sure wish I lived near Boston!

For details, please check the eG Calendar.

=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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My KA is really old.  It was a wedding present, and we are soon to celebrate 25 years.  Back then, there was only one KA available, and I just checked.  My bowl is 3.5 quarts.  No wonder I need two bowls!

Thanks for checking that out, Susan. I couldn't figure out why the discrepancy. So now my decision rests more on the cost of the DeLonghi grinder and whether having three screens vs two is a real asset.

I called this morning. The Delonghi grinder runs a mere $149! I don't think so, even if it has an extra screen...and even if it cuts a little better.

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There's that moment of fear in a Minnesota mom's heart when the boy (age 10) runs in on a January afternoon and says "mom, I can't feel my hands. They are too cold."

Then, there's that moment of pride, in May, when he's feeding diced meat and fat and spices into that tray on the KA grinder when he says "mom, I can't feel my hands." And, I know that I got it cold enough for the grind.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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On Batali's Saulmi web site they list a cured pork loin, called Lomo.

Anyone know anything about this, or have any ideas? It has me thinking I'd like to try to do it.

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 know we've all gone bonkers when people start talking about "mold envy!" Me, for the moment, I'm just as glad not to have seen any mold.

Scottie, I hope Michael will come along to answer your question, but I'll take a crack at it. Lardo and salted fatback are not the same creature. Traditionally, lardo is soaked submerged in brine for many months. This recipe has it cure for 12 days (mine has another 5 days to go), then hang for 3 weeks. Hanging, in a relatively humid environment, is not the same as drying. The low humidity in the fridge dries things from the outside in. That's what you don't want, a dry outer crust with a raw interior. Lardo should be smooth and meltingly creamy all the way through, not dry anywhere. To achieve that, you have to actually keep it from drying out, thus the instruction to hang it in a higher-humidity environment. I think. Michael?

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This is a truly amazingly wonderful thread. I admire all your delicious work.

I have one question (well, actually I could have dozens, but...), for those of you who are using the meat grinder attachment for your KA, does that work reasonably well? I really want to avoid spending $300 or more for  a serious dedicated grinder, since I will be doing small quantities -- mostly fresh sausage, max 5 pounds at a time, at least for the time being.

Made the 20lbs - 80 links with my KA... worked fine... however.... I too am considering buying a stuffer...

... again COLD product helps for stuffing too!!

Edited by mdbasile (log)
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We have a 6 qt KA and the same issues apply here. I actually use a large spatula to hold down the mixture when beating for the bind with a 5# batch.

Same for me -- usually a bit of a battle.

FWIW - the stuffer was ok with 2 people

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I pulled the smaller of the jowl pieces too, to see how the guanciale is doing.  It's been hanging over 5 weeks, and still feels somewhat tender to the touch.  I know guanciale isn't meant to be eaten without cooking, but holy porker, that stuff is delicious just as it is!  Sweet, mild, and almost all fat.  It really makes me look forward to my lardo.

Abra, when will your lardo be ready? I have a nice chunk of fatback from a local farmer, and am considering the lardo cure. It will be my second attempt at anything out of the book, after today's Pate Grandmere is all done.

I don't have any pink salt, nor have I got a good hanging set-up. But I figured I could just leave the fat to dry in the fridge instead of hanging it, and that way I wouldn't need the preservative/ antibacterial properties of the nitrite.

I talked to a guy at the farmer's market yesterday, and he said all he does for his salt-cured fatback is rub it with salt, wrap it in plastic and leave it in the fridge for three weeks or so, until it feels right. Talk about easy! So I figure I can modify the lardo cure in a similar way. Maybe it will take longer to dry in the fridge.

Any thoughts?

scottie,

you don't need sodium nitrite for lardo; unless you smoke it there's no botulism concern. salt and herbs are all you need. my only concern with drying in fridge is that it's too dry in there, though i know chefs who only cure in the walkin. but youre not going to hurt any body no matter how you do it. i think the most important factor with lardo is light, it needs to be kept out of the light, which actually disintegrates the fat, if i understand the venerable harold mcgee correctly.

my only problem with dry-cured lardo is that it still retains a slight crunchiness--this is the case with the ones i've cured, with brian's, and was the case with the lardo pizza at mario and co.'s otto (excellent btw, and also saw an unusal drycured sausage there with a bullseye of fat in the middle the size of a quarter; the superlative bartender that day refused to reveal how they got that fat in there--if anyone knows, would love to find out!). the first lardo i had was in the mountains above carrara near the marble quarries. a scary man, long and lanky with long uncombed black hair and a black beard, named fausto, served it to me and then showed me the marble casks in a lightless dirt cellar where they cured--salt and herbs and oil for many many months. that lardo was smooth as butter. that was the lardo cherry-breaking for me and i've never found it again since.

i think a long slow cure in absolute blackness is the key...

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I have to report a little guanciale thrill I had yesterday.

We met a friend for appetizers and drinks at a nice Italian place in Seattle, and we ordered the cured meat platter. I had brought a chunk of my guanciale for our friend, and thought to open the package and give him a slice to try with the restaurant's house-cured meat. Just then the server happened along. Busted! Would there be a corkage fee for guanciale?

I quickly sliced a piece for her and one to send to the chef. Later she reported to me that the chef had given his slice a quick sear, eaten it, and said "I'd be happy to sell this here." Woohoo. I actually thought it was brave of him to eat meat cured by some anonymous customer, but that raised my esteem for him several notches.

Edited by Abra (log)
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Very cool, Abra! That must have made you feel great. And yeah, that chef was a chef's chef. Congrats on earning that affirming stamp of approval. :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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That is very cool, Abra! I've had the exact same fantasy. However, I'm not sure it's gonna happen with this peperone....

I've detailed the travail above. I can now add that our coonhound, seemingly aware of the meaty science project in the basement, has decided that he needs to piss all over the place. I am skeptical that this is adding "good bacteria" into the environment.

Sure enough, for whatever reason, urinary or otherwise, today I found these:

gallery_19804_437_152261.jpg

Those fuzzy green pockmarks are on six of my 17 sticks, so they're in the garbage, while the other 11 are still curing. Or acquiescing to inevitability.

Just for fun, I thought I'd take a look at the cross-sections to see what the bind and definition looked like. I have to say I'm pretty happy:

gallery_19804_437_180457.jpg

It's hard to tell from the photos, but the consistency seems pretty good throughout each sausage; the edges are a bit drier than the center but not by much.

So I'm going to let the other 11 meet their fate. If anyone has any ideas save knocking on wood and lighting votive candles, please let me know.

In the meanwhile, I look forward to round two, when I plan to look this moldy bastid right back in the eye:

gallery_19804_437_32803.jpg

That's right, motherfucker. Scream.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Very cool, Abra!  That must have made you feel great.  And yeah, that chef was a chef's chef.  Congrats on earning that affirming stamp of approval. :smile:

=R=

indeed Abra, congratulations! What a thrill!

!

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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No, Chris, don't throw it out! I read that you should wipe the outsides of the sausage with vinegar, or a vinegar solution, to see if you can get rid of the mold. Hurry, wipe down the remaining ones! You've got nothing to lose by trying.

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Actually, I went back and read that part of the book as soon as I read that post. For fuzzy green mold Michael says take no chance and throw it out.

I would rub down the remainder though.

That's tough luck Chris....but you were half way expecting problems anyway, so don't get too down on yourself. The one you cut open really looks good...definition is great.

Hmmm, I wonder what dry cured Coonhound will taste like if this happens again?

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 for the triage advice; I just wiped the remainder down with a 1:1 vinegar:water solution. I also wiped down the sides.

Meanwhile, I'm about to pull two thick slabs of bacon out of the Bradley, in which they're dancing with applewood smoke as they creep toward 150F. I also put in a bowl with 1/4 c of sea salt, lubed up with a little (1t) peanut oil. As i suspected, the oil created a fine "pellicle" of sorts, and I now have some lightly smoked salt.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Meanwhile, I'm about to pull two thick slabs of bacon out of the Bradley, in which they're dancing with applewood smoke as they creep toward 150F. I also put in a bowl with 1/4 c of sea salt, lubed up with a little (1t) peanut oil. As i suspected, the oil created a fine "pellicle" of sorts, and I now have some lightly smoked salt.

Oh, nice. I'm getting ready to smoke on Monday or Tuesday. I've got a turkey breast, 2 HUGE bone in rib pork chops and 12 chicken breasts in brine as we speak. I'll see if I can squeeze in some salt for that smoking session.

What did you put the salt in during the smoking?

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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Some days it makes perfect sense to me that pork and work are only letter apart from each other :biggrin:

That said, it's been a good day. I've finally launched my first batch of peperone (using pork) and the links are now incubating in my oven. I also dredge-cured a large belly in 2 sections -- some with basic cure and some with a maple sugar-assisted variation. Those will get their smoke a week from tomorrow. I kind of promised myself I'd wait a bit longer until I made more bacon but the inventory dwindled to the point where I could no longer wait.

Also, the greenish jowl bacon has been smoked to near perfection. Other than than that bizarre color, it turned out wonderfully. Of course, being the 'gonzo' guy that I am, I cooked up a few pieces from the greenest section of the greenest jowl and wolfed them down . . . absolutely delicious!! I now understand, at least in part, the origin of Green Eggs and Ham. :wink:

I hope to post a few pics tomorrow.

And Chris, at the very least I see that you managed to extract a nice, new avatar out of your peperone foray. :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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What did you put the salt in during the smoking?

Just a shallow stainless bowl. Couldn't have been easier.

Just made bacon and eggs for dinner -- an excellent way to get over the mold problem. Well, that and a Corpse Reviver #2.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Corpse Reviver - great drink! What's the #2 part mean?

It looks like we were all productive today. I got a small batch of saucisson sec started, and now it's hanging for 3 weeks or so. I had everything so cold, probably too cold. It still showed below freezing after the grind and paddle. I don't see how that could hurt, but then, sausage is not my strong suit so far. I made skinny links, so they'd dry faster, although the slices won't be as impressive.

And I have the pork resting in its seasoning for the fresh pork and garlic sausage. I've got to master the texture thing soon, it's driving me crazy.

Tonight I started thinking about how much pastrami and ham my husband eats, and wondering why we buy them instead of making it at home. Space to hang, that's a ham problem. But pastrami, no reason to hold back, right? Has anybody tried it yet?

Chris, I'm not understanding the oil part of the smoked salt. You made a slurry with oil? Or did you mean you just oiled the bowl?

Ron, I know what you mean about eating the green jowl. I always eat some of whatever the newest cured meat is first. If I don't die, I give some to other people. Green scares me, though. I wonder what that was all about?

Does anyone know about how safe it is to taste a mix with DC #2 in it? I cooked up a bit of the saucisson sec mix, just to test the seasoning, but I thought I could taste the nitrate, so I spit after getting the flavor. Now, should I make a joke about spitting instead of swallowing, or a joke about needing corpse reviver #2 after tasting DC #2? I was worried, though, so any science on the subject would be appreciated.

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